On Friday, Nepal officially inked with China’s One Belt One Belt (OBOR) deal, leaving India as the only South Asian country that is not yet involved in the Asian superpower’s ambitious project OBOR. The deal was signed in Kathmandu, which would allow the development of cross border connectivity. Bhutan as the exception has no diplomatic ties with China and every other South Asian nation has signed the OBOR deal. While Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Myanmar and other various high level delegations from Bangladesh and Nepal will also be attending the China’s two day Belt and Road Forum.
What is One Belt One Road?
China’s President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project, One Belt One Road focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation of Asian, African, China and Europe countries. This emphasis on enhancing land as well as maritime routes. This policy is significant for China as it aims to boost country’s domestic growth.
Experts noted that OBOR is a part of China’s strategy for economic diplomacy considering China’s exclusion from G7, while OBOR might just provide China an opportunity to continue its economic development. One Belt, One Road includes a number of ambitious projects which includes train line that stretch from eastern China to London.
OBOR is Spanning over more than 68 countries, encompassing 4.4 billion people and globally 40% of the GDP is under China’s One Belt One Road project and is not short on ambition. This project promises for massive economic growth and claims that it could benefit the entire world and lift millions of people out of poverty.
According to Chinese media, around $1 trillion has already been invested in OBOR project and also expecting that several trillion idues yet to be invested over the next decade during its development. There are two main benefits for China from this project that is economic and political benefit and both with their own significant risks.
Why India is opposing this project
India is opposing this project and the main reason behind the opposition towards is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of OBOR. In recent, Chinese reports claim that the launch of CPEC in Pakistan has received investments more than $46 billion.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gopal Baglay said,” We are promoting the connectivity on the OBOR, since the CPEC forms a part of OBOR and it passes through Indian territory where the difficulty lies, is our position.”
India has raised objections over CPEC projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. However, China has not tried to attenuate India’s concerns. Wang Dehua, Director, Institute for South and Central Asia Studies in Shanghai told Indian Express, “ CPEC is a flagship project, but South Asian countries have now confirmed participation in the Belt and Road Forum and are making use of the initiative,”
What is Belt and Road Forum?
Beijing will host the two day Belt and Road Forum which will start from May 14 and facilitates various high level delegations from leaders which includes 29 Heads of State on OBOR As India will not be attending this forum. China Foreign Ministry spokesperson said some Indian scholars would be participating in activities during the Belt and Road Forum.
Director of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, Hu Shisheng told The Indian Express, “If India wouldn’t be the part of Belt and Road Forum Initiative and all India’s neighbors are positive about it, then the neighbors will cause complain. This is not constructive for India and will reduce its appeal in the region. The neighbors may ask why India not involved in this forum is?” However, Chinese experts noted that Nepal involvement in OBOR may force India to join that project because Nepal and India sustained good bilateral ties with each other.