China to launch bus service to Pakistan via occupied Kashmir
01 November 2018
China, after bulldozing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects, will be now launching a bus service connecting Xinjiang in its south-west with Lahore in Pakistan, inviting protest from India.
India on Wednesday lodged “strong protests” with China and Pakistan over the scheduled launch of a bus service from Lahore to Xinjiang in China which will pass through PoK.
Pakistani media had reported that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) bus service from Lahore to Tashkurgan in China will start on 3 November.
India objected to the bus service as it would pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It was specifically because of the CPEC that cut through occupied Kashmir that India refused to join the broader Belt and Road Initiative by China.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said the proposed bus service violates India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The MEA spokesperson said India's consistent and well-known position is that the "so-called China-Pakistan 'Boundary Agreement' of 1963 is illegal and invalid, and has never been recognised by the Government of India."
"Therefore, any such bus service through Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be a violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he added.
The bus service is due to be connect Lahore in Pakistan and Kashgar in China. Some reports say the launch is on 3 November while others have given out 13 November as the due date.
The $50-billion CPEC, started in 2015, is a network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.