NSA Ajit Doval addressing the National Security Advisors of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on Wednesday
In a veiled reference to China, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval has backed giant international connectivity projects, provided they do not subvert the sovereignty of a nation-state.
“We stand ready to cooperate on investing in and building connectivity in the region. Expanding connectivity is also important to ensure that such initiatives are constituted,” he observed during an address to the National Security Advisors of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
But he stressed that connectivity must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries while also being transparent and inclusive.
It was obvious that NSA Doval was referring to China, which has been the architect of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India has rejected CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
The areas were part of undivided Kashmir which acceded to India, but were forcibly occupied by Pakistan in 1948. In order to reach Kashgar, the terminal of CPEC which starts at Gwadar, the corridor has to pass through the occupied Kashmir, thus violating Indian sovereignty.
NSA Doval also announced India’s firm commitment to the use of the Chabahar port in Iran, and integrating it with the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the gateway to India’s trade and much more with Eurasia.
NSA Doval also made a cloaked reference to China regarding the border issue, which has been spotlighted by the Chinese incursion into Eastern Ladakh since May 2020.
Referring to the SCO charter, NSA Doval highlighted that it “calls upon member states to have mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and inviolability of state borders” — an obvious reference to Chinese violation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
NSA Doval also highlighted the principle of “non-use of force or threat of its use in international relations and seeking no unilateral military superiority in adjacent areas”. The remark appears to refer as much to China as Russia, which has moved its forces to the Donbass region of Ukraine, which has a majority ethnic Russian population.
Alluding to Pakistan, the NSA pointed to terror financing as “among the most serious threats to international peace and security”. The remark assumes importance in light of the decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove Pakistan from the “grey list” of countries engaged in terror funding.
NSAs of China and Pakistan attended the meeting in a virtual format, while the representatives of the rest of the SCO were physically present in the capital.
Also Read: NSA Doval calls for terror-free Central Asia by starving extremists of funds