As India decided to boycott China's development-oriented One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the East Asian country's richest man, Wang Jianlin, has praised India for its economic potential.
The billionaire head of Wanda Group, who was the most prominent Chinese businessman at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF), has said that his group has ambitious plans for India, India Today reported. The BRF event in Beijing was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 14. India was the only major country which did not participate in the event.
OBOR is a development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia, encompassing around 60 countries. The strategy consists of two components -- land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and ocean-based Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
China ignores India's sovereignty concerns
Last week, the Narendra Modi government had announced that it will boycott the two-day summit, saying that they cannot accept a project which ignores core concerns over sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Beijing has shown blatant disregard for India's sovereignty. China is looking to link Xinjiang with Gwadar Port through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The port is in Balochistan and the route passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region which India claims as its own.
Chinese scholars suggest India's "isolation"
Some Chinese officials and scholars have suggested that India's absence from the initiative could lead to India's "isolation" and that it will miss out on OBOR's benefit. On the other hand, the Modi government believes that they don't have to endorse a Chinese initiative and that Chinese companies will invest in India for economic reasons, regardless of its participation in OBOR.
Wang, the head of China's powerful conglomerate which has vast investments in real estate, development projects and in film industry, seemed to strengthen India's argument by highlighting his group's ambitious new projects in India in his keynote speech on tourism projects under OBOR.
Wang to expand tourism infrastructure in India
"Along the 'Belt and Road' are mostly developing countries with a sizable population and a considerable demographic dividend. For example, India is the world's second most populous country with a population of over 1.3 billion and a median age of 26 years, and Indonesia with a population of approximately 260 million, ranking 4th in the world, and a median age of less than 26 years. These countries are relatively lagging behind in tourism infrastructures and offer huge opportunities for tourism investments," Wang said.
The billionaire also gave examples of Wanda's projects in France and in India. He also mentioned the upcoming Wanda Industrial New City in Haryana.
"Wang The project is located in Haryana state within the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and India's National Capital Region, in close proximity to urban Delhi," he said.
"After completion, the project will create more than 100,000 jobs. It is currently the largest investment project in India. The Wanda New Industrial City in India will attract manufacturers from around the world, especially Chinese manufacturers to take Chinese manufacturing to the world, while also in furtherance of India's own [Make in India] Indian manufacturing strategy," the billionaire added.