TODAY -

One belt one road

Kamal Baruah *



The historical Silk Road was established more than 2000 years ago that linked China, Central Asia and the Arab world. Silk was the most important exports from China.

Now China proposed to establish a modern network of railways, roads, waterways, air, pipelines, information highway and utility grids that would link China, Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia.

China seeks all round cooperation from them. A bilateral cooperation agreement signed with Hungary, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkey.

The extension of China Iran train connection to Europe is underway. There are also new rail links with Laos and Thailand and high-speed-rail projects in Indonesia.

This initiative, One Belt and One Road (OBOR) aims to create the world’s largest platform for economic cooperation, policy coordination, trade and financing collaboration and social and cultural cooperation.

India opposed to Chinese OBOR initiative since the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the Indian Territory. CPEC is a flagship project of OBOR which runs between Xinjiang and Gwadar in Balochistan (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan.

OBOR is now renamed as ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI). India just cannot accept that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India ruled out participation in China’s mega OBOR summit in Beijing, citing its objections to the CPEC. But Beijing asked New Delhi to view as prism of economics, and not sovereignty. India is Asia’s third largest economy behind China and Japan. India has one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean.

Delhi is already upset over China’s refusal to allow it entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and refusing to block UN sanction on Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based head of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

India is unlikely to send any representative to OBOR summit beginning Sunday. Neighbouring Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan are already attending. The US made U-turn and decided to attend the summit.

A total of 29 countries gather in Beijing for a two-day summit. This hundreds of billions of dollars initiative is expected to cement China’s dominance over Asia in coming decades.

To counteract OBOR, India is trying to develop railway connectivity with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal. Two and half years old BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Economic Corridor has just revived for consultation and academics.

What India is missing from OBOR will reflect in due course of time? But India is eying for BRICS summit in Sep 2017 at Xiamen.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 19, 2017.


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