Beijing : India stood out at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Tuesday as the only member country not to express support for China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative. In doing so, India stuck to its opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), seen to infringe its sovereignty.
A joint communique issued at the end of the meeting listed other SCO members, including Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, who “reaffirmed support” for the Belt and Road plan. India is the only member not mentioned.
The communique also said all parties to the SCO supported utilising the potential of the countries, international organisations and multilateral institutions in the region to establish a broad, open, mutually beneficial partnership.
Far from accepting the Chinese programme, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj listed a wide range of connectivity infrastructure projects being planned and executed by India in different countries.
She mentioned India’s involvement in the Chabahar port development, India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal initiative and the International North-South Transport Corridor.
New Delhi objects to the $57 billion CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This is the reason India was the exception in staying away from the Belt and Road Forum organised in Beijing, which was attended by 29 heads of state and government, and representatives of 101 other countries.
China has inked agreements with India’s neighbours, Nepal and Sri Lanka, to build connectivity infrastructure. But India signaled on Tuesday it would not be pressurised by Chinese efforts to rope in other South Asian countries.
At the same time, India has gone along with the desires expressed by China and Russia to oppose sanctions and trade actions formulated against them by the US.
Source : TOI