Eye on key meet, suggests roadmap for strong Sino-Indian ties.
New Delhi: In a major move to persuade India to attend the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) conference in Beijing this month, China has said it “has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan” and that China does not have any policy of “putting Pakistan first” when it comes to South Asia.
Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui made the remarks while speaking at defence think-tank United Service Institution on Friday, but the text of his closed-door address was released by the Chinese embassy on late Sunday.
Mr Luo also said that the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) — to which India is opposed as it passes through PoK — is for “promoting economic cooperation and connectivity” and that it “has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues”.
He also pointed out that an instance of China “taking care of India’s concern” in the past has been to support settlement of the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan bilaterally instead of the UN resolutions.
The Chinese envoy also suggested a roadmap for strong Sino-Indian ties, including the need to “properly manage differences”, starting of “negotiation on a China-India Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation” and aligning the OBOR and India’s Act-East policy.
“India still has reservations over the OBOR, saying that the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) passes through the Pakistan-controlled-Kashmir, raising sovereignty concerns. China has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan. China supports the solution of the disputes through bilateral negotiations between the two countries,” Mr Zhaohui said.
The Chinese envoy said the OBOR and regional connectivity could provide China and India with fresh opportunities, calling the project a major public product China has offered to the world.
“It is a strategic initiative aimed at promoting globalisation and economic integration,” he said.
“Some Indian media say that China always puts Pakistan first when handling its relations with South Asia countries. I want to tell you this is not true. Simply put, we always put China first and we deal with problems based on their own merits. Take Kashmir issue for example, we supported the relevant UN resolutions before 1990s. Then we supported a settlement through bilateral negotiation in line with the Simla Agreement. This is an example of China taking care of India’s concern. Today few Indian friends remember this episode, or they have chosen to forget it,” he added.
On India's bid for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said, “We do not oppose any country’s membership, believing that a standard for admission should be agreed upon first.”
On promoting India-Pakistan reconciliation, we hope that both sides could live together in peace, because this is conducive to regional stability in the interests of China. The development of China, India, Pakistan and the stability of the whole region call for a stable and friendly environment. Otherwise, how could we open up and develop? That’s why we say we are willing to mediate when India and Pakistan have problems. But the precondition is that both India and Pakistan accept it. We do this only out of good will. We do hope that there is no problem at all,” the Chinese envoy said.