China can't stop India from developing Northeast, says Amit Shah

Sanjeev Sinha

Sanjeev Sinha

However, one global issue was not discussed, namely the disputed South China Sea, in contrast to the previous two India-Japan summits where the summit declarations specifically referred to the South China Sea and reaffirmed the commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight.

"It is our sovereign right to develop the country inside our boundaries and we will utilise that right", Mr Shah told reporters here. "Under such circumstances, we believe that any third party should respect the efforts made by China and India to settle the disputes through negotiations and any third party should not meddle in the disputes between China and India over territorial sovereignty in any form", MFA spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

China has been aggressively marketing its high-speed rail technology overseas and in the past lobbied hard to get the first contract in India.

Dismissing China's objection to Japan showing interests in investment in the northeastern states, BJP president Amit Shah on Friday said that India has the sovereign right to develop the country within its boundaries and added that New Delhi's policy has been very well clarified by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had discussed the possibility of investment from Japan in India's northeast when they met for annual summit-level talks in Gujarat earlier this week. "We have reached important consensus in this regard", the PTI quoted, Geng Shuang, spokesperson, China's Foreign Ministry during a media briefing in Beijing.

Nevertheless, India and China have worked out a number of cooperative agreements that include training of Indian Railways' engineers in China in heavy hauling. The two countries are also jointly setting up a rail university. China has also undertaken work to renovate some of the railway stations in India. "India and Japan can not ignore the fact that the U.S. has no clear policy on SCS", said Chellaney. In short, India can not just hand over financing to the USA and Japan.

From Japan's perspective, the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project is a major win over China, with whom it is locked in a strategic rivalry for commercial contracts in high-speed railway networks elsewhere in Asia.

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