India has skipped China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) Summit taking place today in Beijing over sovereignty issues over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). While India is not participating in the forum, the meeting called the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is being attended by the heads of 29 state and governments that includes Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickrmasinghe, delegations from South Asian countries, leaders and officials from Russia, US, Japan, UK, Germany and France. The OBOR project will be a vast network of sea and land routes across dozens of countries where Chinese would, reportedly, spend USD 1 trillion on railways line, roads, ports and other infrastructures.
Here are the 10 developments that have taken place so far –
1. India has skipped the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and has decided not to send representatives Belt and Road Forum. This step has been taken to show displeasure towards China’s inclusion in the CPEC. In a strongly-worded statement issued last night, India had said that the connectivity initiative must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.
2. Gopal Baglay, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position. No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He further added, “Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
3. “Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, ‘One Belt, One Road’ which was later renamed as ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said in a statement.
4. Heads of 29 state and governments including that of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar are attending the forum along with high-level delegations from Bangladesh and Nepal.
5. Leaders and officials from various countries including Russia, US, Japan, UK, Germany and France are attending the meeting. Nepal is the last country in the South Asian region to sign into OBOR with the exception of Bhutan, but it has no diplomatic ties with China.
6. Chinese flagship programme ‘One Belt, One Road,’ a network of trade route that seeks to connect Asia, Africa, the West Asia and Europe, poses a major security threat to India as Beijing is trying to encircle New Delhi by undertaking construction projects in the neighbouring countries under the guise of connectivity purposes, says Defence Experts as reported by ANI.
7. “It poses a huge security threat to India. It would stand totally encircled from east, west, north, as well as the Indian Ocean Region in a far stronger measure vis-a-vis what it is today,” defence expert P.K. Saighal told ANI.
8. India is the only country in South Asia which has not signed any agreement on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious OBOR project.
9. China has rejected criticism of the plan and the summit, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and aimed only at promoting prosperity. “What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence,” President Xi said, adding pursuit of the initiative will not resort to outdated geopolitical manoeuvring, as quoted by reports.
10. Touted as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project, the One Belt One Road initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation amount Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. The emphasis is on enhancing land as well as maritime routes.