China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Is A Breach Of International Law: European Think Tank Analyst

| October 15 , 2017 , 13:36 IST

The controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will connect a direct trade corridor between China and Pakistan passing through the contested region of Gilgit Baltistan has been met with disapproval by India, and recently by the US as well.

Senior research analyst at the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), a think-tank based in Amsterdam, Josephine Derks has also spoken out against CPEC, specifically since it is proposed to pass through disputed territory.

"No longer can the international community turn a blind eye to the fact that the CPEC is running through a disputed territory, namely Gilgit Baltistan, a region legally part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir," said Derks.

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"Nor can one ignore the fact that Gilgit Baltistan does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Therefore, this Corridor serve as a breach of International law and Pakistan's own Constitution," she continued.

"The abundant natural resources of Gilgit Baltistan, such as gold, copper, coal, iron and silver, will be exploited for the construction of this mega-project, while the people of Gilgit Baltistan will be heavily affected by the creation of this economic corridor, yet they have been excluded from any say in this project, indicating that the opinion of the indigenous people of the region are not taken into account," the senior analyst said.

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US Defence Secretary James Mattis had also indicated that the US does not support CPEC as it passes through disputed territory.

A former research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, Dr Robert G Darius viewed CPEC as an additional source of tension in the area.

"The CPEC passing through disputed areas is not only vulnerability, but an additional source of regional tension, which is not needed in an already tensed and unstable area of the world, where India is the only bastion of democracy and stability," said Darius.