India said it has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ or ‘CPEC’ project.
China tried to defend the proposed bus service with Pakistan through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK, saying its cooperation with Islamabad has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not change its principled stance on the Kashmir issue.
India has protested the so-called ‘CPEC’ project as it runs through PoK, which India maintains is part of Jammu and Kashmir, its northernmost state, and therefore Indian territory. Ministry of External Affairs of India has said that the bus service will be a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Pakistan and China don’t share a border. Pakistan’s only link to China is through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The new bus service will be launched between Lahore and China’s Kashgar via Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on November 3 according to the reports from Pakistan. The launch clearly is coinciding with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to China.
Lu Kang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said he was not aware of India’s diplomatic protest. “But on the issue of Kashmir, China’s position is clear-cut. We made it clear many times,” he said when asked about India’s protest.
China’s stand he said is that the “cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China’s principled position on Kashmir,” he said.
China maintains that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.
China defended the over USD 50 billion so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ despite having no border of a direct link with Pakistan, saying that it is an economic cooperation project between China and Pakistan.