The lion, the witch and the corridor


In the Pak-India dispute over Kashmir, CPEC may prove instrumental


Bilateral relations between Pakistan and India revolve around the geopolitics of Kashmir and history has taught us that geopolitics is a zero-sum game. The Kashmir issue is no exception; it has been simmering around for nearly seventy years with no resolution in sight. However, with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative – in full swing, the geopolitics in South Asia is likely to go in the background and geo-economic realities are likely to emerge on the forefront. The region is bound to see an economic growth under multibillion CPEC project and it will have definite impact on Kashmir Dispute.


Since the current phase of “intefadah” that started in the wake of Burhan Wani’s martyrdom in July last year, life in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is circumscribed between stone pelting, pellet firing, injuries, deaths, curfews and mass arrests. With overwhelming use of lethal force by Indian Armed Forces with the intent to kill, the situation is becoming more volatile. Large number of locals comes out to disrupt the Indian Army’s operation that they launch for arresting the “terrorists” but who are perceived as freedom fighters by the public. Various human right organisations have strongly condemned the high handed approach of the Indian Armed forces (tying of a young man as a human shield by Army and indiscriminate use of pellet gun which has blinded thousands of innocent Kashmiri youths are two points in case). Such atrocities in IoK stir unrest amongst the population of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. The unrest in IoK has the potential of becoming a flashpoint of fourth war between two nuclear armed states that would have far reaching consequences.


Kashmir is a dispute which is awaiting resolution since Indo-Pak got independence from British; with Pakistan eager for resolving even with third party intervention but India even refusing to discuss it bilaterally. Thus far, India’s biggest trump card in IoK has been its so called vibrant democracy because of which she was able to get favourable world opinion. Though, the elections in IoK were always seen to have tainted with widespread rigging but nonetheless Indians were able to sell them as legitimate. However, with the unprecedented and dismal turnout in recent state election in Kashmir, mere 7%, India has lost even the democracy card. With Indo-Pak relations at rock bottom and talks suspended since long it is difficult to imagine that a bilateral solution of Kashmir is even possible. Nonetheless, the international demand for solving the Kashmir dispute is also growing; with offers from America, Turkey and latest by China to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan are welcoming signs. American leverage with Pakistan is fast eroding keeping in view the chequered history of mutual relationship. Turkey offer has been rejected by India but refusing China would not be easy for India.


China’s interest in the region is enormous; not only because she is a neighbour but also because of the CPEC. As is the case with all investments, investors want stability in the region. So for the CPEC to be successful, China will want stability in the region which cannot be achieved without resolving the core issue of Kashmir. Except India, many regional powers are interested in the CPEC as well. Russia has shown her interest in becoming part of the CPEC. Similarly Iran has shown signs of becoming part of the CPEC by trying convincing Pakistan to make Chabahar port as sister port to Gawadar, similarly Afghanistan will be willing to join too because it is a landlocked country. Thus when the CPEC will start bearing fruit and becomes economically beneficial, then it will be difficult for India to remain isolated in the region and do not get economic benefits. The collective expectation from the CPEC for prosperous Asia is sure to internationalise the core issue of Kashmir and hence force India to resolve it. Policy makers in India need to understand this fact and act accordingly. Mere closing eyes like a pigeon will not solve the problems rather will aggravate the situation. Top leadership in Pakistan and China has been offering India to become part of the CPEC. But India must first step forward and resolve the Kashmir issue.


China’s policy until recently has been of restraint and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries while focusing on its economic growth. Now having achieved its target and already the second largest economy in the world and projected to become the largest by 2030 or maybe well before then, China has started to roll out its plan for “new world order”. China’s recent mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over Rohingya issue shows her willingness to play her role in resolving conflicts beyond its borders. This is a sure sign that China will be ready to mediate between Pakistan and India for resolving long outstanding Kashmir issue peacefully.

In my opinion, the CPEC will not only help South Asia become economically strong but also help in building peace and tranquillity in the region by resolving the long outstanding Kashmir dispute. With more economic development in coming years, geo-economics of the CPEC will impact geopolitics situation in South Asia.



  1. pakistan faced 5 embarrasements in One week.


