Opinion

View from Kashmir Observer: Curiosity is rising in Kashmir over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The view is that the project will give rise to new geopolitical factors that will force a resolution of the Kashmir conflict.

Leaders of 29 countries attended the high-profile Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over Sunday and Monday even as India boycotted it over its objections to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – a $54-billion infrastructure project connecting Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in Xinjiang – that passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, which India considers its territory.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Gopal Bagalay, said “no country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Though China has invited India to be a part of its Belt and Road Initiative – which would give the world the largest ever platform for economic, social and cultural cooperation across all of Eurasia – New Delhi wants such participation on its own terms. However, both China and Pakistan continue to seek India’s entry. Speaking at the Belt and Road Forum, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor should not be politicised while Chinese President Xi Jinping said “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The Belt and Road Initiative has come a long way since it originated from two speeches made by Xi in Central Asia in 2013 in which he outlined plans for China’s global outreach through connectivity and infrastructure development. The mega road, maritime and infrastructure initiative includes land corridors from China through Central Asia and Russia to Europe with spurs to West Asia and to Pakistan – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The project is a blend of economic, developmental, strategic and geopolitical motives, the most ambitious global infrastructure project ever envisaged by one country.

Valley interest

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has drawn a lot of attention in the Valley too, for its potential to help in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. In March, a seminar titled “Impact of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Kashmir” was organised in Srinagar by The Kashmir Institute, a think tank. Andrew Small, the author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, addressed the gathering via Skype. Small predicted that the corridor would have a very consequential impact on the overall framework of India-Pakistan relations, and China’s role and equity in these disputes.

The seminar was the first such attempt in Kashmir to get Kashmiris thinking about the potential impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on the state and the lingering conflict over it. The growing public interest in the Valley in this project is the result of a collective expectation that it will introduce new geopolitical factors

That in the short or long-term will force a resolution of Kashmir.

Already, new factors unleashed by the project are straining the existing geopolitics of the region. Islamabad is considering granting statehood to Gilgit-Baltistan following China’s alleged insistence on legal cover for its investment in the disputed region, a part of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by India as part of its territory. New Delhi has already objected to foreign investment in Gilgit-Baltistan, the entry point for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has further complicated the situation for Beijing.

Islamabad’s statehood move faces opposition not only from New Delhi but from Kashmiri separatists too. After New Delhi termed Pakistan’s attempt to declare Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province “entirely unacceptable”, a Hurriyat statement used more or less the same words to caution Islamabad against any such move.

However, for now, we are only witnessing the beginnings of this global project. And we can only hope that in the long term, it leads to an integrated South Asia that in turn helps create conditions for a permanent resolution of Kashmir.

This article first appeared on Kashmir Observer.

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Getting the best from collaborations

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When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

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Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

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As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

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This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.