Why India Is Wary of China’s Silk Road Initiative
By Peter Cai: Research fellow, Lowy Institute for International Policy
One of China’s most ambitious economic and foreign policy projects is the so-called “One Belt, One Road” initiative, also referred to as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to connect the disparate regions in China’s near and distant neighborhood through a massive program of infrastructure building. It’s President Xi Jinping’s personal project, and some Chinese analysts have dubbed it “the number one project under heaven.”
The initiative has received mixed reactions throughout the region, with division most pronounced in the Indian subcontinent. China’s quasi-ally Pakistan regards the initiative (estimated to be worth around $46 billion for the country alone) as a game-changer.
Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal says the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will turn bilateral “friendship into a strategic economic partnership.“ Indeed, if the scheme was implemented successfully, it would add an important economic dimension to the already close political and military relationship between Islamabad and Beijing.