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Outcomes of OBOR Summit

Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is a gathering of world leaders from across the globe, organized by China to showcase its plans to build a network of trade routes under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. As of now, 68 countries and international organisations have signed belt and road agreements with China. China has stated that the Belt and Road initiative is an open and inclusive platform to explore and co-develop the China-led blueprint of reviving the Silk Road.
India, however, has boycotted the summit owing to sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.

Outcomes

The two-day Belt and Road Forum identified and agreed on 270 deliverable goals of Belt and Road Initiative.The Forum resulted in signing of a joint communique by 30 heads of state that promised to implement plans for cooperation in trade and infrastructure programs across Asia, Europe and Africa. However, the forum ended with only promises of joint action by participating countries and did not result in establishment of an institutional framework for implementing the planned construction program.
The Signatories to the joint communique also pledged their support for promoting a rules-based, open and multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core.
China has assured the participating countries that it would not attempt to push a country’s political ideologies and systems onto another country during the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China has taken the first step to institutionalise the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) by announcing that the next edition of the BRF would be held in Beijing in 2019 indicating that China will continue to control the Belt and Road Initiative.

Infrastructure Deals

Although India skipped the initiative, 6 of its neighbours namely Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Afghanistan attended the summit and signed 20 infrastructure deals with China at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF). They have also sought China’s financial help for advancing infrastructure, power, banking and finance sectors.

OBOR

OBOR is an ambitious China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade that will that will connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. OBOR initiative is part of China’s revived 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger role in global affairs as a major global power. It is basically investment and trade promotion scheme aiming to deepen economic connections between China and rest of the world.

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India to Skip OBOR summit in China

India will skip the two day grand OBOR summit organised by China to showcase its plans to build a network of trade routes under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is an ambitious China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade that will that will connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

The summit is expected to be attended by nearly 65 countries. However, only 20 heads of state is expected to attend the summit. The US and Japan who were initially reluctant to attend the summit have decided to send a representative at the last minute. India, however, has refused to send any representative owing to sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  

The countries like Russia, South Korea, France, Germany and UK will send either ministerial or official delegations to the summit. As far as india’s neighbours are concerned, Pakistan is sending the largest delegation consisting of four chief ministers and five federal ministers. Others like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives will also have official representations. Bhutan will not participate as it has no diplomatic relations with China.  

India’s Concerns

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a 3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR initiative of China. The CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The Chinese presence in the disputed region has raised sovereignty concerns for India. The Gwadar Port offers China to have its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and to the Indian Ocean. Already, China has plans to station its marines in Djibouti in Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean. The other projects under the OBOR in South and South East Asia also have security implications for India.
Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.

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China announces names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh

China has unilaterally announced ‘standardised’ names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh. It is felt that Chinese move comes as a retaliation against Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Experts feel that China’s announcement is aimed at reaffirming its territorial sovereignty over the region.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, change of names was a legitimate action carried out in line with Chinese law.

China has named the six places in Arunachal Pradesh with Roman alphabet as Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri. The name Wo’gyainling is likely to be given to the Ugyen Ling monastery (birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama), Qoidêngarbo Ri is likely to be the name given to Choten Karpo Ri, Mainquka is likely to be Mechuka in West Siang district and Bümo La is likely to be Bumla.

During the visit of Dalai Lama, Union minister of state for home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, had categorically asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable and integral part of India.

Background

During the recent visit of Dalai Lama China issued warnings and repeated calls to cancel his visit. But India turned down his request saying that Dalai Lama is free to travel across the country.

According to China, Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet and has close Buddhist links to the Tibet Autonomous Region. Official Chinese maps show Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet. The Indo-China border dispute ensues the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). So far both the have held 19 rounds of talks to resolve the boundary dispute.

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