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China today said it would like India to be part of the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) that seeks to link Asia with Europe, adding if concerns of sovereignty over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was a hurdle, they would be "resolved." "India is an important partner of the Belt and Road Initiative.
It was, remains and will be so in the future," Liu Jinsong, Minister at the Embassy of China in India, said. "Without hesitation, the Chinese side sincerely invites the Indian side to join many BRI forums, including the Forum to be held next month," Liu said. "If this (concerns over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is the only reason that affects Indian friends' will to join the Belt and Road Initiative, this concern could be resolved," he said. He was addressing a conference on "The Belt and Road Initiative: India's perspectives on China's ambitious plan for infrastructural connectivity in Asia, Africa and Europe," organised by Observer Research Foundation here. "Transportation is the basis of CPEC, and connectivity between China and Pakistan will unavoidably pass through PoK area," he said. "China has no intention to interfere in territorial and sovereignty disputes between India and its neighbours," he said, adding that China's position on the Kashmir issue has not changed either. "President Xi Jinping will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from May 14 to 15 in Beijing. Leaders of 28 countries and the UN Secretary-General will attend the Forum," he said. Referring to the debate on whether India should join the Belt and Road Initiative, he said, "India has always been on the Belt and Road", and cited travels of explorers from both the countries. "The Belt and Road Initiative is an inheritance, revival and upgrade of the ancient Silk Route," he said. The two countries should resume common efforts and work to revive the Silk Route, he said. "In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which aims to provide financial support for infrastructure construction in countries along the BRI routes," he said. "India gave a positive response to China's proposal and held the second round of negotiation working group meeting in Mumbai. India contributed 8 billion US dollars and became the second largest shareholder at the AIIB," he said. "Over 40 countries have signed the BRI cooperation agreements with China. At the Forum next month, another over 40 countries and international organisations will discuss and sign cooperation agreements with China," he said. "China and India, each with over 1.3 billion people, are still not connected by railways," he said. There are only 40-plus direct flights between the two countries each week, considerably less than 1,000 direct flights per week between China and South Korea, he said. Liu also referred to reports of a 61-year-old postman journeying through the Nathula Pass to exchange mail bags every day for 25 years, calling him "a civil envoy" promoting China-India friendship and connectivity.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)