Modi, Trump call for respecting sovereignty while boosting connectivity

Washington: Amid India’s concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump today underlined the need for bolstering regional economic connectivity while respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India has been severely critical of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the BRI, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Modi and Trump, who held wide-ranging talks during their maiden meeting, called for “support in bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment.”

They also urged all nations to resolve territorial and maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law, a joint statement issued after the talks said.

The assertion comes, days after Prime Minister Modi cautioned against rolling out connectivity projects without respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In an address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana, Modi, in presence of Xi, had said connectivity with countries of the region is a priority for India and that such projects should ensure inclusivity and sustainability.

India has been protesting the CPEC vehemently and had abstained from the Beld and Road Forum held in Beijing last month to highlight its concerns over the project.

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