India did well to stay away from OBOR meet

Alvin Kelly
May 17, 2017

India, however, was conspicuous by its absence.

Xi addressed the leaders on the second day of the forum on his new Silk Road plan, a huge infrastructure project meant to revive ancient land and sea trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.

India fears after gaining access to the Arabian Sea through Gwadar, China will find it easy to sail into the Indian Ocean.

The United States and other governments have said "Belt and Road" is a natural outgrowth of China's status as the biggest global trader and they welcome the investment. "I do not know what the Indian spokesperson was trying to say", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. It also will be helpful for China to integrate its technology, manufacturing and service expertise with them to benefit more people around the world.

"We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side", he added.

India refused to send an official delegation to Beijing, reflecting displeasure with China for developing a $57 billion trade corridor through Pakistan that also crosses the disputed territory of Kashmir. While CPEC is highlighted as "flagship project", the B&R includes the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

During a press conference held yesterday, Zhang Junkuo, Deputy Director of Development Research Center of the State Council (DRCSC), affirmed the important role of the center in providing intellectual support for the global cooperation along the Belt and Road.

India is wary of the contentious China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC), and the OBOR is seen as a "highway" to make the CPEC a reality.

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India delivered an implicit criticism of China's initiative Saturday in a statement that said such an initiative should meet worldwide norms and not create unsustainable debt. India's booming economy and its increasingly affluent middle class of more than 300 million people provide it with growing regional clout.

Xi said China would encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses to the tune of 300 billion yuan.

And when China confirmed North Korea was attending, the US embassy in Beijing submitted a complaint to China's foreign ministry saying its presence sent the wrong message as the world tried to pressure Pyongyang over its weapons programme.

China also questioned India's statement on Saturday that called for "meaningful dialogue" with Beijing on the issue, saying that it was "always waiting" for talks.

The dispute is unlikely to hamper the two countries' existing economic cooperation.

That is despite complaints by its trading partners that China is the most-closed major economy.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) chief praised the Belt and Road Initiative, calling it an "extraordinary strategic vision". "The role is still available if India changes its mind, but it may only be a small role if it is left too late", it said.

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