Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Tuesday rejected as “baseless and misguided” remarks issued by the spokesperson of the Indian External Affairs Ministry on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Earlier this week, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi reportedly said that New Delhi opposes attempts by Beijing and Islamabad to include additional countries to CPEC. “Any such actions by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
Reacting to these comments, Pakistan emphasized that CPEC was a “transformational project and a harbinger of stability, mutual cooperation and shared development for the region.” In a statement, the Foreign Office said that CPEC, as part of China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, reflected the “all-weather” relationship between Beijing and Islamabad, adding it was a vehicle for people of the region to break from zero-sum approaches. “China’s investment in CPEC has helped Pakistan overcome the energy and infrastructural bottlenecks that once constrained growth and development,” it added.
“Attempts to cast aspersions over CPEC show India’s insecurity as well as the pursuit of a hegemonic agenda that has held back socio-economic development in South Asia for decades,” read the statement, questioning Bagchi’s claims of territorial violations by noting that it was in fact India that was “illegally occupying the state of Jammu and Kashmir for over seven decades while perpetrating gross and widespread human rights violations and effectuating blatant territorial and demographic changes in the occupied territory in complete contravention of international law and relevant UNSC resolutions.”
The Foreign Office emphasized that India’s attempts to “mislead” the international community on the status of Jammu and Kashmir and to hide its atrocities against the Kashmiri people would never succeed. “India is cautioned to desist from falsehoods and baseless claims over a territory that it continues to illegally occupy through brute force,” it said.
“The Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains an internationally recognized dispute on the U.N. agenda and its solution lies in exercise of the right of self-determination in accordance with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” it added.