Pakistan on Tuesday categorically rejected as “baseless and misguided” the remarks made by the official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), calling it an effort to politicize the project.
The Foreign Office spokesperson, in a statement, said CPEC was a transformational project and a harbinger of stability, mutual cooperation and shared development for the region.
“As a flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and hallmark of the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, CPEC provides a vehicle for the people of the region to break from zero-sum approaches,” he remarked.
He said China’s investment in CPEC had helped Pakistan overcome the energy and infrastructural bottlenecks that once constrained growth and development.
While rejecting India’s fallacious assertion that CPEC impinges on its “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, the spokesperson pointed out 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.
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He said India’s attempts to mislead the international community about the status of Jammu and Kashmir and to hide its atrocities against the Kashmiri people would never succeed. India was cautioned to desist from falsehoods and baseless claims over a territory that it continued to illegally occupy through brute force, he added.
The spokesperson said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remained an internationally recognized dispute on the United Nations agenda and “its solution lies in the exercise of the right of self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
11th JCC on CPEC likely next month
On the other hand, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has presided over a meeting to review the progress made in preparation for the 11th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) expected to be held by next month.
Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, gave a detailed briefing on the 3rd International Cooperation and Coordination Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting held virtually on July 22, according to a Planning Ministry press release.
The Foreign Secretary was quoted as saying that China appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to provide a safe and smooth business environment and our leadership’s commitment to building CPEC with “Pakistan Speed”.
Third-party participation and extension of CPEC to Afghanistan were also discussed. It was also pointed out that cooperation between thematic think tanks on both sides should be encouraged to further deepen the strategic economic cooperation under CPEC. The minister was also apprised of the activities that are planned to promote the CPEC narrative at the national and global levels.
The Power Division highlighted the agenda for the forthcoming 9th JEWG meeting scheduled to be held in the 1st week of August.
It was informed that 1124 MW Kohala and 700.7 MW, Azad Pattan hydropower projects as well as 1320 MW Thar Coal power plant project would be taken up with the Chinese side in the next scheduled JWG on Energy meeting. A joint study for the future development of Thar Coal had also been made part of the agenda.
The minister underlined that measures had been taken to provide sufficient power for Gwadar city, and stressed the need for renewable energy projects for the city’s development in the future.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (IC&T) also briefed the meeting on the agenda of the forthcoming second JWG on IT with a focus on infrastructure development, policy and regulations, human resource development, and Cyber Security.
Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for cooperation with China in the IT sector, as China had emerged as the leader in Artificial Intelligence, and cooperation with China in the field had enormous promise for Pakistan.
The meeting also discussed projects in the agriculture and socio-economic sector for the forthcoming 11th JCC meeting. In the agricultural sector, it was underlined that China’s expanding agricultural market provides significant potential for Pakistani exports.
FMD and quarantine issues were explicitly emphasized as important hurdles in meat export to China by a representative from M/o National Food Security, who informed the chair that they are being addressed on priority with the Chinese assistance.
The minister concluded by emphasizing the importance of the people-to-people exchange program between China and Pakistan and how it may contribute to the country’s economic development.
He instructed the Secretary of Planning to devise a plan to boost exchanges under CPEC so that emerging leaders in every field experience the development in China, and internalize it for the development of Pakistan.
The representatives of provinces and special regions’ planning and development departments, as well as other relevant stakeholders from across the country, also virtually attended the meeting.