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China asks India again to join corridor project, wants representation in Beijing meet

New Delhi: China on Saturday made a fresh pitch to New Delhi to join its ambitious economic corridor project that passes through Pakistan and said India will immensely benefit as CPEC aspires to boost regional connectivity.

One major concern for India is that the project passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

But China has been trying to rope in India, a major economic powerhouse, without which Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative may seem a distant dream.

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) spokesperson Fu Ying said India will benefit from the project as “The Belt and Road (initiative) is a connectivity programme for economic development”.

“So we need to bear in mind the larger picture,” India Today quoted Fu as saying.

Fu’s remarks came a day ahead of the annual 10-day session of the NPC, which will approve economic policies for the next year, the report said.

During the February 22 strategic dialogue in Beijing, China had once again expressed interest in India’s sending a representative to a BRI summit.

India’s visiting Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had conveyed to China that the CPEC was part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and “violates Indian sovereignty because it runs through PoK”.

“The issue is not about connectivity per se,” Jaishankar said.

Replying to a question on the recently concluded India-China strategic dialogue in Beijing regarding China’s stand on Masood Azhar and India’s BRI concerns, Fu said it was natural to have differences but both sides “need to be more sensitive to each other’s concerns, so we can better address them.”

“We cannot allow issues that cannot be worked out for the moment to stop us from moving forward,” he added.

Fu, a former Vice Foreign Minister, said bilateral ties have “advanced rapidly”, particularly on the trade front – from around $2 billion in 1990s to $70 billion last year.

“I thought I would never see $20 billion in my lifetime, and last year it exceeded $70 billion,” she said.

Source: Zee News