Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Read the op-ed carefully to get a holistic view of OBOR issue. What is India’s stand, international community’s viewpoint, Plans of India’s neighbourhood, there is everything included.
From UPSC perspective, following things are important:
Prelims level: Read about all international organizations mentioned in op-ed.
Mains level: The OBOR issue, China’s ambitions to be world leader, India’s concerns and all other related topics. UPSC has asked question on String of pearls policy of China in 2013 mains thus any policy/design of China which has any kind of ramifications on India’s interest is very important for mains exam.
- India decided to stake out a clear position of defiance against the Belt & Road Initiative (B&RI) of China
What is the calculus driving India’s China policy?
- The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the B&RI, is seen as a blatant disregard for India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
- Delhi’s protest has an element of concerns over sovereignty
- China’s rise and projection of geo-economic influence is a direct challenge and threat to India’s great power aspirations and traditional position in the subcontinent
Two contending viewpoints:
(a) Why India should not Engage?
A one sided affair: Unless and until India develops its own regional connectivity plans and economic capacities at home, there can be no serious engagement with Chinese-sponsored projects
(b) Why India should Engage?
- India’s rise itself needs engagement and connections with the wider Asian and Eurasian economies
- Post-2008 crisis world has reduced the viability of the previous liberalisation model of drawing in western capital and basing India’s growth on a handful of service sectors linked to the West
- Interdependence is key: The idea of growth and development cannot occur in isolation from the world’s second-largest economy.
- Alternate source: The B&RI may provide an alternative source of finance capital and manufacturing opportunities to buttress India’s economy
- The problem really lies in India’s inability to imagine security more holistically and reconcile geopolitical interests with wider developmental goals
How have other countries parked their insecurities and embraced the larger good?
- Both the U.S. and Russia are proceeding rapidly with their bilateral cooperation with China
- Russia is central to any Chinese trans-Eurasian vision for the most basic reason: Geography
- Three of the six corridors outlined by China as part of the B&RI — the China-Mongolia-Russia corridor, the new Eurasian Land Bridge, the China-Central Asia-Western Asia economic corridor — all imply Russian cooperation
- US has shown similar foresight
- Difference in vision: US and Russia have chosen a policy of enhancing interdependence along with pursuing their own geo-strategies of upholding traditional political-military alliances
- Russia, for example, is developing its own connectivity project called the Eurasian Economic Union, which is actually at a far more advanced stage of institutional development having already established a single market for its five members ( Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia )
Examples from Indian subcontinent:
- Clear trends of a complex approach towards China
- India’s neighbours such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar are all pursuing economic cooperation with China on a growing scale while also maintaining close connections with India
- This triangular setting suggests it would be extremely challenging, if not impossible, for Delhi to persuade South Asia to curtail or cut off ties with China
Open ended questions about rise of powers in Asian Sub continent:
- Asia’s national identities are much too strong for state agency to be brushed aside
- Will Vietnam — a country that has resisted China for a millennia — fall under the dragon’s sway because of an engagement with the B&RI?
- What about Russia, one of the world’s strongest military powers with a history of geopolitical experience in Eurasia?
- A tiny island state like Sri Lanka has apparently resisted certain provisions for port usage in the Hambantota project with China on sovereignty grounds
- Almost every Asian state has a litany of issues with China’s rise but is pursuing a complex strategy of adapting without in any way folding up
- The notion that China can literally purchase “regional leadership” by financing infrastructure or lending money is ludicrous
- Power stems from something much deeper. It requires consent and an ability to provide public goods
- China’s internationalism has, so far, been more materialistic than ideational, relying largely on the lure of capital and commerce
- It is instructive that the Chinese-sponsored or promoted institutions that have gained the most multilateral traction — such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation — are the ones that are perceived to offer public goods and are built around a semblance of democratised norms or rules