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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.
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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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