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India should join silk road project for mutual interest: Chinese diplomat

India boycotted Belt and Road Forum due to its sovereignty concerns over $50-bn CPEC

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China. File Photo: Reuters
Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China. File Photo: Reuters

A top Chinese diplomat on Wednesday said his country would like to look beyond mutual differences and join its ambitious in interest of the development of both countries.

"We will welcome joining (initiative) as both and are developing," said Chinese Consul-general in Kolkata Ma Zhanwu in the first media interaction by a Chinese diplomat in India after the recent in

Zhanwu was replying to a question whether would take any special initiative to get India to participate in the

"We have differences and some (of them) are of serious nature. But we should look beyond the differences and concentrate on shared interests for development," the Chinese diplomat said.

Zhanwu also reaffirmed that his country's ambitious Initiative, renamed as BRI, does not alter its stand on the India-dispute over Kashmir, saying it is a bilateral issue to be resolved only through negotiation.

The China-Economic Corridor (CPEC), an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative, does not affect China's position in Kashmir, he said.

"China's position is clear that this (Kashmir issue) is a dispute between India and left from the past and it is for them to resolve the dispute through negotiations," Zhanwu said.

Asked about addressing India's concerns and opposition over the passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Chinese consul said "the dispute was there before "

"is a project that's between and Pakistan and I think work has started (on it)," Zhanwu said when asked whether China would consider rethinking the CPEC alignment given India's concerns.

He, however, asserted that "CPEC does not affect China's position on Kashmir. China is neutral to this. It is for India and Pakistan to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiations," he said.

India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) held from May 14 to 15. The meeting was attended by 29 world leaders, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the $50 billion which passes through (PoK).

He also reasserted China's stand that was not meant for geopolitical manoeuvring and claimed that apprehensions in certain sections about this has no basis.

"Certain sections said that China is going to use this to encircle India," Zhanwu said.

"We have made it very clear that it will not be a geopolitical manoeuvring," he said.

"The Chinese president has made it clear that the initiative would not resort to the old practice of geopolitical manoeuvring," he said.

First Published: Wed, May 17 2017. 23:36 IST