India China News: China hints it can rename CPEC if India joins OBOR initiative | India News

BEIJING: The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday responded to a statement by its ambassador in India, Luo Zhaohui, who recently said Beijing is prepared to rename the

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to address India’s concerns+. The ministry neither endorsed nor denied Luo’s statement, suggesting that it was encouraging Luo to negotiate with New Delhi over the issue, while ensuring that it did not upset Islamabad either.

The ambassador had said during a speech in Delhi last week that China “can change the name of CPEC” and “create an alternative corridor through Jammu & Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns”.

In return, it was suggested that India join its One Belt One Road (OBOR) connectivity plan which desperately needs a boost from China’s largest neighbour to its south. Chinese investments in Nepal and Myanmar are meant to pressure India to join the initiative but India has not responded to these overtures so far.

The fact that Luo publicly discussed the possibility of renaming CPEC twice indicates that he was acting on instructions from Beijing and not expressing his personal views, observers said.

The foreign ministry said on Thursday: “CPEC is an economic cooperation Initiative that has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes, and does not affect China’s and Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue.”

Experts said that the mention of Pakistan in the statement was significant because Beijing does not want to hurt sentiments in the country until its envoy in New Delhi manages to strike a deal. The fact that it is interested in negotiating with India, sources said, was evident from the foreign ministry not contradicting its envoy in New Delhi.

New Delhi believes Beijing has sided with Islamabad by including Pakistan’s name in the project, which passes through a portion of Kashmir described as a part of India.

At the same time, India’s refusal to join OBOR is one of the major hindrances in OBOR’s growth.+

Prime Minister  Narendra Modi had made this clear when India became the first major country not to attend the OBOR forum in Beijing in May, whereas most western countries including the United States had sent official delegations.

“China is ready to strengthen connectivity with all neighbouring countries and promote regional economic cooperation and common prosperity,” according to a translation of the ministry’s statement which was released in Chinese.

“CPEC is a framework for cooperation focusing on the long-term development of cooperation in all fields. It is in the interest of both China and Pakistan. It is also conducive to promoting regional stability and development,” it said.

 

Source: The Times of India

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