In what appears to be a bid to pacify India amid its concerns over President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has displayed a map at the second BRI Summit with routes that show Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Indian territory.
The map also surprisingly portrays India as part of BRI, even though it has boycotted the summit for the second time, The Economic Times reported.
The move assumes added significance given that China had recently destroyed thousands of maps showing Arunachal as part of India, and that it is vehemently opposed to visits from any senior Indian leaders to the state – which it claims to be a part of Chinese territory (Southern Tibet).
In addition to Arunachal, maps in China usually portray Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) within the borders of Pakistan – a close ally.
Sources quoted by the Economic Times report indicated that “such faux pas, if at all, is a rare occurrence in China’s official publications and websites”.
Experts, meanwhile, are trying to ascertain if it is a deliberate tactical move by China to placate India, the report added.
‘BRI Not an Exclusive Club’
President Xi on Friday sought to ease growing global concerns over debt traps and regional hegemony by China using BRI, saying his ambitious connectivity project was not an "exclusive club" and vowed complete transparency.
First announced in 2013, the project promises to build ports, roads and railways to revive the ancient Silk Road and create new trade corridors linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe.
In his inaugural address to the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF), Xi said China wants to build its trillion-dollar BRI based on “open, green and clean cooperation”.
India once again boycotted the BRI summit to protest over the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of the BRI.
This time, the US also joined India in skipping the BRF.
The Trump administration has been extremely critical of the BRI and is of the view that China's "predatory financing" is leaving smaller counties under huge debt endangering their sovereignty.
(With inputs from Economic Times, PTI)