India Wednesday indicated towards boycotting China's second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, voicing its concern that no country can engage in an initiative that disregards its principal concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India had skipped the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) meet in the year 2017 after lodging a protest with Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that runs through the disputed territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and overrides India's strategic concerns.
Launched in 2015, the CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's North Western region of Xinjiang with Pakistan's Gwadar port on the Arabian sea.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said that China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF next month which will also be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speculation is rife whether India would attend the second BRF as China has deepened its commitment to expand the $60 billion CPEC project.
India's Ambassador to China Vikram Misri told the state-run Global Times that "above all, connectivity initiatives must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations".
"No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," he replied to a question about India's concerns over the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and whether India would take part in the second BRF meet.
The Indian envoy's interview was carried by the daily on Wednesday.
"To be honest, we have made no secret of our views and our position on the BRI is clear and consistent and one that we have conveyed to the authorities concerned." Misri cleared.
"India shares the global aspiration to strengthen connectivity and it is an integral part of our economic and diplomatic initiatives. We ourselves are working with many countries and international institutions in our region and beyond on a range of connectivity initiatives," the Indian envoy stated.
Misri further added that the connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance and rule of law.
They must emphasise social stability and environmental protection and preservation, promote skill and technology transfers and follow principles of openness, transparency and financial sustainability.
India along with the US and several other countries have for long been highlighting their concerns over the BRI projects saying that they are not transparent and are aimed at ensnaring smaller, cash-strapped countries in debt traps to help China's geopolitical agenda.
The concerns grew louder after China took control of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port in 2017 on a 99-year lease as debt swap.