China failed to get India’s support for its ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure project at the end of a foreign ministers’ meeting of a major security bloc on Tuesday, ahead of an ice-breaking trip to China this week by India’s prime minister.
|Foreign ministers and officials of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) attend a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, April 24, 2018. Reuters
The Belt and Road is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s landmark scheme to build infrastructure to connect China to the rest of Asia and beyond, a giant reworking of its old Silk Road.
India has not signed up to the initiative as parts of one key project, the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, runs through Pakistan-administered Kashmir that India considers its own territory.
Whether or not China will be able to bring India round to Belt and Road will likely be a key measure of the success of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to China to meet Xi for an informal meeting on Friday and Saturday.
But India’s foreign minister did not express support for Belt and Road in the communique released after foreign ministers of the China and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization met in Beijing.
India, along with Pakistan, joined the group last year.
All the other foreign ministers - from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - “reaffirmed support for China’s Belt and Road proposal”, the statement read.
It gave no further explanation.
The communique otherwise was a broad expression of unity by the ministers on issues ranging from their support for the Iran nuclear deal to the need to combat the spread of extremism.
Modi is coming to China as efforts at rapprochement gather pace following a difficult year in ties between the two neighbors.Reuters