Pakistan Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has urged the US not to look at the CPEC from an Indian perspective but as an economic plan for bringing peace and stability to South Asia, days after US Defence Secretary James Mattis backed India and said the China-Pakistan economic corridor passes through disputed territory and Washington can not ignore this fact.
On Wednesday, Iqbal urged the US to deal with Pakistan on its own merit, instead of tagging it to other states and issues in the region, reports Dawn news.
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not a conspiracy against anyone. It is not a security plan. It’s a plan for economic prosperity, which is bringing investment in the energy, infrastructure and other key sectors,” he said at the at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies here.
Iqbal said US concerns about the over $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor were unfounded.
“It will benefit all and will provide a platform for bringing together South and Central Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries by physically joining them through an economic corridor.
“So, I think, the US should not look at CPEC from the Indian perspective, but as a source for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
“CPEC can bring the much-needed stability to a region that has suffered from war for the last several decades,” the Minister added.
Iqbal added: “Pakistan is also a sovereign nation. We have our own dignity and want others to respect that.
“If the US looks at the region from India’s perspective, it will harm the region and US interests too. So, it’s necessary that the US should view the situation from an independent perspective, not from someone else’s point of view.”
Last week, the Trump administration threw its weight behind India’s opposition to the CPEC, saying it passes through a disputed territory and no country should put itself into a position of dictating the Belt and Road initiative.
India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) summit in China in May this year over sovereignty concerns as it passes through Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The CPEC is a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road initiative. The 3,000 km, over $50 billion corridor stretches from Kashgar in western China to Gwadar port in Pakistan on the Arabian sea.