In mid of 2018, I was visiting UK where I delivered a talk at Oxford University and also at Royal United Strategic Institute RUSI (oldest think tank of UK). The talks were on CPEC. At RUSI, Indian Defence Attache (an Army Brigadier) was sitting across the table. Towards end of discussion, I tried to leave a message for India. Addressing the Brigadier, I said that, in greater interest of the region, India should join CPEC, as region was craving for growth and development after prolonged conflict. I also said to him, that for many decades Pakistan had stayed on the course of fighting and cautioned him that in my assessment now India was getting on to that track. He looked at me with utter amazement and questioned me, how could I say that? I explained to him that the way India was toeing line with the US and the way battle for ports was going on in IOR between China and India, portended hostilities. I told him there were over five countries in IOR whose one port was with China and second with India. Rivalry in IOR between China and India could any time turn into hostility.
Now; that was the story of the past. Right now we were witnessing manifestation of my projections. A shallow leader in India felt flabbergasted with support of the US. He felt it to be the right time to flex his muscles. He created a challenge for Pakistan and China in Kashmir by abrogating Article 370. Apparently, an end in itself was actually a step towards endangering CPEC. Modi did bite more than he could chew. CPEC was more critical for China than even Pakistan. A threat to CPEC, China could never afford. Scuttling of CPEC infact meant endangering BRI and future ambitions of China.
Indian actions had to invoke response. China responded beyond expectations. Even for Pakistan, Modi’s actions were beyond tolerance, however, our vulnerabilities kept us at bay. Though we were clenching our teeth vociferously. Stand off at Ladkha in quick succession of the one in 2017 at Doklam has shaken India. India should now be looking towards its master the US. But alas! the master was engrossed in it’s own troubles.
China through its actions has attained a position of advantage and has effectively created a deterrence against future Indian misadventures. Though, this instability doesn’t augur well for the region but this storm will ensure future stability of the region. Because evil of Modi had to be nipped in the bud. In Feb 19, Pakistan did its bit to show India its place now again it was due from China. China has done it so well and so effectively that India for sure will rest in peace for at least a decade. That’s the critical time for CPEC to take foundations – unhindered and without trouble.
The future holds great promises for Pakistan, China and the region.