Will India attend the New Silk Road Summit?


Top politics and current affairs news for April 18, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "No porn on WeChat for government officials."

China will host its “biggest diplomatic event of the year” next month with its friends and allies involved in the “One Belt, One Road” — aka the “New Silk Road” — initiative, Reuters reports. The South China Morning Post says that 28 heads of state mostly from Asia will come to Beijing for a summit on May 14-15 and notes the lack of major Western powers, though Reuters points out a more glaring blank spot on the list: India. The Times of India reports that “China is keen to persuade India to participate” in the New Silk Road Summit, and has already toned down its criticism of India for allowing the Dalai Lama to speak in the country earlier this month. Indian officials, however, reportedly insist they won’t participate in China’s summit “until China agrees to make a clear statement that it does not support Pakistan’s claim” to Kashmir, a disputed territory partially administered by both Pakistan and India that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through.

China business and political leaders are going to great lengths to promote the idea of a New Silk Road, sponsoring events ranging from massive multilateral summits to a Silk Road–themed photo exhibit in Atlanta. Within China, too, the government is connecting old trade routes and promising that economic rejuvenation will flow from the coastal areas to the center of Asia and beyond. Likely not helping China’s case to persuade India to join the action are new propaganda videos (in Chinese) from Chinese state-run media celebrating China’s friendship and economic cooperation with Pakistan, India’s primary geopolitical rival.