Seen as a significant initiative, journalists of the influential Global Times an affiliate of the ruling Communist Party of China’s (CPC) People’s Daily publication group recently visited Pakistan and sought the views of a possible India-China-Pakistan trilateral cooperation with the scholars of Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).
Titled “How will the trilateral relationship between China, India and Pakistan develop in the future? Are joint mechanisms possible?”, the daily today carried mixed views of Pakistani analysts who welcomed such a move with concerns over increase in India’s defence capabilities.
Analysts here see it a significant initiative by China as it seeks to push its relations with India in the backdrop of common concerns over withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the potential destabilising effect it will have in the region, specially Xinjiang where Chinese security forces are dealing with rising attacks by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
China recently held talks with India, Russia and Pakistan over Afghanistan.
Like India, China too is saddled with militant infiltration from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).Several ETIM Militants were reportedly killed in the ongoing Pakistan military operation in the tribal areas.
“So far no formal trilateral meeting has taken place, but the idea sounds excellent,” Najam Rafique,senior IISS research fellow told the daily about the joint trilateral mechanism.
Before that, a lot of ground needs to be covered, particularly in terms of India and Pakistan, he said.
“China can play a role in ensuring that both countries are able to disperse the historical barricades and move in terms of ensuring the security which is going to be based on not traditional military security, but economic, social and popular security in the region,” he said.
Another scholar, Ahmad Rashid Malik said China and Pakistan are building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and at the same time, China is also developing the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
The balanced Chinese policy will improve economic and investment relations in the region and create more room for cooperation, he said.
Analyst Malik Khokhar said there should be joint mechanism to reduce military hostilities among the three nations.
“Otherwise, there will be non-ending competition, because if India wants to compete with China, then obviously an India capable of doing that would have more than enough capability against Pakistan,” he said.
Another scholar, Rana Anjum Saeed said, “We can have room for hope that the (Narendra) Modi government in India will work together with China and Pakistan for the prosperity and development of the region,” he said.