BEIJING: India has expressed its clear objection to join China’s “Belt and Road Forum” – also known as ‘One Belt, One Road’-, sparking debate of OBOR status after India’s refusal, but a state-run Chinese daily has termed Indian move a “partly a show” for domestic politics aimed at piling pressure to get Beijing’s “special attention”.
“India hopes that it can shape bilateral relations more actively, and expects China to give special attention to the interests of India. But this is not how countries interact,” an editorial in Global Times said.
“India’s objection to the B&R is partly a show for domestic politics, partly to pile pressure on China. However, the absence of New Delhi in the B&R has not affected the forum in Beijing, and it will exert even less effect on the progress the initiative will make in the world,” it said.
India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) due to its sovereignty concerns over the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Azad and Jammu Kashmir.
The daily said if India sees itself as a big power, it should get accustomed to the many divergences with China, and try to manage these divergences with China.
“It is almost impossible that two big countries can reach agreements on all things. This can be proved by the many differences between China and the US. But China and the US have maintained smooth bilateral relations, from which New Delhi can learn,” it said.
It said both the countries should be vigilant about people with destructive power.
Stating that the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation concluded here on Monday with “fruitful” results despite India’s absence, it said “as so many large delegations participated, including from the US, Japan and South Korea, the international community has shown a very positive response to the infrastructure-building initiative.”
“However, India sent no official representatives. The India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson claimed on Saturday that India cannot accept a project that violates its sovereignty and territorial integrity. India appears to be the only country that has expressed disapproval of the initiative in recent days,” it said.
What is One Belt, One Road?
Hailed by Xi as a “project of the century,” the plan fits into his bigger narrative that China is setting an example of globalization, filling the void left by the US under Donald Trump’s “America First” policy.
It’s a mouthful. The “One Belt” part of it refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt while the “One Road” refers to the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. Jointly, they’re meant to be a revival of the ancient Silk Road trading routes.
China says the project is open to everyone, but it has also identified 65 countries along the Belt and Road that, since the early stages of the proposal, it has insisted will participate in the initiative.