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Chinese daily cautions India, Japan against tripping up OBOR through new trade corridor

Beijing: The Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) sponsored by India and Japan is welcome — as long as it does not try to trip China's Belt and Road initiative, a Chinese newspaper said on Wednesday.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

Announced by Narendra Modi in May, the AAGC, essentially a maritime corridor, was seen by some as a counterbalance to the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the state-run Global Times said in a report.

"The new venture, jointly led by India and Japan — two countries that have so far opted not to join the Belt and Road initiative — sets out a vision for the better integration of South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia with Africa and Oceania," it said.

The Times said the India-Japan vision indicates an overlap between the AAGC and OBOR project "and invites controversy" over the actual intentions behind the growth corridor.

"It goes without saying that India and Japan could feel free to embark on a new connectivity initiative and no one is begging them to join the OBOR initiative.

"As long as the AAGC aims to embrace inclusive growth and promote joint prosperity, the corridor should be encouraged.

"But if India and Japan design the corridor to deliberately counterbalance China's OBOR, they should think twice before rushing to it because the route of the AAGC has an extensive geographic overlap with the route of the OBOR initiative," the report said.

"That's particularly the case, considering that China has already made huge commitments to developing Africa while the India-Japan partnership is only just taking shape.

"If the AAGC aims to squeeze out China's OBOR initiative instead of serving as a compliment, it actually divides what's supposed to be a united force to forge ahead with inclusive growth in dozens of countries and regions along the route of the OBOR initiative.

"India, for its part, should be particularly level-headed and guard against any over-assertive plans that may go awry."

Published Date: Aug 02, 2017 18:39 PM | Updated Date: Aug 02, 2017 18:52 PM

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