China excludes India from South Asian poverty alleviation initiative

New Delhi: The China-South Asian Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Centre was launched in China and barring India, ambassadors of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh were invited to China. 

“The Center aims to pool strength, integrate resources, and exchange wisdom to support and help the South Asian countries’ economic development and livelihood improvement, jointly promoting the cause of poverty reduction,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Dinesh Bhattarai, former diplomat and foreign policy expert said it’s a ‘minus-India initiative’.

Speaking to WION, Bhattarai said, “We are talking about development in the South Asian region without involving one of the largest country, India. It is a minus-India initiative. China has also excluded Bhutan and Maldives.”

Questioning the framework of the initiative, he said, “Without India we cannot talk about South Asia development. The South Asian is Indo centric and centrality of India cannot be overlooked. All the counties face the problem of poverty. China is looking for avenues to work in South Asia trying to intensify its engagement, presence, influence in south asian region. I don’t know how pragmatic the framework of the initiative will be without India..”

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Ambassadors said, poverty alleviation and development are an important task and a prominent challenge of the South Asian countries, so the Center initiated by China is set up at a most opportune time.

Former Nepal’s Ambassador to China, Leela Mani Paudyal believes India should not hesitate to participate as there is a lot to learn from China.

“It is a welcoming initiative for South Asian nations that they can learn a lot from China’s unprecedented success in poverty alleviation drive. Poverty is a menace of humanity and a common Challenge of the world,” Paudyal told WION. 

“I think south asian countries can tremendously benefit from this initiative. Regarding India, I am not aware of detail arrangements, but I think India should join in this group and benefit from China’s learnings. If India wishes, in my mind, the group should be flexible and accommodative to involve India in the initiative,” he stated. 

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