Pakistan to Sri Lanka: Six India neighbours sign 20 infra deals with China

During the forum, China dubbed CPEC a flagship One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, and 10 more agreements connected to the contentious corridor that runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) were formalised.

Written by Apurva | Beijing | Updated: May 16, 2017 11:41 pm
india, china, pakistan, india china pak, india china, india pak, infra deal, Belt and Road Forum, BRF, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, indian economy, china economy, pakistan economy, OBOR, One Belt One Road, nawaz sharif, modi, indian express news, india news
During the forum, China dubbed CPEC a flagship One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, and 10 more agreements connected to the contentious corridor that runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) were formalised.

While New Delhi chose to skip the inaugural Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing citing sovereignty concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), six of India’s neighbours signed at least 20 agreements with China — seeking aid in advancing infrastructure, power, banking and finance — during the two-day event.

Watch: Opinion | CPEC: Chinese Colonisation of Pakistan?

During the forum, China dubbed CPEC a flagship One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, and 10 more agreements connected to the contentious corridor that runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) were formalised. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the opening ceremony of the BRF and led a delegation including four chief ministers and several federal ministers.

Read | Nepal too joins OBOR, China experts say India must reconsider stance

But Pakistan was not alone in cooperating with China on OBOR, a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Afghanistan all signed MoUs, cooperation agreements and planning documents connected to OBOR.

India has raised the CPEC issue at various levels, including with President Xi at the BRICS summit in Goa last October. In January, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had said, “China is a country which is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty… so we would expect that they would have some understanding of other people’s sensitivity about their sovereignty. CPEC passes through a piece of land which we call Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is a territory that belongs to India and is illegally occupied by Pakistan.”

Wang Yiwei, Professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University, said China’s neighbours would benefit immensely from the OBOR initiative. “The CPEC project is expected to solve Pakistan’s energy independence and infrastructure issues through special economic zones and the Gwadar Port. I believe its economy will take off after the second stage of development that begins in 2020. By 2030, Pakistan’s economy will be the new emerging power in the world,” he said.

Earlier this week, another Chinese scholar, Wang Dehua, Director, Institute for South and Central Asia Studies in Shanghai, had said, “It is natural that India’s neighbours want to be a part of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is a great opportunity for them. They want China’s technological knowledge and, of course, they want the money.” He had added that India’s neighbours may even work on convincing India, whose influence cannot be denied in South Asia, to join the OBOR initiative.

Wang Yiwei believes India is becoming more flexible about the initiative. “I believe India has shown positive signs over a China-Nepal-India economic corridor… Even the US and Japan have sent representatives,” he said.

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    Abid
    May 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm
    By skipping OBOR Summit, India did two things. One, India is isolated, two ,India lost a good opportunity to develop its own poor infrastructure to create connectivity with other members of OBOR, which India lacks badly for a sustained economic growth. As regards the hoax of "sovereignty" issue, may any one remind India that its already building several hydro power projects on a disputed territory over which stan claims its sovereignty.
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      Abid
      May 16, 2017 at 11:48 pm
      In the last sentence of my reply, I had written stan,a complete word, but I think news paper's computer has some problem.
      Reply
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      aftabshah
      May 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm
      Gilgit Baltestan was not part of Kashmir at the time of par ion!
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        Nishant
        May 16, 2017 at 10:11 am
        India should take projects in smaller countries, and use their labour and local talent so that they could do even bigger projects by themselves. Africa needs such pro-Africa initiative. In return we should ask for long term parterships.
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          Abid
          May 16, 2017 at 11:50 pm
          Nishant ,you are "day dreaming" or building castles in air, like all other Indians !
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          Sayani
          May 16, 2017 at 10:06 am
          China is a terrorist, oppressive country. Muslim Uyghurs of Xinjiang country illegally annexed by the blood thirsty dragon are being killed, denied to pray and even fast on ramadaan and here it is a Muslim country allowing this atheist communist country to devour fellow Muslims. Who does not know what Hans of China have done to the peaceloving Tibetans? Who does not know what the Chinese have done to Africans? Only s will support joining hands with a terrorist country. Let India and Western Countries form an alliance for the benefit of the w world minus stan and China. Stop buying their goods, no more trade with them. Train and import from other countries.
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            Nishant
            May 16, 2017 at 10:00 am
            The one belt road, on the other hand, could be utilized to transport grains and food across countries, as production is always erratic. All countries could benefit equally if they invest in modern storage facilities along the route, as upto 30 grains are wasted across the globe due to storage and transportation issues.
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              Abid
              May 16, 2017 at 11:56 pm
              Nishant, you are confused, First you opposed OBOR, AND STARTED FINDING FAULTS IN IT, NOW YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT USING THE OBOR NET WORK TO India's benefit ! Are all Indians think like you? Decide what you want !
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              Nishant
              May 16, 2017 at 9:58 am
              Most of the small nations trying to get the best from one belt initiative have no idea about the ultimate design, tarrifs rules and control of trade via this route. The fine print, like that of a credit card, is far more important and it can wreck economy of small nations. Small nations would not be in a position to edit the fine print to make it advantageous for them. They could take massive loans from China to build projects, but they will be built by Chinese contractors and even the labour, at the rate of interest determined by them. In that process there is zero learning to do any more projects of the same kind oneself, and a substantial amount of money and jobs go back to the investing country. Finally, profitability and ability to compete with Chinese products would the responsibility of smaller nations. If they can not match the incentives that China gives to its businesses, they will never be at level playing. Trade deficits will rise.
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                Arun
                May 16, 2017 at 9:46 am
                Let them make deals it is them going to pay China not us..CPEC is not recognized as it goes through disputed land of India..why should India join what is that India getting from this nothing but violation of its territory by China..Good they gave India an opportunity to kick them on AP, South China Sea, POK..They lost their move in the game of Chess..
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                  Bharat
                  May 16, 2017 at 9:44 am
                  China is going ahead like a bully who does not care of anyone else. India has to come up with a different strategy to stop CPEC in PoK and disputed areas. Secondly, it has to arm itself heavily since this is just a new Chinese colony in the making and India will be surrounded on all sides by China. So best to push the 'Make in India' for defense and infrastructure. 1947 mistakes are hounding us - JN could have closed the PoK without going to UN. He could have supported independent Tibet. He need not have supported China as permanent member of UN. ....
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                    Abid
                    May 17, 2017 at 12:04 am
                    You know what will happen if India continues to arm itself "heavily"? Now, 60 Indians don't have toilets, then, in the near future remaining 40 will also lose toilets and 100 Indian population will be seen relieving outside their homes in the streets, on the roads, on the railway tracks, it'll be a sight for tourists, or perhaps more tourists will come to India to enjoy "morning ritual' by Indians.
                    Reply
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