India has rejected China's invitation to attend the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meeting, which is scheduled to take place later this month. This is the second time, India has turned down official invite from China to attend its BRI forum. The first time, India boycotted the meeting was in the year 2017.
This year in March, the Chinese authorities sent an official invitation to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), but the Indian government turned down the invite, owing to its concern over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The Indian government has resolutely maintained that Beiing's BRI project undermines India's sovereignty in the form of CPEC which runs through the disputed territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and overrides India's strategic concerns.
In response to a question about India's concerns over the Belt and Road Initiative and whether India would take part in the second BRF meet, India's Ambassador to China Vikram Misri in March told the state-run Global Times that, "No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity".
In addition to this, China's latest attempt to block India's bid to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist for the fourth time, is another reason why India has boycotted the BRI meet.
India along with the US and several other countries have been highlighting the concerns over the BRI projects, leaving a number of smaller countries in debt traps.
The concerns grew louder after China took control of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port in 2017 on a 99-year lease as debt swap.
BRI is a pet project of President Xi Jinping aimed at expanding the China's influence all over the world with a chain of infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investments.
This year, representatives from over 100 countries, including about 40 leaders of governments, will attend the second Belt and Road Forum.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among those who have confirmed their participation.
Italy is the first European nation that has signed up for China's multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative despite skepticism from its EU counterparts and US.
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