Most immediately, the Belt and Road poses an economic challenge. The same reasons that push China into playing a greater global role…explain why India may find itself increasingly constrained by the Belt and Road. Access to commodities and energy sources, control over significant markets and the need to organize highly competitive and cross-border value chains—in all these cases, China is gaining the upper hand.
5 Chinese Tech Companies Founded by Overseas Returnees (Sea Turtles or "Haigui")
Wherever the West has been retreating, China has quickly moved in. The question is of course whether there will be any space left for India. How will the Indian economy be able to move up into higher-value segments of global value chains if it turns around and sees many of its fast-growing neighbours already incorporated into a China-led economic network? By investing in the Iranian port of Chabahar, India may hope to prevent an outcome where it finds itself isolated from the growing economies on its doorstep, but the limited scale of the project offers a vivid contrast to the mammoth scale of the Belt and Road.
As opposed to Chabahar, the Chinese-led initiative is designed to fundamentally change global networks and move China to the centre of a new political and economic order. Nor is the issue strictly confined to economic power and rivalry. For many commentators in South and Southeast Asia, the Belt and Road is an opportunity for China to entrench its naval presence in the Indian Ocean, as its state-owned companies build dual-use ports that berth its cargo ships and military vessels, and open its first overseas bases in places such as Djibouti, and perhaps Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In a world where China and the United States will compete for control over key technologies, India risks becoming the market where the outcome of that battle will be in large measure decided, but no more than that. A territory rather than an actor. With its population soon to overcome that of China—and boosting an expanding middle class—India will be a coveted market for Chinese and American companies.
It used to be that while Google wanted China, China really needed Google. Not any more.
Can it leverage that prize into political and economic influence and, if so, how should this influence be exercised? An awareness of how the United States and China both need India to realise their plans may well explain why Indian decision-makers prefer to dither and delay rather than provide clear guidance as to their role in the great game.
Much can be gained by negotiating with both sides at once. But the hesitation is also connected to genuine strategic alienation. It is difficult to think that India could feel at home in the Chinese world order described in this book, but has it ever felt part of the Western order as it was understood for the past seven decades?
It is not surprising, then, that many in Delhi regard the Belt and Road more as an opportunity than a threat. In this scenario, global power would be shared between four or five major powers: America, Europe, Russia, China and, presumably, India. Starting from behind, India would have to play its cards well, but nothing in the nature of things would prevent it from becoming a power at least equal to a declining Russia. Just like Russia, India would come to terms with the Belt and Road. The initiative would be accepted as the main lever opening the gates to a multipolar world order, but only under strict conditions: that India—or Russia, for that matter—would be treated as a partner equal in stature to China, or least formally, and that its economy would reap immediate and tangible results from the association.
Right on cue, Russia has called on India to join the Belt and Road. Speaking in Delhi in December , Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that India should not let political problems deter it from joining the project, involving billions of dollars of investment, and benefiting from it. Opposing the Belt and Road will be expensive—even when it makes sense as a long-term economic strategy.
Embracing it can at least open a number of exciting negotiations. In politics, sometimes expectations rather than realities are the main currency. The Belt and Road is famously generous when it comes to the former. That, too, helps explain the attraction. To be sure, Chinese foreign policy has been particularly disastrous in the way it has addressed the India question. The status and characteristics of foreign-educated returnees in the Chinese leadership. China Leadership Monitor , 16 , 1— Journal of International Migration and Integration , 7 4 , — Li, M.
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Wang Huiyao - Wikipedia
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Higher Education Policy , 21 4 , — Wheeler, C. Sea turtles homing in on China must swim against academic tide.