Sri Lanka supports India’s concern over Kashmir in China’s OBOR project

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The recently completed Belt and Road Forum in China featured 28 visiting heads of state and government leaders, and representation from more than 100 countries and global institutions.

The Chinese-funded $55 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is expected to spur economic growth in one of the most impoverished regions of Pakistan, which would lift millions of Pakistanis out of poverty as well as connecting China to the Middle East and beyond. This might further exacerbate the existing imbalance in this important bilateral relationship. It does not offer pure aid and welfare money.

Experts maintain that close cooperation between the two countries other than infrastructure and energy sector projects would help Pakistan to develop its agriculture sector by using new technologies, better use of fertilizers and pesticides. India needs to continue its engagement with China on all outstanding issues and not to give an impression that it has closed its doors on diplomatic front.

The initiative also involves critical foreign direct investment, huge infrastructure development and specific project financing by China to key OBOR member countries. As a result, it has suffered. Such industrial mercantilism has ensured that the Chinese today produce more steel than the rest of the world combined, produce the largest number of cars, rule the world markets in machinery for construction and mining and are basically the world’s final assembly point for electronic goods.

A number of hiccups a year ago put a cloud over ties. This is a clear set of normative standards, one that China, recipients of OBOR-linked largesse and other actors – including in Europe, Japan, and the United States – would do well to heed. Another Russian-Chinese summit was also held there.

It is good that the present government is pursuing its development agenda domestically and internationally.

Second, China has pledged US$124 billion ($174 billion) to underwrite infrastructure projects under the BRI banner.

Our trade with China is very vibrant now.

“I think we have already had so much discussion on this issue”. In the first three months, our exports to China grew by strong double digits.

Indeed, some of our exports to China went through Singapore and Hong Kong, but they were not reflected in our China trade data.

“Is it a signal of genuine economic cooperation or is it anything as significant, like a free trade negotiation where new policies are going to emerge because of this document”. “He wants China to predominate in the East, much as the U.S. does in the West”. Thus full cooperation with China to make this initiative successful will be a wise decision for Bangladesh, as this century is all about shared prosperity and development. In fact, European Union participants echoed these sentiments by blocking a statement at the Belt and Road Summit on trade, on the grounds that it was not based on “transparency and co-ownership”. Say a good is sold at 10 paise in the worldwide market but China will sell it at 15 paise saying there is risk involved in investments. This will save cost and time.

How will Belt and Road eventually evolve into? The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world’s largest fuel network in the world.

China is also facing resistance from some recipients of its investment. It is practical and dynamic. Eventually, it will attract other players to join in. Xi visited Finland before his state visit to the United States in April and stopped by Alaska on the way back to China. Finally, Belt and Road will turn into a multilateral trading bloc with China as the lead.

“The infrastructure is quite a central part of development strategy that benefits in particular countries like Cambodia”, he said. The loans can be serviced with the additional wealth being generated by the investment. Our professionals and talents will be sought after. The main worry for India is that this grand initiative will cement China’s dominance over Asia, including in India’s neighbourhood.

Looking beyond the trans-Asian train routes, the improved desert highways and the strategically positioned far-flung ports, the question is how China really sees itself in the world.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during the United Nations Vesak Day Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka May 12, 2017. You can see this from the Belt and Road forum. In Cambodia, which has had a close relationship with China for some years, analysts see the government’s recent decision to terminate joint exercises with the USA military as a byproduct of increasing military aid and cooperation from China.

On the more constructive side, Chinese diplomats are deeply involved in facilitating peace talks between the government of Myanmar and ethnic armed groups that hold territory along the Chinese border. Where do we want humanity as a whole to be in 10, 100, or even in 1,000 years?

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Even more trade and investment plans – US$113 billion-worth – was announced at the forum on top of previous commitments.

Michael Vatikiotis: What China's 'Belt and Road' bonanza means for the region

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