15/05/2017 10:11 PM IST | Updated 15/05/2017 10:30 PM IST

China-Pak Economic Corridor Not Directed At India, Will Remain Neutral On Kashmir, Assures China

'All countries should respect each other's sovereignty'

Jason Lee / Reuters

BEIJING -- After India skipped the Belt and Road forum over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Beijing on Monday said the transborder route "is not directed at any third parties".

China also sought to allay India's fear of meddling in the Kashmir dispute through the planned road, saying the $46 billion project will not affect its position on the matter.

"We have noted the statement by the spokesperson of India's External Affairs Ministry. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an initiative on economic cooperation. It is not directed at any third parties, not relevant to disputes over territorial sovereignty and does not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

India gave the two-day mega Belt and Road conference a miss, raising objection to the CPEC corridor which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that New Delhi claims as its own.

On the eve of the OBOR forum, Indian issued a statement saying it cannot "accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity".

CPEC is the key artery of China's Belt and Road project that aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through a network of roads, railway lines and ports.

"Regarding the issue of Kashmir which the Indian side is concerned about, we have been stressing that the issue was left over from history between India and Pakistan, and should be properly addressed by the two sides through consultation and negotiation."

China maintains neutrality on the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

"President Xi Jinping also said that we should build the Belt and Road into a road for peace. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other's development paths and social systems, and each other's core interests and major concerns."

Meanwhile, a Chinese daily said India's absence at the summit was regrettable and called New Delhi as "nervous and anxious".

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