US backs Indian claim: Defence chief says CPEC passes through disputed area

US backs Indian claim: Defence chief says CPEC passes through disputed area

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WASHINGTON: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through a disputed territory, the US administration informed Congress.

Earlier, this claimed had been made by India with the view to thwart the multi-billion dollar project that will link Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang via vast network of highways and railways.

The mega development project passes through the northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.

Briefing the US lawmakers on the current situation in the Pak-Afghan region earlier this week, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said: “The One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.”

The US opposed the One Belt, One Road policy in principle because in a globalised world there were many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating One Belt, One Road. And it opposed the one going through Pakistan also because it passed through a disputed territory, Secretary Mattis said.

The US defence chief added that common grounds should be found with China to thwart terrorism.

“As far as Afghanistan goes, as we try to separate out variables where, in some areas, we work with China, for example, terrorism — I think there are areas where we can work — find common ground with China when it comes to counterterrorism, and we should exercise those areas pretty fully,” Mattis said.

The United States’ stance on CPEC could further strain relations between Pakistan and the US, especially after US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of providing ‘safe harbour’ to terrorists in his August speech. __The News

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