China hosts 37 countries in its flagship project to enhance its influence on global stage.
India has snubbed China’s invitation to attend the forum. But China underplays India’s stance, expressing hope for future cooperation between the two Asian Superpowers, despite disagreement over BRI.
“Now, we are trying to achieve common prosperity through cooperation under BRI. Those issues (the Kashmir issue) left over from history must be separated from our efforts in this area,” – Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister, China
- World leaders have arrived at Beijing for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Corporation.
- India has decided to boycott the forum for the second consecutive time as China’s initiative with Pakistan violates India’s territorial sovereignty.
- The three-day forum makes Beijing the centre of international collaboration for 37 countries participating in Belt and Road Initiative.
- The Forum provides a platform for exchanging ideas on regional connectivity, policy synergy, socio-economic development,and trade and commerce.
- Prominent leaders attending the forum include Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan PM Imran Khan, and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the Chinese Government’s development strategy to enhance soft power. Through the initiative, China supports infrastructure development and makes large investments in European, Asian and African countries. An estimated 5,000 participants from 150 countries and 90 international organisations will attend the forum.
But China is preparing for the biggest event in Beijing’s diplomatic calendar without its biggest neighbour. India has decided to boycott the forum for the second time in a row.
India cites the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – which is a key component of President Xi’s BRI – passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), thus violating India’s territorial sovereignty.
China feels the disagreement will not affect its relations with India. Referring to the Kashmir issue, Wang said:
“One of our differences is how to look at the BRI. The Indian side has its concerns. We understand that and that is why we have stated clearly on many occasions that the BRI, including the CPEC, is only an economic initiative and does not target any third country and they have nothing to do with sovereign and territorial disputes left from history between any two countries,”