Chinese diplomat wants India to join BRI for mutual interest

Chinese diplomat wants India to join BRI for mutual interest

Chine would like India to look beyond mutual differences and join its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in interest of the development of both the countries, today said a top Chinese diplomat.

After the recent Belt and Road conference in Beijing, the first media interaction was held in Kolkata by Chinese diplomat, where it was asked that the China would take any special initiative to get India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. In the reply, Chinese Consul-general Ma Zhanwu said, “We will welcome India joining (BRI initiative) as both India and China are developing.”

Zhanwu has also reaffirmed that China’s ambitious One Belt and One Road Initiative, renamed as BRI. They did not alter its stand on the India-Pak dispute over Kashmir and said it is a bilateral issue to be resolved only through negotiation. The Chinese diplomat said, “We have differences and some (of them) are of serious nature. But we should look beyond the differences and concentrate on shared interests for development.”

He said, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative and does not have any effect on China’s position in Kashmir.

Zhanwu said, “China’s position is clear that this (Kashmir issue) is a dispute between India and Pakistan left from the past and it is for them to resolve the dispute through negotiations.”

When it was asked about to address India’s concerns and opposition over the CPEC passing through Pak-occupied-Kashmir (POK), the Chinese consul said, “the dispute was there before CPEC. CPEC is a project that’s between China and Pakistan and I think work has started (on it).”

Zhanwu on the reply of whether China would consider rethinking the CPEC alignment given India’s concerns, said, “CPEC does not affect China’s position on Kashmir. China is neutral to this. It is for India and Pakistan to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiations.”

India had boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) which was held from May 14 to 15. Leaders among 29 countries including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the meeting.

India did not attend the meeting because of its sovereignty concerns over the $50 billion CPEC which is passed by Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK). He again took China’s stand that BRI was not about geopolitical manoeuvring and claimed that apprehensions in certain sections about this have no basis.

Certain sections said that China is going to use this to encircle India. We have made it very clear that it will not be a geopolitical manoeuvring. The Chinese president has made it clear that the initiative would not resort to the old practice of geopolitical manoeuvring,” Zhanwu said.