China has reportedly been engaging in low-key dialogue with Baloch tribal separatists for over five years. Talks have been held to appease the separatists in order to securitise the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has projected investments worth of $60 billion.
According to the Financial Times, three people have shared details of Beijing being in direct contact with militants in Balochistan.
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Beijing has so far maintained a policy of non-intervention in the domestic politics of other countries. However, the sheer magnitude and scale of its multifaceted investments in all windows of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project have sharpened security sensibilities. The vision to create a “new Silk Road” of trade routes in Europe, Asia and Africa has led China to venture into conflict management.
It seems like Beijing is replenishing the void left by Washington, which went from being Pakistan's war time ally to becoming one of its harshest critics on extremism.
The venturesome and risk intensive move by China has perturbed India, which fears China's growing influence in the Global South.
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“The Chinese have quietly made a lot of progress,” said one Pakistani official. “Even though separatists occasionally try to carry out the odd attack, they are not making a forceful push.”
China treads into some of the world's most complex conflict zones as it plans to connect a new silk road. South Sudan, Mali and Iraq are some of the places where China has heavy stakes in place.
This article originally appeared in Financial Times.
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