NEW DELHI: As Chinese ambassador to New Delhi made an unusual remark hinting at renaming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to allay India’s concerns, the Indian media widely reported the statement prompting the Chinese government to smell an uncalled-for controversy that could arise out it.
Chinese ambassador to New Delhi Luo Zhaohui, while referring to frosty Indo-Pakistan ties, said on Friday that China had no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan and that the project was for promoting economic cooperation and connectivity in the region.
Read: ‘Pakistan offers India to join CPEC’
“It has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues. Even we can think about renaming the CPEC. China and India have had successful experience of delinking sovereignty disputes from bilateral relations before,” he said in closed-door address to a think-tank on Friday.
The text of the envoy’s speech had been first posted on the website of the Chinese embassy on Sunday.
The ambassador remarks came in the wake of India’s critical stance on the CPEC as the latter claim that the project violate its sovereignty as it runs through Pakistan’s side of the Kashmir — which India says it’s disputed.
The removal of Chinese’s ambassador’s remarks about renaming the CPEC also implies that it was perhaps not the official version of the China government.
Luo said China is sincere in its intention to cooperate with India on the OBOR as it is “good for both of us.”
Maintaining that China and India could be natural partners in connectivity and the OBOR, the Chinese ambassador said Indian economy was behind China by at least 13 years, suggesting New Delhi should grab economic opportunities offered by Beijing.
“Now the GDP of India is roughly that of China in 2004, some 13 years ago. China leads India by 13 years mainly because we started reform and opening up 13 years earlier,” he said.
However, the eight-word sentence was removed from the embassy website page the same day in the evening. The rest of the 2900 plus words of the speech remained untouched or unedited.