India prez: One Belt, One Road initiative should reflect common interest

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Devendra Bhattarai, New Delhi

May 25, 2016-

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said that projects such as the China-led One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative “should be governed by commonly agreed international norms and practices and should reflect” the interest of all the concerned parties.

China is rallying the support of Asian countries including Nepal to push this mega Asian project. Nepal expressed its commitment to supporting the project during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s India visit in the third week of March.

In an interview with the Chinese official Xinhua News Agency before his China visit, Mukherjee said, “A better connected Asia requires that all the countries consult together on determining the best way forward.”

Mukharjee said, “Building connectivity is an important aspect of our national development. In India, a number of projects are being undertaken in cooperation with other countries.”

“India views OBOR as a unilateral attempt by cash-rich China to build road and sea connectivity projects across Asia without taking on board other countries concerned and raising apprehension of implications of the project on the national interests and security of these countries,” reported Indian newspaper The Economic Times. This project was introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an expressed purpose of promoting economic cooperation in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Xinhua organised a seminar in Kathmandu on May 22 with some Nepali and Chinese experts on the OBOR initiative.

Nepal extended its support to the China-driven project during Prime Minister Oli’s China visit in the third week of April this year.

The joint statement issued after PM’s visit said that “both sides agreed to synergise each other’s development planning, formulate appropriate bilateral cooperation programmes and carry out major projects” under the OBOR framework.

Published: 25-05-2016 07:56

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