Belt and Road initiative lauded at SCO summit

Belt and Road initiative lauded at SCO summit

Belt and Road initiative lauded at SCO summit

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana saw its leaders lauding China’s Belt and Road initiative, although India, the new member of the bloc, remained opposed to it.

SCO leaders — President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of China Xi Jinping, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev — welcomed the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, according to a press release posted on the website of the regional organisation.

The statement read out by SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov during a news conference after the summit also had a reference to the leaders’ support to China’s initiative. The SCO summit declarations in 2014, 2015 and 2016, too, had lauded the OBOR initiative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech at the summit, reaffirmed India’s keenness to enhance connectivity with the SCO nations, but stressed that connectivity initiatives must respect sovereignty of the nations and regional integrity, and must be based on the principle of inclusivity.

New Delhi opposes OBOR as one of its component, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, infringes on the sovereignty of India since it passes through areas New Delhi accuses Islamabad of illegally occupying in Kashmir. India has also alleged that China embarked on the initiative without consulting it.

Sources in New Delhi, however, told DH that India attended the SCO summit as an observer and hence had no say on the content of the outcome document that was drafted by the officials of the member nations.

Since India is now a member of the SCO, it would be able to express its views and get its concerns reflected on the outcome documents of all future meetings and summits of the organisation, sources clarified. The press release stated that the leaders had praised “the outcomes of the Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum” held in Beijing on May 14 and May 15.