India should join Belt, Road initiative as interest from developed countries grows

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/6 23:48:39

There is great potential for developed economies, like the UK, to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other projects in China's One Belt, One Road (B&R) initiative.

"The UK is poised to be a key partner of CPEC" and will host a conference in Islamabad in May, according to the website. The news offers a positive signal that the CPEC has received an increasing amount of attention from developed economies.

China is likely to welcome enterprises from the UK and other developed nations to participate in construction of the CPEC which has long been seen as a flagship project in the B&R initiative.

The B&R initiative not only provides a platform for China and countries along the routes to enhance cooperation, but also adheres to the principle of openness and inclusiveness in global economic development. Currently, China is encouraging wider participation from developed economies in the initiative.

In March, New Zealand signed a cooperation agreement with China on the B&R initiative, a first for Western developed countries. A B&R initiative summit, to be held in Beijing in May, will also provide an opportunity to enhance cooperation between China and developed countries.

It can be expected that the CPEC and some other projects in the initiative will get more attention from Western leaders in the coming months.

The steady development of the CPEC has made Pakistan more attractive to foreign investment. Some Western developed countries, as the traditional foreign trade partners of many emerging economies along the B&R initiative, have a clear intent to increase trade with those countries, Pakistan included.

Additionally, Pakistan's nuclear power sector and other high-tech industries are also likely to gain more opportunities if developed economies participate in the construction of the CPEC.

The CPEC is simply an economic project. Beijing has no intention to use to the B&R initiative to recognize any geopolitical spheres of influence. Hopefully China's open mind towards cooperation on the B&R initiative can help dispel misgivings held by India and some other countries.

New Delhi has yet to sign up for the B&R initiative, and has claimed that the CPEC violates its sovereignty because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. China's enormous investment in the CPEC has become an unharmonious factor in Sino-Indian ties.

However, it would be unwise to think that increasing investment in the CPEC means a lack of respect for India's sovereignty. Such ideas could lead to unnecessary opposition between India and the West as developed countries show an increased interest in the CPEC and China's B&R initiative.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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