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India and Belt and Road Initiative

India boycotted BRI as China Pakistan economic corridor passes through POK

Why India decided to boycott BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) in the first place. India has boycotted 2 BRI submits. Can India continue to do so. Who has more to lose in this face off?
One because it violates India's sovereignty.

The China Pakistan economic corridor is a flagship project of the BRI. This corridor passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir which means technically Indian territory but buildings, dams and roads are there without India's consent, the Chinese have dropped their ambiguity on POK. They say that BRI upholds the principles of equality, openness and transparency but it hardly bares up our claim.

The other is China's expansionism. It has been using the BRI to build influence in Indian ocean. China has ports in Sri Lanka. It has invested in infrastructure in Myanmar, Maldives and Malaysia. With each project China increases its influence in the Indian ocean. India cannot sit back and allow China to execute this plan. A plan that seeks to undermine India's position in the region. There are several parts which contribute to trade in India. The cargos that come from Africa to Asia travel via the Indian ocean.

What is BRI?

BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) which is also known as One Belt One Road Initiative. Today, it is one of the biggest projects across globe which was started by China's president Xi Jinping in 2013 with the purpose of restoring the ancient Silk Route which connected Asia and Europe, the project's scope has been expanded over the years to include new territories and development initiatives. The project includes building a big network of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and linked infrastructure projects. The project covers two parts.

The first is called the Silk Road Economic Belt which is mainly land-based and is expected to connect China with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe. The second is called the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road which is sea-based and is expected to will China's southern coast to the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia. The names are puzzling as the 'Belt' is actually a network of roads, and the 'Road' is the sea route. Later on, executed in 2015. This covers overall 30% of the world's GDP.

Salient features of BRI

  • policy coordination;
  • infrastructure connectivity;
  • unhindered trade;
  • financial addition; and
  • connecting people.

Significance with respect to Public International Laws

The India and BRI significance are not worthy of attention of our Indian government because it suspects the initiative which is totally opposite which China claims it to be. The BRI violates India sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The India is a country who believe that connectivity between the countries must be based on universal recognized international laws, good governance, rule of law, open the transparency and equality and must be pursued in a manner that respect sovereignty and territorial integrity. The India's international law supports to strengthen the relations with other states but not at the cost of violating its sovereignty.

China veto's attempt to bring terrorists justice. Why should India promote the BRI which violates the sovereignty of India. Not taking decision is also a decision.

Relevance for India

Every country that is a part of BRI is now struggling. Take the case of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port is now lost to China. Reason is Sri Lanka cannot repay its debt. The ports and highways are led to dangerous developments. China is not doing human service to the world by splashing trillion dollars. China is buying influence. It's a scheme to protect the long-term economic interest of China with Italy's entry in Belt and Road object will give China access from East Asia to South-East Asia to the Middle-East Africa and now to Europe.

It's a big-ticket investment done because Chinese economy is facing troubles while the IMF is recently loaded China's initiative to address the concern over its economy. The medium to long-term outlook is not very flattery to Xi Jinping's government. He has to do something to arrest this. Several countries including Pakistan have struggled to repay interest on the BRI loan.

So, this could hurt not only the credit trading of these countries but also damage China's banks.
  • India needs Investment
  • Strong relations with China and

Together these two countries will be the entrance of growth in this country. But the BRI investment comes with implications. India and China have strong trade relations already. Entry into the BRI could just be a great spectacle for India. Nothing more, nothing less. China knows that India will not budge easily and entry into an initiative that will deep pockets of influence to China does not board well for India. But there is another question why can't India use the BRI? It is a connectivity project so why can't India use it to reach out to markets that will Delhi has never explored. We have the answer on the face of it. Globalization is the new reality.

From investment to the consumption-based economy India and China are in direct competition. India should play the waiting game. India should see how this BRI enfolds. Jumping into this is not a wise decision. This is the country that can hurt India's domestic industries by distorting the market from steel, to rubber, to smartphones. The Chinese had come and made an entry to every segment. China does not endorse India's entry into UNSC.

Critical Analysis
China firmly believes that it has to keep a low profile in international matters. That's why this Belt and Road initiative marks a huge change. In 2018, India allegedly became the world's third-largest economy following China and the US in terms of purchasing power uniformity. The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and China. China and India have great potential for communication and strategic cooperation both in terms of history and culture and in terms of economic development strategies. The two nations have launched cooperation in combating COVID-19 as well.

The BRI can also be seen as China using its infrastructural, intellectual and financial advantage to forge stronger political ties with certain capital-importing countries. From a strategic point of view, the BRI seeks to break through China's security dilemma, assume the responsibilities of a major country and reflect its soft power in the international community. China shares its borders with several countries and an initiative connecting its neighborhood and beyond enables it to achieve its economic, diplomatic and strategic goals effectively and efficiently.

India should look up to these realities before agreeing to join the project and also determine its geopolitical interests in the Indian Ocean region which could pose serious security challenges to India. India's decision of not joining the Border Road Initiative (BRI) till China attends to this objection over Gilgit- Baltistan is clear.

However, an interesting point to make here is that even though countries like the U.S. and Japan, which are not even part of the BRI, have sent their officials to witness the proceeding. It can be viewed as a strategic move to keep an eye on China. Learning from these countries India should send its observers to the meetings and conferences on BRI, in order to measure the plans of China.

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