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One Belt One Road :China to emerge as global economic power



India China

China’s consistent efforts of aggressively pursuing diplomacy from 2002 and then transforming the same to economic and investment ties from 2013 has resulted in ushering in China as a new global economic power. It has thus re-invented centuries old Silk Road and Routes on land as well as through sea.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping unveils the final outcome of Chinese diplomacy  and connectivity that it has already established itself as a global power with 29 heads of state  and top officials from more than 60 countries, including one of India’s strategic partners Russian president Vladimir Putin and high level delegations from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar and major powers France, Germany, U.K. and U.S. participating in the international event of One Belt One Road in May 14 -15 summit.

China which has already attained greater connectivity, military might through one party rule of the Communist Party of China  and having bilateral relations with maximum number of countries through soft diplomacy. In fact the grand economic plan presents China as an emerging economic superpower.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is credited with initiating a New Silk Road from China to Europe dubbed as One Belt, One Road  is actually the combination of various routes that facilitated the export of Silk and other commodities from China to Asia. In practice, OBOR is a collection of  land  based Silk Road economic belt and Maritime Silk Road with primary points in Urumqi, Dostyk, Astana, Gomel, Brest and the Polish cities of Malaszewicze and Lodz which would be hubs of logistics and transshipment to other countries of Europe.

China’s long-term goals, ambitions and initiatives have been shaped by One Belt One Road  initiative  that aims to increase connectivity between the Asian, European and African continents.

Time-line of starting of OBOR

  • On September 7,2013 President Xi raised the One Belt One Road at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev.
  • August 22,2014- President Xi welcomed neighbouring countries to join the One Belt One road initiative in his visit in Mongolia
  • October 24, 2014 -The establishment of AIIB: Twenty one countries ,including China  and Singapore signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing .
  • December 29,2014 – the Chinese government pledged US$40 billion for the creation of the Silk Road Fund,which is a state owned investment fund of the Chinese government
  • Feb1,2015 -Advance One belt one road construction Conference was held in Beijing.
  • March 26,2015 -President Xi delivered a speech Boao Forum for Asia, stated that OBOR is to promote mutual economic strategy  along countries achieve docking.
  • March 28, 2015 Ministry of Foreign Affairs  and the Ministry of commerce issued the vision  and  actions on jointly building Silk Road Economic Belt  and 21st century Maritime Silk Road.
  • May 7,2015-President Xi visited Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia  for the implementation of OBOR.

Specifically India which has skipped the summit due to its sovereignty issues  as China’s OBOR grand plan is under the framework of the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, a series of projects that stands to connect the Asian giant to Central Asia  and Europe .CPEC which connects China’s largest province,Xinjiang,with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan, the largest and most impoverished province of Pakistan  bordering Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.

India  has opposed the CPEC route  and development at Gwadar port because of several reasons as

  1. The  route passes through the controversial territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir .
  2. On the pretext of connectivity and economic development China violates sovereignty and territorial integrity of many countries including India.
  3. Gwadar will act as  a Chinese naval base in the Arabian Sea with access to Mid-East and Mediterranean Sea in Europe.
  4. In addition,Chinese navy plans to have access to Indian Ocean  at various places including Sri Lanka.

China’s hegemony and neo-imperialistic designs

China has been working on the old tradition of foreign relations as the basis for Imperial China  during the times of Qin dynasty  and consider all other powers as subservient and tributaries to suzerain rule of China.

Under this approach China has roped in 65 countries  somewhat connected and covering more than half of the world’s population.

That includes:

  1. Planned projects  to focus on the development of numerous assets ,including ports,roads,railways,airports,power plants, oil and gas pipelines , refineries  and Free Trade Zones.
  2. The OBOR also includes China -Pakistan -Economic -Corridor  and Chinese heavy investment in Myanmar  including Bangaldesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor

China’s approach begins with soft diplomacy stating that it will not charge hefty amounts for the investments they have already done stressing on the inclusiveness of the other countries in this connectivity corridor.But in the long run Beijing plans to charge them heavily.

