(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER)
New Delhi: India signalled it will boycott a summit in Beijing on boosting China’s trade links to the rest of the world, setting off a new dispute between the neighbours.
The two-day summit was attended by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 26 other leaders.
Without announcing a formal boycott, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman highlighted concerns about China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, a massive undertaking to link the country with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial zones.
The spokesman also reaffirmed India’s opposition to a Chinese-Pakistani economic corridor that runs through disputed Kashmir.
“Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative,” said foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay in a strongly worded statement released late Saturday.
“We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side.
“Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the… OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position.
“No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan Kashmir, which is claimed by India. The two sides have been at loggerheads over Kashmir since their division in 1947.
India’s is also concerned because the 3,000km corridor ends in the strategic Pakistani port of Gwadar.
India fears the port could become a Chinese naval base facing its navy in Mumbai.