CHINA SAYS THEY ARE UNCLEAR ABOUT INDIA’S NOT PARTICIPATING IN BELT AND ROAD FORUM

India, known to be the fastest growing developing economies of the world was absent from the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing on Sunday. Although major western countries did not send in their respective heads of states, but were represented by high-level delegates, India was by and far the most noticeable absentee in the forum.

India chose not to deploy even the diplomats based in China for the forum, considering its objections and considerations over the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). The Indian External Ministry’s spokesperson on Saturday night, just hours before the forum’s inauguration ceremony claimed that a country cannot accept a project which would ignore its core concerns on sovereignty as well as territorial integrity.

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In response the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying said that over the past four years that the project was initiated, China has always held consultations, joint contributions and shared benefits on an extensive basis for the Belt and Road Initiative. She went on further stating that they were always keen on Indian participation and that China has made its position clear on the Kashmir issue over which India is concerned.

She states that CPEC is not about the conflict with different sides but an open initiative which welcomes various parties. Among the handful of Indians who were actually present in the forum did not approve of India’s absence. Some are of the view that India has isolated itself by not participating in the forum and that India could have used this platform to voice its concerns and should have followed the US and the Japanese way that had sent in their representatives at appropriate levels although having serious reservations against China.