India refused to endorse China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) during the concluding of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao on Sunday. India was the only country out of the eight nations who refused to endorse this high profile Chinese project.
Citing his decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that any mega connectivity project must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries giving assurance that India will support projects which ensure inclusivity. This rejection comes after China proposed to connect to Pakistan Economic Corridor that would pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
It is for the first time an Indian prime minister is attending the SCO summit post India and Pakistan became a full-fledged member of the organisation, jointly dominated by China and Russia.
Contradictorily, leaders of Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have signed a declaration at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) "reaffirming" their support for China's Belt and Road Initiative at the summit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed to work with the six-member grouping to combat terror, enhance connectivity and create an environment for boosting trade by easing barriers.
According to a report by the Indianexpress: India was made an observer in the SCO in 2005 and it made an application last year for full membership of the grouping whose focus is on connectivity, counter-terrorism cooperation, bolstering cooperation in energy sector, enhancing trade and dealing with drug trafficking.
Modi in a meeting with the Chinese President on Saturday expressed willingness to move beyond their differences on issues like the border dispute and cooperate in a range of other areas.
Earlier, Modi, in the presence Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, said India's commitment to connectivity projects were reflected in its involvement in the International North South Corridor project, development of the Chabahar port and the Ashgabat agreement.
However,Modi had said that the priority for people-to-people contact and exchange of ideas should be given due priority and that India welcomes the concept of "open doors".
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe. The Ashgabat agreement is a transport agreement among several Gulf and Central Asian countries which is aimed at creating a transit corridor to spur trade and investment. India has been supporting the project.(The Pioneer)
Modi announced that India will host an SCO food festival and a comprehensive exhibition on Buddhist heritage. He also complimented China's initiative to organise an SCO film festival and SCO world heritage exhibition. In his address, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced offering a 30 billion yuan (USD 4.7 billion) loan to SCO for joint projects.