PM prefers Buddha Purnima to China meet

PM prefers Buddha Purnima to China meet

India will highlight its Buddhist links with the rest of Asia around the same time next month when China will host foreign leaders to drum up support for its One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend the OBOR conclave in Beijing on May 14 and 15. Modi will, however, visit Sri Lanka on May 12 for the 14th United Nations Day of Vesak (Buddha Purnima) celebrations – an event, which will give him an opportunity to underline India’s centuries-old Buddhist links with East, South and Southeast Asia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was keen to invite Modi to the OBOR conclave, but New Delhi remained firm in its opposition to China’s ambitious connectivity initiative and decided against any high-level representation from India.

India is opposed to the OBOR as one of its component, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is proposed to pass through areas that it claims to be integral parts of its territory, albeit under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. New Delhi is also wary of China’s bid to use OBOR to expand its geopolitical influence in the region and build strategic assets encircling India.

Modi instead accepted an invitation from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to inaugurate the UN Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo.

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