The state-run Chinese media on Friday said that India should shed its concerns over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) after Britain endorsed the $46 million project.
An article in Global Times also asked India to sign up the Silk Road project.
“The news offers a positive signal that the CPEC has received an increasing amount of attention from developed economies,” it said. The UK’s international trade minister Greg Hands held a roundtable with leading UK businesses, policy experts and senior representatives of the Chinese and Pakistani governments earlier this week.
“The UK is poised to be a key partner of the CPEC,” an official British government statement said in an endorsement of the project even though it goes through the Gilgit and Baltistan area of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) over which India has protested.
“New Delhi is yet to sign up for the Belt & Road (Silk Road) initiative and has claimed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) violates its sovereignty because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” the Global Times article said.
“China’s enormous investment in the CPEC has become an inharmonious factor in Sino-Indian ties. However, it would be unwise to think that increasing investment in the CPEC means a lack of respect for India’s sovereignty,” it said.
The article said that such ideas could lead to unnecessary opposition between India and the West as developed countries show an increased interest in the CPEC and China’s Belt and Road (B&R) initiative. “The CPEC is simply an economic project. Beijing has no intention to use to the B&R initiative to recognise any geopolitical spheres of influence. Hopefully China’s open mind towards cooperation on the B&R initiative can help dispel misgivings held by India and some other countries,” it said.
There is great potential for developed economies, like the UK, to join CPEC and other projects in B&R initiative, it said. China is likely to welcome enterprises from the UK and other developed nations to participate in construction of the CPEC which has long been seen a flagship project in the B&R initiative, the article said. The B&R initiative not only provides a platform for China and countries along the route to enhance cooperation, but also adheres to the principle of openness and inclusiveness in global economic development, it said.
Currently, China is encouraging wider participation from developed economies in the initiative, it said. In March, New Zealand signed a cooperation agreement with China on the B&R initiative, a first for Western developed countries.
A B&R initiative summit, to be held in Beijing in May, will also provide an opportunity to enhance cooperation between China and developed countries, the article said. The steady development of the CPEC has made Pakistan more attractive to foreign investment, it claimed.
Some Western developed countries, as the traditional foreign trade partners of many emerging economies along the B&R initiative, have a clear intent to increase trade with those countries, Pakistan included, it said. Additionally, Pakistan’s nuclear power sector and other high-tech industries are also likely to gain more opportunities if developed economies participate in the construction of the CPEC, the article said.
(With PTI inputs)