China on India’s concerns: ‘BRI doesn’t involve territorial disputes
China on Monday said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) does not “involve territorial disputes” and is transparent, dismissing New Delhi’s concerns that a part of the connectivity project violates India’s sovereignty as it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
India is likely to be a high-profile absentee at the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which Beijing has touted to be the biggest event of the year for China.
India has consistently kept away from BRI — a project to connect China with Asia and Europe — because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of it, passes through PoK. The BRI does not respect India’s “concerns” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Indian envoy to China, Vikram Mistri, told Chinese state media last month.
“As for the Indian comments on not participating in the BRI for various reasons, I’d like to say that the BRI is an open and inclusive economic cooperation initiative. It does not involve territorial and maritime disputes,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang at the regular briefing on Monday. Lu was answering a question on India’s participation in the forum. “Whether the Indian side will participate in the Belt and Road Forum, I think you need to ask the Indian side for a more specific answer. But here I’d like to re-emphasise that the BRI is proposed by China but it is already an international public good,” Lu said.
“The belt and road cooperation since it was first proposed… has been an open and inclusive initiative for all countries and organisations interested in this. But of course, if the relevant side would like to wait and see, we do not oppose that. And as for more international organisations in the second BRF meaning that some countries will lose opportunities, you may need to ask the countries themselves which do not participate in the BRF,” Lu said.