Kashmir situation will have no impact on CPEC

India’s move on Kashmir will not affect China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Pakistani Ambassador to China Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi told the Global Times in an exclusive interview. 

Hashmi said Pakistan will continue to work closely with China and is fully committed to making CPEC a reality, and Pakistan will not return to the negotiating table unless India withdraws its decision to revoke Kashmir’s special autonomous status.

New Delhi on August 5 rushed through a presidential decree to scrap Kashmir’s special status, tightening its grip on Kashmir, which is also claimed by Pakistan, in the most significant change in seven decades.

Analysts said India’s Kashmir move may pose a threat to the existing geopolitical order, and may cast a shadow over CPEC – the flagship under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

For years, India has rejected participating in the BRI, claiming CPEC projects go through the Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Hashmi told the Global Times that CPEC will not be affected by the dispute because “Pakistan and China are determined to tap the fullest potential of CPEC projects” to bring social benefits and economic dividends to the people in this region.

Hashmi also said India’s deployment of troops, complete media blackout and strict curfew in Kashmir were no different than “putting 8,000,000 Kashmiris in prison.”

“Given the circumstances, we cannot hold a dialogue with India,” she stressed, saying that only when India reverses its illegal actions, withdraws its troops from Kashmir, lifts the curfew and clampdown, and is sincere about resolving the Kashmir issue will Pakistan return to the negotiating table. 

In a recent TV interview, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that while Pakistan wants peace on its borders, he “absolutely” believes war with India is a possibility.

“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve problems,” Khan said in an interview with Al Jazzera.

But he added, “When two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up a nuclear war… I know Pakistanis will fight to the death for their freedom. So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.” 

Hashmi said Pakistan has responded with utmost restraint, given that Kashmir is a very sensitive issue for Pakistanis. 

“We will continue our moral, political and diplomatic efforts to help our Kashmiri brethren in these trying times. 

“We do not wish to go down the path of a military conflict. However, Pakistan will defend itself if attacked. The desire for peace must not be mistaken for weakness,” she said.

– ( The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange item)