Italy to join China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative
Recently, Italian Premier Premier Giuseppe Conte has pledged to make Italy the first Group of Seven nation to join China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative, despite objections from the United States and concerns within his governing coalition. While, on 20th March 2019, India signalled that it will boycott China’s second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for a second time. It stated that no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. India boycotted the first BRF in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) overriding New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns. China has already deepened its commitment to expand the USD 60 billion CPEC, which aims to connect China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port with a host of road, rail, gas and oil pipelines.