By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, May 16: After India raised public opposition and skipped China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit held in Beijing, the European Union(EU) has backed away from supporting a trade statement prepared by Beijing in a major blow to China’s so called ‘Project of the Century’.
India refrained from attending the summit held on Sunday primarily due to its reservations about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the initiative that passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) and lack of consultation by China prior to the launch of the ambitious initiative being another reason.
“Connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality” and “Avoid projects that would create an unsustainable debt burden for communities,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said in a hard worded statement against China, reports indiatimes.com.
India was reluctant from the start to get on board the BRI and China’s attempt to lure India went in vain as India didn’t budge despite China offering to change the name of CPEC if India wishes to join. India is the only country in Southeast Asia not to join the BRI.
The EU members, on their part, refused to endorse part of the multibillion-dollar plan because it did not include commitments to social and environmental sustainability and transparency.
United, EU’s 28 member states decided not to support a statement about trade prepared by Beijing to mark the end of the summit, reports The Guardian.
“We made clear that, for Europe, the Belt and Road initiative can only be a success if it’s based on transparency and co-ownership,” the report quoted one high-level EU diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.