Recently, India had openly boycotted China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project during the Doklam standoff and opposed the plan since its inception, but the MEA of India released a statement yesterday, saying that India is open to look into suggestions if its ‘sensitiveness’ is taken in account.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged India to find a way to join the OBOR initiative without sacrificing its position over it because the mega project would be ‘beneficial’. Within a couple of days, the Ministry of External Affairs of India passed a statement that displayed willingness to look into any suggestions if the sensitivity of India is taken into account. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “On this particular suggestion, also I think I have mentioned in the past that if there are suggestions, if there is a view which takes into account our sensitivities in the matter then there is something which we are willing to look at.”
India has been opposing the idea of OBOR since it was incepted because of its concerns over the 50-billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The problem is that CPEC is a part of the OBOR and hence, it pins straight through the sensitive areas of India, where it hurts. Henceforth, India’s opposition is justified and things even got worse after China’s invasion in the Doklam region. When Lavrov was asked about India’s opposition, he said, “The specific problem in this regard should not make everything else conditional for resolving political differences.”
Considering Russia to be an old ally, Indian MEA has opened up to the OBOR, but with terms and conditions. Now, the only hurdle is to see how and what ways will China and OBOR members handle India’s ‘sensitivity’. And it will be way more interesting to see if it will be good enough for India to jump on the OBOR board – but yes, this could lead to a very positive international aura in the South Asian region.