KOLKATA: Parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said China should consider diverting its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) via Kolkata or Mumbai ports instead of passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir which India is opposed to.
Swamy claimed that the senior leadership of China were well disposed to the suggestion when he discussed it with them during his visit to the country.
"BRI is a wonderful concept, but it has affected India as the present proposal passes through the PoK," the Rajya Sabha MP said while addressing a seminar here.
BRI is China's global economic initiative for connecting with Europe, Africa and the rest of Asia through road and maritime routes with a focus on infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors.
Swamy suggested that instead of passing through PoK, the BRI corridor can enter India from Kunming in southwestern China and from Kolkata Port it can take the sea route through the Bay of Bengal.
Otherwise, it can enter India from Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh bypassing Kailash Manasarovar in Tibet and reach Mumbai Port through western India, he said.
"BRI has large advantages that India must enjoy and if the Chinese are willing to accommodate this and not go through parts of Kashmir, we will be in a position to gain in terms of international trade and bilateral relations," Swamy said.
India has retraced its path from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as it has a negative balance of trade with the countries in the forum, Swamy said while addressing a seminar on "Peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, organised by strategic affairs thinktank 'Ceners-K'.