One Belt, One Road Summit concludes: Key takeaways
China has assured the participating countries that it would not attempt to push a country’s political ideologies and systems onto another country during the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Summit or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) concluded on 15 May 2017 in Beijing, China.
The Summit, which commenced on 14 May 2017, showcased its plans to build a network of trade routes under the One Belt, One Road initiative.
As of now, 68 countries and international organisations have signed belt and road agreements with China.
China had also made it clear that the Belt and Road initiative is an open and inclusive platform to explore and co-develop the China-led blueprint of reviving the Silk Road.
Leaders from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America gathered in Beijing to work on details of the One Belt, One Road plan. However, India chose to boycott the summit. Six 6 of India’s neighbours, namely Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Afghanistan, attended the Summit and signed 20 infrastructure deals with China at the Belt and Road Forum.
Outcomes of the Summit
• The two-day OBOR Summit identified and agreed on 270 deliverable goals of Belt and Road Initiative.
• The Forum resulted in signing of a joint communique by 30 heads of state that promised to implement plans for cooperation in trade and infrastructure programs across Asia, Europe and Africa.
• The Signatories to the joint communique also pledged their support for promoting a rules-based, open and multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core.
• The Forum concluded with only promises of joint action by participating countries and did not result in establishment of an institutional framework for implementing the planned construction program.
• China has assured the participating countries that it would not attempt to push a country’s political ideologies and systems onto another country during the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
• China has taken the first step to institutionalise the BRF by announcing that the next edition of the BRF would be held in Beijing in 2019 indicating that China will continue to control the BRI.
What is India’s objection?
India holds at least three concerns, which are related to sovereignty, procedures and leadership.
However, the main issue is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). India raised strong objections, saying it violates India's territorial integrity, since PoK is a part of India.
While boycotting the OBOR, India said, "No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity".
What is Belt and Road Initiative?
• The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy, which was proposed by Xi Jinping.
• The initiative focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People's Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road".
• It was unveiled in September 2013 and October 2013 in announcements revealing the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, respectively.
• The initiative is geographically structured along 6 corridors, and the maritime Silk Road. They are:
New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from Western China to Western Russia
China - Mongolia - Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia
China - Central Asia - West Asia Corridor, running from Western China to Turkey
China - Indochina Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Singapore
China - Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan
Bangladesh - China - India - Myanmar Corridor, running from Southern China to India
Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast over Singapore and India to the Mediterranean