NEW DELHI: India on Thursday said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative “lacked respect for New Delhi’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in fresh criticism of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) remarks come amid China hosting the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
Reacting to the summit, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that unlike in the past, India had not been invited by China to this year’s Belt and Road Forum.
“I don’t think we received an invitation this year,” he said at his weekly media briefing in reply to a question.
He added that India’s position on BRI, especially its “lack of respect for our sovereignty and territorial integrity are well known and consistent”.
Notably, there has been increasing global criticism of the BRI by several participating countries.
Recently, Italy announced that it plans to exit BRI by the end of this year since it failed to meet its expectations.
India has been severely critical of the BRI as the project includes the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir.
In his remarks, Bagchi also referred to a statement issued by New Delhi in May 2017, when the first Belt and Road Forum was held.
Asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin attending this year’s Belt and Road Forum even as he skipped the G20 Summit in New Delhi weeks back, Bagchi said India is “loathe to link G20 participation with other things”.
(With inputs from PTI)

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