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What is OBOR

One Belt One Road (OBOR) is a development strategy proposed by China. It is also known as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Chinese President Xi Jinping is the originator of this ambitious idea. OBOR was proposed in October 2013. This initiative focuses on cooperation and connectivity amongst Eurasian countries like China, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Oman, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. It consists o two parts. First part is through land and is named Economic Belt or Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB). The second part is through sea route. It is named Maritime Road or Maritime Silk Road.

Through OBOR China is pushing for a larger role in global affair. In the past three years, the focuses were mainly on infrastructure investment, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel. Currently China has excess capacity in industrial sector. So it wants to use Belt and Road Initiative to address this excess capacity. China hopes that that its excess production facilities may eventually be migrated out of China into BRI countries.

China’s plan to build ports, roads, railways, and other forms of infrastructure in under-developed Eurasian and African countries is due to political motivation rather than real demand for infrastructure. The aim is to extend Chinese influence at the cost of USA. China is aiming for regional leadership. It has already invested billions of dollars in South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to improve their basic infrastructure. It has implications for China’s trade regime as well as extension o its military influence.

                                               One Belt One Road

China hopes that through OBOR the country will be able to sustain rate o economic development. Its state controlled firms will get opportunity to participate in building infrastructure suggested in OBOR. So Chinese firms will be provided with profitable business opportunities in order to maintain high GDP growth in China.

India did not attend the meeting of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in May 2017. India has sovereignty concerns over the nearly USD 60 billion CPEC, a flagship project of China’s prestigious One Belt One Road (OBOR). CEPEC passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). As per India CEPEC passes through a disputed territory and China cannot put itself into a position of dictating the Belt and Road initiative.

Article by Col P Chandra (Retd)

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