India has strongly objected to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through PoK.
New Delhi: All countries should respect each other's "sovereignty and territorial integrity", Chinese President Xi Jinping said today while opening the One Belt, One Road or OBOR project which India has boycotted. A key part of the planned project runs through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India has raised strong objections, saying it violates India's territorial integrity, since PoK is part of India. While boycotting the OBOR, India said, "No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity". Leaders from 30 countries including US, UK, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are attending the forum, which ends on Monday.
Here are the latest developments to this big story:
. President Xi, without referring to India's objections, today said, "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."
Denying attempts to form a "small group" of nations taking part in the Belt and Road initiative of which the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part, President Xi said China plans to build it as a road to peace and link his country to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.
His signature foreign policy initiative will link China to much of Asia, Europe and Africa. Under it, China will invest billions of dollars in an ambitious plan to rebuild ports, roads and rail networks while expanding trade links between Asia, Africa and Europe.
On Saturday, during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Xi called for pushing forward the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.
"The international community is well aware of India's position... No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said. "We have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative... We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side".
India's decision to skip the summit comes at a time of a sharp downturn in ties. New Delhi is upset over China's refusal to allow it entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a global cartel that controls nuclear trade, and over Beijing blocking a request at the UN to sanction Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based head of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which has attacked military bases in India.
President Xi's pledge of $124 billion in loans and investment was welcomed by countries like Russia, Turkey and Pakistan. The US decision to attend the meet marked a U-turn in its position.
"Looking at the One-Belt, One-Road initiative launched by China, we can be fully confident about its future. Russia expects to establish a comprehensive partnership with all the parties. We are also looking forward to promoting the cooperation with the European Union and the countries of Europe," said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. China has rejected criticism, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and aimed only at promoting prosperity. "What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence," President Xi said.
The proposed silk route will cover South Asia, Central Asia, Europe and Africa. The Maritime Silk Route begins in China's Fujian province, pass through Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan before heading to the Malacca Strait. From Kuala Lumpur it heads to Kolkata and Colombo and then crosses the rest of the Indian Ocean to Nairobi from there it moves along the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and ends in Venice.