India did not endorse China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative at the just concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ meeting while the rest of the eight-member bloc backed the pet project of President Xi Jinping.
“The foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reiterated their support for the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ proposed by China,” said a joint statement issued by SCO Foreign Ministers at the end of their one-day meeting here today.
India’s name was conspicuously missing from the list of countries which endorsed the BRI in which China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a part.
“The parties support the use of the potential of countries, international organisations and multilateral institutions in the region to establish a broad, open and mutually beneficial partnership in the SCO region,” the statement said.
India and Pakistan were admitted into the organisation in which China and Russia are influential members.
The meeting was convened to approve the agenda for the SCO summit to be held in Chinese city of Qingdao in June. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the Summit.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting today. Indian officials have not reacted to the joint statement which was released in Chinese and Russian languages.
India has been vocal in expressing its opposition to CPEC which traverses through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The USD 50 billion CPEC is a flagship project of the BRI, a pet initiative of President Xi.
India had boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) organised by China last year in Beijing to register its opposition to the project.
China is spending vast sums of money in different parts of the world building connectivity projects under BRI, which critics say is aimed at furthering its global influence.
The BRI is expected to figure in the informal summit between Modi and Xi at Wuhan on April 27-28.
The SCO Foreign Ministers also pointed out that the government and people of Afghanistan have made efforts to achieve national reconciliation, build a peaceful, stable, unified and prosperous country, eliminate terrorism, extremism and drug crimes.