Stating that it will include a third party in the $51 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in consensus with Pakistan, China has said it is wondering if India would join the project on the request of a Pakistani General.
Last week Commander, Southern Command, Lt. Gen. Aamir Riaz invited India to join the CPEC, saying New Delhi should “shun enmity” with Islamabad and jointly reap the benefit of the multi-billion dollar project.
When asked about this proposal, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “I wonder whether the Indian side takes this offer made by the Pakistani general as a goodwill gesture.” She added, “The CPEC, as an important component of China’s Belt and Road initiative, is an open initiative.
China would like to discuss the possibility of introducing a third party on the basis of consensus with the Pakistani side through consultation.”
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Chunying said that China regards the CPEC project as a framework for cooperation built by the two sides with a focus on the long-term development of bilateral cooperation in various fields and hope it would contribute to regional connectivity, peace, stability and prosperity.
Earlier, Chinese media suggested India to accept the Pakistani General’s offer, saying that such an opportunity could be of transient benefit to all involved.
“New Delhi should consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended in a bid to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, said an article in the Global Times, adding that there is a possibility that the open attitude toward India joining the CPEC will quickly be overwhelmed by opposition voices from Pakistan if India does not respond in a timely manner.
It said that since India’s primary strategy is to promote economic and social development in the Kashmir region, the best way to reduce hostilities is by establishing economic cooperation based on mutual benefits to put aside what cannot be reached by a consensus.