Reacting to the comments of the Indian foreign ministry’s spokesperson on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Islamabad said that New Delhi’s attempts to cast aspersions over the project shows “India’s insecurity as well as the pursuit of a hegemonic agenda that has held back socio-economic development in South Asia for decades”.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that Islamabad “categorically rejects baseless and misguided remarks” by his Indian counterpart that were made to politicise CPEC.

Ahmad said that the “CPEC is a transformational project and a harbinger of stability, mutual cooperation and shared development for the region”. He added that as a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative CPEC provides a vehicle for the people of the region to break from zero-sum approaches.

“China’s investment in CPEC has helped Pakistan overcome the energy and infrastructural bottlenecks that once constrained growth and development. Attempts to cast aspersions over CPEC show India’s insecurity as well as the pursuit of a hegemonic agenda that has held back socio-economic development in South Asia for decades,” said the spokesperson.

FO, while rejecting India’s fallacious assertion, reminded New Delhi that it was “illegally occupying the state of Jammu and Kashmir for over seven decades”.

“India’s attempts to mislead the international community about the status of Jammu and Kashmir and to hide its atrocities against the Kashmiri people will never succeed. India is cautioned to desist from falsehoods and baseless claims over a territory that it continues to illegally occupy through brute force,” said the spokesperson. He added that Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute with the solution lying in the exercise of the right of self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The Foreign Office spokesperson was responding to India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi comment that New Delhi opposes the bid by Beijing and Islamabad to include third countries in CPEC

According to Hindustan Times, Bagchi claimed: “Any such actions by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”