OBOR, India and its geopolitical implications

What is One Belt, One Road Initiative?

● It is also known as Belt and Road initiative of China

● It plans for China’s global outreach through connectivity and infrastructure development among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe.

● The emphasis is on enhancing land as well as maritime routes.

1. Silk Road Economic Belt: includes land corridors from China through Central Asia and Russia to Europe, which includes West Asia and Pak (CPEC)

2. Maritime Silk Road: links China’s east coast through major sea lanes to Europe in the West and Pacific in the East

Why OBOR?

1. China requires markets for utilising the excessive capacity created in manufacturing and construction industries

2. Increasing economic activity in the LDC of western region

3. Creating alternative energy supply routes to the choke points of the strait of Hormuz and Malacca through which almost entire China’s maritime oil imports pass

4. Strengthening Chinese influence over Asia and Africa – maritime power

5. Developing financing structures parallel to Bretton Woods system

6. Economic integration of Central and South Asian region and infrastructure development could be potential solutions to some of the pressing issues such as security and poverty ( war torn country like Afghan has its own benefits)

7. Multiple objectives of economic, developmental and geo political motives

Should India join OBOR?

For:

1. India’s response should be based on long term interests and not short term concerns

2. India can join and push for ‘Digital Asia’

3. India cannot be a $10 trillion economy by 2032 without integrating itself and developing common standards with growing Asian economies

4. Essential to link its supply, manf, and market networks- market linkages

5. It offers a new cooperation framework in South Asia to face global challenges

6. To address security concerns, sharing of region specific meteorological reports

7. Shared prosperity should be the new mantra for 21st century which was till 1800 making India the world’s richest country for over two millennia

8. Countries are now gaining influence more through their economic strength than the might of the military – India requires new approaches and alliances to secure itself

9. India should not sit idle and make a move to become part of the Asian Century

Against: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-indias-decision-not-endorse-chinas-new-silk-road-project-wise-foreign-policy-62181

Present India-China concerns:

1. CPEC, part of OBOR is passing through Gilgit Baltistan which is part POK – threatens the sovereignty of India

2. China’s position on NSG

3. Arunachal Pradesh issue

4. Masood Azhar issue

5. Stapled visas

6. Objection to Dalai Lama’s visit

Why in news?

● China recently concluded the first Belt and Road Forum in May, 2017 with participation from 130 countries.

● 68 countries are now part of 900 billion dollar infra project

● India boycotted the event while all its neighbours except Bhutan signed B&RI

India’s standpoint:

● The initiative looks like China’s neo-colonialism and could cause an unsustainable debt burden for countries

● Lack of transparency in the China's agenda indicating that it's not just economic project but it is promoting political control

“ India must actively engage with China to have its grievances addressed as well as  articulating its concerns to other partner countries in a more productive manner and take a  position as an Asian leader, not an outlier in the quest for more connectivity.”

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