Neighbours including Pakistan put a spanner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

The initiative, aimed at hard-selling China’s infrastructural prowess, has hit a rough patch with three nations, including Pakistan, cancelling large hydroelectric project contracts.

Published: 07th December 2017 11:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2018 01:56 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at hard-selling China’s infrastructural prowess, has hit a rough patch with three nations, including its all-weather friend Pakistan, cancelling large hydroelectric project contracts worth almost $20 billion with Chinese firms.  

While New Delhi, which has stayed out of the BRI citing territorial and other concerns, declined to comment officially, a senior officer privately hinted that this “could signify a blowback, or rejection, of China’s imperialist, hegemonistic approach towards its Asian neighbours. I suspect even Pakistan is now re-thinking its commitment to the CPEC project, which will make it beholden to China forever”.

In mid-November, Pakistan withdrew its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam on the Indus River in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, citing unacceptable Chinese conditions. “Chinese conditions for financing the Diamer-Bhasha dam were not doable and against our interests,” Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Muzammil Hussain said. Beijing on November 20 decided to stop funding three major road projects that are part of the corridor, citing reports of corruption.

Also last month, Nepal’s Deputy PM Kamal Thapa announced that the plan to award the $2.5 billion 1,200 MW hydroelectric project to China’s Gezhouba Group had been scrapped. The MoU had been signed less than a month after Nepal agreed in May to take part in BRI, and is seen as a major setback for Beijing’s plans to expand its sphere of influence in the Himalayan nation.

Myanmar, which has faced massive internal opposition to a $3.6 billion Myitsone dam, formally announced last month that it no longer is interested in big hydro-electric power projects.

All this comes at a time when India is ramping up its outreach to the west (through the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar into Central Asia, Russia and Afghanistan) and east with projects like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, which involves Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp