China said on Monday that it will “actively move forward” and give a global push to its ambitious Silk Road initiative after a UN Security Council resolution called for its implementation amid India’s concerns over a part of the project that passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. China’s official assertion came as the state media in Beijing asked India to adopt a “more pragmatic” approach towards the initiative, claiming global support for President Xi Jinping’s pet project whose stated aim is to link China with Euro-Asia through a maze of connecting rail, road and port projects.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing that in the Resolution 2344 unanimously adopted by the 15-member UNSC on March 17, the important concept of building a community of shared future for mankind was incorporated for the first time, reflecting global consensus on the project. “The resolution urged all parties to further advance the Belt and Road Initiative and raised specific requirements on strengthening security safeguards,” Hua said.
“China would like to work with UN members to actively move forward the building of the Belt and Road Initiative following the Security Council resolution and jointly build a community of shared future for mankind that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, cleanness and beauty,” she said.
The resolution called for strengthening economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and Chabahar port project between Afghanistan, India and Iran, and China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road initiatives.
The multi-billion ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is the official name of the Silk Road or the Belt and Road project. It includes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to connect China with ports across the world as well as the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – which passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir – and the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic (BCIM) corridor.
While the work on CPEC is rapidly progressing, there isn’t any official update on the rest of the projects. India has protested to China over the CPEC – which connects western China’s restive Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar through the PoK – and has reservations over the Maritime Silk Road as it impacts the Indian Ocean which is important to India’s security interests.
However, New Delhi has backed the BCIM and is actively supporting it, according to Indian officials. The official Chinese media says the inclusion of the OBOR in the UNSC resolution is an endorsement of the initiative by the world body.
“Despite concerns from India, broader support has been given to the OBOR from the international community,” said an article in the ruling Communist Party-run Global Times.