Modi spoke India’s mind over CPEC

Published: August 20, 2016


India is desperately pursuing her aspirations for global power status. With Washington and Moscow at its back, Delhi has recalibrated its approach towards its ‘obstructionist’ neighbours. Not only has it warned China against developing the economic corridor via Pakistan but also threatened its nuclear-armed western neighbour of dire consequences in Balochistan. Not long ago, Pakistan had arrested a senior Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel carrying a valid Iranian visa.

For Narendra Modi, condemnations of India’s blatantly excessive use of force or any mention of disputed Jammu and Kashmir state are non-issues. To his chagrin, the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8 sparked protests, which led to the deaths of over 50 and left 5,000 Kashmiris wounded. The issue of Indian security forces’ heavy reliance on pellet guns caused an uproar at home and aboard.

Inaugurating fleet tanker: CPEC will defeat enemies’ plot: PM

Pakistan declared Burhan Wani a Kashmiri leader (whom the Indian government termed terrorist) and his death an ‘extra-judicial’ killing.

Islamabad’s support for Kashmiri resistance left Modi fuming. On August 13, the Indian Prime Minister stated, “Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan and K-P.” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader further added, “What kind of life is this, inspired by terrorism? What kind of government set-up is it that is inspired by terrorism? The world will know about it, and that’s sufficient for me.” His anger soared when Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif dedicated the Independence Day celebrations to the struggle of Kashmiris.

On August 15, the BJP leader and Gujrat’s infamous chief minister appeased his hard-line supporters and proxies elsewhere by stating, “The people of Balochistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me in such a manner, from places that I have never been and never had a chance to meet, they have sent wishes to the people of India and thanked us. I am grateful to them.”

Modi’s first Balochistan reference, coming days after two terrorists attacks on Quetta hospitals were squarely blamed on India’s RAW intelligence agency, might not have been welcomed by the people of Balochistan but certain renegade militants and activists did appreciate his concern.

Bramdagh Bugti, grandson of Akbar Bugti, not only thanked Modi but also hoped Narendra Modi would raise this issue at international forums. He maintained: “It is too late; we can’t remain with Pakistan any longer as it has deprived us of basic rights.”

Mama Qadeer, another renegade Baloch, told the German Radio, “India supports our cause and the Baloch people appreciate it. Islamabad takes it as Indian interference. They blamed India’s RAW for the Quetta attack. They like to blame everything on RAW. The authorities even call me a RAW agent.”

None of the messages from India or its alleged proxies in Balochistan were oblique.

Delhi’s sensitivity and persistent failure to integrate Jammu and Kashmir in its federation has reached an epic level. Not only are the harsh laws there to stay in Kashmir but BJP-led coalition in the centre is also going all out to temper with the state’s special status.

UN chief lauds Pakistan’s resolve for peaceful Kashmir settlement

A few exceptions notwithstanding, India’s opposition parties including Congress have backed the BJP approach on Kashmir and Balochistan both. Delhi has refused to pursue a political course to lessen the tensions, signalling more intense military operations coupled with curfew and crackdown. Interestingly, the leaders of occupied Kashmir including Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami have refused to subscribe to Delhi’s approach. They don’t see Pakistan instigating the violence, which has made the BJP quite upset.

Some veteran politicians and former diplomats, in their personal capacity, pointed to Modi’s flawed explicit support for Balochisatan resistance and linked it with Kashmir. They believe that the Indian leader has strengthened the Pakistani narrative of a foreign hand in Balochistan on the one hand, and weakened Delhi’s long-held stance on Kashmir. The external affairs ministry has not yet rearticulated Modi’s outburst in sync with its long-held positions. Sushma Swraj, the Indian foreign minister, matches Modi’s profile as a hardliner.

Though the State Department has not condemned India’s excessive use of forces in Kashmir, it has clearly distanced itself from the Indian premier’s assertions. Washington insists that Pakistan and India must resolve the Kashmir dispute bilaterally, a position that Islamabad sees as biased and hypocritical.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been a dove when it comes to relations with India. His cosiness with Modi has been branded as ‘bromance’. The unexpectedly harsh tone of Delhi leaves him with little choice but to step back. Despite its limited leverage over Islamabad, Washington is trying to press her for a softer stance towards Delhi. The State Department has continued its mantra of do-more against terrorists, which India interprets to its convenience. The just-concluded visit of Norway’s foreign minister may offer a silver lining, only if India exercises restraint in Kashmir.

