The Belt and Road Initiative and Chinese Global Influence by: Nayantara Sengupta

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comprises of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) a transcontinental passage that links China with Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Russia and Europe by land and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) a sea route connecting China’s coastal regions with Southeast and South Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East and Eastern Africa all the way to Europe. The Chinese leadership argues that its objective is to promote economic prosperity and cooperation, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations and promote world peace. Nayantara in her paper analyses the aims and objectives of the BRI, the economics and politics of the project and focuses on two case studies within the larger project- the CPEC and the Hambantota Port project and questions the economic viability and geopolitical intentions behind China’s proposals. She also looks at the responses of other global and regional powers and points out that the aims and objectives of BRI have been differently defined by China and often criticised by the global strategic and economic community. Interestingly in her conclusion, she points out that while the pandemic and the global 
economic slowdown negatively affected a number of BRI projects with recipient states seeking debt cancellation and the domestic public pushing for the investments to be made at home for domestic recovery, there have been debates on whether this hiatus provides China with an opportunity towards 
contemplating an improved in BRI 2.0 in the form of the Health Silk Road and the Digital Silk Road.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in the papers are of the authors. They no way represent the views of CSIRD.

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