Beijing on Thursday said it was not aware of India’s protest to the bus services planned between China and Pakistan along the route of disputed Kashmir, maintaining the CPEC has nothing to do with the territorial dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad.
According to Pakistani media reports, a private transport company would flag off the bus service between Lahore and China’s Kashgar in Xinjiang province under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Saturday.
The launch coincides with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s four-day China visit beginning from Friday.
India, which opposes the CPEC as its planned route cuts through Kashmir held by Pakistan, said it had lodged protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called the so-called China-Pakistan “Boundary Agreement” of 1963 “illegal and invalid”.
Any such bus service through Pakistan-administered Kashmir will be a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.
Asked about India’s protest, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: “As for the bus service, I have not heard of the relevant information and I have not heard of complaints.
“I have taken many questions regarding the CPEC. It is an economic cooperation project between China and Pakistan and not targeted at any third party.
“It has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and it will not affect China’s principled position on the issue of Kashmir,” Lu added.
The CPEC is the main project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative which connects China’s Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan.