On his maiden visit to the Trump White House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured Trump’s endorsement on India’s objections to China’s growing ‘open trade corridors’ initiatives that would connect it to Central Asia. A joint statement in reference to the two leaders’ meeting told that both leaders support transparency in infrastructure development while ensuring sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time urging other nations to do the same.
China has proposed a new project by the name ‘New Silk Route’, a trade corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Indian government has objected to this project in terms that the construction and plans violate India’s territorial sovereignty, an objection that the US has appeared to accept.
A summit took place in China last month in which China laid out the details regarding the project proposed by President Xi Jinping. While India boycotted the summit, it was attended by representatives from 60 other countries including the United States of America. The project had the name ‘The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, a name which endorsed the claim of Kashmir to Pakistan, something that is unacceptable to India. China has been supporting Pakistan and also there have been territorial disputes between India and China. These factors have soured the relationship between the two countries and China’s failed attempt to bring India on board with its new project is a fine example of this soured relationship. India’s ignorance to this new project is the strongest move against China by Prime Minister Modi.
There are some who insist on reaching a middle ground say that the project could be a big package of benefits for the Indian economy. Owing to Indian economy expanding at a tremendous pace, China would have no other choice but to invest hugely in Indian economy. Though there have been no official plans for a specific project for India, existing plans, such as a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, have now been included in the Belt and Road enterprise. There are also studies conducted by China on the feasibility for high-speed rail networks between Delhi and Chennai, a route that China plans to connect to its Silk Route.
China has been growing its presence in the region, building ports, railways and power stations in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, not to mention supporting Pakistan. India is worried about being encircled by Chinese presence all around in the Indian Ocean as well as on the land territories in the countries.