The current India-Pakistan tension can lead to both limited conflict along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, as well as a more intense proxy war in Balochistan and elsewhere in the country. Islamabad may retaliate in the same way. The Modi government has signalled zero tolerance for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The strategic community there is almost sure that Pakistan will reap multi-faceted benefits in the longer term. While India is actively engaging its navy in South China Sea, it can’t afford a Chinese naval base in Gwadar, on the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz. The Indian strategic community is largely of the view that Delhi has edge over Pakistan in diplomatic, air, land, naval and missile capabilities. Delhi advised against repeating the same mistake it did in dealing Pakistan’s nuclear program. Modi’s Balochistan references are anything, but no slips of tongue.

Naveed Ahmad is a Pakistani investigative journalist and academic with extensive reporting experience in the Middle East and North Africa. He is based in Doha and Istanbul. He tweets @naveed360



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Reader Comments (46)

  • Russian
    Aug 20, 2016 - 3:19PM

    I am following CPEC since it is announced. I don’t understand why Pakistanis are getting excited. Most of it are loans with exuberant interest rates. And above China is not a country known to do charity. They are building the corridor because they need it more than you. And please stop giving importance to yourself on World stage. The World does not even blink to what happens in Kashmir. Because the Western World including Russia are too cautious to support the causes especially which involves Muslims. They simply are not ready to deal with more Muslims countries which can turn into ISIS and Al qaeda strong holds. We always vetoed any resolution against India in UNSC. And we will do it again. And so are US, UK, France. Recommend

  • ajeet
    Aug 20, 2016 - 3:21PM

    One vegetarian yogi sending shivers down the spine of beef eaters.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2016 - 3:39PM

    After working with Indians all around the world I have no reason to believe that we can’t compete with them. The only way we tackle all these situations as a Pakistani is keep focusing on education and hard work. Be loyal to our country and be a good representative of it, sort out our differences and work as a nation.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Aug 20, 2016 - 4:29PM

    @Russian: I think you don’t know much about economics unfortunately. CPEC can transform Pakistan into a tiger economy. It may be growing at 7%-10% beginning from 2019/2020 onwards. Furthermore Thar coal is being exploited and oil refineries are being set up. We’re looking at a multiple billion $ industries being setup. Also if CPEC is not a big deal, India should not object to it.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Aug 20, 2016 - 4:46PM

    @RUssian, then why r u so excited, let them put theirselves in trouble, what is bothering u, the importnce of CPEC can be seen by India’s worry, btw i myself is an analyst i have researched this whole project and for ur information here r some facts
    1. Gwadar Port is the largest and deepest sea port in the middle of the world and has been operational with full load and force.

    2. Gwadar Port has 90% business from sea to sea, it does not need any large road network because Gwadar is in the middle of the world.

    3. It will be the largest business center of the world because it is in the middle of the world and will be used by the mother vessels.

    4. China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong, Malaysia and Indonesia are on extremely right side of the world and produce 80% goods of the world, they want to use Gwadar Sea Port as a Business Center to sell their goods to Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and America.

    5. Gwadar is a place which is required by all the super powers of the world immediately.

    6. Afghanistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kurdistan, Georgia and Armenia depend only Gwadar port because they are land locked countries.

    7. Gwadar will be more beautiful then any city of the world because it will be the Business Centre of the world’s businessmen
    8. Saudi Arabia has built 4 new cities to do trade with Gwadar.

    9. We will bring workers from India, Bangladesh, Philippines to construct hundreds of thousands of buildings inside and thousands of factories outside the Gwadar City.

    10. Gwadar is duty free and tax free largest sea port centrally located on world map.

    11. In future Gwadar will be famous for its high-rise buildings, parks, roads, universities, hospitals, clubs, highest salaries and business opportunities.

    Endia must forget about Kashmir its already operational,and we won’t avaoid killing millions whosoever comes in our way China too have told India to stay out of this Russia too is interested in CPEC, if u can afford another adventure with Pak and China go for it.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Aug 20, 2016 - 5:19PM

    Ask the Balouchis in exile in various countries. whats their opinion. of course the entire Baluchistan in Pak will now fly Pak flag for fear and insecurity. what other choice do they have . Recommend

  • khurram shahzad
    Aug 20, 2016 - 5:30PM

    just SHUT UP. Let us do what we are doing.None of your business. Pak need CPEC. Let us complete first then you will know why we were so excited. Neither india nor US can stop us completing us. We are gonna complete it in any cost and we do mind fighting 3rd World War for this. This is our level of seriousness regarding CPEC. Recommend

  • Patriot
    Aug 20, 2016 - 5:31PM

    Your analysis tickled me a lot LOL , why the whole of asia, Russia, etc has to depend on Single port for their goods movementRecommend

