China plays down India's fear on CPEC and Kashmir

China plays down India's fear on CPEC and Kashmir

"We reaffirm our shared commitment to build open economy, ensure free and inclusive trade, oppose all forms of protectionism including in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative", the communique said.

"China would never force any country to participate in the Belt and Road initiative if it was too sceptical and nervous to do so".

On the concluding day of the two-day One Belt and Road (OBOR) summit being held here, China said Monday that India will have a very?small role? to play should it ever decide to join the initiative in the future.

China today dismissed India's concerns over the Belt and Road initiative, saying the mega venture has broad global support and the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which is a part of it will not affect Beijing's stand on Kashmir.

Proposed in 2013b by Xi, the Belt and Road Initiative is a grand plan to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond, ancient trade routes by putting in place an unparalleled trade and infrastructure network.

Participants in the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation adopted a joint communique.

Pointing out that enhancing physical connectivity should bring greater economic benefits to all in an equitable and balanced manner, he said, "We are working with many countries and worldwide institutions in support of physical and digital connectivity in our own immediate and near neighbourhood".

Other governments welcome Chinese investment in a region the Asian Development Bank says needs to spend $7 trillion this decade on ports, railways and other facilities to keep economies growing. In answer to a question after his Fullerton Lecture in Singapore, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar (a former Ambassador to China) rightly described BRI as China's national initiative, adding that ‚if...a country is going ahead with implementing a national initiative, it's not incumbent on other countries to necessarily buy it.

Fifth, India should quickly complete connectivity projects with neighbours in the Indian sub-continent, South-East Asia and the Gulf.

Customs clearance time for agricultural produce exported from Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries to China has been cut by 90 percent, Xi noted.

"Our ambition is for more trade not less trade, and China clearly shares this ambition".

Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating some 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue and 180,000 jobs for them.

For his part, Gentiloni said the just-concluded Belt and Road forum had sent a positive signal to the world economy and global trade. China will also provide $290m in emergency food aid to developing countries along the belt and road.

"All these (developments) show that the Belt and Road Initiative responds to the trend of the times, conforms to the law of development, and meets the people's interests", it said.

India gave the two-day mega Belt and Road conference a miss, raising objection to the CPEC corridor which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that New Delhi claims as its own. Some of the projects could be in development for years.