India is set to skip China’s ambitious One Belt One Road summit over sovereignty issues related to the latter’s involvement in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), news agency PTI reported. The CPEC is a flagship project of the OBOR initiative that is expected to play a major role in the two-day meet. However, there is no official word on whether Indian will participate in the meet. Interestingly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had recently announced that India will have a representative at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF). OBOR is a prestigious initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the summit will be held in Beijing on May 14 and 15. Heads of state of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar will attend the forum as will high-level delegations from Bangladesh and Nepal, agencies reported.
According to an earlier report in PTI, Wang had said, “Although Indian leader is not here, India will have a representative.” It was a tough call for India to take as China in the last few days has managed to rope in a number of western countries, including a U-Turn by the US which recently agreed to send a top official after Washington made a killing in a lucrative trade deal. The May 14-15 summit, is expected to strengthen China’s power base as President Jinping gets set to begin his second five-year tenure later this year. It will be attended by 29 heads of state and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, PTI reported.
While this is the outcome of hectic diplomatic lobbying by China, unlike India, none of the other countries has sovereignty-related issues with the One Belt and One Road initiative. Also, Nepal became 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.
Some expert views:
Absolutely. Indias policy shouldn’t be colored by what US does or doesn’t do http://t.co/er7KyqPrvM
— sushant sareen (@sushantsareen) May 13, 2017
Worth reading analysis of Han-ism meeting Wahhabism in CPEC and implications of OBOR http://t.co/EcRRgqAxal
— sushant sareen (@sushantsareen) May 12, 2017
India’s decision to skip the meeting comes after a year of bilateral discord over China’s stubborn opposition to India’s entry into the NSG and a UN ban against Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar. China, too, protested India’s decision to permit the Dalai Lama last month to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as South Tibet.
However, after Nepal signed up for China’s economic strategy, Chinese foreign policy experts have claimed that it will force India to join in the future or face isolation, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.