  • khurram shahzad
    Aug 20, 2016 - 5:34PM

    nicely done brother. I’m really happy you have given detailed answer to an arrogant. We Pakistani will have to support each other while defending our strategic CPEC. And we will In Sha Allah. Recommend

  • Bilal Hussain
    Aug 20, 2016 - 5:47PM

    @ Hassan. Well said, enough to shut them up and deal their own internal issues of freedom movements, poverty, rapes, caste culture, ill treatment of shudders, pressing of minorities and rasiscm. Recommend

  • Muneer
    Aug 20, 2016 - 6:28PM

    @Patriot: They don’t have to depend on Gawadar for trade.But Gawadar port will provide all of them the shortest combination of land and sea route for trade amongst them right up to African states along the Indian Ocean.Recommend

  • Abhay
    Aug 20, 2016 - 7:04PM

    Pakistan has not learnt any lessons from history. China will be it’s east India Co. Recommend

  • Ravi
    Aug 20, 2016 - 7:16PM

    @Pakistani: yes, and start respecting other religions, and stop believing in jihad, and 72 virgins in heaven nonsense!Recommend

  • Sayan Chakraborty
    Aug 20, 2016 - 7:39PM

    @Hassan All I see from your post is will be and shall be, nothing seems to have been accomplished so far. China never works in the interests of other countries, perhaps pakistan should look at the consequence of chinese investment in africa, they are practically looting africa. CPEC is just a hoax created by pakistan’s politicians and army, to keep emotionally fool pakistanis bogged down with fake pride, thereby successfully diverting their attention from more pressing issues. China will only build the gwadar port for its own strategic interest, rest of the investments will all be pulled back. Already a number of coal projects have been withdrawn by chinese companies. Pakistan’s only option for survival and prosperity is to forget kashmir and normalize trade relation with India, and you can forget about russia, US or any other western countries participating in CPEC. No country in the world is interested in an insignificant economy like pakistan as a substitute of world’d third largest economy i.e. India.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 20, 2016 - 8:38PM

    In my opinion CPEC will not do miracles and i differ from what Pakistan Govt version says.CPEC is mostly made up of roads with just 1 or 2 power plants on the way.This kind of infracture are build daily in other nations including India.For example in every state of India each of its 29 states build 100Km of roads daily i.e plus minus 29000km of roads all over India daily.This one day figure of India is much higher than the CPEC distance spread over many years.Rest you guys can guess and understand what does it means.Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Aug 20, 2016 - 9:49PM

    I am all for countries investing their energy and resources in development projects like CPEC, and wish it all success. But these projects will fail if carried out in a high-handed manner. Pakistan must first resolve the disputed area issue with India.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Aug 20, 2016 - 11:08PM

    @Russian: If you were really Russian, you would know there is a reason why India and others so desperate to minimise the importance of CPEC and why Modi is so desperate to stop it. Of course you are not really Russian either so just think about the paranoia and fear you have that you have to use a false name and post something to downplay CPEC on a Pak blog. This shows how much of a game changer CPEC will be for Pakistan and the region !Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 20, 2016 - 11:17PM

    (1) CPEC is a military project to facilitate and enable China make Gwadar its naval base to encircle India and challenge US fleet in the region. Military projects will evoke military response if the other side is capable.
    (2) CPEC may bring in some unassured and undetermined economic benefits to Pakistan. Neither there has been any economic forecast every made or cited in any reports of Pakistan or China of the benefits in monetary value that Pakistan would get, nor are there any assurances from China to Pakistan on this.
    (3) CPEC is just giving away Pakistan’s land, resources and Gwadar port to China in return for Chinese kickbacks to Pakistan’s army establishment and its civilian elites and some vague, undetermined and unassured benefits to Pakistan’s population.
    (4) Not just India, but all countries in the region or who have presence in the region, such as, USA, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar are all opposed to CPEC. The reason is that no country other than Pakistan will be foolish enough to bring in Chinese Navy to their coasts.
    (5) It is Pakistan’s land, resources and territory and Pakistan has a right to do whatever it want with it. But, when it becomes a military project that will bring in China’s army and navy close to others in the region and affect them strategically, every country will oppose it.
    (6) Because of such foolishness, Pakistan has left no other option for others but to work together to separate Baluchistan from Pakistan and also cut off Pakistan’s connectivity on the northern end with China. China will oppose it and support Pakistan. In the end, independent Baluchistan will emerge and it will become an adversary, if not an enemy of China too. Same will follow in Afghanistan too.

