India on Wednesday (21 March) hinted that it might not participate in China’s second forum for its ambitious $4 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), stating that no country can participate in a project that did not address its concerns adequately.
“No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri during an interview with the Chinese English daily Global Times.
BRI is a China-sponsored massive infrastructure project that aims to create a corridor for infrastructure, trade, energy and telecommunications across 152 countries and international organisations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
India first boycotted this forum in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) ignoring New Delhi's sovereignty concerns. CPEC is an integral part of BRI.
“To be honest, we have made no secret of our views and our position on BRI is clear and consistent and one that we have conveyed to the authorities concerned...it is also our belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized international norms, good governance and rule of law...Above all, connectivity initiatives must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations,” he added.
Pakistan's Invaluable Friend
This development also comes only days after China blocked India’s efforts to designate Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Following China’s veto, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was seen in a video thanking China for preventing UNSC sanctions against Azhar who is currently residing in Pakistan.
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