Beijing: China on Thursday said India should shed its reservations over ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and join the project as it will not change Beijing’s stand on the Kashmir issue.
“We welcome other countries including India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of voluntarism,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media briefing.
The BRI’s goal is to promote connectivity between regional countries and common prosperity of all countries, the spokesman said.
“The initiative will not affect China’s position on relevant issues and our position on relevant initiatives will not be changed,” he said.
The BRI, which includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has been included in the Constitution of the ruling Communist Party of China in the just concluded once-in-a- five-year Congress.
In May this year, India had boycotted the two-day Belt and Road Forum, which was attended by leaders from 29 countries including Pakistan, due to sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
China has been reiterating that the USD 50 billion CPEC is a connectivity project and will not affect its stand that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through talks.
The BRI will bring tangible benefits to those who are participating in the project at an early date, Geng said.
BRI has been included in the CPC Constitution as part of President Xi’s ideological thought putting more pressure on Chinese officials to work for early harvest from the massive amount of investment being poured by China in Pakistan and other countries.