A day after Russia’s envoy to India said Beijing and New Delhi should resolve their differences on the Belt and Road project, China said on Wednesday that New Delhi’s stand on it appeared to be wavering.
China again sought to allay India’s fears, saying the project, whose key artery goes through that part of Kashmir held by Pakistan, would not change Beijing’s “neutral” stand on the issue.
“You and your colleagues asked this question before and it shows that India is quite wavering on this issue of the Belt and Road initiative,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “I think you must be very clear since the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping progress has been made smoothly with strong outcomes.”
On Tuesday, Russian ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said there should be a dialogue between India and China over the issue.
“We will favour China and India coming to some sort of understanding bilaterally for preferred routes, ways and means of communications, of connectivity,” he said.
Hua was reacting to question about the envoy’s remarks. “We believe that the Belt and Road initiative will create more room for China’s opening up and development. It also presents more opportunities for economic development. And it does not involve territorial disputes.”
China has an ambitious plan to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a maze of roads and waterways.
Some analysts say there is more to it than just economics.
India has opposed the Belt and Road, whose CPEC cuts through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir which New Delhi claims as its own.
India in May skipped a mega conference organised by China solely because of the CPEC.
Hua said China hopes “countries and parties with shared vision will work with us to allow practical cooperation to bring more benefits to our peoples”.
‘CPEC does not involve territorial dispute’
China said it was open to inclusive cooperation on its Belt and Road Initiative, reiterating that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is a part of the project does not involve any territorial disputes as claimed by India.
China has been reiterating that the $50 billion CPEC which traverses through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a connectivity project and will not affect its stand that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through talks.
“We remain quite open and inclusive to cooperation involving the BRI,” Hua said. “The BRI will bring benefits to more countries along the BRI. We also said many CPEC corridor is an economic cooperation not targeted any third party and does not involve territorial dispute.”