Russian Federation willing to get new investment through Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

The Chinese are playing their One Belt One Road (OBOR) move, a massive once-in-a-lifetime geopolitical lunge in multiple domains, as a benign attempt at infrastructure-building and economic connectivity.

Some analysts put total funding needs of the Silk Road projects at about US$1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion). Other delegates included officials, entrepreneurs, financiers and journalists from over 130 countries, and representatives of key global organisations, such as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank's President Jim Yong Kim, and Managing Director of the worldwide Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

Saturday's statement from the Ministry of External Affairs about the Belt and Road Initiative reiterated this.

"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".

In Delhi's calculus, even beyond CPEC, supporting OBOR would yield no tangible benefits.

The new Silk Road, first announced in 2013, will connect China with markets in Eastern Europe and Africa through new infrastructure and trading routes.

China has successfully harnessed its technological advancement to standardize operations and big data in creating a ground-breaking economic model which it desires to promote to the rest of the world, in hope of creating a more rational and equitable power and wealth sharing structure towards greater prosperity and peace through capital input and the institution of infrastructural projects. Furthermore, it is attractive to its Eurasian partners, as it would facilitate mutual development of their economies.

The announcement marks the first tangible results of trade talks that began last month.

What adds even more substance is the whopping trade imbalance that China has vis-à-vis nearly all the OBOR countries and the way the OBOR initiative is solidifying, through various agreements, this difference. It was held after the conclusion of the leaders' roundtable summit of the forum.

Chheang Vannarith, chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, said in joining the Belt and Road Initiative Cambodia must also pay close attention to the social and environmental impact of development. In so doing, China assumes a larger role in the region and the world as a provider of public goods and stakes a broader claim to leadership more generally.

Russia and China have developed the $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the $40 billion Silk Road infrastructure Fund, the BRICS New Development Bank, and the China-Russia Expo which no doubt would displace the monopoly of the US dollar and erode the primacy of the Bretton Woods system. Earlier, on March 29, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang attended the opening ceremony of the fourth International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia and gave a speech which further elaborates China's Arctic policy objectives. This can be symbolised by the current situation facing Indonesia's high-speed railway construction plans. And two-way trade between China and the countries covered by the scheme rose by a negligible 0.6 per cent a year ago, compared with 25 per cent in 2015. China's economic corridor project now being implemented by it in Pakistan is being viewed by India with great anxiety due to the military implications. Only one Western leader participated, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, representing the Group of Seven, and host of that meeting this year. As a culmination of the unprecedented economic rise of the Middle Kingdom, OBOR is China's version of the Marshall Plan - the extremely successful business stimulus launched by the United States to power West European recovery following World War II.

The White House adviser, Matt Pottinger, represented the United States.

"Over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors, trekking across vast steppes and deserts, opened the transcontinental passage connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, known today as the Silk Road".

New Delhi's concerns are not limited to the $50 billion Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor - a product of OBOR - which blatantly challenges India's security and sovereignty concerns through its presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Still, deals signed during the forum in Beijing point to the political mood: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak inked nine documents with China for proposed investments worth US$7.2 billion, with Xi describing ties as their "best ever".

The profound success in indigenous manufacturing by China has to serve as a stern lesson for India.


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