What is The One Belt One Road Plan?





The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt"; whereas "road" refers to the sea routes or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

What Is It All About? 

It was known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR)and the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road until 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word "one" was prone to misinterpretation.

The Chinese government calls the initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future".Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

Progress So Far 

The initiative was unveiled by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 during visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia and was thereafter promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during state visits to Asia and Europe. The initiative was given intensive coverage by Chinese state media, and by 2016 often being featured in the People's Daily.

In March 2019 China signed an infrastructure plan with Italy which became the first European country to join the Initiative. Western Europe sees this as a benefit for business and for greater geopolitical influence. The agreement is not fully binding and does not undermine Italy’s Western political and security alliances.

Objectives 

The stated objectives are "to construct a unified large market and make full use of both international and domestic markets, through cultural exchange and integration, to enhance mutual understanding and trust of member nations, ending up in an innovative pattern with capital inflows, talent pool, and technology database."The initial focus has been infrastructure investment, education, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel.

Already, some estimates list the Belt and Road Initiative as one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history, covering more than 68 countries, including 65% of the world's population and 40% of the global gross domestic product as of 2017.

Belt and Road Initiative addresses an "infrastructure gap" and thus has potential to accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe: a report from the World Pensions Council (WPC) estimates that Asia, excluding China, requires up to US$900 billion of infrastructure investments per year over the next decade, mostly in debt instruments, 50% above current infrastructure spending rates. The gaping need for long term capital explains why many Asian and Eastern European heads of state "gladly expressed their interest to join this new international financial institution focusing solely on 'real assets' and infrastructure-driven economic growth".


Negative Impact

-China’s projects of ports, naval bases and surveillance posts in the Indian Ocean will encircle India. This is commonly called as “String of Pearls“.

-"China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC)- Flagship project under the mega OBOR initiative, passes through Pak occupied part of Kashmir. This step of China undermines India’s sovereignty as China didn’t take permission from India.

-China may take control of the developing countries through its investments, this may impact the trade relations between India and these countries.

-If India joins in OBOR, Chinese companies may supervise the projects in India under OBOR. This will be a problem because Chinese companies may not create employment opportunities for local people and may not care about local developmental needs.

Positive Impact

-India’s major drawback is lack of infrastructure. If India partners with OBOR, it can utilize China’s investments and technology to overcome this drawback.

-If India becomes a part of OBOR, trade relations of India with Eurasian countries will improve.


Hence the Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious plan that the world will be looking at in years to come. Moreover, China has the resources and the capacity to pull it off. However, it may have various diplomatic consequences which will also have to be monitored.

- Deekshitha Jain 


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What is The One Belt One Road Plan? What is The One Belt One Road Plan? Reviewed by EMN on June 20, 2019 Rating: 5

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