1.China’s Belt and Road Initiative , also known as One Belt, One Road (OBOR) , is one of President Xi’s most ambitious foreign and economic policies. It aims to strengthen Beijing’s economic leadership through a vast program of infrastructure building throughout China’s outreach regions. Many foreign policy analysts view this initiative largely through a geopolitical lens, seeing it as Beijing’s attempt to gain political leverage over its neighbours and distant allies. There is no doubt , that is part of Beijing’s strategic calculation. However, some of the key drivers behind OBOR are largely motivated by China’s pressing economic concerns.
2.One of the overriding objectives of OBOR is to address China’s deepening regional disparity as the country’s economy modernises. Beijing hopes its transnational infrastructure building program will primarily spur growth in China’s underdeveloped hinterland and rustbelt. The initiative will have a heavy domestic focus. The Chinese Government also wants to use OBOR as a platform to address the country’s chronic excess capacity. It is more about migrating surplus manufacturing facility than dumping excess products. One of the least understood aspects of OBOR is Beijing’s desire to use this initiative to export China’s technological and engineering standards. Chinese policymakers see it as crucial to upgrading the country’s industry.
3.All levels of the Chinese Government, from the national economic planning agency to provincial universities, are scrambling to get involved in OBOR. Nearly every province in China has developed its own OBOR plan to complement and integrate to the national blueprint. Major state-owned policy and commercial banks have announced generous funding plans to fulfill President Xi’s ambitious vision.
4.At the end of 2013 Chinese President Xi Jinping announced one of China’s most ambitious foreign policy and economic initiatives. He called for the building of a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, collectively referred to as One Belt, One Road (OBOR) but which has also come to be known as the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi’s vision is an ambitious program of infrastructure building to connect China’s less-developed border regions with neighbouring countries. OBOR is arguably one of the largest transnational infrastructural development plans in modern history.
5.On land, Beijing aims to connect the country’s underdeveloped hinterland to Europe through Central Asia. This route has been dubbed the Silk Road Economic Belt. The second leg of Xi’s plan is to build a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road connecting the fast-growing Southeast Asian region to China’s southern provinces through ports and railways.
6.OBOR is primarily driven by broad geostrategic aims. Certainly some elements of OBOR are consistent with such a characterisation. The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a prime example. It is widely regarded as one of the flagship projects of OBOR and is enthusiastically supported by both Beijing and Islamabad. The proposed corridor is expected to connect Kashgar in Xinjiang in China’s far west with the Port of Gwadar in the province of Baluchistan. Given the port’s proximity to the Persian Gulf, it could be used as a transhipment point for China’s energy supplies obviating the need to go through the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia.
7.Apart from serving as a commercial port, Gwadar is also deep enough to accommodate submarines and aircraft carriers. Indeed, the military logic behind the development of the port is becoming increasingly prominent as the People’s Liberation Army Navy embarks on far-flung activities from anti-piracy missions in the Arabian Sea to the evacuation of Chinese workers in Libya.
8.For Westerners ,the One belt One Road campaign is championed by pliant academics in state newspapers, danced about by ethnically diverse children in propaganda videos, and financed by fretful bankers without much clarity of hope of recovering their investments: China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a leviathan transnational infrastructure scheme that's hard to ignore but may generate huge Non Productive Assets or bad loans among the lending bankers without any bail-out guarantee.
9.On Sunday, May 14, 2017 a two-day summit on President Xi Jinping’s keynote project opens in Beijing, attended by 1,500 delegates from 130 countries, including 29 heads of state and government. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are the star names on show, and even North Korea is sending a delegation. EU leaders are however in relatively less active attendance .India due to its natural distrust and misgivings will remain a notable absentee.
10.In short, the Belt and Road Initiative (otherwise known as One Belt One Road, or OBOR) is a revival of the iconic land and maritime Silk Road via a trade and infrastructure network spanning East Asia to Western Europe and South through Africa. It consists of roads, railways, ports, pipelines and everything in between across a region with a $26 trillion infrastructure deficit, according to some estimates. This is also a measure of total free cash floating around in the world market today.
11.The basic idea is to make it easier for China to trade with the world, at a time when its economy is slowing, with the happy corollary that the world will find it easier to trade with each other. But OBOR remains a nebulous, confusing concept, which offers enormous benefits but only if significant challenges can be negotiated.
12.“Major concerns remain regarding the transparency of how China is financing these projects, and the extent to which China is able to manage security risks in OBOR countries,” says China analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit. OBOR covers 65% of the world’s population, three-quarters of global energy resources and 40% of GDP. China’s annual trade with OBOR countries already exceeds $1.4 trillion. But Beijing’s overlapping disputes in the South and East China Seas have fed suspicions that OBOR is a Trojan horse for extending its geopolitical clout.
13.If so, China is backing that gambit with hard cash: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — connecting China’s westernmost city of Kashgar to Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, some 2,000 miles away — will alone cost $46 billion. (By comparison, the U.S. has spent $33 billion in Pakistan since 2002, two-thirds on security alone).
14.Above all, OBOR signifies that China is embracing an international presence like never before, and the old isolationist adage of “hide your strength, bide your time,” coined by China’s reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, is very much a thing of the past. The scale of China’s Belt and Road Initiative could eclipse the role of the G-7 or G-20 Forums as a new framework for stimulating infrastructure development in low income developing countries.