China-Pak corridor: Scholar says stop project to sort out differences with India
Beijing should take into account regional concerns in implementing transnational projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a top Communist party scholar has said, adding that such projects could be temporarily stopped to sort out differences.
The Kashgar to Gwadar CPEC is one of the flagship projects under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has repeatedly raised concerns over the project with China as part of it are planned in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“Any transnational projects involve concerns of different countries. We need to coordinate that to strike a balance to be acceptable to all parties. If we can’t reach that balance, maybe we can stop it for some time,” said Zhang Yunling, an influential academic who is a member of the presidium of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), an official think-tank.
“Even in the case of navigation routes on Mekong river for example, many problems emerged. We have to discuss them one by one. We need to learn lessons. Sometimes, the lessons maybe too big; we may have to stop (the projects),” Zhang said when asked about the CPEC passing through PoK.
“It cannot always be rosy. Any transnational project involves concerns of different countries. We need to coordinate and strike a balance to be acceptable to all parties,” he said.
“If we cannot reach that balance maybe (the project) can stop it for some time. Any transnational project involves that complexity,” he added.
Zhang was briefing the press on the upcoming Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to be held in the middle of May in Beijing, which is to be attended by nearly 30 heads of state.
China is unlikely to stop the multiple projects underway under the CPEC but the senior scholar’s comments indicate that the Chinese government was analysing concerns – including India’s – raised by countries on certain aspects of BRI.
Though China has sent multiple invitations to the Indian government and several of its ministers, New Delhi is unlikely to send any official representative to the BRF. Indian academics and businessmen are expected to attend the forum.
On India’s reluctance to join the BRI, Zhang said: “(The) Indian government has been quite prudent and cautious in expressing its attitude towards BRI but participates in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).”
Zhang suggested that it was not necessary to put the “BRI label” to everything.
“It only provides a platform. For China-India cooperation, we don’t need to look at the BRI alone. We already have a range of cooperation in a wide range of areas including infrastructure,” he said.
On the CPEC, he said it’s a misconception that China has committed $46 billion to the project.
“There is some misunderstanding about China-Pakistan cooperation. Yes, it’s tens of billions but it’s not one lump-sum investment; it is a gradual investment,” he said.
Earlier this month, China’s ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) told HT there is no “specific budget” for the project.
“There is no specific budget for the construction of the CPEC. Instead, it follows international practices, adopting a market driven model, encouraging enterprises to play an essential role to move it forward. It (the project) is based on scientific evaluation and it is being implemented under the principle ‘operating when mature,’” the MFA told Hindustan Times in a written response.
On the financial risks involved in the projects, Zhang said: “We need to share the risks so that we are jointly designing, jointly building and jointly discussing projects. Whenever there is any danger there should be immediate communication on the risks and dangers and should also involve dispute settlement mechanism.”
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Under the Trekking Traction Homestay Scheme, villages near important and popular trekking routes are being developed by the tourism department as trekking clusters.
- Congress leaders accused the police of using force to create a nuisance during a peaceful protest of farmers and Congress workers.
- Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling Uttarakhand the Sainya Dham - fifth dham after the traditional Char Dhams -- Rawat in 2019 had announced that the state government will set up a Sainya Dham in Dehradun.
- A police team has been deployed in the village to ward off any fresh trouble. The police have also initiated an investigation to nab all the accused.
- Some leaders and political experts even described Modi’s visit as an exercise to woo Bengali voters on whom Bose’s ideology has great influence even after 76 years of his mysterious disappearance.
- With the scheme, nearly 5 million CAPF personnel and their families can avail cashless medical treatment.
- The scheme aims at reduction in livelihood vulnerabilities of the urban poor including migrant labourers and informal workers.
- Presently, over 5,000 cases are pending with the Tribunal of which the bulk of matters arise out of proceedings under PMLA.
- Gandhi is on a tour of the western belt where he will next visit Erode, Tiruppur, Karur and Dindigul districts to meet farmers, weavers and youngsters.