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China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

About

  • Launched by China in 2013 under President Xi Jinping.
  • Aims to revive ancient trade routes from China to Europe and East Asia.
  • Involves providing loans for infrastructure projects to various countries.
  • Often entails Chinese companies winning contracts for project execution.
  • Includes the export of Chinese capital, labour, technology, and the use of the Yuan.
  • Involves the development of new ports, industrial hubs, special economic zones, and military facilities.

Economic Significance

  • China claims trade volume with BRI countries surpassing $6 trillion.
  • Over $80 billion in Chinese investment in BRI countries.
  • Creation of nearly 300,000 jobs for local people.
  • The World Bank estimated that BRI, if successful, could increase global trade by 1.7 to 6.2 percent and global real income by 0.7 to 2.9 percent.

Criticisms

  • Criticized in the West and by some countries for providing unsustainable debts.
  • A 2019 World Bank report identified 12 corridor economies facing unsustainable debt situations.
  • Concerns about public assets potentially being handed over to foreign contractors or China.

India’s stand

  • India opposes BRI due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • India’s objection is based on territorial sovereignty concerns.

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