New Delhi, July 26: India on Tuesday slammed Pakistan and China for their move to involve third countries in the multi-billion dollar connectivity corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
External Affairs Ministry spokesman, ArindamBagchi said that such activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are “inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable”, and will be treated accordingly by India.
“India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan,” he said.
India’s sharp reaction came after reports emerged that Pakistan and China decided to welcome interested third countries to join the flagship CPEC initiative at a meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination on Friday.
“We have seen reports on encouraging proposed participation of third countries in so-called CPEC projects. Any such actions by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Bagchi stated.
The CPEC was launched in 2013 to improve Pakistan’s road, rail and energy transportation infrastructure besides connecting its deep sea port of Gwadar with China’s Xinjiang province.
The CPEC is part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has also been critical of the BRI as CPEC is part of the initiative.