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No review of India's stand on China-Pak Corridor: Sitharaman

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

does not view its relations with through the prism of China-ties, Defence Sitharaman said today, but ruled out the possibility of reviewing its stand on CPEC project, a major irritant in Sino-Indian relationship.

She also said is alert to the economic assistance provided by to India's neighbours and ramifications it could have for the country.

"One thing I want to assure here...we do not view our relations with through the prism of China- relations," the told an event to mark the 10th anniversary of 'for China Studies' here.

Sitharaman brought up the issue of China- Economic Corridor (CPEC), and made it clear that will not "entertain any thought" of reviewing its stand on it, as it concerned its sovereignty.

"It is an issue of sovereignty, and we shall not entertain any thought (other than the stated Indian position) on that matter," she said.

The CPEC comprises a bunch of projects aimed at upgrading infrastructure in Pakistan and strengthening the economic ties between the two countries. The corridor will link Gwadar in south-to China's province, and would pass through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, a territory claims as its own.

"The kind of economic assistance being extended to many of our neighbours are all very clearly impacting the economies there, probably helping to bond a relationship with those countries.

"As a result, even a strategic presence could be enabled. I see a linkage. This is something which I think all of us, you (for China Studies) as a think tank, and we as a government, constantly be alert to and understand its ramifications," she said.

Sitharaman said was becoming increasingly dependent on the Chinese for arms and equipment.

"The focus of the reforms is therefore evidently moving towards the PLA (People's Liberation Army) Navy, PLA Airforce and PLA Rocket Forces as opposed to erstwhile emphasis on just the PLA," she said.

Noting that a "fundamental reorientation" of the China-Pakistan relations was not likely, the said last month's informal summit meeting between and Chinese was not just a "one-off" thing and that the two nations will "immensely benefit" from it.

"No doubt, in the long term, the relationship between India and China will immensely benefit from this engagement," she said.

Sitharaman said she was in China in April this year with for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) foreign and defence ministers' meet where India made a pitch for a greater interactive forum. "And for that we should have definitely a hotline between India and China," she said.

The hotline, she said, would reduce the time consumed in reaching the empowered decision makers in times of confrontation at the ground level.

"We have certainly underlined the fact that the border personnel meet, meet can all happen. But we need to have a better hotline that would easily help us in being ready for a (conflict) resolution in a short time," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 18:15 IST
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