The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said it has lodged protests with China and Pakistan over a proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The bus service is being launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which India has opposed.
The ministry’s spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the Indian government has never recognised the China-Pakistan “Boundary Agreement” of 1963 and that it is illegal and invalid. “Therefore, any such bus service through Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The luxury bus service under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is set to be officially launched on Saturday, according to Radio Pakistan. The bus service will run between Lahore in Pakistan to Kashgar in China. The 30-hour journey will cost 13,000 Pakistani rupees (Rs 7,189).
Launched in 2015, the $50 billion (Rs 370.42 crore) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea. India opposes the project as part of it passes through the territory of Jammu and Kashmir that is occupied by Pakistan.
In September, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the Pakistan Army chief that those who oppose the corridor will “never succeed” as it is a project of “peace and development, not only for China but for region and beyond”.