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Third-Party Participation in CPEC Is Inherently Illegal: India


India has slammed China and Pakistan for seeking third-country participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


India and its neighbourhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Mains Question

Discuss India’s concerns about the framework for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). How should India deal with the challenges posed by this alliance? (150 Words)

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  • During a visit to Islamabad in April 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unveiled the $46 billion CPEC.
  • CPEC quickly grew to $62 billion in pledges—one-fifth of Pakistan’s GDP—to cover dozens of high-profile projects.
  • The corridor connects Xinjiang and Gwadar, as well as passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where China is investing in a number of projects.
  • The stated goal of CPEC, which is often described as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is to:
    • transform Pakistan’s economy by modernising its road, rail, air, and energy transportation systems;
    • connect the deep-sea Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi to China’s Xinjiang province and beyond via overland routes.

Various Phases of CPEC

  • First Phase: Various agreements such as energy, infrastructure, port development, and railway line construction have been signed o i.e., the first phase is focused on infrastructure creation.
  • Second Phase: An industrial cooperation agreement was signed in February 2022.
    • The second phase is primarily concerned with the development and industrialization of Special Economic Zones.

CPEC and India

  • CPEC: A Threat to India’s Sovereignty
    • It runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan region. Through the Khunjerab Pass, the corridor enters Gilgit-Baltistan.
    • This area is claimed by India and is part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • India believes that the CPEC violates its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • CPEC and India’s Security Threat
    • The Chinese military presence in the area has increased since the corridor’s construction began.
    • In 2017, Chinese troops marched in the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, marking the first time the Chinese military marched in a parade outside of China.
    • In addition to the naval vessels deployed in Pakistan, China has delivered eight submarines to the country.
    • Following Djibouti, China intends to build its second naval base in Gwadar port in 2017.


  • In July 2022, the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination (JWG-ICC) held its third virtual meeting.
  • During the meeting, both China and Pakistan expressed an interest in inviting other countries to invest in the project.
  • Although it has not been officially revealed who may be investing in the project, analysts believe Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Germany may join.
  • Shortly after taking power in Afghanistan last year, the Taliban expressed a desire to participate in the infrastructure project.
  • New Delhi has opposed Beijing and Islamabad’s bid to include third countries in CPEC.

India’s reaction

  • India objected to the move, claiming that it passes through illegally occupied Indian territory and that such a move would be illegal and unacceptable.
  • India has repeatedly protested to China about the CPEC, which is being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).
  • According to India, connectivity initiatives must be based on universally accepted and other recognised international norms, transparency and equality, rule of law, and must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity.

November 2023