India can join any project in the mega One Belt One Road initiative at any time, a Singaporean think tank has quoted a Chinese official as saying. “China will never impose anything on others,” an unnamed Chinese official was quoted as saying by Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) in a paper published here.
“India can come in at any time on any project” under the One Belt One Road (OBOR), an ambitious initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, ISAS quoted the official as saying at the recently concluded Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) summit meeting in Beijing. Beijing would, therefore, welcome the “very, very good point” of a quadrilateral dialogue among China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan on issues relating to the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said.
However, it would be good if such a proposal came from India and the other countries concerned rather than as a Chinese initiative, the official was quoted as saying by the paper’s current affairs editor P S Suryanarayana, who participated in the BRF meetings in Beijing as a delegate. One of the BRF themes was “Regional and Global Security: Situation and Prospect”.
Interpreting Jinping’s “studied avoidance of India’s counter narrative” on China’s connectivity projects, during the BRF meetings, the author says. “China cannot hope to be a benign global power if its major neighbour (India) remains estranged,” said Suryanarayana, who is also the author of ‘Smart Diplomacy: Exploring China-India Synergy’ published last year.
\Tracing India’s well-known objections to the CPEC project, Suryanarayana said “the Chinese tend to think that India’s objections to the CPEC also stem from the possibility of the CPEC propelling Pakistan, too, as an attractive destination for foreign investments from far and wide”. Yet, “there is also a view that India perhaps has time until the next BRF Summit in 2019 to say a belated ‘yes’ or a final ‘no’ to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI also called OBOR),” the author said.
India did not attend the BRF held in Beijing in mid-May, which observers believe, was a strong objection to OBOR for its partial route through Kashmir.