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China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ Revisited

The Belt and Road Initiative, China’s foreign policy hallmark, faces problems over magnitude, mismanagement, and excessive indebtedness for the recipient countries. Notwithstanding its opposition
to China–Pakistan projects traversing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, India’s hopes for using Chabahar port investments in Iran can be valorised only via China-built rail and road links to Afghanistan and Central
Asia. Incipient India–China cooperation in Afghanistan might provide a platform for an Indian reassessment.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his ambitious New Silk Road, also called “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR), and later the “Belt and Road
Initiative” (BRI). This vast, fluid, and growing amalgam of projects consists of a set of infrastructure and related investments, linking China by land and sea with Asia, Africa and Europe, even Latin America, and building other infrastructure in the partner states. Since then, OBOR “has firmly established itself as China’s major foreign policy” (Chan 2018).

Because China’s policymaking and much of its implementation is a closed box, we tend to see it as messianic and profoundly calculated. The reality is more banal. It is subject to the same compromises and unseen consequences as the rest of us, and it tends to make mistakes. That is true of the BRI as well.

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Updated On : 18th Dec, 2018

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