A strong family of BRI in South Asia

South Asia is a very important part of this world, with diverse climate, topography, ethnicity, cultures, languages, religions, it is a unique world. Rich in natural resources like Mountains, Glaciers, Sea, etc for tourism. Rich agriculture, with almost all species of agri-produce, is the additional strength of this region. Mineral and mining are rich, and highly populated parts of the world. Yet economically poor and backward.

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is a ray of hope for the whole of South Asia. Most of the countries have joined formally or informally the BRI. Pakistan and Myanmar are the typical beneficiaries of BRI. Whereas China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being the flagship project of BRI, is in a well-advanced stage, 22 projects have been completed and already contributing toward the socio-economic uplift of Pakistan. An equal number of projects are under execution stage or in the pipeline. People of Pakistan are grateful to China for extending its best possible cooperation in the economic take-off of Pakistan. Myanmar is also in this bonded under one of the sixth planned Economic corridor – China-Bangladesh-Myanmar Economic Corridor. It is also another success story of BRI.

Nepal was under Indian influence for decades and was suffering from Indian Hegemony and coercion. India grabbed Nepali land and intervened in its domestic affairs. India was blackmailing Nepal for the reason that Nepal is a landlocked country and three-fourth of its border is common with India. All trade was through India and the situation became worst when India imposed an undeclared economic blockade of Nepal in 2015, and Nepal was facing a severe shortage of food, fuel, electricity, and medicines. India was dictating the foreign policy of Nepal. Finally, Nepal decided to come close to China and looking forward to China as an alternative. China helped Nepal and supported in its socio-economic development. Now, Nepal is quite independent and out of Indian influence almost.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan were victims of Indian aggressive policies and suffering from Indian hegemony. India was having border disputes with all its neighbors and trade surplus. India was involved in state-sponsored terrorism in all its neighboring countries. The notorious Intelligence Agency of India “RAW” has established a strong network in all its neighboring countries and actively engaged in terrorism, sabotage, subversion, insurgencies, and other criminal acts.

All of these countries were the victim of Indian brutalities and atrocities in one or another manner. Under this scenario, it was natural to sought refuge from another country more powerful than India. That is China, which can protect them from Indian aggression and coercion. There was one thing common in all south Asian nations that all of them were victims of Indian extremism and hate India. The other thing common is that all of them looking toward China as savior.

India is the only country in South Asia, opposing BRI, engaged in the promotion of anti-China sentiments. India was merely a tool of America, to contain China, Counter China, and oppose the peaceful rise of China. While the rest of South Asia is pro-China.

BRI is an initiative for improving connectivity, improving infrastructure, fighting against hunger & poverty, promoting trade, and economic activities. This is what South Asia needed, coinciding & convergence of interests with China, has brought all the South Asia under the BRI family. 

India is an epic center of all evils in South Asia, and all other South Asian countries have to join hands to face the common enemy. BRI family is an excellent platform. Although there is no formal platform, yet, but there is a strong urge for a common platform. In the past, SAARC was established, which was hijacked by India and become dysfunctional.

There is a need to strengthen cooperation among South Asian Countries too, It may require, visa relaxation, promotion of tourism, exchange of scholars, intellectuals, think-tanks to create understand and harmony. Enhance people-to-people contacts will lead to many avenues of cooperation and opportunities.

China-Iran deal will play a vital role in this region in the days to come. Cina has pledged to invest US dollars 400 billion, whereas Iran will supply oil to China for the next 25 years. China will build a railway network in Iran to connect with Afghanistan, Turkey, Central Asia.

Extension of BRI family to Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Central Asia, Middle-East, Eurasia, is seen by South Asia a positive development and is very much optimistic of the future. BRI is serving as a facilitator for promoting understanding, harmony, and development in this part of the World.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.