India’s unrealistic stand

ACCORDING to Reuters, India refused to extend support to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project at Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The refusal precedes a trip to China this week by India’s Prime Minister. The BRI is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s landmark vision to build infrastructure to connect China to the rest of Asia and beyond, a giant reworking of its old Silk Road.
China has been persuading countries in the region and beyond to join the road to shared prosperity by entering into collaboration in the gigantic project that has the potential to reshape the world in a positive manner. BRI is well conceived and well planned initiative and it is going to become a reality in years to come as more and more nations are expressing their desire to join the project. This is because President Xi, who proposed the initiative five years back, offered three principles: mutual consultation, joint construction and shared benefits, which favour all and harm no one. The initiative is taking practical shape as China has since then fully executed 101 agreements with 86 countries, and total investment in the 24 countries along the belt and road regions has amounted to US$50 billion, resulting in 75 industrial and trade zones, and 200,000 jobs. Experts and strategists say with its focus on infrastructure, the BRI is a model not only for developing countries but also for industrialised ones in Europe and North America, where ageing infrastructure needs replacing. It also adapts to each local, national or regional condition, situation and need. This is also borne out by what we are witnessing in Pakistan where a number of infrastructure projects and energy plants are coming up contributing to resolution of some of the fundamental woes of the country. Going by this, India would have every advantage in joining the initiative but unfortunately it is seeing it through its narrow anti-Pakistan prism. Instead of appreciating and joining the project, it has set-up special cells and allocated huge budget to sabotage and undermine projects relating to CPEC, which is flagship component of the BRI. Despite discouraging signals from Delhi, Beijing seems to be determined to make all efforts to embrace India into this developmental vision that could also contribute towards regional peace, security and stability.

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