Belt and Road Initiative by the Chinese Government has caused a stir across the world.
- Belt refers to “Silk Road Economic Belt” which entails overland routes for road and rail transportation. It links China to countries in Central and South Asia, and Europe.
- Road refers to “21st-century Maritime Silk Road” which entails sea routes that connect nations. It will be connecting countries in the South East Asia, the Gulf Countries, North Africa, and Europe.
The initiative includes around 71 countries – accounting for more than half of the world’s population. These countries together contribute 40% of the global GDP. The belt will include six land corridors. The initiative is also known as ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR).’
This transcontinental initiative is adopted as a development strategy, involving infrastructure development in countries of Europe, Africa and Asia.
China has been claiming that the initiative shall enhance the regional connectivity and lead to a better future. Improved transportation and introduction of new policy reforms will boost the trading relations. Countries will benefit from both international and domestic markets, which may transform the economic environment.
The estimations by the financial experts at the State Council state that ‘One Belt, One Road’, if built entirely as per Xi Jinping’s orders, would cost about USD 8 trillion. The World Bank Group has commitments of about US$80 billion for infrastructure in Belt and Road countries.
China is the biggest trading partner of the USA, and is the world’s largest exporter of goods. More and more countries are willing to join the initiative. However, many observers suggest that it is China’s push towards emerging dominant in global affairs.
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