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China building biggest infrastructure project in history

20 May 2017

China on Tuesday challenged India to clarify its call for a "meaningful dialogue" on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) despite Beijing saying that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an economic project with no implications for the Kashmir issue.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, asked whether New Delhi was participating in the summit, said India could not accept a project that compromised its sovereignty. Various economic corridors are on the cards too, including Pakistan, Mongolia and Bangladesh.

"It's very important for us and our companies that the calls for our projects under the Belt and Road initiative are transparent, that they are non-discriminatory, and that they comply with worldwide standards", German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries said at the trade panel yesterday. Beijing would not get involved in disputes India and Pakistan, he said.

China's foreign ministry also said the "doors" for India to join the BRI would always be open.

India's main objection is the partnership China is developing with Pakistan.

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He said rapid digitalization and next generation connectivity are at the heart of our agenda for transforming into a knowledge-based economy.

Also yesterday, the Philippine defense minister, who was at the Beijing meeting, said he signed a letter of intent with a Chinese military contractor to purchase weapons for Manila's army, navy and air force.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has congratulated the Chinese president for visionary initiative of "One Belt -One Road" (OBOR) and commended the efforts of the government and people of China for making this forum a historic global event of the region and the world at large.

Among others, the initiative seeks to build a network of infrastructure connecting China to Asia, Europe and Africa in the form of highways, bridges, sea ports and industrial parks.

India's ties with China soured after the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which was followed by the neighbouring nation renaming parts of the state to "standardised" Chinese names.

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The two-day Belt and Road Forum is being attended by leaders from 29 countries, including Pakistan, has been boycotted by India due to sovereignty concerns over the Dollars 50 billion CPEC.

China has used the first worldwide conference on its Belt and Road initiative to push key infrastructure projects forward, though private-sector support remains tepid.

Describing India as the "onlooker", the Global Times on Monday said in its report that New Delhi appeared more anxious than the (actual) players.

While he said "perception can become more powerful than the reality", he added that China "remains a very closed trade and investment market especially when compared to the USA".

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China building biggest infrastructure project in history