Understanding Belt & Road Initiative from Indian Perspective

Recently China has organized a summit called Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), in which high level participants from more than 120 countries arrived, including nearly 30 head of the states. India was a conspicuous absentee, even though China, on multiple occasions, requested India to be a participant of this initiative. Since we are witnessing a potential watershed event in the world history, hence I thought of bringing some details about it.

In past quarter century, if one thing which have caught the imagination of the world, it would surely be the phenomenal rise of China. For almost 30 years double digit growth, China’s incremental jump in the economic dimension has reshaped the world order and now we are moving towards the multi-polar world, where America or Russia is not the sole dominant power.

With the rise of China comes its desire to influence the world order. There are several tools to influence it. Such as by showing technological advancement, increasing the influence on other countries, by enhancing the infrastructural aspects, by increasing trade with other nations etc. So in 2013, its president came up with an ambitious project called One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which China claims that it is one of the most ambitious project of 21st century and it is having potential to reshape the world.

What is Belt and Road Initiative?

This initiative is brought to fore by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. From the inspiration of Old Silk Route, Belt and Road Initiative or One Belt One Road initiative is a connectivity project which aims to connect the mainland China to the parts of Asia, Europe and some parts of Africa as well. There are 60 countries through which this project will run. China is willing to finance these infrastructural project as a loan to the host nation. Once these areas will be connected, a whole new wave of globalization can emerge. It will have a positive impact on trade, commerce, integration of economy, cultural connectivity, integration of the least connected area, increasing the living standards of millions etc.

map-belt-and-road-2

 

This initiative is having two limbs; one is connecting the Land Area through rail and road and the other is maritime connectivity by building ports and supplementary infrastructures.

Land connectivity scheme is known as Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime connectivity project is known as 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Plausible intentions of China Behind this project

  1. By implementing this, China will emerge as a dominant player in the world order as this project will cover the 63% of the world population, 30% of the current world GDP, and 35% of the trade happens in these area.
  2. China has vast cash reserve in Renminbi (Chinese currency) which is equivalent to US $ 21 trillion approx twice its GDP. So by financing these infrastructural projects these cash deposits, which is presently lying ideal, can bring revenues through interests. It will also help in internationalization of its currency.
  3. China is having strategic leverage over manufacturing sector, so by integrating the Eurasian regions it will enhance its market where it can sell its product.
  4. It can win few allies, which it lacks as compare to its rival US by financing infrastructure.
  5. It will have a strategic and military advantage as compare to US, which also sees these regions very significant in terms of Geo Politics.
  6. It will help China to bring its least developed Western Provinces in direct contact with the other nations through infrastructure, which in turn, will benefit its balanced regional growth.

India did not take part in this initiative, which is criticized by many both at home and in China. They argue, India which is struggling in infrastructures should have embraced Chinese proposal as it will help via financing. By remaining out India is secluding itself from the new world order which is emerging. It will have a deleterious impact in the  to its economy in long term. The Indian subcontinent which is least integrated can get an impetus from the Chinese sponsored scheme and will be win-win situation for all.

However, Indian government firmly articulated its reservations to this project.

India’s concerns

  • Infringing Sovereignty: One part of the project, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Gilgit Baltistan, which lies in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, amd claimed by India. Since it is a disputed region and China did not had a deliberations with India with this respect, India thinks it as a infringement on its sovereignty.
  • Since the details of the project are not in the public domain, India is skeptic about it.
  • India does not see it as a mere economic initiative, as nearly 30,000 security personnel will be deployed to protect the infrastructure. Hence it sees a threat to its security.
  • India sees the high interest rates to finance the project as a Chinese “web trap”.
  • Along with this the assessment of project cost is not transparent, in the absence of transparency India is unwilling to be a part of this project.
  • China recently has behaved as an obstructionists in two cases which was concerned with India one in NSG and other in declaring Jash-e-Mohamed leader Mashod Azhar as a terrorists. So India gave the Chinese the taste of its own medicine. And gave a strong signal that India is not going to be an easy ride if its concerned is ignored.