China insists that the objective of OBOR is to facilitate  smoother trade flow  within the connected regions and an improved linkage via railways and maritime connectivity  will reduce  the transit time between Europe and China.The land route will also emerge as an option for the movement of goods.

Challenges to China’s OBOR

But China’s flagship project  faces many challenges in the form of terrorism that currently plagues various areas  of the world. CPEC that connect China’s Xinjiang is a conflict zone where Uyghur separatists claim that the region is not a part of China but was part of East Turkestan Republic that was illegally incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Now, the second point of concern is Balochistan has been under attack by separatists,insurgents  and Islamic State-Khorasan jihadists for over a decade.

Apart from the terrorism angle, regional conflicts can also hinder the initiative and there exists scepticism  about Chinese hegemony by various countries.

Moreover,the OBOR has had long-term geo-political and strategic implications for Europe, creating political and economic dependencies, accompanied by the real threat of poorer EU states succumbing to the political leverage exercised by China, through massive infrastructure investments.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist


Is Sonia the answer to ego hassles in non-BJP camp?



Sonia Gandhi

An indication as to how difficult it is going to be for the opposition at the national level to get its act together was available after K. Chandrashekar Rao met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to lay the foundation for a federal front.

However, even before the proposed alliance could get off the ground, the differences about its framework were visible. While the Telangana Chief Minister wanted it to be a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), non-Congress group, his West Bengal counterpart kept her options open about including the Congress.

A feature of these alliances is that each of their constituents is guided by the ground realities in their own states which may be at variance with the political condition in some other state. For instance, the Congress may be a more formidable adversary for Chandrashekhar Rao in his state, but it isn’t so for Mamata Banerjee. So, while the Telangana Chief Minister wants to keep the 133-year-old Grand Old Party at arm’s length, Mamata Banerjee, a former Congress person, is more accommodative.

Similar conflicting perceptions are known even within one party such as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) where the Kerala comrades are against any proximity to the Congress, obviously because the latter is a force to reckon with in the southern state, but the Marxists in West Bengal are keen on a tie-up with the Congress against the BJP since they no longer face any major threat from their old opponent in the state. Rahul Gandhi’s hope, therefore, of forming a “workable” anti-BJP alliance with other parties faces considerable roadblocks.

Yet, the BJP’s current vulnerability is obvious to its political enemies. At the same time, the non-BJP parties know that none of them is capable on its own of offering a serious challenge to the ruling party at the Centre. Banding them together is the only alternative. The egos of individual leaders are also a problem, for none of them will be willing to concede the role of a leader to another.

Difficulties of this nature have plagued earlier such formations. In the Janata Party (1977-80), the duel was between Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram. In the Janata Dal (1989-91), it was between V.P. Singh, Devi Lal and Chandrashekhar.

It was to overcome similar confrontations in the confused post-1996 scene that the name of then West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, was proposed by United Front leaders like H.D. Deve Gowda, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others, but was rejected by the CPI-M. The BJP, on the other hand, has been fortunate in having an unchallenged leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996 and in Narendra Modi now.

Who can be the unchallenged leader in the non-BJP camp at present? Although the leaders in a federal front are highly influential in their home provinces, none of them measures up to the popular image of a Prime Minister who is a sober, sophisticated, well-educated, widely respected, trustworthy and unbiased person with a clearly identifiable vision.

To start with Sharad Pawar, who is among those who have shown an interest in leading the charge against the BJP, there has been a question mark over his reliability ever since his party was seemingly regarded by the BJP as a prop against the Shiv Sena’s machinations in Maharashtra. He is generally seen as too clever by half and too much of a deal-maker to be trusted as the guiding light for the nation.

His age — Pawar is 78 — is also against him. India appears to be coming around to accepting Modi’s view, as articulated by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, that a politician is “brain dead” after 75.

Rahul Gandhi at 48 is safe in this regard as is Mamata Banerjee (63), whose case is being energetically pushed by one of her lieutenants in Delhi. But while the Congress president is still considered not “grown-up” enough, the West Bengal Chief Minister is too immersed in her own province to be seen as a national leader.

