India and Pakistan tensions at BOILING POINT as spat over China trade sparks WAR fears

Monday, May 15, 2017
By Paul Martin

FRESH conflict could erupt between India and Pakistan because of China’s meddling in the hotly disputed Kashmir region, it has been claimed.

Mon, May 15, 2017

China’s ambitious trade and infrastructure policy, know as ‘Belt and Road’, is seeking to open up trade routes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

But India lays claim to some of the land, and tensions have simmered in the region for generations.

China’s £40 billion project, which would also encompass parts of Russia, Kazakhstan and Armenia, are seen as an affront to Indian sovereignty.

Eswar Prasad, professor at Cornell University, said: “India is concerned that Belt and Road disguises China’s territorial ambitions, including strengthening its claims on parts of northeastern India that it claims as its own territory.”

Samir Saran, vice president of the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, said it would “destroy any chance of a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute”.

He added: “In effect, Pakistan and China are suggesting that it is conceivable Kashmir can be segregated into separate units that merit unique economic, political and military engagement.”

Pratyush Rao, senior South Asia analyst at Control Risks, said: “The optics of China funding projects in territory that Delhi deems to be disputed is likely to be seen as highly provocative in India.

“The Modi government is likely to react by fast-tracking hydro-power projects in Indian-administered-Kashmir, that could in turn impact water flows downstream into Pakistan and trigger new water disputes.”

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