China has experienced a remarkable progress in both economic and social development in the last few decades and grew to become the second largest economy in the world. To continue its global dominance it rolled out its Belt and road initiative (BRI) also known as the one belt one road (OBOR), for the revival of the ancient silk route. The BRI has to main components One Silk Road economic belt and other the Maritime Silk Route.
But India has many concerns regarding the initiative taken by China. The most important one is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be developed under OBOR which passes through the disputed territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK), the territory which was occupied by Pakistan in 1947 in the Indo-Pak war.
India’s reason to avoid the Beijing’s promise to build the road is strategic mistrust. India is surrounded by the two nuclear-armed neighbors against whom it has fought wars in the past 60 years and CPEC will provide both China and Pakistan an edge over India.
Under the maritime silk route (MSR) China is developing different ports in different countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan to increase it economic and military strength in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Thus MSR is nothing but a disguise to encircle India which is called the theory of “String of Pearls”.
The OBOR not only solves the ‘Malacca Dilemma’ of China but also allows it to control most of the world’s oil supply through the port of Gwadar in Pakistan (which is being developed by China) placed near the Strait of Hormuz.
The other major concern is that through One belt One Road, China is strengthening its position and weakening India’s position in the IOR. Almost 90% of India’s oil supply come through the sea route ( Indian Ocean).
The OBOR strategy of China is an economic initiative to enhance its trade relations and also its strategy to expand its geopolitical influence. Security is the most important issue India is facing in joining the initiative. India is situated in between both the belt (SERB) and the road routes (MSR), which are going to pass through its periphery. There are both challenges and opportunities for India in the ambitious program.
Lastly, I would like to say in a “Globalised economy there cannot be one road but there are many roads and no nation must put itself dictating a single road.”