Indian machinations vis-à-vis Gilgit-Baltistan

Indian machinations vis-à-vis Gilgit-Baltistan

Calculated moves being made by Modi’s government to thwart progress on CPEC

Ever since the advent of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India has woken up to stir trouble in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). When the Karakoram Highway (KKH), also known as the Friendship Highway in China, was being built by the governments of Pakistan and China from 1959 to 1979, India remained oblivious to the development. On 30 June 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Pakistani National Highway Authority (NHA) and China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) to rebuild and upgrade the KKH and expand its width from 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 ft), and enhance its transport capacity three-fold as well as accommodate heavy-laden vehicles and extreme weather conditions. The first murmurs of dissent were heard in 2009 at the presence of Chinese engineers and workers at the reconstruction site on KKH.

In June 2014, after Narendra Modi was installed as Prime Minister, his odious designs regarding Kashmir, (Indian Occupied & Azad Jammu Kashmir) and Gilgit-Baltistan started becoming ominous. Modi, a still active RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) operative and rabid anti-Muslim Hindutva activist is following an agenda of subjugating Pakistan and amalgamating the whole of Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan. He tried to rig the elections in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) so that the BJP government would help repeal Article 370, which grants special powers to IOK under the Indian Constitution and thus pave the way for its integration into India.

Modi is also changing the demography of IOK and resettling Hindus there to offset the Muslim majority. He is fomenting trouble in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to spew venom against Pakistan and soften the territory for Indian occupation or win their favour for accession to India in case a plebiscite does take place. Plotting the separation of Balochistan is a corollary to the entire heinous stratagem to vanquish Pakistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is the northernmost administrative territory in Pakistan. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang province of China, to the east and northeast, and IOK to the southeast.

Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the Kashmir region that is disputed by India and Pakistan, along with Azad Kashmir and Jammu, Ladakh, and the Valley of Kashmir. ‘Gilgit Wazarat’ as it was earlier known as, was administered by the Dogra Rajas of Jammu and Kashmir because the British leased it to them in 1935 for a period of 60 years.

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