Reacting to India’s access to Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port, China and Pakistan have become more active to attract Afghanistan. They will now look at extending their $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for that country.
According to Dawn report from Beijing, this was disclosed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday in Beijing that both countries will look at extending CPEC, part of ambitions One Belt One Road (OBOR) plan linking China with Asia, Europe and beyond.
He was speaking to the reporters after the first trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He expressed hope that the economic corridor could benefit the whole region and help developing the region.
China has tried to position itself as a helpful party to promote talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both uneasy neighbours ever since Pakistan´s independence in 1947.
India has been opposing CPEC passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and considers it to be against its sovereignty. Pakistan does not allow Indian goods passing through its territory for Afghanistan.
Afghan has reiterated its accusations that Pakistan is supporting Taliban insurgents in order to limit India’s growing influence in that country. However, Pakistan denies the allegations saying that Islamabad wants to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
This was the first meeting under the trilateral dialogue, decided during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the two countries in June. Pakistan’s foreign minister Khwaja Asif and Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani led their delegations.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, said “China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as three neighbors, will naturally try to strengthen cooperation amongst each other, This is fully in accordance with our common interests, and is a good thing for us.”
“So China and Pakistan are willing to look at with Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan,” he added.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said his country and China were “iron brothers”. He said, “The successful implementation of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia.”
On October 29, India began shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through Iranian port of Chabahar. This was the first consignment from India reaching Afghanistan.
In May 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Iran for signing tripartite agreement with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani.
By opening Chabahar port for India, Iran has given trading route for Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe. The infrastructure is being developed to connect Chabahar to Bandar Abbas and beyond.