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Monday September 16, 2019

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Balochistan: The Counterpoint

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The signs came in quick succession that Pakistan and China were preparing to present India with a fait accompli in Jammu and Kashmir. First, Pakistan and then China called on India to participate in the creation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor connecting the Chinese province of Xinjiang with the Gwadar seaport on the Balochistan coastline that dominates the North Arabian Sea through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. With India refusing to commit geostrategic harikiri by joining the project, PoK announced that it would only be formally annexing the territory in Jammu and Kashmir that it had illegally occupied in 1948 and designating it as the “Fifth Province” of Pakistan.

 

That China and Pakistan were preparing to place a steel collar around India’s throat was known from the moment Beijing announced the One Road, One Belt policy for connectivity with West Asia and Europe. This was supported by the induction of about 9,000 troops of the People’s Liberation Army into Pakoccupied Kashmir very obviously to protect Chinese interests in the region. What has been put in place for the defence of Chinese interests in the PoK is a hybrid phalanx of the regulars of the PLA and the “sub-conventional” terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen.

The stakes are very high because China has launched the multi-billion dollar investment to be able to cut travel time for goods and energy from the Persian Gulf and it is through the Gilgit-Baltistan segment of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the corridor must traverse to be economically viable. As a counterpoint, Prime Minister Modi has made it clear that India will support the people of Balochistan and the Gilgit-Balawaristan movement in their endeavours to free themelves from the tightening Sino-Pak grip on their homelands. The current Gilgit-Baltistan announcement will create more such non-cooperation movements against the Pakistan government and I think that Pakistan must reconsider several times before taking such anti-India decisions. Such activities will not bring peace and prosperity to the people of Pakistan.

This edition is focused on the importance of Balochistan for the world community and its strategic importance in the region. Team DSA is sure that you will like this edition too, dear reader.

 

Jai Hind!

 


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