India skips China's Silk Road summit, warns of 'unsustainable' debt

On the concluding day of the two-day One Belt and Road (OBOR) summit being held in Beijing, China said India will have a very "small role" to play should it ever decide to join the initiative in the future.

The implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative is in full swing, said Xi, adding that 68 countries and worldwide organizations have signed multilateral agreements with China.

The Belt and Road Initiative was first proposed by China in 2013.

Sharif, Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickramasinge, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among the world leaders who attended the meeting inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The China Development Bank has earmarked $890 billion for some 900 projects.

According to the experts, countries on the Belt and Road, especially those with underdeveloped infrastructure, low investment rates and per-capita income, could experience a boost in trade flow and benefit from infrastructure development.

"Trade is the important engine of economic development", Mr Xi said at a summit of world leaders in Beijing.

He called for the abandonment of old models based on rivalry and diplomatic power games.

"While India recently issued an official statement saying it would not be part of the "One Belt and One Road" (B&R) initiative, it will not affect the trend towards cooperation in infrastructure development among its neighbouring countries at all", Global Times reported today.

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"It is our hope that through the "Belt and Road" development, we will unleash new forces for global economic growth", Xi said at a brief news conference at a conference center in the hills north of the Chinese capital. This is another area the Trump administration has chose to eschew, potentially further strengthening China's global position.

"The goal of holding this forum in Beijing is to collect the intelligence of all parties involved, summarise the successful experiences, plan the new trajectory and create this cooperation platform that will open a new chapter for the initiative".

"We need to seek win-win results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements and reject protectionism", he said.

The chairman of the Chinese shipping conglomerate Cosco Xu Lirong told Reuters on the sidelines of the forum that the state-owned conglomerate will sign a deal today with Kazakhstan's national railway company to take a 24 per cent stake in a dry port in the Khorgos Eastern Gates special economic zone. "East Africa is working with China to develop a standard gauge railway project from Mombasa in Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda and potentially to Burundi and DR Congo", Kayonga said.

"The Belt and Road project, reaching Rwanda and beyond, will be a leap forward in process of integrating Africa not only facilitating integration of the continent's economy into the global one but also enhancing political integration", Kayonga said.

The initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60 percent of the world population and around a third of global gross domestic product.

"This is a continuation of Chinese non-interference", Economist Suman Bery said.

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