China wants to keep PoJK on its side because of CPEC, says defence expert

CPEC China Pakistan

Defence expert Praful Bakshi emphasised on Wednesday that China seeks to maintain control over PoJK due to its significance for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through various parts of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).

Speaking to ANI, Praful Bakshi said, “China is wanting to keep PoJK on its side because… the project of CPEC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, goes through various portions of PoJK, and China would be very keen to occupy the airfield, etc., in PoJK for its own military benefit.”

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a USD 50 billion Pakistani component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The 3,000 km Chinese infrastructure network project is under construction in Pakistan and aims to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi ports to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by land.

Praful Bakshi also highlighted the statement by the Ministry of External Affairs regarding PoJK and said, “What the External Affairs Ministry has said is, it was always said that PoJK is an integral part of India.”

“So China is looking at this from its angle. And China does not want any flare into that place, lest it become so violent that its project gets hampered,” he added.

This comes in the wake of violent protests and a shutter-down strike in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) demanding fair electricity pricing and subsidized wheat flour. At least three people were killed in the clashes in PoJK.

Defence expert Bakshi further said that China pursues its own interests and is “not a reliable ally” to Pakistan or any other country.

“China has got its own interest in a different manner. China is not Pakistan’s friend. It is nobody’s friend, which Pakistan is now realizing when it’s under debt of close to USD 110 billion,” he told ANI

He also highlighted the situation in Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) and stated it is not a very new phenomenon.

“Pakistan always ill-treated PoJK. There was ethnic difference. Punjabi dominated the Pakistani army, and West and North Pakistan looked down upon PoJK,” he added.

Bakshi further explained that the economic situation in PoJK was “severe,” leading to widespread unhappiness and feelings of subjugation among the people.

“The economic deprivation of PoJK was total. People were not happy. They were subjugated. And that is why slowly and slowly it started getting fermented. And the people were always in the hope that India will liberate them,” said Praful Bakshi.

Defence expert Praful Bakshi pointed out that the events of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, which led to the liberation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, fueled similar sentiments in PoJK.

“Especially when it happened in 1971. Then East Pakistan got liberated into Bangladesh. It is that time PoJK also was fermenting. And slowly this, and as this mismanagement has increased, the police firing, and then inflation is tremendously…has overtaken their economic development. Inflation is on an inflammable run. So that is what is the problem with PoJK. And people are openly wanting that India must come in and step in and help them out,” he added.

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