BRI can be platform to ease India-Pakistan strains

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/26 21:38:40

An Indian vendor is satisfied after making a deal with customers at the "Belt and Road" international sales exhibition in South China's Hainan Province on December 13, 2018. Photo: VCG

The deadly terror attack in Pulwama is expected to be an unavoidable topic in a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India, which is scheduled to be held Wednesday in Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang Province. 

Many wonder whether China will mediate in disputes between India and Pakistan, being that Beijing is an important economic partner of India and an all-weather friend of the latter.

Of course, China wants to make its own contribution to maintaining regional peace. If India and Pakistan can find an effective way to solve their problems, all countries in the region, including China and Russia, will benefit from. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday had a telephone conversation with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, but it does not mean that China will meet India's hopes that it will mediate in the dispute with Pakistan.

India may want China to use its influence to impose pressure on Pakistan, and persuade Islamabad to reach a compromise over anti-terrorist actions, but it is impossible for China to do so. 

China can't take sides in India-Pakistan tensions over the Pulwama attack, but China hopes the two countries can solve their problems through dialogue and communication, and it is willing to make concerted efforts.

Business cooperation is always a very important form of communication, especially at a time when bilateral ties are turning sour because of political and security issues. If India joins the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the initiative will offer a platform for India to propose its demands and express its concerns.

Pakistan is a key point along the routes of the BRI. If India becomes a stakeholder in BRI projects, New Delhi can conduct dialogues with Islamabad in fields such as security and anti-terrorism efforts, to safeguard the interests and rights of the Indian people and their enterprises. In that case, India will have more economic tools to use to bargain with Pakistan.

The BRI has long been viewed by India as Chinese support for Pakistan. But if India can overcome prejudices about BRI, the initiative can offer an opportunity for India to seek international support for its anti-terrorist actions. Fighting terrorism is the common goal of governments along the routes of the BRI, and it will be conducive to economic cooperation under BRI framework.

After the Pulwama attack, hopefully India can take advantage of multilateral economic cooperation platforms such as the BRI to strengthen communication with Pakistan. Economic cooperation and international coordination will ease India-Pakistan disputes and improve Pakistan's anti-terrorist situation.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [email protected]


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