No review of stand on CPEC: Nirmala

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Jun 2018 09:46:34



INDIA does not view its relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan ties, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday, but ruled out possibility of New Delhi reviewing its stand on CPEC project, a major irritant in Sino-Indian relationship. She also said New Delhi is alert to the economic assistance provided by China to India’s neighbours and ramifications it could have for the country.

“One thing I want to assure here...We do not view our relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan relations,” the Minister told an event to mark the 10th anniversary of ‘Chennai Centre for China Studies’ here. Sitharaman brought up the issue of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and made it clear that India will not “entertain any thought” of reviewing its stand on it, as it concerned its sovereignty. “It is an issue of sovereignty, and we shall not entertain any thought (other than the stated Indian position) on that matter,” she said.

The CPEC comprises a bunch of projects aimed at upgrading infrastructure in Pakistan and strengthening the economic ties between the two countries. The corridor will link Gwadar in south-western Pakistan to China’s Xinjiang province, and would pass through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, a territory India claims as its own. Sitharaman said Pakistani military was becoming increasingly dependent on the Chinese for arms and equipment. “The focus of the reforms is therefore evidently moving towards the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Navy, PLA Airforce and PLA Rocket Forces as opposed to erstwhile emphasis on just the PLA,” she said.


Minister Nirmala Sitharaman again asserted that there was no scam in the Rafale deal with France as being alleged by Congress and said disclosure of specifics about it could reveal the aircraft’s capabilities to the country’s rivals. There was no scam in the four-year old NDA Government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and therefore the Congress was coming up with such allegations, she told reporters here.