BEIJING: China on Sunday claimed that terming the grand Belt and Road Initiative a geo-strategic tool is a misinterpretation. A spokesperson for the annual session of China's top legislature also claimed that the project had made a considerable progress.
"Five years ago, President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past five years, thanks to joint efforts from all parties, this initiative is being turned into actions from a concept, and it is being translated into reality from a vision," spokesman Zhang Yesui was quoted in Xinhua.
"A lot of progress has been made, for example, infrastructure connectivity building has yielded a lot of early harvests, policy communication is going deeper, cooperation mechanisms are being strengthened, and collaboration on the ground is unfolding across the board," Zhang added.
He said that these results show that the initiative has done well in terms of the trend for win-win cooperation, and the shared aspiration for common development.
"To say that the Belt and Road Initiative is a geo-strategic tool, in my view, this is a misinterpretation of the initiative." Zhang said.
China aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a network of highways, railways, sea lanes and ports under the Belt and Road project. However, many countries including India suspect that China has geostrategic designs behind the project, which Beijing calls purely an economic one.
China has committed billions of dollars under the dream project of all-powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping. Although many countries have voiced concern over the project, Beijing claims that more than 60 nations have already pledged to participate in the initiative.
China has invested over $50 billion in Pakistan to build the artery of Belt and Road that aims to connect its restive province Xinjiang with Pakistani region Balochistan.
India has lodged its opposition against the route proposed in the project which goes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
China has also doled out sops like scholarships to students from partner countries in the project.
(With agency inputs)