New Delhi will continue to oppose CPEC: Indian envoy to China the
BEIJING- Any attempt by China to change the status quo along the Indian border may lead to another Doklam-like stand-off between the two nations, Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale has warned.
The Indian envoy, however, suggested that the best way to prevent such incidents is through candid and frank talks.
Bambawale made these remarks in an interview to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, during which he said that the un-demarcated border between India and China is "the most serious problem between the two countries".
The Indian envoy also called on the need to redefine the boundary soon.
Bambawale said New Delhi will oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but won't let the difference over Belt and Road become a dispute with Beijing.
He also downplayed the reports of India joining the bloc of the US, Japan and Australia to counter China.
During the interview, Bambawale also confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China to take part in the SCO summit in June during which there will "definitely" be a bilateral meeting between him and President Xi Jinping.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a China-dominated security grouping, is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO. The SCO summit is due to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao from June 9-10.
The remarks from Bambawale came several months after the peaceful resolution of a bitter stand-off at Doklam in the eastern sector of their border last year. The issue was resolved in August, only after souring the bilateral ties.
"In order to maintain the peace and tranquillity (along India-China border), there are certain areas, certain sectors which are very sensitive, where we must not change the status quo. If anyone changes the status quo, it will lead to a situation like what happened in Doklam," Bambawale said in the interview which was published on Saturday.
"The Chinese military changed the status quo in the Doklam area and therefore India reacted to it. Ours was a reaction to the change in the status quo by the Chinese military. When incidents like Doklam happened last year, it meant that we were not frank and candid enough with each other. So we need to increase the level of frankness, '' he said.
On India's concerns about China's Belt and Road project, Bambawale said if the initiative meets the norms of an international programme then New Delhi has no problem.
"One of the norms is that the project should not violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country. Unfortunately, there is this thing called the CPEC which violates India's sovereignty and territory integrity. Therefore, we oppose it."
The CPEC is the flagship project of China's Belt and Road project, a network of roads, ports and sea lanes that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe. India opposes it as it cuts through Kashmir held by Pakistan, but claimed by it.
"We might have differences of opinion on Belt and Road, but that we must not allow that difference of opinion to become a dispute," Bambawale said.