INDIA WILL SKIP CHINA’s HIGH-PROFILE BELT AND ROAD SUMMIT :

India will skip China’s high-profile Belt and Road summit beginning on 14th. May in view of sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the initiative that is expected to play a dominant role in the two-day meet.  While there is no official word, informed sources said that India will not take part in the meet, contrary to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s announcement that India will have a representative at the Belt and Road Forum, a prestigious initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping.  “Although Indian leader is not here, India will have a representative,” Wang had told journalists here on April 17 without specifying who would be representing India.  It was a tough call for India to take as China in the last few days has managed to rope in a number of western countries, including the US which yesterday agreed to send a top official after Washington clinched a lucrative trade deal.  Playing down India’s absence at the meeting, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media yesterday that the Indian scholars would be attending the meeting.  The May 14-15 summit, which is expected to strengthen Xi’s power base will be attended by 29 heads of state and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.  A number of other countries, including South Korea, France, Germany and UK, have deputed either ministerial or official delegations.  India’s decision to skip the meeting came after a year of bilateral discord over China’s stubborn opposition to India’s entry into the NSG and a UN ban against Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar. In the last few days, China has tried to assuage India’s feelings by asserting that the commercial corridor will not have any impact on its stand that the Kashmir issue should be settled by India and Pakistan through dialogue.   The Rediff.com : 13th. May,17

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