Why CPEC is the target of Indian Propaganda? Khurshid Ahmed
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, on 14 November, 2020 stated in a press conference at Islamabad that India had established a special cell to sabotage the CPEC. The anti-CPEC cell was established in 2015 with a $ 500 million to initiate all types of anti-CPEC propaganda in the information domain and also by physically harming the project and people associated with it.
This cell works under the direct supervision of the Indian PM. So far, the cell has recruited 700 men militia to physically disrupt the economic corridor. The slide flashed in the press conference shows that the organizational structure of the anti-CPEC cell is very well organized under trained RAW officials.
Almost a month ago Islamabad Policy Research Institute in its research also exposed that after the 2018 elections, Indian propaganda picked up the pace with four cardinal objectives, target CPEC chairman, General (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, propaganda against Pakistan Army, politically destabilize Pakistan and sabotage Pakistan’s efforts for Kashmir issue.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview in the month of October at a private television channel clearly blamed India at the back of anti-Army slogans by the leadership of a major political party.
Why CPEC is the target of Indian?
The foremost reason is that the project provides Pakistan a future financial, social and political stability, which obviously does not go well with Indian hegemonic designs.
Indian cant achieve the status of regional hegemon unless it attains the regional connectivity and expands its influence through road or sea link to middle east and central Asian states. It would only have been possible through Chahbahar port in Iran. The port has been established by India at a cost of $340 million.
The importance of the port for India could be ascertained by analysing that India traded its relations with Iran at the cost of US, Saudi Arabaia and Israel’s annoyance. Indian hegemony in internal affairs of Afghanistan will only be boosted if Chahbahar port continue its operations as per Indian aspirations. As revealed by Pakistani foreign minister, India is operating 72 terrorists training cell inside Afghanistan to carry out terrorist activities inside Pakistan. Pakistan has already raised two special divisions for for protection of various ongoing projects under CPEC. However Indian information onslaught against the flagship program of BRI continues unabatedly.
China is striving regional connectivity and beyond to central asian states and Europe through Gwadar port, which is critical project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Since last one year, after the establishment of CPEC authority, the project has made tremendous progress in energy and infrastructure sectors. CPEC, which is now in second phase, is moving forward with a much faster speed compared with initial two years.
CPEC Authority is working as a major secretariat of CPEC under Ministry of Planning. During 2020, an investment of $ 0 Billion have poured in through Main Line 1 (ML 1), Azad Pattan and Kohala hydel Power projects. Over 3 lack direct and indirect jobs have been created. Lahore Metro Orange Line has started its operation after going through some hick ups.
India has been using propaganda tools through social media against CPEC. An year ago a European union research center for countering disinformation exposed 265 online Indian news sites which were using names of outdated papers and newspapers to promote anti-Pakistan news on a regular basis across the world.
European Union research center of countering disinformation states that most of fake websites are named after an extinct local newspaper or spoof real media outlets, these republish content from several news agencies (KCNA, Voice of America, Interfax), coverage of the same Indian-related demonstrations and events, republications of anti-Pakistan content from the described Indian networks including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva, New Delhi Times. Most websites have a Twitter account as well.
Spreading fabricated data is a typical practice in India. Even Indian nationals are not spared from this practice of their media. Earlier in 2018, 20 people were murdered in India as a result of misinformation circulated on social media.
Indian used similar site Factfocus to target CPEC and defame Chairman of CPEC authority Asim Bajwa who has been earnestly pushing the CPEC project during last one year. The purpose was to bring a blockade in smooth functioning of the biggest development project between two time tested friends. Asim Bajwa in an unprecedented and brave move surprised Propagandist to put all details of his all assets on his Twitter account.
A set of Pakistani journalists sitting abroad are busy in propaganda against armed forces, in connivance with their Indian partners. It has almost become a multi-million dollar business to work for Indian fake social media tools. Social Media activists are round the clock pushing the KeyBoard buttons of their laptops and mobiles to spread all types of rumors. The social media campaign are orchestrated according to a well-thought-out plan. The mastermind of these campaigns against Pakistan is a group of self-exiled journalists, writers, social media activists who are hiding behind the Indian lobby on one pretext or the other.
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Writer is a PhD Scholar at Islamabad and works in a think tank.