India has refused to participate in China-led ‘One Belt, One Road’ summit, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Beijing. China has projected BRI as the “product of the century”. However, India decided not to participate in one of its kind events because of at least three different kinds of concerns.
According to an IE report, India’s three concerns include issues related to sovereignty, procedures and leadership.
The report says that India cited China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) as the main reason because of which it decided not to participate in the summit. India considers PoK as its own territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. As such, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot compromise on matters related to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
Leaders of as many as 120 countries, including 29 top leaders of these nations, attended the inaugural session of the two-day OBOR summit, which kicked off on Sunday.
Interestingly, the reasons for which India refused to participate in the event are similar to what has made China challenge the world. China has refused to buckle under the international pressure over disputed South China Sea islands. When Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he had hinted not to sacrifice the “core interests” of China for developmental interests, according to IE.
With CPEC, China has become an active player in the Indian Sub-Continent. According to the IE report, China has deployed around 30,000 security personnel to protect projects under development on the CPEC route.
India has made it clear to the international community that it would not compromise on its sovereignty concerns, and more so in the case of Pakistan. which is making apparent efforts to destabilise the Kashmir Valley.
In May 2014, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had told her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that China must be sensitive to India’s claims in the PoK.
India is also concerned about the evolution of OBOR. According to IE, India’s foreign ministry has said mutual agreements on infrastructure projects should have been transparent and debt repayments made easier for recipient countries.