India signals openness for talks on BRI with China

India signals openness for talks on BRI with China

India on Thursday said that it was open to "any effort" to address its concerns on the Belt and Road Initiative of China.

"India is open to any effort that could address our legitimate concerns on (Belt and Road Initiative of China)," Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

His remark came a day after spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government, Hua Chunying, told journalists in Beijing that India's position on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China was "quite wavering".

India has since long been opposing the cross-continental connectivity initiative of China.

New Delhi has been arguing that connectivity initiatives must be "based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality".

"Our position on connectivity is clear, it is principled and consistent," Kumar said, reacting to Hua's comment.

Kumar underlined that the proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a component of the BRI, would infringe on the sovereignty of India.

The CPEC will link Kashgar in Xinjiang in north-western China and a deep sea port at Gwadar in Balochistan in south-western Pakistan. New Delhi has been opposed to the economic corridor as it is proposed to pass through parts of Kashmir India claims as its own and accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying.

Beijing, however, reiterated on Wednesday that the CPEC was an economic cooperation project and it was not targeted at any third party and did not involve territorial disputes.

New Delhi on Thursday reiterated its stand on the BRI but signalled that it would be ready to discuss the issue with Beijing.

This comes after Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev, said in New Delhi on Tuesday that Moscow would like Beijing and New Delhi to resolve their differences on the BRI.

New Delhi apparently does not want to be seen shying away from a dialogue with Beijing on the issue of connectivity, particularly as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to host her Russian and Chinese counterparts - Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi - for the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting next month.

Hua, too, on Wednesday said in Beijing that China remained "quite open and inclusive to cooperation involving the BRI".

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