Sun, 28 Nov 2021

By Naveen KapoorNew Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): A technical glitch at the United Nations transport conference held in Beijing last week raised eyebrows and surprised many.

Microphone suddenly went silent when Indian diplomat Priyanka Sohoni was explaining India's position on China's Belt And Road Initiative (BRI).

The chair of the conference represented by China later apologised for the technical glitch.

All was going well when interestingly Indian diplomat started her speech by emphasizing Indian initiatives like the spirit of South-South cooperation, climate change, International Solar Alliance (ISA), but as soon she started speaking on India's objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and how it affects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, in the middle of speech microphone went off.

Moderator said that they are confronting a technical problem and apparently moved to another speaker, but the Indian diplomat was given dais to resume and she completed her speech after the next speaker.

Before the microphone went silent Priyanka Sohoni said, "There have been some references to Belt and Road Initiative or BRI at this conference. Here I wish to say as far as China's BRI is concerned, we are uniquely affected by it. Inclusion of the so-called CPEC as a flagship project impinges on India's sovereignty.""No country can support an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. This aside there are also larger issues regarding how connectivity initiatives should be pursued," she added.

"We share international community's desire to enhance physical connectivity and believe it should bring greater economic benefits to all in an equitable and balanced manner. Expansion and strengthening of physical connectivity is an integral part of India's economic and diplomatic initiatives," said Sohoni.

Pakistan and Chinese representatives in the conference lauded BRI and China also asked others to join the initiative.

After interruption when the Indian diplomat resumed her speech, she completed her remarks on BRI.

"We are of firm belief that connectivity initiative must be based on universally recognized international norms. They must follow principles of openness, transparency, and financial responsivity and be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality, and territorial integrity of the nations. India for its part abides by these principles and stands ready to make collective efforts to sustainable development through a human-centric approach," said the Indian diplomat.

At the conference, India also stressed that it is of the firm belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized international norms. They must follow principles of openness, transparency and financial responsibility. (ANI)

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