India’s response towards Chinese one belt one road
Research Scholars, Department of Political Science, DSB Campus Kumaun University Nainital, Uttarakhand, India
Presently two great powers of Asia i.e. India and China that had been in the position of ally and rival in modern history and they are in a competing to capture the maximum advantage by expanding their network with located countries. In the strive for Economic and political excellence in the world arena, both the late comer super powers felt the necessity to outreach beyond their peripheries in the great sense when unveiling the Belt and road initiative, China did not realize that its breach for India’s traditional sphere of influence in an abrupt and decisive way, though primarily in infrastructural and economic terms was tantamount to seeking an all-out confrontation. But India realized that one Belt one Road initiative was pragmatic policy framework of China. In meaningful contest the aspects of mutually shared benefits, common prosperity and stability in region will definitely sort out the pending issues between the two. This paper will carry out the impact of OBOR in India China relation and Indian response towards this.
Keywords: ally and rival, obor, pragmatic, mutually shared benefits
One Belt One Road is a concept which is emerged when Chinese President Xi Jenping visited Central Asia and South East Asia in 2013. He raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road which have attracted the attention of world. As India is not against of its infrastructure development but it is concerned about the strategic implications of certain Chinese led initiative. In general Asia has strong growing need for infrastructure development and India in particularly. Many developed countries like USA, Japan and UK are favouring strong support and assistance for infrastructural development and playing greater role in recent years, meanwhile China emerged as a regional, economic and strategic actor who has re-shaped the process of connectivity in Asia. Beijing growing proximity with India’s neighbor has created a sense of unease in New Delhi.
Like any rising global power China is expanding its presence and its profile beyond its immediate neighbourhood. Naturally as China’s influence in South Asia increases India is facing challenge to manage its relationship with its biggest neighbour and competing to maintain its dominance in the region. This belt and road initiative has attracted much attention in all over world positive and negative since its inception in 2013. This is among the world biggest step towards promoting connectivity and availing fund to infrastructure development and India has shown the tough policy towards China in response. India has marked its protest by not attending its meeting about one belt one road. India has decided the initiative transparency and also opposed the China Pakistan economic corridor due to concern about territorial sovereignty. Much before this BRI Bangladesh India China Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor was launched in 1990s. It would be much wise to look at the initiative which have been made earlier to this. Similarly, China MSR is a combination of bilateral infrastructure projects in Indian Ocean region and multilateral initiative that is to promote connectivity with Asian European and African continents. It is great under taking that will benefit people around the world.
Statement of the problem
India’s Suspicion about BEIT and Road
India has begun to doubt the implication of BRI when China extended in infra engagements with India neighbour in South Asia and Indian Ocean region as New Delhi has continued its political calculation on Belt and Road there were significant voices on both sides of political dilemma surrounding whether India should participate in BRI May 2017 forum.
In one hand some intellectuals of India have pointed out some specific ways that India could get benefitted by BRI for example BRI would provide a way to help finance the country’s domestic infrastructural projects. The economic benefit India could get from BRI is it will pass through North Eastern part of Country which is geographically distant from rest of India from major cross border trading route. So New Delhi should consider about its own economic stand on trade and transportation issues so as to avoid being left behind.
On the other hand India opposition to the BRI appear to have run out. India’s suspicious about Chinese funded projects through BRI ultimately come down to a few key concerns.
To study power politics ban India and China in South Asia in general and implication of building OBOR the road to India in particular.
Indian Response to OBOR
Emergence of China as strategic, economic and regional superpower has redefined the prospects for connecting countries in Asia. China’s growing interest to collaborate with India’s insecurity in India. China’s expansionist policy with global ambition has created greater amount of influence in South Asian countries and in India neighbour. So India is facing the challenges of maintaining the relationship with its biggest neighbour and competing to maintain its prominence in the region.
New Delhi has started to understand China’s economic and commercial initiative as a means to advance its own ambitions that is merely conducive to India’s interest. Former Indian foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar spoke in 2016 that “Interactive dynamic between strategic Interest and connectivity initiative – a universal preposition – is on particular display in our continent”. OBOR has gained much attention since its inception in 2013, positive as well as negative.
It is one of the world’s biggest initiatives to promote connectivity and providing fund to finance infrastructure development.
Negative aspects started with the very interesting fact that “who will be benefitted most from this initiative” obviously China. This would open the doors for full fledge export potential of China which is otherwise getting stagnated in coming years.
China has adopted a very clever strategy to engage the world for its own benefits. China has access capacity in its manufacturing and construction industry that will get a boost with OBOR.
China’s western region is relatively under-developed though this initiative it will witness development. It will create alternative energy supply routes to the straits of Harmuz and Malacca. At present most of China’s maritime oil import pass through these lines.
OBOR is one of the most ambitious projects of China ever undertaken by any single country. Since China is excluded from G7 group of giants. OBOR is its secret mission to counter the scare.
India’s Answer to project OBOR
But interestingly, if we see almost all country like Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal and obviously Pakistan are supporting and favouring OBOR except India. India is alone opponent of significance.
India having analyzed the full potential of the project decided to match it the two projects are
These were conceptualise at the external affairs level as a policy to integrate the India with other stream of countries which had linkages with India in any sphere excluding the climate relationship or linkage in the area of spice trade.
As far as spice route are concerned, there is emphasis to reawaken, the forgotten relation of India with those countries with which it had a close spice related trade contact. This approach was aimed to revitalize the relations in order to serve the wider interests which have expanded from economic co-operation to political co-operation. It is expected that there are several other countries which may be associated with the spice export diplomacy and the close political relations with these countries may be established.
India has started to craft a policy response. In its strongest protest on the BRI date, India marked its protest by not attending the OBOR forum that China had hosted in May 2017 and also India has questioned the OBOR’s transparency and processes and India opposed the China Pakistan economic corridor due to its concern about territorial sovereignty. A primary concern for India is that China wills its economic presence in the region to advance its strategic interest. One notable example is strategically located port of Humbomtota.
Way forward and concluding remarks
Since New Delhi had been very slow in initiating and implementing a friendly approach to connectivity in the region. Although India has identified Japan as key partner in formulating a response, there had been a little progress on that. India urgently needs a structural framework for providing an alternative to Chinese led connectivity initiative to protect its strategic goals and remain a dominant power in South Asia and Indian Ocean region.
Indian response to China’s OBOR is well structured and largely governed by the soft power approach.
Chinese policy is solely dependent upon the economic interest whereas India’s policy starts with soft power diplomacy but is also aimed to reach to develop the close economic and political relationships with the targeted countries. Indian response always has been very practical and based the understanding the needs of concerned countries. The response is not aggressive as China but little efforts has started to co-operate in areas of maritime and interactions. Ultimately India must be more proactive and prioritize its development as soon as possible.