Is Beijing changing its stance towards Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir?

(Last Updated On: August 16, 2016)

NEW DELHI: Is it significant that state-run Chinese media referred to Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) as just that, rather than as Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir, like it used to? Is Beijing changing its stance?An article today in the state-run Global Times mentioned PoK twice. The article said that China is unlikely to take sides with Pakistan or India on the Kashmir issue. It added that the rise in tensions between the two countries, though, is what’s keeping “PoK” behind developmentally.

“It is precisely because of the region’s worsening investment environment+ that POK’s economy is still heavily reliant on agriculture,” Global Times said.

Recently, another state-run news outlet, the People’s Daily, which published photos of Chinese and Pakistani troops patrolling for the first time on the Xinjiang -PoK border last month referred to the area as the China-Pakistan border.

Today’s article mentioned PoK in the context of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj voicing India’s concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through PoK.

“China is unlikely to give up on the idea of CPEC because of India’s protest”, an article by the news outlet said, adding that as “China has developed close economic ties with both India and Pakistan in recent years, Beijing is unlikely to be interested in taking a side” between the two countries.

“Rather than prevent foreign investors from entering the region as a solution to concerns over CPEC, India should focus on its negotiations with Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute,” the article added.
About CPEC, the article said that economic cooperation between China and Pakistan can improve infrastructure in the region, including in the Kashmir area, and India, too, will have an opportunity to expand trade routes to Central Asia.

New Delhi may need to adopt an open attitude toward CPEC so the project can speed up development in the region and benefit the local population. Hopefully India can also improve infrastructure in the regions bordering Pakistan to promote regional economic integration. Any way in which India can put aside politics and join in the task of economic development would be welcome.

Economic cooperation between India, Pakistan and China would create an open atmosphere for launching talks to solve the Kashmir dispute. In this regard, New Delhi may need to take the long view for its national interests.

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