BEIJING: India’s new ambassador to China Vikram Misri has made it clear that India will not attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in April.
In an interview to Global Times, Misri said that though “elements of cooperation far outweigh elements of competition” between the two neighbours, “No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
India has refused to get on board President Xi Jinping’s multi-billion dollar BRI project because a major segment of it, called the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir, which India stakes claim to.
Even though India has publicly expressed unhappiness over China’s repeated blocking of India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the listing of Jaish e Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN for the fourth time last week, Misri said that “China is India’s biggest neighbour and we assign a very high priority to this relationship. Unlike some fifty years ago, when our relationship had a much narrower basis and there was not much communication, today we have what one would call a full-spectrum relationship.”
Misri, who took over from Gautam Bambawale in January, said his three main priorities would be to enhance economic cooperation while addressing the huge trade deficit in China’s favour, enhancing people to people contact to help build trust and understanding.
“India and China share common concerns and positions on many issues of regional and global importance such as climate change, energy security, counter-terrorism and the trading system,” he said.