Conclusion

In my view India rightly opted out from the Belt and Road Initiative as infringement upon sovereignty is a very serious concern. Along with this the benefit which China tries to put is not as clear as of the investment. But India should work in the field of regional connectivity firstly by focusing on its internal infrastructure and then after the infrastructure of the South East region.

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13 Replies to “Understanding Belt & Road Initiative from Indian Perspective”

  1. CHINA OBOR, This is just an another type of Colonial Rule…I would say Version 2….it is much beyond the so called the economic image of OBOR depicted by China as u have rightly said in a comment above @Ritu Gaur ma’am..
    CHINA is having futuristic approach or long terms goals which others have to understand.The countries not economically stable will be under ‘Debt Trap’, like SriLanka already have and the day is not far when others will be too. This debt is changed into Equity, which means China would have control over the assets of the debt trapped country.Now this is like first feed then cut into pieces.China will slowly have control over them which will be a concern for India.Also, China want to tackle US pivot policy, then Mallaca strait issue with US,they fear of US blocked it in future, Then they have Ageing population need labour,So will use the people of countries not economically stable as labour and will exploit, also China wants to have control over the intellectual properties of countries and will exploit their resources in future, Labourers in China left the job, over manufacturing so they want to dump their material and etc.
    China is just seeing it’s own interests i would say making others fool on the basis of Economy.The big countries will not have issues joining it they can handle China very much, what will be a concern is the smaller countries they will be exploited by China, being communism rule there they won’t spare their own people how come they will spare others? not possible. This is what China is playing big game the Trap Game.
    What concerns India is that it had
    Surrounded India from all sides, the spring of pearls concept n wat not.
    Economy comes later what matters is our Soveriengity,Which will not be compromised at any cost and that too with China who has betrayed us everytime. Not joining OBOR is the best decision we have took.Unless and until China won’t back out from Baluch we also won’t change our decision.We have alternative solutions to tackle China so called aggression towards south Asia and our loss if we not join OBOR. We have recently joined Japan,then regional relations are too getting better, Australia is also there and now With African countries too we have trade agreements and much more is going and will be there in future.Also China fears our Make in India programmes on future it will fit sure surpass China and then our regional relations also getting better.
    We are not an old India who goes with the flow, we are now capable enough to take decisions and knows better who is our friend or foe.Now the other problem is China blocking our NSG bid.That he will do we have not joined OBOR it’s obvious China will block, but good news is that Japan has decide to give us nuclear technology under Civil nuclear acts, Talk with Canada is also going on for nuclear deal, So let the Dragon block us from NSG, but Lion will be the king of jungle always , India will get what it wants from outside nuclear deals. You block us we will shock you. So this just i think China is just a selfish country thinking only about it’s own causes.
    We will not join OBOR at any cost.
    Soveriengity will always comes first!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks to you for sharing current topics.Reading yours and having own views it is easy to conclude the topic.very helpful….Thank you very much for this effort & it’s learning to be on your blog whether writing thing or the topics.
        And yes Coming to the topic lots of things are there with China being opportunistic more and being sitting on our Neck we can’t give it a strategic setup.Leave Baluch we will join OBOR simple as that.
        Being patriotic is sometimes good in these issues. Sovereignty comes first, paisa toh Aayega ore jayega!!
        It’s India Era Now,gone those days when we sit and wait for others to do something and then we take steps.We can take our stand Now.World feels our importance.
        #JaiHind

        Like

  2. China’s OBOR policy is strategic in nature as it will join east to west further passing from south china sea to indian ocen to gulf to atlantic ocean in sea route. The ancient silk route is also a part of the initiative.
    Nice article about OBOR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chinese Central bank official appeals to International lenders to help fund ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ due to cash crunch, So plainly there is a lot going on here beyond simple economics. I think Its main focus is at expanding China’s strategic and political influence.

      Liked by 1 person

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