China to face accolades and questioning at Belt Forum as India opts to stay away

April 25 ,2019

BEIJING: Along with accolades from allies like Russia and Pakistan, China will also face some close questioning from developed countries during the Belt and Road Forum which opens on Friday.
Some analysts ask whether India was giving more importance to its “grievance” concerning Chinese construction in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and missing out on the economic opportunities that BRI offers.


India’s best choice, in my view, was to attempt to shape the contours of this investment to India’s advantage in South Asia,” Sourabh Gupta, senior fellow at the America-China Institute in Washington, told TOI. “It is not a good idea to remain wedded to our grievance … we must pursue our interests. And if that means cooperating with BRI, so be it — especially when every other developing country in South Asia and Southeast Asia has signed on to the initiative,” he said.
Many participating countries, including Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, have either cancelled or scaled down previously negotiated deals with Chinese companies. The BRI has also been blamed for pushing developing countries towards a debt trap.
The financial crisis faced by Pakistan, which is seeking an IMF bailout, has highlighted the issue because the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the biggest BRI project.
“A lot of the forum will be an attempt at restoring the Belt and Road brand, which has been tarnished over the past two years,” Jonathan Hillman, director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told TOI.
India has taken a principled stand against attending the forum because a portion of the BRI violates the country’s sovereignty by building projects in disputed areas of PoK. Joining the forum would knock out India’s claim to the disputed areas, it is feared.
But India may not be alone in opting to stay away. The Eurasia Group has said that Turkey, Poland, Spain and Argentina have decided not to send official delegations. Japan is sending the leader of one of its parties in the ruling coalition instead of sending a government representative.


Source : Times of india

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