Researchers from Sichuan University, China visit IPSIPSweb
IPS, as part of its China Studies Program, hosted a two-member Chinese delegation comprising Dr. Zeng Xiangyu and Ji Jingfeng from Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Sichuan University, Chengdu on July 28-29, 2016.
In a roundtable session with IPS research team, which was presided over by IPS Director General Khalid Rahman, the two scholars made presentations on “Water As a Security Challenge” and “Xinjiang’s Opening Policies towards Pakistan”, respectively.
Dr. Xiangyu, in his presentation, stressed that Pakistan, India and China should explore the prospects to collaborate for resolution of issues related to water in the region. He gave a very detailed insight of problems faced by all the three countries, focusing on challenges such as water scarcity, pollution and wastage or low efficiency.
On Indus Water Treaty (IWT), Dr. Xiangyu viewed that IWT is a semi-success as it encouraged water sector cooperation between India and Pakistan; while agricultural development and food grain output improved as a result of IWT. He further highlighted that the Treaty had remained effective despite two and half wars and a rivalry spanning over decades.
He however stressed on IWT’s negative repercussions for Pakistan including Indian water/hydro-power/navigation developments as an upper riparian of Eastern rivers – which are also seen as a violation of IWT – , the health hazards brought about by the upper riparian’s pollution, and concerns such as “water bomb” to harm Pakistan. He said that both the countries nurture mistrust against each other in terms of water, but Pakistan, as a lower riparian, is more vulnerable in this regard.
He further opined that there is no tangible water security issue between China and India, but threat perception against China is exaggeratingly strong in India. He also explained the prevailing paradigm of “Scarcity-Conflict”, cautioning alongside that no one could bear the consequence of a major water conflict as all the three concerned countries are: 1) nuclear powers, 2) big populations, and 3) neighbors of ‘shared destiny’. He emphasized that there should be sincerity, other than lip-service and warned that ego-centric designs under the cover of cooperation were not going to work.
Jingfeng made a presentation on “Studies about Xinjiang Opening Policy to Pakistan”. He gave a detailed account of economic cooperation between Xinjiang and Pakistan and mentioned the challenges that need to be focused in future. He stressed upon the importance of infrastructure development between Xinjiang and Pakistan and also that during the construction of CPEC, the two countries could encounter various difficulties and problems, which requires high-level bilateral political consultations for the constraints to be properly addressed.
He elaborated that Sino-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership is a reliable guarantee for smooth political consultations, and hoped that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would overcome difficulties and would be successfully completed. He emphasized that Xinjiang and Pakistan should seek common ground to maximize common interests, implementation of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
The presentations were followed by a lively question and answer session. A separate meeting focusing upon institutional cooperation, and a discussion on Chinese Policy towards Afghanistan was also arranged during the visit of the delegation.