BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE /OBOR
- October 23, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Category: General Knowledge
The BRI /OBOR grand summit took place in Beijing on May 14-16, 2017. It was attended by 29 heads of state and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and many officials and delegates from other countries.
The One Belt One Road is an ultra ambitious brainchild of President Xi Jinping which came to fore for the first time in September-October 2013 in Kazakhstan and Jakarta with the objective of establishing seamless trade connect amongst Asia, Africa, and Europe by building the 21st century modern Silk Road.
OBOR’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road seeks to revive the connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans by linking China’s coastline with Southeast Asia, West Asia and the eastern coast of Africa. The Silk Road Economic Belt envisages the revival of the ancient land link between China and the Mediterranean through Central Asia and Europe.
It has been evident since its unveiling (initially as One Belt, One Road or OBOR) in 2013 that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious attempt to unify and build a web of connectivity linked to China on a scale that was unimaginable before.
In the beginning OBOR intiative experienced mixed response from many countries on the counts of geo-strategic, political, ecological, social, environmental degradation, and so on concerns.
China has consistently maintained that OBOR/BRI shall not be misconstrued as s Chinese political agenda, or a Chinese strategic project. Instead, it should be looked at as an economic development project to develop physical infrastructure, for establishing transport connectivity, for seamless trade, for financial, social, cultural, civilisational, and people-to-people connect among the countries along the Silk Road and beyond up to Africa and Europe with the objective of providing solutions to global economic slowdown and uncertainties.
China has agreed to commit itself to all EU regulations, including on procurement, labour and environment for this initiative.
A MEGA EURASIAN INITIATIVE
It will directly involve 65 countries, 4.4 billion people and 29% of global GDP ($2.1 trillion).. The Economist estimates that over $1 trillion of “government money” will be involved in building the BRI.
The following are the infrastructure projects under BRI:
- New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from Western China to Western Russia
- China–Mongolia–Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia
- China–Central Asia–West Asia Corridor running from Western China to Turkey
- China–Indochina Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Singapore
- China–Myanmar–Bangladesh–India Corridor, running from Southern China to Myanmar
- China–Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan
- Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast through Singapore to the Mediterranean
In recent time many countries and international organizations have gone on to bat for this mega initiative from considering this as an extension of Chinese diplomacy for regional cooperation, in the beginning.
A lot of projects within its fold are being backed by the New Silk Road Fund of $40 billion, the China Development Bank’s $900 billion and the bulk of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) $100 billion.
The Silk Road Fund is a state owned investment fund of the Chinese government to foster increased investment in countries along the One Belt, One Road, an economic development initiative primarily covering Eurasia. The Chinese government pledged US$40 billion for the creation of the investment fund established on December 29, 2014. It is headquartered in Beijing. It’s chairman is Jin Qi.
The China Development Bank is a financial institution in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) led by a cabinet minister level Governor, under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council. As one of three policy banks of the PRC, it is primarily responsible for raising funding for large infrastructure projects. It is headquartered in Beijing. It’s chairman is Hi Huaibang.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. The bank currently has 56 member states while another 24 are prospective members for a total of 80 approved members and was proposed as an initiative by the government of China. It is headquartered in Beijing. It’s President is Jin Liqun.
The convergence of the objectives of this initiative with the growth and delopment requirements of many countries such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Poland, to name a few, has helped strengthen cooperation in the areas ranging from trade, investment, infrastructure, production capacity to financing and people-to-people exchanges.
China has gone all the way to diplomatically resolve the political issues to bring Afghanistan and the Middle East on board. After the visit of President Xi, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt has committed to actively get involved in the OBOR/BRI.
In the past three years, the world, minus India, has slowly started to engage more closely with China on OBOR.
In April 2016, the EU agreed to an infusion of €10bn into the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) from the Chinese Silk Road Fund.
Deviating from the America’s position on this, several EU countries and about half of NATO members have become the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is the OBOR’s main source of funding.
On March 17, 2017, when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sought to strengthen and facilitate the initiative of “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the 21st “Century Maritime Silk Road” under its resolution for authorising an one-year mandate extension for United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), it was construed as global recognition of and support for OBOR by China.
India’s decision to skip the meeting was based on the strong disaproval of the projection and inclusion of so-called “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” as the flagship project of the OBOR/BRI.
The CPEC is to traverse some of the most lawless and insecure parts of the world. For India there is the added complication that it goes through Indian territory of Gilgit and Baltistan under Pakistani occupation, and by making a long term investment on that basis, seems to solidify and legitimise that occupation.
India maintained that, “Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity” India aslo stated that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality.