Chinese President Xi pledges billions for new Silk Road, ‘snubs’ absentee India

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BEIJING, MAY 14, (DNA) – The Chinese President, who is positioning himself as a global leader and chief advocate for free trade, seemed to have snubbed India when he said the belt and road initiative respected “territorial integrity”. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday pledged $14.5 billion to the Silk Road Fund as he described his signature foreign policy push as inclusive, one that should not be held hostage to old rivalries and power games.

China is hosting at least 29 heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan prime minister Nawaz, Sharif, for a two-day “Belt and Road” conference which India has chosen to give a miss.

“We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy,” Xi said in his inaugural address to the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) as he also

 highlighted the importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the reason New Delhi has stayed away from Beijing’s most important diplomatic event of the year.

The Chinese President, who is positioning himself as a global leader and chief advocate for free trade, seemed to have snubbed India when he said the belt and road initiative respected “territorial integrity”.

“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,”

A part of the One Belt, One Road plan, or Belt Road Initiative (BRI), that aims to build a new Silk Route, CPEC is a cluster of road, rail and energy projects that will connect Pakistan’s

 southern Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region.

India has reservation about the project as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, which New Delhi says challenges its sovereignty by lending legitimacy to Pakistan’s claim over the territory.

“…No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said on Saturday night.=DNA

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