India will reportedly skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing starting Sunday due to its concerns on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a part of China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. While government officials have chosen not to speak on the matter, an informed source apprised PTI on India’s decision to not attend the summit. Apart from Bhutan, India is the only country in South Asia which has not signed any agreement on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious OBOR project.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, had announced in April that India would have a representative at the forum. “Although Indian leader is not here, India will have a representative,” Wang had said. However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Friday that some Indian scholars would be present at the meeting. The summit is crucial for China since it will be attended by 29 heads of state and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Countries like South Korea, France, Germany and UK will have high-level delegations attending the event.
The BRF is likely to discuss the OBOR project and discuss ways to enhance the connectivity and cooperation between the Asian, European and African nations. An important part of the OBOR project is the CPEC corridor, which has brought $46 billion worth investment to Pakistan. Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif is hence expected to take centrestage while discussing the project’s significance in the region. He is leading perhaps the largest delegation — four chief ministers and five federal ministers, reported PTI.
In the last one year, India and China have locked horns over multiple issues including India’s entry into the NSG club, UN ban against Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar and Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit.