BY S.Venkat Narayan/The Island
New Delhi, May 6: China is willing to undertake joint collaborative projects with India in Sri Lanka too, China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui has said.
At their informal summit in Wuhan in central China last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had decided to undertake joint projects in Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview here on Friday, this correspondent asked Luo Zhaohui if China is willing to undertake similar joint projects in Sri Lanka, too.
The envoy responded: “Yes, China is ready to undertake joint projects with India in Sri Lanka as well as in other countries in the region, such as Maldives and Nepal.”
This is the first time that India and China will join hands to take up a joint project in a third country, such as Afghanistan.
In a separate interaction at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia (FCC) here on Friday, Afghan Ambassador to India Dr. Shaida Mohammed Abdali warmly welcomed the decision of Xi and Modi to take up a joint project in his country.
Responding to a query by this correspondent, Dr Abdali said: “We warmly welcome the decision of India and China to take up a joint project in Afghanistan. We have been wanting such collaboration of the two Asian giants in my country for a long time. We are delighted that it is happening now.”
Dr Abdali added: “We will be happy if Pakistan too participates in such collaborative ventures in Afghanistan and help us rebuild our country.”
In their separate conversations with the Sunday Island, the two Ambassador said a decision about what kind of Sino-Indian joint project should be taken up, and where it should be set up in Afghanistan is yet to be taken.
Officials of India, China and Afghanistan will soon hold discussions in this connection.
Analysts here say that Sino-Indian joint projects in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives will help neutralize the popular String of Pearls Theory and suspicions in certain quarters in India and elsewhere about China’s motives in making huge investments in countries in India’s neighborhood.
(The featured image at the top shows China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui)