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  World   Asia  14 May 2017  All countries should respect each others’ sovereignty, says Xi

All countries should respect each others’ sovereignty, says Xi

PTI
Published : May 14, 2017, 11:47 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2017, 12:21 pm IST

India boycotted the BRF due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum the China National Convention Center in Beijing Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
 Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum the China National Convention Center in Beijing Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

Beijing: India on Sunday skipped the opening ceremony of China's Belt and Road Forum following sovereignty concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

No Indian delegation was seen at the opening ceremony addressed by Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

However, Xi said all countries should respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as he inaugurated the high profile Belt and Road forum boycotted by India due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In his opening address outlining China's vision, 63-year-old Xi referred to ancient Silk Road and spoke about significance of various civilisations, including the "Indus
and Ganges civilisations".

Without referring to India's objections to the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC), Xi said, "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.

When inquired, Indian diplomats here pointed to the statement issued by MEA spokesperson Gopal Bagley last night.

"...No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. Few Indian scholars attended the meeting. Media was not permitted into the conference hall, where the opening ceremony took place.
Indian scholars who took part in the meeting said no Indian delegation was spotted.

The meeting called the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is being attended by 29 heads of state and governments including Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickrmasinghe, besides official delegations from other South Asian countries.

Leaders and officials from various countries including Russia, US, Japan, UK, Germany and France are attending the meeting. In a strongly-worded statement issued last night, India had said that the connectivity initiative must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The ancient silk routes thrived in times of peace, but lost vigour in times of war. The pursuit of the Belt and Road initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment," Xi said.

"We should foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation; and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance," he said.

Xi announced China would contribute an additional USD 14.5 billion to the Silk Road Fund, which was set up in 2014 to finance infrastructure projects, taking it to USD 55 billion and USD 8.75 billion financial assistance to the countries taking part in his Belt and Road initiative aimed at expanding China's influence and global connectivity.

"Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, 'One Belt, One Road' which was later renamed as 'Belt and Road Initiative'. We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said in a statement.

Tags: one belt one road, obor, china, cpec, gopal baglay, xi jinping, narendra modi