In 2013 the Chinese government adopted a global development strategy called the “belt and road initiative”. This mega project has a targeted completion date of 2049. Under the project, the land “belt” will run from china through south and central Asia into Europe. The maritime “road” plans to connect coastal Chinese cities with Africa and the Mediterranean. The key projects of the initiative comprise a 12,000Km (7456.45 miles) long railway which will connect London to the Chinese city of Yiwu, highway which will connect Kashgar in China to Pakistan’s Gwadar port, etc. China is most probably using this project to gain more geopolitical influence to become the next superpower. This initiative has caused the United States a massive headache. Major Asian allies like South Korea and the Philippines have welcomed the initiative. Even many countries in Europe have appreciated it as they hope it will attract Chinese investment. Montenegro, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Laos, etc are already reaping the benefits of the program. This project will increase China’s influence over Europe which is one of America’s largest strongholds. Countries are majorly attracted to the project because of the prospect of having better trade opportunities, investment, employment, and reduced poverty. China hit an obstacle when at the belt and road forum of 2017 France, Germany and the United Kingdom opted not to sign a trade statement. Saying the initiative was not clear on social and environmental standards.
China’s fellow communist ally Russia will also be benefited through joint investment projects with China. Russia, because of its influence in Central Asia is helping China in matters of negotiations. The initiative includes industrial parks, mines, power plants, etc to make trade with China easier. This has been a huge win for Chinese construction companies which had to struggle for work in China but know are working internationally. The main reason behind the initiative’s success until now is China’s international loan policy which has far fewer conditions than that of the west. China has provided loans of billions of dollars to countries worldwide. China’s policies have been a massive plus point for less democratic governments as they don’t require the ethical standards which are required by the west. China has signed economic pacts with authoritarian governments, military regimes, and even conflict-laden countries. Because of China’s plan to provide loans to unstable countries The BRI (belt and road initiative) is a high-risk plan and might not even get the loans back. China already knows what to do in such situations in 2017 it took control over a Sri Lankan port for 99 years as Sri Lanka wasn’t able to pay the 1.5 billion dollar loan. Similarly, the Chinese also have control over a strategic port in Pakistan for 40 years. These steps clearly indicate that China is aiming for more than just trade. It plans to establish naval bases in the Indian Ocean which will provide it a huge strategic advantage. Overall China’s BRI is its bid to dethrone the US as the global superpower.
Really enjoyed the insightful thinking and analysis that went into this article…keep writing Ekam