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China Presents Plan for Better Ties with India, Offers to Rename Pak Corridor

Amid increasing strain in Sino-India ties, China has proposed a four-point initiative, including aligning its 'One Belt One Road' project with India's 'Act East Policy', to improve ties with New Delhi.

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Updated:May 8, 2017, 9:58 AM IST
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China Presents Plan for Better Ties with India, Offers to Rename Pak Corridor
A view of the old port in Gwadar, Pakistan. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (Reuters)

New Delhi: Amid increasing strain in Sino-India ties, China has proposed a four-point initiative, including aligning its 'One Belt One Road' project with India's 'Act East Policy', to improve ties with New Delhi.

The proposal put forward by Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui also includes starting negotiations on a 'China-India Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation' and prioritising finding an early solution to the border dispute between the two countries, PTI reported.

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"First, start negotiation on a China-India Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation. Second, restart negotiation of China-India Free Trade Agreement. Third, strive for an early harvest on the border issue. Fourth, actively explore the feasibility of aligning China's 'One Belt One Road Initiative' (OBOR) and India's 'Act East Policy'," he said.

The Chinese envoy made the remarks while speaking at defence think-tank United Service Institution on Friday but the text of his closed-door address was released by the Chinese Embassy on Sunday.

Referring to Indo-Pak ties, Luo said China is willing to mediate to resolve differences between the two countries if both sides accept it. He said good ties between the two countries were conducive to regional stability and in China's interests, PTI reported.

The development of China, India, Pakistan and the stability of the whole region call for a stable and friendly environment, he said.

"Otherwise, how could we open up and develop? That's why we say, we are willing to mediate when India and Pakistan have problems. But the precondition is that both India and Pakistan accept it. We do this only out of goodwill. We do hope that there is no problem at all," Luo said.

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"When the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 26, 2008 took place, I was Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, and I did a lot of mediation at that time," he said.

On the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Luo said China has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan.

"Even we can think about renaming the CPEC. China and India have had successful experience of delinking sovereignty disputes with bilateral relations before," he said.

"In history, we have had close cooperation along the ancient Silk Road. Why shouldn't we support this kind of cooperation today? In a word, China is sincere in its intention to cooperate with India on the OBOR, as it is good for both of us," he added.

The Chinese envoy said the OBOR and regional connectivity could provide China and India with fresh opportunities, calling the project a major public product China has offered to the world.

On India's bid for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said, "We do not oppose any country's membership, believing that a standard for admission should be agreed upon first."

The envoy's four-point suggestion to overcome differences comes at a time when the relationship between the two Asian powers has been going through a rough patch due to differences on a range of issues, including China blocking India's move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN and its opposition to India's bid for NSG membership.

(With PTI inputs)

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