    As I said many times, India alone cannot do anything when China and Pakistan are together This was so when India was under the timid Congress government. Now, with Modi in Power it is totally different now. Also, US would not have trusted the earlier government in India as much as it trusts Modi’s government. It would have been difficult for USA alone to tackle Pakistan and China combined together. Now as India and USA are together, CPEC is dead. Kashmir problem will be solved by cutting Pakistan to size. Independent Baluchistan will emerge and both India and USA will make huge investments and Baluchistan will become prosperous. Kashmir problem will also be solved to the liking of India. Islamic terrorism throughout the world will also be wiped out as Pakistan can no longer remain a hub of islamic terrorists from all over the world. Independent Baluchistan will motivate separation of other regions from Pakistan too. Death of CPEC will deliver a death blow to China’s interests in many other countries throughout the world too. Recommend

  • Seadorff
    Aug 20, 2016 - 11:31PM

    Pakistan will become a colony of China on completion of CPEC. Good luck !!!!!!Recommend

  • Gp65
    Aug 21, 2016 - 12:25AM

    India objects to CPEC because of the fact that it goes through GB which is part of what india believes is Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
    It also has a problem with China having a military base at Gwadar.Recommend

  • Hassan Khurram
    Aug 21, 2016 - 12:48AM

    @Raj – USA:
    So you are saying , if America and India will invest in balochistan then it will become prosperous but if china invests then it will destroy your country ,do you even listening to yourself ??Recommend

    Aug 21, 2016 - 12:57AM

    @Bunny Rabbit: WHICH BALOCH WHO IS ON YOUR PAYROLL.Recommend

  • Tom
    Aug 21, 2016 - 1:00AM

    @Seadorff: There is no commercial value to CPEC as pakistanis claim. A barrel of oil transported to China thru Gwadar would cost at least $20 IN TRANSPORTATION COSTS and the same can be imported thru China’s ports for under $3. All the population centers of China are far away from Gwadar. So China is developing this port for military purposes, and pakistan will never be able to get them out.Recommend

  • Indian Hero
    Aug 21, 2016 - 1:26AM

    We know the importance of CPEC so we will not allow Pakistan to make it:)Recommend

  • Singh
    Aug 21, 2016 - 1:30AM

    Sorry to Pakistani friends but CPEC is nearly not as important as your leaders have told you. CPEC indeed has potential but that potential can ONLY be achieved if Pakistan has very good relations with India, Afghanistan & Iran and these countries are on board the CPEC project because otherwise, Pakistan will not gain access to central asia & CPEC will just become a one way road which dumps chinese products into Pakistan. Also India has already pretty much neutralized Gwadar & CPEC by signing the Chabahar deal with Iran. Japan & Australia have already expressed interest in joining India in Chabahar and pretty soon the US & European countries will join in too. Once Chabahar is ready, the importance of Gwadar & CPEC will be drastically reduced. So if I was advising Pakistani govt, I would tell them to do everything to get India, Afghanistan & Iran on board the CPEC project & convince them to give up the Chabahar project.Recommend

  • Raj Kumar
    Aug 21, 2016 - 2:25AM

    I have one serious question for all the Indian brothers. You repeatedly say CPEC is nothing, China is nothing, Pakistan is nothing. India is a superpower & has no concern for Pakistan & China. If thats the case then why in the world are you complaining about CPEC? Why are you so worried about CPEC & Pakistan if they’re so insignificant? Why are you trolling on Pakistani news websites every single day with muslim nameS?Recommend

  • Abhishek
    Aug 21, 2016 - 2:54AM

    You can’t even spell analyst, leave alone write proper English. Stop copy pasting and get educated.

    And by the way, China is just using your country, your nation is a Chinese pawn.

    Go celebrate that.Recommend

  • Ajeet
    Aug 21, 2016 - 4:07AM

    @Raj Kumar:
    That’s just because we are p*ssed off when someone nearby starts dreaming and passes it as fact.
    I think it was the same dream Jinnah sold Muslims when he asked for Pakistan. Recommend

  • Buzzkill
    Aug 21, 2016 - 4:12AM

    @Raj Kumar: “Why are you trolling on Pakistani news websites every single day with muslim nameS?”
    For the same reason that you are trolling around with a fake hindu name :)Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 21, 2016 - 4:24AM

    @Hassan: Mr. Analyst, whatever you wrote about Gwadar & CPEC is all wishful thinking about what you want it to be and far from the reality of what it is or will be. Your claim that all the Pacific countries like Japan, Singapore etc will only go to Americas, Europe & middle east via Gwadar is laughable because a. For Pacific countries its will be much easier to reach the American & European continents via Pacific & Atlantic ocean route and b. There are many more operational ports in the Arabian sea which are much much better than what Gwadar will ever be. You should learn some basic 3rd grade geography before acting like an analyst.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 21, 2016 - 7:13AM

