China’s Belt and Road Initiative(BRI)

China’s Belt and Road Initiative(BRI)
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India was the only country on Sunday in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation grouping which opposed China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that any mega connectivity project must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries. India’s opposition to the BRI, which was known as the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR) till recently, is along expected lines given the fact that the BRI is a supremely political project that, in the name of putative complex interdependence, aims to asserting China’s leadership in regional and international relations and affairs. This is neither unusual nor surprising. China, which historically, has seen and viewed itself as the ”Middle Kingdom” has Great Power aspirations and has employed the current International system and structure ( political and economic) towards this end very successfully. The country’s success has been so stupendous that it has riled some countries like the United States. (Obiter Dictum, it is now believed that we are actually in the midst of a bipolar structure with China and the United States as the two competing and contending poles and axes). The United States, it would appear, wants to contain and check China’s Great Power status and might be interested in using India for this. And, India appears to be gradually veering to this formulation and approach and hitching its wagon with the United States. From this perspective and schemata, India’s aversion and opposition to the BRI is but inevitable given the BRI, seems to create an alternative economic and hence political order to the Western one. But, this might, in the grand scheme of things, might be mere corollary. The real issue would be , if and when the BRI pans out, would it lead to conflict or peace , in general and broader terms? While the answer to this question cannot be foretold, but if the BRI gets reified, then the West might see it as a direct challenge to its supremacy, control and influence of world politics and international relations. And, if this happens, then conflict, even of a militarized nature might ensue. This would be a travesty given that while the world has regressed in some senses but also progressed in others; a confrontation between the West and China would through the world into disarray. It then becomes imperative for both China and the United States ( or the West) to understand that there is space for both and International politics need not be a zero sum game. It is this thinking, more than anything else, that can potentially stake off conflict and therefore much grief.

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