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Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, with other national leaders at the Belt and Road Forum.   © Reuters

Asian neighbors still leery of China's Belt and Road initiative

India boycotts Beijing gathering; Russia sends Putin despite concerns about China's growing regional influence

OKI NAGAI and YUJI KURONUMA, Nikkei staff writers | China

BEIJING/NEW DELHI -- Many Asian countries, notably India, remain leery of throwing their support behind China's Belt and Road initiative, fearing that the efforts by Beijing to create a new sphere of economic influence in Asia could erode their own regional power.

At the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Sunday and Monday, more than 100 nations attended. But the delegation from New Delhi was conspicuously absent. No Indian government officials came, but rather only a few academics, a diplomatic source said. In contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the event in person, and met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

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