OBOR and India

What is OBOR? Well, simply put it stands for One Belt, One Road. It is more of a unilateral national initiative by China which other countries are not obligated to buy into. OBOR is a setting up of trade route wherein lesser trade barriers, more open economy and freer trade is allowed.

China and Pakistan have already signed the CPEC which is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India is hurt and disturbed by this already as this is a disruption of the border laws India has been trying to enforce. The CPEC means routeing of traffic for infrastructure via the Pok which India is trying to claim.

Another reason why India does not want to attend the OBOR summit is due to the fact that allowing China and joining hands for this initiative will disrupt the anti – dumping laws enforced in early 2015 by India to protect domestic industries from the invasion of cheap, old steel, cement and pleat glass by Chinese companies.

Like it or not, 28 heads of state—including the Russian president, the Turkish president, Malaysian PM, Pakistan PM and Sri Lankan PM—will attend the OBOR Forum. In addition, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Young, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, 80 leaders of other international organisations and over 100-ministerial-level officials along with over 1,200 delegates are set to attend it. Last week, Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and second-in-command after PM Shinzo Abe also confirmed his participation saying “mutual understanding between Japan and China is vital”. Nepal PM Prachanda seems all set to make a quick U-turn and participate in OBOR. Kathmandu has already announced it will send a high-level delegation.

Narendra Modi is trying to build connections with African countries to gain support wherein Chinese companies have brought a downside to the economies and worsened the conditions by disrupting domestic companies, and directly competing via foreign direct investments.

China has further refused to mediate between Pakistan and India as Pakistan has been rather helpful in signing the CPEC initiative and going a step further to accentuate the finances. India must further fear a cold rather than a thawed reaction when the topic of NSG (Nuclear Supply Group) will be on the table.

Finding asymmetry in geopolitical ties and not reacting politically correctly might engage a building turmoil amidst the trade economies of China and India.

India’s absence at the OBOR summit will be the elephant in the room and a country like India, missing, will be conspicuous.

I further personally feel that missing out on the details of the summit is not going to help the situation as facts may be ignored, skewed or misconstrued when later presented by the media. And for obvious reasons, the CPEC cannot act as an axis for the OBOR since it includes the Indian Ocean and other maritime routes which are not prominently discussed in the CPEC and the projects to be carried out further.



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