India did not attend the summits in 2017 and 2019, having raised concerns about the BRI

India is likely to skip China’s third summit marking President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which, Beijing announced on Wednesday, will be held on October 17 in the Chinese capital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing, with the Russian leader also present at the previous two summits in 2017 and 2019. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is also likely to attend, Sri Lankan media reported, among several leaders from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is also expected, according to reports.

India did not attend the summits in 2017 and 2019, having raised concerns about the BRI, particularly over the flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

As the BRI marks 10 years, China has this week pushed back against criticism of the plan, particularly with regard to projects leaving countries with debt. Beijing, at the same time, appears to be rethinking how it goes forward with the BRI, and scaling back on investments. Reports last week, citing the minutes of a meeting between China and Pakistan, said Beijing had turned down requests for new projects there reportedly due to security concerns in Pakistan, which have not abated more than a decade into CPEC.

Li Kexin, Director-General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Economic Affairs, told reporters on Tuesday that representatives from over 130 countries had already confirmed attendance at the BRF, which will open with a speech by President Xi. Mr. Li said more than 150 countries had signed on to the BRI so far. “The circle of friends has grown larger and larger, which fully proves that the initiative does not seek to form any closed and narrow circles,” he said.

The total investment in the plan had reached $380 billion between 2013 and 2022, according to figures released this week by China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Some deals are expected to be signed on the sidelines of the BRF. Sri Lankan media reported further investments into the Colombo Port City project may be announced next week during Mr. Wickremesinghe’s visit.

Last month, Nepal agreed to take forward cross-border connectivity projects with China during the visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to Beijing. Both sides “agreed to strengthen connectivity in such areas as ports, roads, railways, airways and grids in an orderly manner” and “jointly build the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network”, as the cross-border plan under the BRI is called.