Should New Delhi Join Beijing’s Ambitious Belt and Road Initiative?
The world is now more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. This trend is destined to become more dominant as regional connectivity and cooperation have emerged as the most assured ways to promote a country’s development, prosperity and security.
Sudheendra Kulkarni used to be an aide to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He advocates India-China-Pakistan cooperation or the emergence of a new South Asia. In a report on TOI Plus, the politician and columnist has elaborated on one of China’s ambitious projects.
China’s Famous Belt And Road Initiative (BRI): In Focus
Kulkarni said China is pursuing connectivity and cooperation with unmatched ambition and scale, not only regionally but globally. Additionally, he noted how nations start viewing each other less as a threat and more as a partner when they enjoy the benefits of mutual dependence.
Through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing is building networks across the globe. Kulkarni said the gigantic project has suffered some setbacks since its launch in 2013, but highlighted that as many as 152 countries attended the third BRI Summit in October.
China shares land borders with 14 countries, or the highest figure in the world. It has so far settled and demarcated boundaries with 12 of them, excluding Bhutan and India. But China and Bhutan are expected to resolve their boundary dispute soon.
Regional Connectivity A Boon For Less Developed Nations
Beijing is recording steady growth in connectivity, trade, business and people-to-people links with most of its neighbours. China boasts of a bullet train connectivity to Laos, and now plans to extend the network to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, before ending up in Singapore.
Kulkarni said regional connectivity is helping less developed countries on the continent. In October, Cambodia inaugurated a new international airport at Siem Reap, which was built by China. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is expected to attract scores of Indian tourists to Cambodia.