India has firmly opposed proposed participation of third nations in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), asserting that such activities are illegitimate and directly infringe on its territorial integrity.
In a strongly worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that India consistently opposes all CPEC projects as they lie in territory illegally occupied by Pakistan. The statement comes even as Pakistan has proposed Turkey‘s participation in the project and a recent joint meeting with China referred to a planned expansion of the corridor to Afghanistan.
“India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. Such activities are inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable, and will be treated accordingly by India,” official spokesman Arindam Bagchi said.
India has taken a consistent approach to CPEC projects, saying that the activities are being planned in disputed territory of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and are hence illegal. “Any such action by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesman said.
The statement comes days after a CPEC Joint Working Group on International Cooperation and Coordination between Chinese assistant foreign minister Wu Jianghao and Pakistani foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood on July 21. In a statement after the meeting, both sides agreed to involve third parties in the project and extend it to Afghanistan, without going into details. They also vowed to deepen “media cooperation and do a good job in telling CPEC stories”.
In May, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had proposed a trilateral CPEC agreement with China and Turkey. Pakistan has a deep military relationship with Turkey, with several orders given to procure naval systems, upgrade aircraft as well as other weapon systems.