China must be a responsible stakeholder vis-'-vis AfPak: German envoy

Posted By: Nitsi
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New Delhi, Oct. 2 (ANI): Germany's Ambassador to India, Thomas Matussek has described China as a very big player in the Asian region, but urged it to be a responsible stakeholder vis-'-vis AfPak.

Commenting on the cozy relationship between Pakistan and China, especially in the context of Chinese projects in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Matussek said: "I think, China is a very big player in the region and very big global player, and as Bob Zoellic once said, China must be a responsible stakeholder."

"I think China sees more and more its role in as far as Afghanistan and Pakistan are concerned. You know, China has radical Islamist problems in western provinces, and, they are afraid of Talibanisation of Central Asia as we are," he added.

India has expressed concern over China building projects in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

About 122 Chinese companies are reportedly active in Pakistan, and most of them are involved with projects in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Major projects include the double laning of the Karakoram Highway and the Bungi Dam.

There are reports that China will be setting up a 750 km-long rail link between Havelian and the Khunjerab Pass along the Karakoram Highway.

Beijing has also shown keen interest in building two new nuclear reactors for the chashma project in Pakistan.

Despite Pakistan's shady track record of nuclear proliferation and apprehensions expressed by the international community, China wants to build the two new reactors on the basis of a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in 2003.

Pakistan is again in the throes of political instability and the friction between the democratic civilian government and military is growing. Fears of a military coup are expressed across the political spectrum of the beleaguered country which is facing huge crisis following a devastating flood and rapid rise in terrorism.

Matussek emphasized that stabilizing Pakistan is in the common interest and implosion in Pakistan will be catastrophic.

The German envoy lauded the efforts made by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government to mend ties with Pakistan despite of severe provocations.

"Even at times when it is very difficult, the Prime Minister and his government keep the dialogue process open. You know that in New York, Foreign Minister Krishna and Qureshi are meeting and even though there are many backlashes, many disappointments, I think we all admire the enormous restraint and moderate cause this government is adopting vis-'-vis Pakistan." Ambassador Matussek told reporters here.

Matussek also appreciated Indian efforts in rebuilding Afghanistan.

"We think India is playing a very constructive and helpful role in Afghanistan. They are very active in infrastructure, schools (and) hospitals because we all have interest to stabilise the war-torn country because Afghanistan in the long run can take care of their own security and peace dividend will not be possible".

Matussek was speaking to reporters at his residence on the margins of a reception that he has hosted to celebrate 20 years of German unification. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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