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CPEC should not be politicised, says Sharif

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Prime Minister today said that the multi-billion dollar was an economic project open to all nations in the region and it "must not be politicised", taking pot-shots at for boycotting China's high-profile Belt and Road Forum.

skipped the meeting due to its concerns over the China-Economic Corridor (CPEC), which goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, few Indian scholars attended the opening session of the two-day "Belt and Road" conference here that brought together leaders from 29 nations.

"Let me make it very clear that is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. It has no geographical boundaries. It must not be politicised," Sharif said in his speech at the inaugural session of the forum, defending the project over which has raised objections.

Stating that has emerged as core and flagship project of China's One Belt and One Road (OBOR), he said, "OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation. We see it as a path for overcoming terrorism and extremism."

In implementing "we are not striving to merely leverage geography for economic prosperity, we are also trying to build peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood," he told the gathering.

"It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through diplomacy and leave legacy of peace for future generations," Sharif said without directly referring to

Sharif, who is leading a large delegation and clinched more Chinese finance for six more projects of the CPEC, said "the fact is that OBOR belongs to all of us, those who are participating in it and those who are not as yet. OBOR has truly become a global community."

"As OBOR unfolds across continents we see it fostering inclusion, creating tolerance and promoting acceptance of cultural diversity," he said.

He said believes that the most powerful impact of OBOR will be on the lives of poor and marginalised people who would have higher incomes, better education and health facilities. It would help eradicating poverty, he added.

"The is core project of OBOR. In fact it has been rightly called its flagship because it aims to connect neighbourhoods of East and West Asia. makes both a conduit, destination for cross regional investment and trade," he said.

Terming as Pakistan's "close friend and trusted ally", he said his participation at the forum was to celebrate the remarkable success of the seminal initiative of OBOR.

He also said that infrastructure, energy and industrial projects under are moving as envisaged.

Many of them would be completed before their timelines. Unprecedented economic social and cultural benefits will accrue from the not just for people of but also the people of the entire region, he said.

"Through a resolute will and sound planning as well as steadfast support of our Chinese friends, we shaped an enabling environment for to take off," he said.

He said is also producing new entrepreneurs and creating new jobs and attracting international investment.

Playing down differences over the project among different provinces in his country, Sharif said, "the is owned and nurtured by all citizens of It is also fully compatible with our own vision 2025 which invests our own resources in multiple corridors of regional cooperation including energy, industry trade and transportation.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 14 2017. 13:42 IST