BY USAMA RAUF
Since the inception of this project referred to as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Indians, like other major players of the region, were initially unaware of the magnanimity involved.
Although few reports were published, these were out rightly ignored by the general audience and so by the Indian bureaucracy.
It was only when this project was unfolded in the form of a huge transnational transport network, then countries like India started seeing this project as a step towards China’s already increasing clout over the region.
And it was a project having the capability to change the situation in India’s north and west simultaneously. On one hand, this project was vehemently opposed by the Indians, while on the other hand different diplomatic and other channels were used to appease China.
During this process of confused approach, one thing that was hurting India the most, was the intrinsic inability attached with these confused situations.
China has remained steady in its furtherance of this project from the beginning. While India started off by adopting a strategy to fail this project altogether, and with confused planning, ill-corroborated strategies they launched different overt and covert programmes to sabotage this program.
After this initial phase of what can be judged as an absurdness, they tried jumping on the bandwagon besides others, by accepting this project prima facie and by even starting different parallel programmes in the eastern part of India so that some leverage can be used, while connecting those regions to the Bay of Bengal and by giving China an alternate to CPEC.
India remained on diplomatic rollercoaster for most of its time when it comes to dealing with this project. In a nutshell they don’t accept it.
Chinese has always responded in the same manner; they are always open to Indian cooperation but Indians are still in disarray as to how to handle this situation. They want the CPEC to run but not through Pakistan. China on the other hand has decided to run it through Pakistan.
Main problem with India is the one which Europe is facing about their understanding about the region. Europe considers itself to be the center of the world, similarly India considers herself to be the next center of the world. While the reality is that center lies to the west of India. And its centrality is further strengthened by the passing of Chinese jugular vein through its lands.
(Usama Rauf is a M.Phil scholar at National defense university. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)