India will not participate in the conference on Chinese connectivity initiative ‘One Belt, One Road’(OBOR) beginning in Beijing tomorrow. It is awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side for a meaningful dialogue on the OBOR connectivity initiative.
Chinese President Xi Jinping whole inaugurating the high profile Belt and Road Forum in Beijing today said, in what can be taken as a direct rejoinder to the Indian justification for boycotting the initiative, “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other’s development paths and social systems, and each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
India had in a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs maintained, “no country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.” And further, “Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Responding to media queries about India’s participation in OBOR conference, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, India shares international community’s desire for enhancing physical connectivity but can not accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said, connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity. The spokesperson said, India is opposed to the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, projected as the flagship project of the OBOR, as it passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, which is Indian territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Mr. Baglay said, New Delhi is working with many countries and international institutions in support of physical and digital connectivity in our own immediate and near neighbourhood and expansion and strengthening of connectivity is an integral part of India’s economic and diplomatic initiatives.
Under the ‘Act East’ policy, it is pursuing the Trilateral Highway project, under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy it is developing multimodal linkages with Myanmar and Bangladesh, under ‘Go West’ strategy, it is engaged with Iran on Chabahar Port and with Iran and other partners in Central Asia on International North South Transport Corridor.
BBIN initiative is aimed at enhancing logistics efficiencies in South Asian region. India is also actively considering acceding to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention).