India should dump 'cliche mentality' on Belt and Road initiative

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, March 30 (IANS) More and more countries joining China's Belt and Road initiative is proving embarrassing to India, which has opposed the route as it sees geopolitics in everything, a Chinese expert said on Thursday.

Lin Min Wang, Fellow with the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University, said India should stop opposing the Chinese-proposed Belt and Road initiative.

Writing in the Global Times, Lin said it was "high time to abandon the cliche mentality of associating everything with geopolitics. India will surely see a different world if it does".

A mega conference will be held in Beijing in May on the One Belt and One Road, a dream project of President Xi Jinping, which envisages linking Asia with Europe. Twenty heads of state and government will attend the summit.

New Delhi is yet to confirm its participation in the gathering.

India is opposed to the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key part of the Belt and Road that passes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir which is claimed by New Delhi.

"India sees the Belt and Road initiative as a geopolitical competition. The official reason the Indian government rejected the offer to join the initiative is that it is designed to pass Kashmir, a disputed area between India and Pakistan.

"However, it is just an unfounded excuse as Beijing has been maintaining a consistent position on the Kashmir issue, which has never changed."

"New Delhi may also feel embarrassed as Moscow has actively responded to the Belt and Road initiative and will build an economic corridor with China and Mongolia.

"Since the beginning of this year, there have been reports on Russia and Iran seeking to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which (may) put India in a more awkward position."

"On the one hand, India hopes to deepen economic cooperation with China to promote its 'Made in India' campaign, while on the other, it is concerned about China's expanding influence over South Asia.

"Considering the Belt and Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective inevitably complicates the issue...

"Whether to continue to boycott or join the Belt and Road remains a conundrum for New Delhi."