NEW DELHI: As China’s BRI continues to provoke allegations of debt-trap diplomacy, India has again underscored the significance of sustainable and transparent infrastructure development. Without naming China, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla called for countries to exercise enough caution while entering into the terms of engagement for any connectivity project.
In his meetings with think-tanks in Germany, official sources said, Shringla emphasised that the world was increasingly witnessing debt-trap diplomacy in the garb of improving infrastructure and connectivity “without heeding financial viability or environmental concerns”.
The third India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue last month again saw the 2 countries call for transparent infrastructure investment while reiterating their commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
While there is no doubt that connectivity among nations needs to be improved, we have to be cautious about the terms of engagement, Shringla is learnt to have said.
Shringla referred to debt-trap diplomacy while making the point that threats to nation states and sovereignty can also come in forms other than terrorism.
Shringla also warned again initiatives on data that were not transparent. Calling also for “multi-stakeholderism”, he said while India was all for cyber security and use of data for common good, it would not accept non-inclusive measures to achieve it.
Shringla said that while terrorists today are united in purpose and action, victims are not so. Ironically, he is learnt to have said, some countries who are the fountainhead of terror are practicing dissimulation and claiming to be victims of terror to gain international sympathy. While he didn’t name Pakistan, he said it was important to be aware of these moves and to learn to call a spade a spade.
“Presently terrorism is strengthened by the use of sophisticated networks both underground and on the Internet. It enjoins upon all of us, likeminded countries, to work together to disrupt these networks and ensure that terror doesn’t succeed. There can be no justification for terror under any circumstances. But we note with some satisfaction that the world is increasingly realizing it and working with us on this,” he’s learnt to have said in his meetings both with think-tanks and German government officials.
Shringla said India shared common interests with Europe and Germany in fighting terrorism and extremism, ensuring climate action and supporting multilateralism with a view to strengthening a rules-based order.