BEIJING - China is much worried about the increasing imbalance of power in south Asia and thinks measures should be taken to maintain a balance.

With the CPEC project going in the top gear, the Chinese government is also concerned about the strained relations between India and Pakistan, but hopes the tension would not escalate further after the security advisers of the two countries recently talked to each other on hotline.

This was the crux of a conversation which took place between Yao Wen, a senior Chinese official, and members of media delegation from Pakistan at the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

Wen who heads the South Asian Department at the Chinese Foreign Office spoke at length about Pak-China relations, dangers to peace in the South Asian region due to what he called the imbalance of power, the CPEC project and the Indian objections to its implementation.

He believed that with the completion of the CPEC project in Pakistan, the balance of power would be restored in the region. “It will make Pakistan economically strong and even the entire region would reap its benefits,” he remarked.

Wen said India had raised objections to the project on the plea that the trade route passed through the disputed territory. “But we don’t think the Indian argument carries any weight. China is all set to complete the project in any case,” he asserted.

The Chinese official was also satisfied with the pace of work on CPEC and told the delegation that projects worth 17 billion dollars were already underway. He also appreciated Pakistan for providing special security to the Chinese working on this joint venture.

“We have been telling India to talk to Pakistan to resolve its disputes. China is also ready for mediation, but India has always been opposed to the idea of third-party mediation,” Wen said when asked if China was willing to play the role of a mediator between India and Pakistan as it did in case of Afghanistan and Taliban in collaboration with the US.

He said war was no solution to the conflict between the two South Asian states. “India and Pakistan should sit on the negotiation table to find out solution to their problems. There is no other option,” he observed.

Nonetheless, Mr Wen was optimistic that India would not go for any surgical strikes inside Pakistan after the telephonic contact between the security advisers of the two countries.

He viewed that the tension between the two countries would further de-escalate as New Delhi was going to host a summit meeting next week to be attended by the prime misters of Russia, Brazil, South Africa, China and India.

Replying to a question by this scribe, he said China would not advise Pakistan to set aside Kashmir issue for the time being if India was unwilling to come to the negotiation table. “The two countries must resolve this issue through talks though it will take time to reach some amicable settlement,” he affirmed.

Mr Yao was asked if his country would advise Pakistan to forget about the Kashmir issue for some time and rather concentrate on its economic development if India was not inclined to resolving the issue at this time. He said China would continue to support Pakistan in any situation though it also regarded India as its friend.

He urged the need to enhance people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and China for better understanding of each other. “The two countries have greater cooperation at the government level, but the people on both sides should not be ignored.”

He also spoke favourably about media exchange programmes between Pakistan and China and said it was better to get direct news from Pakistan instead of relying on the western media.