India asks China to respect its territorial sovereignty

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) India on Wednesday said that China, which is “very sensitive” about its territorial sovereignty, had failed to show similar respect for New Delhi’s concerns.

New Delhi also sought to allay Beijing’s apprehension about India’s rise.

“China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. We expect they respect other peoples sovereignty,” Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said at the Raisina Dialogue here.

“The CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) passes through a territory that we see as our territory. Surely, people will understand what the Indian reaction is. There needs to be some reflection, and I am sorry to say we have not seen signs of that,” said the Foreign Secretary to a query at the event.

India has strongly objected to the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, claimed by India.

Jaishankar’s reference to India’s concerns on sovereignty come a day after Pime Minister Narendra Modi had said in his inaugural speech: “Respect for sovereignty is important for regional connectivity to improve.”The CPEC is being pushed forward by China and Pakistan, ignoring India’s concerns.

The issue is one of the irritants between Sino-India ties. India has raised the issue at the highest diplomatic level with China.

“Our rise is not harmful to China’s rise just like China’s rise is not harmful to us,” Jaishankar said.

The CPEC is one of the key projects of China’s One Belt One Road connectivity programme.

The CPEC seeks to link China’s Kashgar in restive Xinjian province to Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan, giving Beijing land access to the Arabian Sea.

Bilateral ties with China have been clouded with Beijing repeatedly blocking New Delhi’s move to gain membership to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and even the move for a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohamed chief Masood Azhar, who India accuses of being behind the terror attack on the Pathankot air base in January last year.

On the South China Sea dispute, Jaishankar said India’s position was “consistent” and “in tune with what international position”.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea. Last year, an international tribunal rejected Beijing’s claims in a case brought by the Philippines.

India had asked the parties concerned to show respect to the ruling, denounced as “illegal” by Beijing.