India Wednesday said China must explain how it can take part in the Silk Road summit being held here this year when the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through PoK violates its sovereignty.
“The subject came up. They have extended an invitation to the government to participate in the summit. We are examining the matter,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who co-chaired an upgraded strategic dialogue between the two countries, told reporters here.
“The fact that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is part of this particular initiative. CPEC violates Indian sovereignty because it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK),” Jaishankar said.
“Therefore since they (China) are a country who have been very sensitive to sovereignty concerns, it was for them to say how a country whose sovereignty has been violated can come on an invitation. We would like to see what proposal anybody has in this regard. We were very frank with them in sharing what our concerns were and we share it in public. But the issue for us is a sovereignty issue,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who launched the multi-billion dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and called for Silk Road connectivity, has convened the summit in May which officials here say will be held on a massive scale.
Leaders of about 20 countries so far have confirmed participation, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
While conveying India’s position, Jaishankar said, “but from our side, I explained to them that India today is a pro connectivity country. We have connectivity initiatives with all sides and we are active participants (in) most of them.”
He highlighted India’s participation in Myanmar’s Kaladan project, Chabahar port project with Iran, as well as north south corridor with Russia.
“We had agreed to take part int the Bangladesh, China, India Myanmar (BCIM) corridor in which I pointed out India is (the) most active country” taking part, he said.
BCIM is also part of the China’s Silk Road initiative.
India also has reservations over the 21st Maritime Silk Road project, also part of the OBOR, over its security concerns in the Indian Ocean.