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Opinion | Do the China-Pakistan ties offer India an opportunity?

A smart, forward-looking Indian leadership should not pass up the opportunity to increase economic linkages with Pakistan, and provide the latter with an alternative to China

September 21, 2018 / 12:45 PM IST

Jabin T Jacob

Imran Khan’s taking over as Prime Minister of Pakistan introduces several degrees of uncertainty in the China-Pakistan relationship given his past record of statements on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Khan has previously criticised the CPEC, if not the Chinese themselves, for favouring the bigger Pakistani provinces and ignoring the smaller ones such as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has been in power since 2013.

After his July election victory, however, Khan spoke specifically about learning from China’s experiences in poverty alleviation and anti-corruption, besides stating that the CPEC provided an economic opportunity for his country. Of course, Khan was also dealing with the reality of Pakistan facing a tougher United States under the Donald Trump administration, leaving him rather heavily dependent on China and Saudi Arabia to have Pakistan’s back politically and economically.