India has turned down an official invite from China to attend the second Belt and Road Forum meet scheduled to take place later this month.
India had boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in 2017 after protesting against the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) overriding India’s sovereignty concerns.
China has hoped that India would review its position on BRI and participate in the Forum after the remarkable turnaround in ties last year, as evident from the first informal summit between Indian PM and Chinese President In Wuhan in April 2018.
However,the progress made in Wuhan summit got weakened after China’s decision to again put on technical hold a UN resolution to ban Pakistan based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.This was the fourth time China had blocked the ban on Azhar.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving (a)regional integration, (b)increasing trade and (c)stimulating economic growth.
India along with the US and several other countries have been highlighting the concerns over the BRI projects which will leave a number of smaller countries in debt traps.The concerns grew louder after China took over Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on a 99-year lease as debt swap.