(Dan Tri) – China and Pakistan are strengthening relations, in the context of India’s concerns that the country may face a war on two fronts with both Beijing and Islamabad.

`Friendship Road` connects Pakistan’s capital Islamabad with the Kashgar region in Xinjiang, China (Photo: AFP)

The South China Morning Post reported that China and Pakistan have increased cooperation in infrastructure development in the Kashmir region, where the two countries have separate territorial disputes with India.

On August 5, Islamabad approved an additional $6.8 billion for a regional railway, within the framework of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative.

Also this week, Beijing announced the opening of a 118km section of the road from Thakot to Havelian as part of a larger project connecting Pakistan’s capital Islamabad with the Kashgar area in China’s Xinjiang region.

The new road runs close to India’s westernmost territorial claims in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The opening of the road is a new sign of the increasingly close relationship between China and Pakistan, and also comes a year after New Delhi canceled autonomous status for the disputed region of Kashmir, angering the two neighbors.

“India is quite worried about China and Pakistan’s transportation projects,” said Wang Dehua, a South Asia expert at the Shanghai Center for International Studies.

“In the past, the Kashmir issue was not central to trilateral relations between India, Pakistan and China, but now it is very important.

China - Pakistan promote projects in disputed areas with India

The Kashmir region is a sovereignty dispute between three countries: India, Pakistan and China (Photo: Newsone)

Last October, India redrawn the map of Kashmir, dividing the region in half to create the northern state of Ladakh and the southern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

This week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a new political map of the country, in which Jammu and Kashmir was recorded as `illegally occupied` by India.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on August 5 that `any unilateral changes to the situation in the Kashmir region are illegal and null and void.`

Territorial disputes in the region have led to violence.

“China’s border tensions with India, to some extent, have given Pakistan an advantage, but it is not in China’s interest to go to war, which is a double-edged sword for Beijing.

Du Youkang, a professor of South Asian studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said that China’s position is to let Pakistan and India negotiate their differences and raise concerns at forums.

“If India and Pakistan go to war, it will seriously affect regional peace on China’s border and is not in China’s interest.”

But India’s Ministry of External Affairs said this week that the country opposes an attempt by China to launch a discussion on Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council.

“We firmly oppose China’s interference in internal affairs and urge the country to end such a useless effort,” India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.