ALSO READIndia's stance on Belt and Road Initiative wavering, says China India should join silk road project for mutual interest: Chinese diplomat China to benefit more from CPEC than Pakistan will: Report CPEC won't lead to new colonialism in Pakistan: China Daily CPEC, Road and Belt not a target against India: Chinese Foreign Minister
China today held a special session to promote its ambitious 'Belt and Road Initiative', which India is strongly opposing, at the World Road Meeting (WRM) organised by an international body and supported by NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, among others.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, however, sought to disassociate itself from the session with an official later saying that "neither the ministry approved any such session nor the organisers apprised it about any such matter".
The International Road Federation (IRF), a Geneva-based body which is organising the four-day event from November 14 on the outskirts of the national capital, said in a statement that the China Highway and Transportation Society (CHTS) held a special session at WRM to promote its Belt and Road Initiative as well as introduce China's development of transport and newer technologies.
This comes against the backdrop of India consistently objecting to the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of BRI and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has boycotted China's Belt and Road forum on sovereignty concerns and has been mounting diplomatic pressure in this regard.
"Any representation of this initiative (BRI) does not change or alter the position of India," official sources said when asked about today's session at WRM.
The statement quoted, President CHTS Mengyong Weng as saying, "To promote and implement the 'Belt and Road Initiative' worldwide the CHTS has proposed to establish the Belt and Road International Transport Alliance'(BRITA) to promote the idea and achievements among the member countries and regions of the initiative."
The Belt and Road Initiative will not only focus on Asian, European and African countries but will also be open to all other countries, Weng was quoted as saying in the statement.
"China will contribute 14.5 billion US dollars to the silk road fund and two Chinese banks will be lending 55 billion US dollars to member countries," he said.
The statement also quoted Weng as saying that the proposed initiative will help bring peace and cooperation apart from economic prosperity in various regions.
To bring in more openness among countries and regions the CHTS has proposed to set up a Non-political and a non-government body named Belt and Road International Transport Alliance (BRITA) ,this will help ward off the fears of BRI as detrimental to stability and create a big one family of countries en route the silk road, Weng said.
A Road Transport and Highways Ministry official said they "completely disassociate with any such special session. Neither the organisers reported about any such session nor we approved it."
On being asked about the Ministry supporting the event, the official said the Ministry supported the Global Road Meet like it does to other such events.
Besides, the Road Ministry and NITI Aayog, others listed as 'supporting organisations' include NHAI, EXIM Bank, CII, Assocham and World Bank.