- The Ministry of External Affairs, however, has not officially commented today on participation in the meeting
NEW DELHI-13-05-17 : With a day to go for China’s big “One Belt One Road” summit, has learnt that India is unlikely to send any representative, in effect a boycott of Beijing’s ambitious initiative for cross border connectivity through ports, railways and roads. Part of the project runs through Pakistan occupied Kashmir, called the CPEC (the China Pakistan Economic Corridor), which India has strongly objected to on grounds that POK is a part of India, not Pakistan.
However the Ministry of External Affairs has not officially commented today on participation in the meeting even though there is less than a day left for it to begin.
India’s boycott comes as Nepal confirmed its’s participation in the meeting on Friday. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are already attending. The US too has decided to attend, marking a U-turn in its position.
Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said no decision had been taken on whether an Indian government delegation would attend the meeting. “The matter is under consideration,” he said, a position the government has maintained since March when China extended an invitation. Since then, Beijing has stepped up efforts to get India to attend.
India’s main objection to China’s plan to build ports, railways and power links across Asia and on to Europe is that the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key part of the plan, runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
Mr Baglay said India supports connectivity across the region, but there is a problem with the Pakistan end of “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) – a term widely used to describe the project.
“As far as OBOR is concerned, you know that our position is that since the so-called CPEC forms a part of OBOR, that is where our difficulty is,” he said. “It passes or proposes to pass through what is sovereign Indian territory and we have made our views in this regard very, very clear to the Chinese side.”