Countries such as US, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Nepal have confirmed their participation in the ‘One Belt One Road’ summit held in China.
NEW DELHI: All countries should respect each other’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Chinese President Xi Jinping said today while opening the One Belt, One Road or OBOR project which India has boycotted. A key part of the planned project runs through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India has raised strong objections, saying it violates India’s territorial integrity, since PoK is part of India. While boycotting the OBOR, India said, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Here are the latest developments to this big story:
- President Xi, without referring to India’s objections, today said, “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other’s development paths and social systems, and each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
- Denying attempts to form a “small group” of nations taking part in the Belt and Road initiative of which the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part, President Xi said China plans to build it as a road to peace and link his country to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.
- “Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the… OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position… No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in a strongly-worded statement last evening.”
- “Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative,” the statement said, adding, “We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side”.
- While India has skipped the summit, neighbouring Nepal confirmed its participation on Friday. Leaders from 29 countries including Sri Lanka and Pakistan are attending the forum, which ends on Monday.
- The US too decided to attend the meet, marking a U-turn in its position.
- Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally.
- China has rejected criticism, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and aimed only at promoting prosperity. “What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence,” President Xi said, adding pursuit of the initiative will not resort to outdated geopolitical manoeuvring.
- Referring to the controversies that plague the Chinese plan, India, on Saturday, said, “We are of firm belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality. Connectivity initiatives must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; and skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities.”
- India’s decision to skip the summit comes at a time of a sharp downturn in ties. New Delhi is upset over China’s refusal to allow it entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a global cartel that controls nuclear trade, and over Beijing blocking a request at the UN to sanction Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based head of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which has attacked military bases in India.