BRI: Debt-Trap Diplomacy or a Win-Win Strategy?

BRI: Debt-Trap Diplomacy or a Win-Win Strategy?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), is an initiative to revive and better the spirit of the old Silk Road and a step towards understanding the prescience of the Asian century. The OBOR comprises of different super ventures, yet the primary two projects are “the Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) and the “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB). It is one of the extensive projects in the world’s history.

The Silk Road Economic Belt associates three major routes like China to Europe, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road depends on streams among part nations of OBOR activity. Many countries such as Australia, America and India argue that China wants to fulfil its geostrategic and geopolitical ambitions and call it a “debt-trap policy”. However, China claims that BRI is a “win-win situation” that aims to promote free trade, improve peace and developments with other nations and aid developing countries to improve their infrastructure.

These countries have fretted over China’s utilization of BRI foundation financing to develop its impact in the Pacific Islands region. They have insisted that China is deliberately trapping recipient countries with loans they can’t repay and thus having a hold onto vital resources of that country. In this way they say, China will dominate on the Globe and will eventually become the superpower with its hold on different important key domains.

Critic states take Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port example as the case par excellence for China’s debt-trap diplomacy. The record shows that China loaned money to Sri Lanka to build the port, knowing that Colombo would encounter economic instability and debt distress as a result Beijing could then hold onto it in return for debt relief, permitting its utilization by China’s navy.

Moreover, India states that benefits or concessions demanded by China in return for debt relief are unfavourable for recipient states. Sri Lanka, for example, had to surrender control of the Hambantota port undertaking to China for 99 years, after it ended up under huge obligation owed to Beijing. This permitted China power over a key port situated at the doorstep of its regional adversary India, and essential traction along with a key business and military stream. Also, in return for help, China built its first military base in Djibouti. In the case of India, there are many other reasons as well which have kept it out of this massive project. Firstly, India believes that the String of Pearls is a strategic strategy by the Chinese to encircle India by developing military infrastructure along the key points (pearls) in the Indian Ocean to put pressure on New Delhi. Another reason because of which India has not joined BRI is the CPEC. This essential part of the BRI runs through disputed territories claimed by India.

China claims that BRI is a “win-win situation” that aims to promote free trade, improve peace and developments with other nations and aid developing countries to improve their infrastructure. China responds that this narrative is essentially incorrect, as the controversial projects were initiated by recipient states, not by the Chinese government. For instance, Hambantota Port was proposed by previous Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, not Beijing, as a component of his administration’s bad and impractical improvement program. It immediately turned into a “white elephant” nonetheless, making an immense overflow limit and adding to Sri Lanka’s monetary burdens. Sri Lanka’s obligation trouble emerged not from Chinese loaning, but rather from unnecessary acquiring on Western-overwhelmed capital business sectors. At the point when the US Federal Reserve started to tighten its quantitative facilitating program, out of nowhere Sri Lanka’s expense of getting expanded, compelling it to look for International Monetary Fund help. In short, the Hambantota Port case shows little proof of Chinese strategy, however heaps of evidence for poor administration on the beneficiary side.

On the allegation of the debt trap, Chinese leaders energized the comparison of the BRI with the Marshal plan. The Marshal plan was financial assistance for the turn of events and recuperation of war-torn Europe. .On the same lines, China is playing a major role in the construction of roads, ports, railways, and pipelines which as a result would expand investment, commerce, and infrastructure connections from Europe to Asia. China accepts that worldwide harmony depends on monetary development. The hypothesis of radicalism lectures streamlined commerce and relative additions, hence it tends to be reasoned that China is attempting to get its public trustworthiness and financial strength and sustain the economies of the creating states, to lessen their reliance on outside powers. It is surely a win-win situation for all the partners in BRI.

According to China, they will speed up efforts to implement the free trade area strategy, gradually establishing a network of high-standard free trade areas. Moreover, they will actively engage in negotiations with countries and regions along the routes of the BRI on the building of free trade areas.

 Almost all the countries have become a member of this great initiative. On being criticised by few major nations, China has strongly defended itself. It has strongly denied the allegation of “debt-trap” diplomacy and fulfilment of geostrategic and geopolitical ambitions. China, being a leading powerful country is facing opposition by Super Power America on its project. India, because of some regional and territorial disputes is against this project. One major objective of the critic states of this propaganda is to make the countries all around the world insecure about the project so that they will avoid becoming a part of this initiative and the success of BRI will be impossible. Nevertheless, China has taken firm action against all the allegations and propagandas. It has put forward its intention of improving global trade, the infrastructure of member states and international relations and labelled BRI as a “win-win situation”. However, the next few decades will eventually reveal that the allegations on China were false or it was a master plan to dominate the Globe.

BRI: Debt-Trap Diplomacy or a Win-Win Strategy?

About Habiba Ali 4 Articles
The author is pursuing an International Relations degree at International Islamic University Islamabad.


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