Chinese officials on Saturday fleshed out some details for the country's ambitious 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project in its “one belt, one road,” action plan.
Though the plan released by China’s economic planning agency and the commerce and foreign affairs ministries, didn’t commit to specific projects, it has included Kolkata as the lone Indian port
to figure in the final blueprint.
China claims that the MSR is an initiative that aims to connect China's ports with ports in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Greece and Kenya. But how far India would figure into the plan is yet to be seen.
Though India is taking part in the Bangladesh-China-India -Myanmar (BCIM) corridor is closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative, it is silent on MSR due to strategic concerns over Chinese domination in the Indian Ocean
. China says
it is in talks with India on cooperation relating to South Asia.
But China has indicated it is ready to merge its Silk Road program with India's 'Mausam' and other plans to enhance connectivity with South Asian nations.
Beijing has changed its earlier stance that road connectivity in South Asia be made part of its own program.
The change in China's stance comes after the country's official media suggested that the Silk Road program be merged with the `Mausam' program announced by PM Narendra Modi. Sources said India has made it clear it wants to go ahead with its own plans to enhance connectivity with South Asian countries.