In a surprise move, a top Pakistani General has invited India to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying New Delhi should “shun enmity” with Islamabad and jointly reap the benefit of the multi-billion dollar project.

Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz, Commander of the Southern Command which is based in Quetta, yesterday said this while speaking at an award distribution ceremony at the Balochistan Frontier Corps (FC) headquarters. India should “shun enmity” with Pakistan and join the USD 46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits, the Express Tribune quoted him as saying.

“India should share the fruits of future development by shelving the anti-Pakistan activities and subversion,” Riaz said.

The $46 billion CPEC aims to connect China’s western parts with the Arabian sea through Balochistan’s strategic Gwadar port. India has already expressed concern over the project that also passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The top General’s call came amid tension between the two countries and a barrage of allegations by Islamabad about involvement of India in subversive activities in Balochistan, the security of which is responsibility of Pakistan army’s Southern Command.

Pakistan in the past has also alleged that Baloch nationalist leaders were getting support from India. Riaz referred to it in veiled terms when he warned the people not to be misled by self-exiled leaders who, according to him, were on the payroll of the “enemy” to dismember Pakistan.

“Their catchy slogans will not work as people are aware of their designs and will not be misled,” Riaz said.

Talking about the improvement of law and order in Balochistan, he said the militants were trying to impose their ideology at gunpoint but they have been defeated. He said 700 FC personnel sacrificed their lives while fighting terrorism and subversive activities in 10 years.

Riaz said the militants were defeated and forced to flee. Referring to self-exiled Balochistan nationalist leaders, he said that the militants sitting in Dubai, London and Geneva were heavily funded by the “enemies”.