China’s belt around Asia’s neck – India says ‘No thanks!’

India's strategic refusal to participate in the OBOR (now BRI) is a wakeup call for other nations. How will things turn out in the coming years?

China’s belt around Asia’s neck – India says ‘No thanks!’

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  1. The great game begins : China’s ambitious Belt and Road meeting [which was initially the One Belt One Road (OBOR) meeting] was inaugurated in capital Beijing on May 14, 2017. China desperately wanted India also to join the meeting, but India stuck firm to its opposition of the controversial CPEC passing through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region (Indian territory) which intrudes Indian territorial interests and sovereignty. Hence, India boycotted the meeting.
  2. Many guests from across Asia and the world : The meeting was attended by 29 heads of state including the Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickramasinge, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan besides top officials of world bodies like the UN, the World Bank and the IMF. American President too sent a representation. Presidents Putin and Xinping have come very close due to this initiative (“the ballast stone” in world peace and stability, in Xi’s words.)
  3. It’s only for everyone’s benefit : During his inaugural address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Belt and Road initiative (BRI – name changed due to OBOR sounding too imperialistic) is a project of the century that will benefit people across the world. He dismissed assertions that the initiative was aimed at forming a small group of nations taking part in the meeting that was detrimental to stability, as the initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment. He said China plans to build it as a road to peace and link his country to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.
  4. $ 124 billion and counting : In his address, Xi pledged to pump in a massive $ 124 billion for projects that are part of the ambitious venture, double of what the World Bank lent in 2016. While the absence of India was a talking point among the 4,000 Chinese and foreign media registered to cover the event, there was no official comment from China on New Delhi giving the forum a miss. The Chinese President said all countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity... and each other's core interests and major concerns. If only China could practice what it preaches!
  5. Pakistan is happy, and indebted : Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif avoided direct reference to India’s boycott and its objections to the controversial CPEC but said that “the initiative should not be politicized”. (perhaps his Army’s ceasefire violations do not form a part of this rhetoric). Incidentally, Pakistan has no other option but to tow the Chinese line as China happens to be its closest ally in these troubled times of that country.
  6. CPEC is our crown jewel, said the permanent friend : Sharif said that CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. He wants nations to transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through diplomacy and leave legacy of peace for future generations. Stating that the CPEC has emerged as the core and flagship project of China's OBOR, it proves geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation. These words hide the true developments happening behind the curtains.
  7. PT Gurukul : A range of awesome courses at your fingertips - no travelling, no non-sense, no pollution, no risk, no waste of time - only 24x7 high quality learning at your fingertips!
  8. A lot of ground covered : The Belt and Roads initiative includes the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road. India is the only major country to refuse participation in the event, suggesting that the massive project is little more than a colonial enterprise, which would leave debt-ridden, broken communities in its wake. Those are extremely strong words.
  9. China needs India and has done nothing to get it on board : David Kelly, director of geopolitics at Beijing-based consulting firm China Policy, said China needed India’s participation more than the US’s as it doesn’t serve China's image and interests to establish linkages in distant places while being unable to mend fences in its neighbourhood. India's development pattern follows a different rhythm compared to China. India will continue to grow at its own pace regardless of whether it joins or not. That is not good news for the Chinese (although India has a plethora of its own internal problems).
  10. US and Germany speak up : Representatives of the United States and Germany did some plain speaking, reminding China of the need for maintaining transparency in project planning and giving equal opportunities to all stakeholders in the allocation of finance and purchase of machinery. China has been blamed for supporting projects that provide business to Chinese companies and banks while side-lining other competitors. That bites the rich world. According to many experts, OBOR is an economic stimulus for China's domestic economy as much as a quest for raising its international standing.
  11. Trade agreements : China will sign trade agreements with 30 countries during the two-day forum, and gradually expand it to cover 60 countries that are connected to the plan. It is faintly reminiscent of the subsidiary alliances that the Indian princely states often happily signed with the British East India company J
  12. Demarche to China over unholy PoK engagement :  India has been issuing strong demarches to China for over 50 years since 1961 at each stage of Chinese engagement with Pak-occupied Kashmir. The first such demarche was issued by Indian Ambassador to China one year before the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Subsequent demarches were issued in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1982, 1983 and protests were continuously registered since 2008 when China and Pakistan agreed to construct first mega infrastructure project in PoK. Meanwhile, protests by locals have broken out in Gilgit-Baltistan against the ongoing construction of the CPEC under the BRI. Student and political organizations have been protesting in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Ghizer. They described the project as an illegal attempt to grab Gilgit and see it as a "Road of Gulami or Slavery for Gilgit-Baltistan", claiming that China has entered Gilgit-Baltistan illegally with the help of Pakistan.
  13. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence and Vocabulary Booster series of learning resources here
  14. Download Resources : PDFs on defence & military and related issues available on Bodhi Resources page here. And, here are some facts and images to help the case better.
  15. Deep Dive : (1) Everything on OBOR - here, (2) China, India and world politics - here, (3) India - Pakistan - China issues - here
  16. Bodhi Saar Prashn : a fantastic collection of all quiz questions for your revision - here!

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The CPEC built right through Indian territory - and they expect cooperation!,

Onwards, to a positive future?

Locals in Giglit-Baltistan protesting the CPEC

Grand designs on Asia!

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Bodhi Booster: China’s belt around Asia’s neck – India says ‘No thanks!’
China’s belt around Asia’s neck – India says ‘No thanks!’
India's strategic refusal to participate in the OBOR (now BRI) is a wakeup call for other nations. How will things turn out in the coming years?
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