Sharif signals for talks with India at BRF summit

Dhaka,  Tue,  22 August 2017
Published : 14 May 2017, 18:13:47

Sharif signals for talks with India at BRF summit

Sharif signals for talks with India at BRF summit
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signaled on Sunday his country’s openness for a dialogue with India, and offered to accommodate “all countries” in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — a part of the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to The Hindu.

“Let me make it very clear that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is an economic undertaking open to all countries. It has no geographical boundaries,” Mr. Sharif said while speaking at the high-profile Belt and Road Forum (BRF) that opened in the Chinese capital on Sunday.

In an obvious reference to India, he added, “We are also trying to (establish), a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood, it is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy and leave a legacy of peace for future generations.”

Mr. Sharif’s veiled offer for renewed engagement follows New Delhi’s decision to skip the BRF, mainly to protest CPEC’s infringement of India’s sovereignty, as it passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, other countries such as Japan and Vietnam, which have serious maritime disputes with China, have sent high-level official delegations, to the conclave. 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 who 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.
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