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India slams Pak-China’s proposal to invite third countries in CPEC projects

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NEW DELHI : India has taken umbrage at the invitation extended by Pakistan and China, allowing third countries to join and invest in the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects—a pet project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“We have seen reports on encouraging proposed participation of third countries in so-called CPEC projects. Any such actions by any party directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Shri Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

India’s response came days after the third meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination (JWG-ICC) where all-weather allies Pakistan and China expressed interest in inviting other countries to make investments in the project.

“As an open and inclusive platform, both sides welcomed interested third parties to benefit from avenues for mutually beneficial cooperation opened up by CPEC,” the Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.

CPEC is a combination of transport and energy projects that will largely centre on an economic corridor from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.

India’s opposition to CPEC stems from the fact that the proposed economic corridor traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

China has been defending the CPEC, saying it is an economic project not aimed at any third country.

“India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan,” Bagchi said.

“Such activities are inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable, and will be treated accordingly by India,” he added.

Originally valued at $47 billion, the value of CPEC projects is worth $62 billion as of 2020, according to BBC.

Though it has not been revealed who might be investing in the project, a Global Times report on January 16 suggested that Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany might come on board.

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