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Why India Stayed Away From China's OBOR/BRI Forum

NEW DELHI (IDN) – India was one of the eminent absentees from high-level spate of events organised by China as part of its efforts to help revive the ancient trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.

Responding to a query on participation of India in OBOR/BRI Forum, the official spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs said that connectivity projects such as the one launched by China must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The official spokesperson referred in particular to the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which in its view ignored India's core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

is being projected as the flagship project of the BRI/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.

Following is the full text of the official spokesperson's statement on May 13:

"We had received formal invitation to participate in the 6 separate forums that China is organizing as part of the Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing on May 14-16, 2017.

"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.

"Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"India shares international community’s desire for enhancing physical connectivity and believes that it should bring greater economic benefits to all in an equitable and balanced manner. We are working with many countries and international institutions in support of physical and digital connectivity in our own immediate and near neighbourhood.

"Expansion and strengthening of connectivity is an integral part of India’s economic and diplomatic initiatives. Under the ‘Act East’ policy, we are pursuing the Trilateral Highway project; under our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy we are developing multimodal linkages with Myanmar and Bangladesh; under our ‘Go West’ strategy, we are engaged with Iran on Chabahar Port and with Iran and other partners in Central Asia on International North South Transport Corridor. BBIN initiative is aimed at enhancing logistics efficiencies in South Asian region. We are also actively considering acceding to TIR Convention.

"Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, ‘One Belt, One Road’ which was later renamed as ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side.

"Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the BRI/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." [IDN-InDepthNews – 23 May 2017]

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China’s Mega-Project Seeks Linking Asia and Europe

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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