India on Saturday made its displeasure evident to China when it said connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity. India was responding to an invitation extended by China to attend its ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ Summit in Beijing starting Sunday. A statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs today said, “India has been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on OBOR. Awaiting a positive response from China.” India is miffed with the neighbouring country over the inclusion of CPEC as part of the initiative.
MEA further said that no country can accept a project that ignores its core concern on sovereignty and territorial integrity. Although TV channels are reporting that India is boycotting the summit, the official MEA statement doesn’t explicitly mention the same.
“Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, territorial integrity,” it added.
The May 14-15 summit is likely to be attended by 29 heads of state and governments. Viewed as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pet project, most of India’s neighbours will be in attendance for the OBOR summit. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s presence is likely to dominate the discourse. He will most likely be accompanied by four chief ministers and five federal ministers. Meanwhile, UK, France, Germany, and US ave also confirmed their participation.
Although India has made its objection to the OBOR quite evident on the basis of CPEC, one of the sharpest criticism was made by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in January this year. He had said China has not been sensitive about India’s sovereignty and did not consult New Delhi on its US$ 54 billion project with Pakistan, referring to the CPEC.
(With PTI inputs)