    • Well one has his days; India did have one odd day to celeberate but keep your fingers crossed, coming days will be ours. ICJ is interm. Kulbhosan is and will remain in Pakistan, dead or alive. Trump is someone who is controversal in his own country so I would not bother much about him. As for Uzma, no one invited her to Pakistan; she came at her own will and we have no issues if she wants to go back. Pre-emptive strike by India???? Really you are that naive to believe that India can dare to cross border and donot expect a response. Indian Armed Forces can kill innocent and unarmed civilians but Pakistan Armed Forces have bullets to fire in return so be careful.

  2. CPEC start bearing fruits………..I really wonder how this author and the Pakistani people in general take it for granted that China is investing for the development of Pakistan…..China is doing so because it is in its interest to do so and creating business opportunities for its industry because of stagnation at their home (Mainland China). And everybody knows that it is not “Grant” but loans at an interest, which have to be paid back to the Chinese Govt. or Chinese banks.

    What if Pakistan endup as a colony of China with the burden of unpaid loans from the Chinese Govt. or Chinese banks. Well when a nation end up as a colony of another country then the neighbors will discus issues with the mater country not with the enslaved country.

    It is better to wait to discus with China after China colonizes Pakistan. The wait will be worth the time to find a lasting solution to Kashmir. China does understands the menace of Islamic fundamentalists in its Xianjing province and they are good at containing the menace with an Iron leg by subjugating the native Uighur populace to random checks of their homes and themselves anywhere without any warrant and changing the demographics by bringing the mainland Hun population to the Muslim majority Xianjing province and thus making the native Uighur Muslim population a minority and ensuring measures like no beard, no Muslim fundamentalist names and so on.

    India should learn the means & tactics employed by the Chinese in Xianjing Province to contain the Uighur Muslims and should think about deploying or replicating the same in the Kashmir region.

    Pakistan is not worth the time to think about, rather the Indian Govt. should employ resources in the economic progress of the nation and with regard to Kashmir, in my opinion let us leave the administration to the Govt. of Kashmir & the law and order to the J & K Police with active help from Indian Army.

    • Ismail, from your comments its seems that you are from India; So let me say I wish you best of luck and pray that you remain safe from Cow Vigilant. However, it is laughable to hear that India needs to learn fron China how to handle Muslims. If Gujrat, Ayuodhia and Kashmir handling not good enough. Indians are masters in massacring the innocent unarmed civilians; only second to Israel that too with very little difference. Bro, don’t rub salt to Indians Muslims and let us pray that atleast, Kashmirirs get their independence from Indians.

      • Please, honestly tell us, have you ever thought of Uighur Muslims lined up and killed by Chinese whenever there is an terror attack carried out by Muslims????? I know the answer AND I also know that you won’t reply honestly. You get money from China and keep silent. In contrast, LOOK at your ho-halla (great noises) by Pakistanis on Rohingya Muslims. Islam freezes the brain and renders it incapable of thinking LOGICALLY & RATIONALLY.

  3. I am an Indian and a proud one but let me say that I feel ashamed when our Army honours the Major who has committed the most horrendous act of tying a man on the jeep as a human shield. Such individuals acts do not reflect majority Indians views. As for Kashmir is concerned, majority of them wants to be part of prosperious India rather then war torn Pakistan.

    • I agree with your first part but not the last one. If India is so sure about kashmiris wanting to live iwth them; why not call Pakistan’s bluff and held the plebscite.

  4. Europe is looking anxiously at the developments in Kashmir. UK, Germany and Norway assemblies have already discuused the issue and asked both Governments to resolve the issue peacefully. World can’t see another nuclear holocaust. Immediate intervention is neccessary to stop the two ‘immature’ governments threatening eachother of nuclear attack.

  5. CPEC will prove to be a game changer, I agree. But our leadership must play it’s cards right, otherwise please remember that there are no friends in geopolitics rather national interests. Like USA, China will also start asking Pakistan to do more after giving heavy loans. We should therfore, keep our options open even with India.

  6. Ordinary kashmiris are suffering due to the conflict of egos of two countries. Both Pakistan and India need to step back and let Kashmiris do what they want. Any country, may it be China or USA or UK or Turkey or Norway or UN intervention is welcomed.

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