China offers to rename OBOR to allay India’s fears

Luo Zhaohui

Luo Zhaohui  

Outlines a four-point solution to ‘manage differences’

China is prepared to consider renaming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) if it would end India’s reservations over its One Belt One Road (Or Belt and Road Initiative) passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the Chinese Ambassador to India said here, insisting that the OBOR has no connection to “sovereignty disputes.”

The offer was made by Luo Zhaohui on Friday during a closed-door interaction at the United Services Institution, a military think-tank in Delhi.

Mr. Luo outlined a 4-point solution to “manage differences” between India and China, including a new treaty on cooperation, restarting talks on a free trade agreement (FTA), an early resolution to the border issue and aligning the B&R with India’s “Act East policy.”

Territorial dispute

“China has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan,” Mr. Luo told the audience of mostly retired armed service officers.

“The CPEC is for promoting economic cooperation and connectivity. It has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues. Even we can think about renaming the CPEC,” Mr. Luo said, referring to India’s public opposition to the inclusion of projects that lie in PoK’s area of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Contacted by The Hindu , the MEA did not respond to the ambassador’s comments. India has thus far refused to confirm or regret its attendance at China’s Belt and Road Forum to be held in Beijing on May 14-15. According to the Chinese government more than 100 countries will participate, and all SAARC countries minus India have already signed on to the 60-nation infrastructure initiative first proposed in 2013. No official Indian participation has been indicated so far.

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