The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or as the Chinese call it, Yīdài Yīlù, (一带一路), is a comprehensive global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the PRC government in 2013 to invest in various countries and international organizations with the objective of bolstering China’s influence and connectivity. The initiative involves forging vital linkages between South-East Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. BRI has proved beneficial for China leading to expanded markets, heightened trade opportunities, regional development, particularly in the Western regions such as Xinjiang, and an increased array of investment prospects. However, for other nations, it has prompted concerns, including the possibility of falling into debt traps and the displacement of job opportunities. From its inception, the prevailing view in India, as articulated by both the academic and strategic communities, as well as government entities, has been that the BRI is less an economic development initiative and more of a geopolitical and strategic endeavour. One of the most significant concerns for India, in this regard, pertains to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a crucial component of the BRI, which traverses through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). This has raised substantial alarm in India as it infringes upon the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. As the Belt and Road Initiative commemorates its 10th anniversary, it is essential to engage in a comprehensive assessment and reflection on the significant impact, implications, and challenges that India encounters in connection with this initiative.
About the Speakers
Dr. Wenjing Gao has recently completed her Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Jeremy Paltiel at Carleton University in Canada. Her doctoral research focused on the Belt and Road Initiatives, using this as a lens to explore India’s approach to dealing with China within the wider context of ongoing border disputes and China’s increasing global prominence. She maintains a keen interest in areas such as Indian foreign policy, Indian politics, nationalism, identity formation, and critical International Relations theory. Prior to her doctoral work, she received a MA in Politics and International Relations from Mahatma Gandhi University in India.
Prof. Manish is Professor and Dean, School of International Studies, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar (Gujarat, India). From March 2001- Dec. 2005, he served as Associate Fellow with the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and was an Officer on Special Duty with the Government of India from Dec. 2005 – March 2012. From March 2012 until October 2017, he was Head, Department of International Relations, Sikkim University, Gangtok (Sikkim, India). He also holds various honorary positions in various institutions. He received his M.A., M. Phil. and Ph. D. degrees from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His areas of interest include foreign policy & strategic security aspects. He is the co-author of the book titled, Jihadis in Jammu & Kashmir: A Portrait Gallery (Sage India, 2002) and has edited a volume titled: The Belt and the Road Initiative: Implications for India (Pentagon Press, 2022).
About the Chair
Dr. Atul Bhardwaj is currently Fellow, Pradhan Mantri Museum and Library, New Delhi. He is also Honorary Fellow at School of International Studies, City, University of London. He is an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies. He is the author of India- America Relations - 1942-62 (Routledge, 2018). He writes a regular strategic affairs column in The Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai).
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