Executive Intelligence Review


The Hindu Urges ‘Creating a Grand Garland of Connectivity and Integration for South Asia’

March 6, 2018 (EIRNS)—In The Hindu’s lead Opinion column today, today, Sudheendra Kulkarni, an advisor to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a columnist for the Indian Express, called for collaboration among India, Pakistan and China in interlinking South Asia through infrastructure development. Referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Kulkarni said:

“If our leaders show vision, ambition and resolve, the CPEC-plus-India can be linked to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor, thus creating a grand garland of connectivity and integration for the whole of South Asia. If 1947 divided our subcontinent, here is an opportunity for India, Pakistan and all other countries in the region to come together and rise in shared progress and prosperity.”

Under the headline “It’s Time To Reimagine South Asia: On India-China-Pakistan Cooperation,” Kulkarni also argued against New Delhi’s reasoning why India is not willing to endorse the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor because it runs through the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory, which India claims as its territory occupied by Pakistan.

He says:

“CPEC does not recognize PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a formulation used by India) to be Pakistan’s sovereign territory. Article VI in the 1963 China-Pakistan boundary agreement clearly states in that and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China.’ ”

While the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan needs to be resolved independently, Kulkarni is on the mark in pointing out that the rest of South Asia—poverty-ridden and victims of a long period of colonialist looting, bereft of integrated infrastructure—will benefit immensely if China and India cooperate and lay the foundation for their future development. In this context, India need not formally endorse the Belt and Road Initiative, but must work hand-in-glove with China to make South Asia’s infrastructure development integral, not only for the benefit of the two large nations, but for future prosperity of the weaker South Asian nations.