BRI Forum, Again? India May Turn Down China’s Invite a Second Time
In 2017, India had boycotted the first BRI meet held in Beijing over fears that it undermined India’s sovereignty.
For the second time in a row, India has turned down an official invite from Beijing to attend their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meet.
On 20 March, PTI reported that India was hinting at boycotting the meet, scheduled to be held later in April.
According to diplomatic sources cited by The Times of India, representatives in the Indian embassy in Beijing will most probably not attend the event, even as observers.
In 2017, India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), that India claims as its own territory.
Except Bhutan, every other country in India’s immediate neighbourhood had attended the first meet.
The Masood Azhar Factor
Another factor affecting the decision to boycott could be a result of China’s decision to place on ‘hold’, again, the UN resolution to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the deadly 14 February Pulwama attack that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.
This is the fourth time in the past 10 years that China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's bid to get Azhar listed as a global terrorist.
India Wants International Norms Respected
In a PTI report, India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri told the state-run Global Times that “above all, connectivity initiatives must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations”.
According to the TOI report, India is open to negotiations on China’s infrastructure initiatives but wants the international norms of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“India shares the global aspiration to strengthen connectivity and it is an integral part of our economic and diplomatic initiatives. We ourselves are working with many countries and international institutions in our region and beyond on a range of connectivity initiatives.”Vikram Misri
(With inputs from The Times of India and PTI)
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