India likely to skip China’s BRI summit
- October 12, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
India likely to skip China’s BRI summit
Context: India has decided to skip BRI meet. India did not attend the summits in 2017 and 2019, having raised concerns about the BRI.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing, with the Russian leader also present at the previous two summits in 2017 and 2019.
Why India didn’t attend?
- India has concerns over the flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative?
- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, is a massive infrastructure and economic development project launched by the People’s Republic of China in 2013.
- The initiative aims to promote economic cooperation and connectivity among countries primarily in Asia, Europe, and Africa, through the construction of infrastructure networks, including roads, railways, ports, and pipelines, as well as the development of trade and investment corridors.
- The Belt and Road Initiative consists of two main components:
- The Silk Road Economic Belt: This land-based component seeks to connect China to Europe through a network of roads and railways that traverse Central Asia and the Middle East.
- The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: This sea-based component aims to link China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Europe through a network of ports and shipping routes.
- The BRI is intended to enhance trade, investment, and economic development in the participating countries, as well as to strengthen China’s economic ties with other nations. It is often referred to as a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade routes that connected China to the rest of the world.
BRI projects in South Asia
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): It involved multiple projects, including the development of a port in the city of Gwadar in the Balochistan province, providing a port to China’s Xinjiang province that would be closer than other eastern ports in China. China envisioned that Gwadar would provide it with a position on the Arabian Sea without having to go through the busy shipping lane of the Malacca Strait. Some other projects included power — the bulk of the investment — transport, and telecommunication
Main Line 1 (ML-1) rail: The project involved the total overhaul of the 1,872-km ML-1 railway line from Peshawar to Karachi
Gwadar development– At the centre of the CPEC was the $700-million development of the arid city of Gwadar, with an estimated population of over two lakh, into a smart port city that would become the “Singapore of Pakistan”. Gwadar is strategically important as it is an hour’s drive from Iran and less than 320 km from Oman. According to the master plan for Gwadar’s development under BRI, approved in 2020, it would increase the city’s GDP to $30 billion by 2050 and create over a million jobs
Orange Line Metro: The $1.6-billion Orange Line Metro covering 27 km in Lahore, described as “China’s gift” to Pakistan, became operational in late 2020.
Colombo International Container Terminxal (CICT) at the Colombo port, where a Chinese state-owned firm holds an 85 per cent stake under a 35-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement.
Central Expressway project connecting with two other highways- the Outer Circle Highway and the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway
Hambantota port: Some BRI projects in Sri Lanka have been described as white elephants- such as the Hambantota port, a deep seaport on the world’s busiest east-west shipping lane, which was meant to spur industrial activity. The port had always been secondary to the busy Colombo port until the latter ran out of capacity.
Airport: The Hambantota International Airport or the Rajapaksa Airport, built with a $200 million loan from China became operational in 2013. Described as the “world’s emptiest airport” it is used sparingly, and was unable to cover its electricity bill at one point.
Himalayan railway project Kerung-Kathmandu Rail link will connectKerung city (also known as Gyirong) in south Tibet to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. The rail link is the extension of the railroad being built to connect China’s Qinghai province to Tibet.
A 2 km long Sinamale bridge or the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge- a $200 million four lane bridge.
BRI projects include China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridges, special economic zones (SEZs), the $689.35 million-Karnaphuli River tunnel project, upgradation of the Chittagong port, and a rail line between the port and China’s Yunnan province. Multiple projects have been delayed, however, owing to the slow release of funds by China. Besides, the Marine Drive Expressway was hampered after Sri Lanka blacklisted the Chinese company building it, over bribery reports. Work on the project is now expected to start in 2022.
India ‘s Concerns:
- Debt trap
- Sovereignty Issue
- Encircle India