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India to Skip China Silk Road Summit, Says Its Territorial Integrity Can't Be Ignored


Updated: May 15, 2017, 9:50 AM IST
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India to Skip China Silk Road Summit, Says Its Territorial Integrity Can't Be Ignored
File image of China's President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. (REUTERS/Jason Lee)

New Delhi: India on Saturday made it clear that it was boycotting China's much-touted Belt and Road Forum (BRF).

In a strongly-worded statement, issued hours before the opening of the forum in the Chinese capital, the Ministry of External Affairs said the connectivity initiative must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Communicating its reservations about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the all-weather allies, which India thinks doesn't address its concerns, the PTI reported.

"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," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in a statement.

"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 Indias position. No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

Noting that India has received a formal invitation to participate in the six separate forums that China is organising as part of the Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing on May 14-16, he said India is of the 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," he said.

Indian officials maintain that New Delhi has objections related only to the CPEC traversing through Gilgit and Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

(With inputs from PTI)

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