By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, May 8 (IANS) With barely a week left to the Belt and Road mega-conference in Beijing, a commentary in a Chinese daily has urged India to join the ambitious project connecting Asia with Europe and advised it to stop being suspicious about the economic development of Pakistan and China.
“India is viewing Beijing and Islamabad as potential threats and is suspicious of Beijing’s One Belt and One Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” an article in the Global Times on Sunday said.
India has been non-committal about joining China’s Belt and Road initiative because one of its planned routes, CPEC, passes through the territory of Kashmir that is disputed between India and Pakistan.
Experts in India say New Delhi joining the Belt and Road initiative would amount to surrendering its claim over Kashmir held by Pakistan.
“Instead of being overly concerned about China’s rise, New Delhi should consider taking an early role in Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative,” the article by Liu Jianxi said.
“China’s infrastructural initiative will not only bring economic benefits, but also fulfill India’s ambition to be an influential economic power in the region. It is hoped the Indian government will abandon its suspicions and adopt an open and pragmatic attitude towards China’s and Pakistan’s development,” it said.
Despite China’s several public offers to India to participate in the Belt and Road conference in Beijing on May 14-15, New Delhi has kept mum about it.
“New Delhi worries that Beijing is intentionally meddling in India-Pakistan disputes, utilising the CPEC to grant legitimacy to Islamabad’s control over the disputed region,” the commentary said.
“India is exaggerating the situation. Beijing respects New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns, and is willing to mediate in India-Pakistan disputes, on the condition that it accords to the wishes of both India and Pakistan.”
According to the article, China’s Belt and Road initiative aims to promote an inclusive global economy by enhancing regional connectivity and building cohesive trade networks, and does not target any third party.
(Gaurav Sharma is the IANS Beijing-based correspondent. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)