How China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative inaugurates a new paradigm in Asian geopolitics – the Dispatch
Kinshuk Nag’s book “A New Silk Road: India, China and the Geopolitics of Asia” offers a deep and unknown insight into the political, economic, social and cultural factors underlying the current state. Sino-Indo relations.
The book details China’s new “big game” in the Himalayas: to continue to seize large parts of Ladakh to serve the interests of the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), which is a key part of its initiative. ” the Belt and the Road “, as well as with continuous commercial links at the same time.
The author re-examines outdated assumptions and makes groundbreaking discoveries about China’s ambitions, and insists that India and China are very different nations with very diverse political and economic strategies, which Indians must understand to counter the Chinese enigma.
Read an excerpt from the book “A New Silk Road” below.
In today’s China, mention of the Silk Road conjures up memories of the nation’s greatness over a thousand years ago and the prosperity that has resulted from it. So when the post-Deng Xiaoping (circa 2000) Chinese rulers realized that the country had developed enough and sat on a pile of foreign currency, they claimed that they could recreate a road from the modern silk. This would allow China to rule the world again, as its excess money would be used to invest in countries that were on the New Silk Road to create highways, railways and other infrastructure such as electricity networks, seaports and oil and gas pipelines. . The countries where the money is invested would get it at noticeably low interest rates and easy repayment terms, and China would also benefit because, alongside the investment, jobs would be created. The Chinese government planned it so that the work would be handed over to companies in China, and countries were even encouraged to bring in labor from China. All of this would stimulate the Chinese economy. Countries where funds from China are deployed would generally become dependent on China and also become obligated to China. So it acts as a means of foreign policy, where these countries could be diplomatically influenced by China.
In 2013, China unveiled a grand plan – the One Belt One Road policy, or OBOR – credited to President Xi Jinping. It is also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI. It sits mainly on the old Silk Road route but has been extended to new territories. OBOR, in fact, was built on the “exit” policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the 1990s and launched by the next president (1993-2003), Jiang Zemin, to globalize the Chinese economy and its currency. .
The project has two components. The first is called the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is mostly land and will link China with Central Asia and Eastern and Western Europe. The second part of the project is called the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century. It is based on the sea and connects South China to the Mediterranean, Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia. In fact, as conceived by the Chinese, the project has six components:
- the new Eurasian land bridge, connecting western China to western Russia;
- the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, connecting northern China to eastern Russia via Mongolia;
- the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, connecting West China to Turkey via Central and West Asia;
- the China-Indochina Economic Corridor, linking southern China to Singapore via Indochina;
- the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, connecting southwest China to Arabian Sea routes via Pakistan; and
- the Bangladesh-China-Myanmar Corridor, connecting southern China to Myanmar and Bangladesh.
India has been proposed to be part of the last mentioned corridor, but there is strong opposition from the Indian government to be part of this initiative.
The OBOR plan not only uses foreign currencies in other countries, but is also designed to increase growth in the undeveloped parts of China. This includes Xinjiang in northwest China, which is sorely lacking in development. The other states chosen are Inner Mongolia in northeast China, Guangxi in southwest China, and Fujian on the southeast coast.
China perceives that the OBOR will eventually cover 70 countries and will be completed by 2049 (which will also mark the PRC’s centenary). If the OBOR is implemented as China wishes, it will catapult the nation to a position of great power.
China knows that a huge amount of funds will be needed to ensure the success of this massive program. In 2017, China pledged $ 113 billion for OBOR to be disbursed through the state-owned Silk Road Fund (established in 2015). Another initial capital of $ 40 billion will be provided by the Development Bank of China and the Import-Export Bank of China. In addition, the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will provide $ 100 billion and the Shanghai-based New Development Bank will provide $ 50 billion.
While many of the countries that will benefit from OBOR are quite optimistic and dynamic, many others see the danger. Some fear that China may begin to interfere in the functioning of its economies and governments, which will benefit from the large injections of funds from the OBOR. Aware of this, China now asserts that “there will be no interference in the internal affairs of countries” and that it will not seek to “increase its sphere of influence” or seek “hegemony. or domination ”. But small countries with weak political systems, even if they are able to comprehend the possibility of Chinese domination, choose to look away because of all the money they will get. For example, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are excited about OBOR because China will invest heavily in local transmission projects. Landlocked Nepal is also very positive as it will facilitate cross-border connectivity with China (across the mountains). It is usually the small countries that eagerly await the investments, which they see as an exceptional gain. India, as mentioned earlier, has serious problems with OBOR and has refused to join (although China has made serious efforts to persuade India). A deeper understanding of the reasons is therefore mandatory.
Extracted with permission from A New Silk Road: India, China and the Geopolitics of Asia, Kinshuk Nag, Rupa Publications. Learn more about the book here and buy it here.
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