India might not be part of China’s prestigious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project!
This became evident in the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statements to the media that ‘India’s stand is very clear’ and it won’t be participating in the project.
And, the reason is territorial dispute!
These statements by the Finance Minister are coming when China is making fast moves to involve more nations into the project and gains significance in view of the recently-concluded Modi-Jinping meet.
China has been making some positive moves to involve nations from Maldives to Bangladesh and has already got it signed from Nepal and Pakistan for this trillion-dollar project, also called the new ‘Silk Road’ project.
Then, what’s stopping India is the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’, a USD 60 billion that aims to link China’s Xinjiang and Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
And, the disturbing point for India is that CPEC will go through the Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir region.
“We made our position very clear that we may not be able to participate in the Belt and Road initiative. Only because, at least in some parts it’s passing through what is essentially our territory, which is under illegal occupation [by] Pakistan, which is the CPEC, which is a crucial part of the Belt and Road initiative itself,” Sitharaman told media in New York.
Besides India, several other countries outside South Asia are also concerned about BRI and have raised doubts if this project is a ‘debt-trap policy’ and encouraging ‘corruption’.
The US Congress has already formed a US International Development Finance Corporation to address lending issues with BRI.
Meanwhile, EU and Japan have also signed deals to build several infrastructure projects countering BRI.