Press Trust of india

Inclusion of CPEC under OBOR shows lack of appreciation of India's concerns on sovereignty: Govt

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New Delhi, Jun 26: The inclusion of 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' (CPEC), which passes through parts of Pakistan-administered- Kashmir, as a flagship project of OBOR reflects lack of appreciation of India's concerns on the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the government said on Wednesday.

In a written response to a question in Lok Sabha, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, said India has conveyed to the Chinese side its concerns and has asked them to stop their activities in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir.

"Government's position on China's 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) or 'Belt and Road Initiative' (BRI) has been clear and consistent. The inclusion of the so-called 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' (CPEC), which passes through parts of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan, as a flagship project of OBOR/BRI, reflects lack of appreciation of India's concerns on the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

Expansion and strengthening of connectivity is an integral part of India's economic and diplomatic initiatives, but at the same time, the government is of the firm belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized international norms, he stated.

"They must follow principles of openness, transparency and financial responsibility and must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations," he said.

Elaborating on government's plans to use economic development projects as a foreign policy tool in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, he said India has a robust development cooperation agenda that constitutes a significant dimension of its close and multi-faceted ties with many partner countries, including in India's neighbourhood.

Extension of Lines of Credit (LOCs) on concessional terms is an important component of this development partnership in diverse areas of socio-economic development such as power, transport, connectivity, agriculture and irrigation, manufacturing industries, water and sanitation, healthcare, he said.

As part of the LOC programme, 279 LOCs have been extended to 63 countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, Oceania and Commonwealth of Independent States worth nearly USD 28 billion, he said.

Of this, 254 projects aggregating nearly USD 4.70 billion have been completed, while 194 projects worth nearly USD 19 billion are under implementation.  These include 94 connectivity projects in five countries in India's immediate neighbourhood being taken up with LOC worth nearly USD 6.6 billion, he added.

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