BEIJING: India should accept “olive branch” extended by a top Pakistani army general to join the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China’s state-run Global Times said in an article today.
“Surprise aside, New Delhi should consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended in a bid to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said the article.
Reiterating China’s support for its all-weather ally, the article added that Beijing will strongly oppose any attempt to label Pakistan as “supporting terrorism”.
Lt Gen Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, this week reportedly said India should “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the USD 46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.
“The best way to reduce hostilities is by establishing economic cooperation based on mutual benefits to put aside what cannot be reached by a consensus,” it said.
The offer by Pak, the article said, could be transient and could be overwhelmed by opposition voices if New Delhi “does not respond in a timely manner to the General’s overture”.
The article said that India could boost its exports and slash its trade deficit with China via new trade routes that would be opened up by the CPEC and the northern part of India bordering Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir will gain more economic growth momentum if India joins the project.
Another article in the in the same daily said that Pak general invitation, is mainly intended as a gesture that Pakistan does not want to exclude India.
The article said that some international forces, and India in particular, are accustomed to look at the CPEC and the One Belt and One Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective.
“To ensure the smooth advancement of the CPEC, it is necessary for Pakistan to have a stable and peaceful domestic and periphery environment and a favourable profile,” it said.
“The CPEC is not only a bilateral cooperation, but also a multilateral project in the long-run, which aims at regional economic integration. So it’s open and inclusive, and China and Pakistan hope India, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries can participate and become stakeholders,” the article added.