Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel — the brainchild of China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s — as the mantra for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.
Despite India’s decision to skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF), the once special relationship between New Delhi and Beijing echoed during the opening session of the conclave. In his keynote address, President Xi highlighted that China “will enhance friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the Belt and Road Initiative on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence”.
He added: “We are ready to share the experience of development with other countries. We have no intention to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, export our own social system or model of development, or impose our own will on others.”
Mr. Xi emerged as the new defender of globalisation, countering the resistance to open economic borders in the U.S. and parts of Europe, with a solid integrative plan, during his address to 29 world leaders and representatives from countries across the continents.
India’s decision to stay away has raised eyebrows here, as other countries such as Japan and Vietnam, which have serious maritime disputes with China, have sent high-level official delegations, to the BRF.
The United States has also made a U-turn, by dispatching a delegation, led by White House adviser Matt Pottinger. Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara are the other South Asian leaders that are attending the BRF.
Overriding India’s strong opposition to projects in areas of contested sovereignty in Kashmir, China and Pakistan on Saturday reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entailing a mega-investment of up to 50 billion dollars in power projects along the Indus River Cascade (IRC), which runs through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan area. The IRC, which has a potential to generate 40,000 MW of power, begins at Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber Pakhtunwa.