Inviting New Delhi to participate in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, Beijing on Tuesday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of OBOR project, is entirely an economic project and has no 'direct link’ with the Kashmir issue.
“As for the dispute of Kashmir, China’s position remained unchanged. Also, CPEC has no relationship with the dispute in certain regions. I want to reaffirm to the Indian friends if India wants to take part in the OBOR, there are many channels and ways,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
While China has repeatedly invited India to join the OBOR, India has declined saying that a part of the project, CPEC, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and violates its sovereignty. The issue was raised by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was in China recently to participate in a strategic dialogue between the two countries.
“The fact (sic) that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is part of this particular (OBOR) initiative. CPEC violates Indian sovereignty because it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). For us, there are questions of sovereignty which need to be addressed first,” Jaishankar had said.
New Delhi also sees the OBOR connectivity project, that involves huge investments in India’s immediate neighbourhood, as a tool for China to consolidate its influence. However, it has agreed to participate in Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar Economic Corridor, part of OBOR initiative.
China is also organising a conference to boost the OBOR initiative. Presidents and prime ministers from at least 28 countries, including Pakistan, will participate in the conference. India is prepared to sit out of the conference, sending only a representative to mark its presence.
China’s persistent non-co-operation on issues such as India’s bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group has also affected the relationship, reflecting in India’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
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