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Italy’s Withdrawal from Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)


Why is it in the news?

  • Italy, the only G7 nation to join BRI in 2019, has withdrawn from the initiative.
  • Key reasons for withdrawal include a widening trade deficit (19 billion euros to 32.4 billion euros) and a significant decrease in FDI from China ($650 million in 2019 to $33 million in 2021).
  • Further, growing skepticism in European countries towards China’s intentions, especially with Beijing’s alignments with Moscow.
  • Similar exits by Sierra Leone in 2018 and the Philippines in 2023 indicate a trend of reconsideration.

 

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

  • Launched in 2013 as One Belt One Road, it’s a China-led infrastructure project aiming to connect Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa, and Europe through land and sea routes.
  • Two primary components: Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.
  • Aims at deepening regional integration, promoting trade, and stimulating economic growth.
  • Concerns includes unsustainable debts by China to partner countries leading to a debt trap, making them vulnerable to China鈥檚 influence.
  • Implementation problems include corruption scandals, labour violations, environmental hazards, etc.

India鈥檚 Concerns

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 BRI passing through Gilgit Baltistan region violates India鈥檚 sovereignty and territorial integrity.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Undermines India鈥檚 influence over smaller South Asian countries and Indian Ocean littoral states.

Initiatives to Counter BRI

  • Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII): A counter-initiative to address infrastructure needs with transparent and sustainable practices.
  • India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): A regional economic corridor to enhance connectivity and trade.
  • International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC): A multi-modal network connecting India, Iran, and Russia, aiming to provide an alternative route.

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