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Road Policy- how it may harm India?

The One Belt One Road(OBOR), brainchild of Chinese President of Xi Jinping, was proposed in 2013 with a objective to connect the countries of South East Asia, South Asia, West Asia,Middle East, Africa and Europe along with Oceanea to make an integrated economic region specially to increase China's trade with these countries. The OBOR policy is consisting of Silk Road Economic Belt(SREB) and Maritime Silk Road(MSR) which are land and ocean based respectively. Due to the geographic location, the policy may be harmful than beneficial to India.

  1. The OBOR policy looks commercial in nature but diplomatic in original. The policy not only increase China's trade with gulf, middle east and European countries directly through road but also strengthen its bilateral relation with these countries and eventually it may lead to the China's hegemony over the region in which India' s strategic importance may be diminished.
  2. The CPEC, one of the part of OROB policy, will connect Kashgar of China with Gwadar port of Pakistan. The corridor will pass through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which is a disputed area between India and Pakistan.If the CPEC would fully be completed, it could bolster the military power of both countries and thereafter it will harm the India's sovereignty and security.
  3. India's port-led infrastructure projects in Mayanmar, Afganistan, Iran, Srilankaand BBIN have not yet been fully completed. If OBOR policy would be completed, India strategic relation with its neighbours may be affected.
  4. China's growing influence over Pakistan and Srilanka and assistance for Port-led infrastructure development can be a thread to the India's security.
  5. Infrastructure development projects of the India's neighboursas part of OBOR policy are financially assisted by Chinaand eventually put these countries into debt which may not only affect India's bilateral relation with its neighbours but also affects the India's trade with its neighbours.

Taking reference from the China's opposition against India's membership in Nuclear Supplier Group and UN Security Council reform, it is clear that China wants to isolate India and build its hegemony over the South and Southeast Asia. India's decision to stay away from OBOR policy should be decided by the level of efforts.India should focus more on its connectivity project through the framework of Bay of Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC) and Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-NEPAL (BBIN),a motor vehicle agreement. It should complete the project like North South Transport Corridor as well as the alternative route thorough Chabahar port in Iran to Afganistan and Russia. It should strengthen its bilateral relation with Japan and USA to maintain its importance in Indo-pacific region.India should emphasis to complete the infrastructure project of its neighbours specially in the field of connectivity to strengthen its bilateral relation so that OBOR can not harm India's trade and strategic importance in the Region.

- Dibyendu Mondal

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