Strength and Challenges of OBOR Initiative: Indian Perspective

AuthorKanwal Deepinder Pal Singh
Date01 June 2019
Published date01 June 2019
Subject MatterArticles
Strength and
Challenges of
OBOR Initiative:
Indian Perspective
Kanwal Deepinder Pal Singh1
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative of China is an attempt to ‘remake’ or
recreate the ancient Silk Road or Silk Route, symbolising not only trade network
but more importantly cultural interaction. It is an ambitious Eurasian strategy
with large financial support, which aims to draw linkages from China to vari-
ous regions of the world. The connectivity and cooperation presented by China
between itself and the rest of Eurasia has two main components: the land-based
‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ (SREB) and ocean-going ‘Maritime Silk Road’ (MSR).
The ‘Belt’ includes countries geographically situated on the original Silk Road
through Central Asia, West Asia, Russia and Europe and has six main corri-
dors. Countries on the Belt and Road—especially those with underdeveloped
infrastructure, low investment rates and per capita income—could experience a
boost in trade flow and benefit from infrastructure development.
The main challenge for China and for the initiative is the potential for conflicts
or geopolitical tensions that could emerge with other powers. This project will
increase United States’ attention on Central Asia and South Asian region. This
will have consequences for the smooth implementation of the strategy. There
is an expected resistance from Russia and Russian-led Eurasian Union (EU) that
may divide the relevant countries along the route, leaving them torn between
choosing to pursue stronger ties with Russia or with China.
India also remains cautious of the project and still has not expressed its full
support. It sees the initiative not as an opportunity, but as a threat or a form of
competition. India’s objections are rooted in issues of sovereignty and territorial
integrity. For instance, India opposes the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC), a pilot project of the trade initiative, due to its route passing through
Journal of National
Law University Delhi
6(1) 65–77, 2019
2019 National Law
University Delhi
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2277401719857865
Professor & Dean, University School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha
University, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Kanwal Deepinder Pal Singh, University School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha
University, Sector 16C, Dwarka, New Delhi 110078, India.

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