    Why India is so worried about CPEC ? If you really dont care CPEC…Recommend

  • Np
    Aug 21, 2016 - 8:53AM

    So if Gwadar port is so central to the whole world, how come no one has been using it for the past 10 years?
    Also can you explain why China or Japan would use Gwadar to trade with USA? Have you looked at a map? Besidees, the AP countries have some excellent ports which they can reach via land route. Recommend

  • Zain
    Aug 21, 2016 - 9:40AM

    @Russian: Fake! You’re a filthy indian disguised as a Russian. Shame on you! Only an Indian can talk like that..Recommend

  • Rana
    Aug 21, 2016 - 9:40AM

    @Sayan Chakraborty: Just i checked a week or two before,Five multinational pharmaceutical companies closed down thier Pakistan operation and are now doing business from India to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rana
    Aug 21, 2016 - 9:45AM

    @Hassan Khurram: Because chinese gives loans with lots of condition(as in case of Pakistan all projects are given to Chinese companies without any bidding)they are not known for any charities like western countries.Recommend

  • Zain
    Aug 21, 2016 - 9:47AM

    @Russian : Fake! You’re a filthy indian disguised as a Russian. Shame on you! Only an Indian can talk like that. Apply some burnol you miserable low life slum guy. Recommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala
    Aug 21, 2016 - 11:53AM

    “The only way we tackle all these situations as a Pakistani is keep focusing on education and hard work. Be loyal to our country and be a good representative of it, sort out our differences and work as a nation.”
    Do you think that is possible in Pakistan any time before “ETERNITY”????Recommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala
    Aug 21, 2016 - 12:19PM

    CPEC is something that gives hope in despair for Pakistan. Pakistan has no other plan, it has convinced itself that if CPEC does not exist Pakistan will collapse. A man caught in a whirlpool struggles to catch even a straw of grass hoping to save himself, so is this CPEC, and we should not grudge this desperation of Pakistan. My only objection is, this belt of road called CPEC has to pass through the Indian territory and end in Baluchistan which will be another sovereign state shortly, before the completion of CPEC. So, the project is mired in contravercy. China does have an existing road access, without touching India and Pakistan, to central Asia, Europe and Russia. CPEC is not crucial to China for central Asian access, but it is crucial to access oil from the Gulf countries and trade with Africa. So, it is China which benefits more than Pakistan. Enemies of Pakistan need justifiable excuses to involve Pakistan permanently in turmoil; and Pakistan is providing one through CPEC. I can understand the helplessness of Pakistan. Most of its problems are created by itself. They make the work of their enemies easy and there is now no shortage of enemies, both internal and external. I have no grouse, but I have plenty of pity.Recommend

  • Sid
    Aug 21, 2016 - 1:44PM

    I wonder what kind of geography education you guys have ? Please explain How is Gwaddar the important port of south east asian countries ? How is it even important for Russia ? Please put a world map in front of you before you make comments. Gwaddar only benefits China so it can have a short cut to transit it’s goods to African sub-continent and Middle east. It does not need Gwadar to trade with Europe. Please use your fascinating economical brain on how exactly is this project going to benefit Pakistan. You keep on just throwing crap about increase in job and all, how ? Recommend

  • harkol
    Aug 21, 2016 - 4:23PM

    Burhan Wani, who went around with a AK47 gun, calling for violent uprising is a ‘freedom fighter’. If Akbar Bugti, who was killed through an air strike was a terrorist, how is Burhan Wani any different?

    CPEC is illegal because Pakistan has ‘zero’ territorial rights on Kashmir. Kashmir never acceded to Pakistan, and UN resolutions recognize that Pakistan is an occupying force.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 21, 2016 - 5:36PM

    @Black Hawk:

    Rubbish analysis. Wasted 30 seconds of my life reading illogical statements.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 21, 2016 - 5:37PM

    jealousy at its peak. Me thinkRecommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 22, 2016 - 4:34AM

    @Pakistani: I did not claim to make any analysis. My comments are based on reality, simple geography & common sense which unfortunately many Pakistanis seem to lack.Recommend

  • Shameless
    Aug 22, 2016 - 5:06AM

    Did you learn how to fake experience and put tons of fake experience?Coz that is one of the ways they are on top.Recommend

  • khurram shahzad
    Aug 22, 2016 - 1:02PM

    @Raj – USA:
    When india can go for military joint ventures with Israel time to time and buy hi-tech military arms from Israel then why indians are jealous of Pak-China alliance. Whats wrong in it? Recommend

  • Ayush
    Sep 1, 2016 - 2:17PM

    For your kind information earth is round not flat so there are no extreme right and left. Recommend

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