See More on Facebook

Politics

India refuses to endorse China’s Belt And Road project

Becomes lone dissenting voice against project at SCO summit.


Written by

Updated: June 13, 2018

India dashed China’s hope of securing unanimous support for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during a summit in the Chinese port city of Qingdao over the weekend (June 9-10).

Attending its first meet after becoming a full member of the SCO, India demonstrated its opposition to the ambitious BRI, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that mega-connectivity projects must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.

India has long been critical of the BRI as a key part of it – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC – passes through Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The BRI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

India was the only one of the eight member states which did not endorse the BRI. This was revealed in the 17-page Qingdao Declaration, which named all the other member states – Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, besides China – as “reiterating support for China’s BRI” project.

India reiterated its stated position, which was articulated at the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in April. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the ground for India’s opposition to the project during his plenary speech.

He coined an acronym SECURE – ‘S’ for security for citizens, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity in the region, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E’ for environment protection – to put forth his views.

“Connectivity with the neighbouring countries is India’s priority. We welcome the connectivity projects which are sustainable and efficient and which respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries,” he said.

People-to-people contacts and exchange of ideas, he added, should be given priority.

Talking about the importance of transport corridors, Modi, in the presence of the Chinese President, said India’s commitment to connectivity projects is reflected in its involvement in International North-South Corridor project, development of Iran’s Chabahar port and the Ashgabat agreement.

While the North-South Corridor project is a 7,200-km multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe, the Ashgabat agreement envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

The summit helped Beijing get New Delhi’s participation in its efforts to rally support for China in the trade dispute with the Trump administration. “This is a lot more important to China than other issues as it battles to counter the possibility of a trade war being triggered by Washington,” the Times of India reported.

The SCO, at its 18th meet, expressed its support for an “open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading regime” while opposing trade protectionism of any form, Xi told a joint news conference.

Xi announced a 30 billion yuan (US$4.7 billion) loan to the SCO for joint projects.

The SCO’s eight member countries represent around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP. It was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members last year.

Modi used a bilateral meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the summit to take forward efforts to put India-China relations on an even keel after last year’s standoff at Doklam. Xi accepted an invitation to visit India next year for the second informal summit with Modi, which will be preceded by a series of meetings between key ministers and the National Security Advisers.

During Modi’s nearly hour-long meeting with Xi on June 9, the two sides expressed willingness to move beyond their differences on issues such as the border dispute and cooperate in a range of areas. This was their second significant meet in less than two months.

Meanwhile, India’s arch-rival Pakistan backed the BRI. President Mamnoon Hussain supported the venture and said CPEC has boosted Pakistan’s economy.

Modi said India would like to extend all cooperation to the SCO and that the bloc gives New Delhi immense opportunities to enhance friendship with resource-rich Central Asian nations.

He also referred to the threat of terrorism and talked about the “unfortunate” example of the effects of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan, and hoped the bold steps taken by its President Ashraf Ghani to hold talks with the Taliban and restore peace will be respected by all the players in the region.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Politics

Fugitive Jho Low says no connection between 1Mdb and China

Jho Low rubbishes Wall Street Journal report about China’s alleged role in 1MDB probe. Fugitive businessman Jho Low has dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal linking China to Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB as “a continuation of a trial by media” led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Journal said in a report on Monday (Jan 7) that senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB, which is at the centre of a swelling, multi-billion-dollar graft scandal. The report cited minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations


By The Straits Times
January 10, 2019

Politics

Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday. Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement. Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King. “The rulers att


By The Straits Times
January 8, 2019

Politics

Taiwan’s ruling party DPP elects moderate as new chairman

The by-election comes after a disastrous local election cycle where the pro-independence party lost heavily. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected a new chairman on Sunday (Jan 6), choosing a moderate to fill up the post vacated by President Tsai Ing-wen after the party’s disappointing performance in recent polls. Mr Cho Jung-tai, a consensus candidate backed by major party figures, took 72.6 per cent or 24,699 of the ballots cast by party members, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). The former Cabinet secretary-general comfortably defeated Mr You Ying-lung, an openly pro-independence rival who supported a re


By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019

Politics

Preview: A year of elections for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia will have a busy political calendar in 2019 with voters in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines heading to the polls within the year. Thailand In December, Thailand lifted its ban on political activity that has been in place for the past four years as the kingdom prepares for a general election on Feb 24—the country’s first in eight years. The last election the country attempted, in 2014, was sabotaged by anti-government protesters acted to prevent the Pheu Thai Party and its head Yingluck Shinawatra from returning to power. Pheu Thai went on to be ousted by a coup led by then-army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha and has spent the last five years under military rule. Since then, the military junta has rewritten the Thai Constitution in a wa


By Quinn Libson
January 7, 2019

Politics

Previewing Sheikh Hasina’s fourth term

A unanimous poll decision leaves Sheikh Hasina with many decisions to make. It is the huge gaps in the numbers of votes polled by the winners and the losers in the 11th national election that apparently unveiled a “controlled and patterned” nature of the process of polls. A foreign media commentator wondered why any “control” was exercised over BNP activists since the announcement of election schedule in September last. In his opinion, the ruling coalition or Mahajote contestants would have won by a handsome margin without keeping BNP workers at bay anyway! More so when the BNP was waffling and unprepared! In fact, a hundred BNP candidates’ deposits have been forfeited as they couldn’t even secure one-tenth of their adversaries’ tally. In BNP’s last election debacle when they had around 30 seats, deposits of only 10 contestants were forfeited. But I have


By Daily Star
January 4, 2019