Akhilesh Yadav (45) and Mayawati (62) have the same disadvantage of being rooted in the Hindi belt with its concomitant of casteism. Though also from the same region, 67-year-old Nitish Kumar was once considered a possible Prime Minister “material” before he shot himself in the foot with his politics of perambulation, forever looking for green pastures.

The bare cupboard of PM hopefuls leaves only 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi, who has been engaged in dinner diplomacy to cobble together an anti-BJP formation, as a possible candidate. But her minus points are obvious.

For one, she does not appear to be in the pink of health. For another, any whiff about her aspirations will make the Hindu Right revive the “foreigner” debate with great gusto with Sushma Swaraj perhaps once again threatening to shave her head as in 2004. For a third, she may not be interested as she is seemingly intent on paving the way for her son’s elevation.

Yet, the former Congress president is possibly the only one with a much wider acceptability in the non-BJP camp than anyone else and also among the Dalits, backward castes and minorities as well as a section of the traditional Congress supporters in the upper caste though not among the middle class. In a way, she offers the best of a bad bargain with the resultant turmoil proving to be one of the worst in recent years.

By : Amulya Ganguli

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Global sell-off drags Indian equities to 5-month lows




Mumbai, March 24 : A global sell-off triggered by trade protectionist measures imposed by major world economies unleashed the bears in the Indian equity markets during the week, pushing the key indices — NSE Nifty50 and BSE Sensex — to their 5-month lows.

Apart from the prospects of escalating trade wars, the risk-taking appetite of investors was marred by rising crude oil prices, the ongoing turmoil in the domestic banking system as well as the uncertainty on the political situation in the country.

On a weekly basis, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE shed 579.46 points or 1.75 per cent to close at 32,596.54 points — its lowest closing level since October 23, 2017.

On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the wider Nifty50 ended below the psychologically important 10,000-mark and closed trade at 9,998.05 points — down 197.1 points or 1.93 per cent from its previous week’s close — its lowest closing level since October 11, 2017.

“Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty fell 1.75 per cent and 1.93 per cent respectively during the week, posting their longest stretch of weekly losses in 16 months as the domestic market joined a global sell-off triggered by prospects of a trade war,” Arpit Jain, Assistant Vice President at Arihant Capital Markets, told IANS.

According to D.K. Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of SMC Investments and Advisors, the global stock market traded lower after US President Donald Trump announced sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods, a move that has heightened concerns that the global trade war will escalate.

“Back at home, dragged by escalating trade tensions among global economies, the Indian stock market too witnessed selling pressure amid other domestic factors. Since the beginning of the year domestic market witnessed some hiccups on the back of imposition of LTCG (long term capital gains) tax, liquidity issues, rising bond yields and volatile global markets,” Aggarwal told IANS.

“Also, a surge in crude oil prices impacted the market sentiment. The Indian rupee, too, witnessed a volatile move ahead of Fed rate-hike and global trade war concerns,” he added.

On the currency front, the rupee weakened by eight paise to close at 65.01 against the US dollar from its previous week’s close at 64.93.

“Sentiments were affected by rising crude oil prices, bond yields and a troubled domestic banking system. Uncertainty around the political situation in the country added to the woes, and collectively dragged the sentiment across the street,” Gaurav Jain, Director at Hem Securities, told IANS.

Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors purchased scrips worth Rs 2,524.13 crore and the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) scrips worth Rs 211.91 crore during the week.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors invested in equities worth Rs 2,060.04 crore, or $316.99 million, during March 19-23.

“The market breadth was negative in three out of the five trading sessions of the week. The top sectoral losers were realty, metal, Bank Nifty and pharma indices. There were no gainers,” said Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were: NTPC (up 2.90 per cent at Rs 170.15); IndusInd Bank (up 1.36 per cent at Rs 1,750.20); Power Grid (up 1.04 per cent at Rs 194.25); Hindustan Unilever (up 0.05 per cent at Rs 1,299.75); and Larsen and Toubro (up 0.01 per cent at Rs 1,267.75).

The losers were: Yes Bank (down 8.37 per cent at Rs 286.70); ICICI Bank (down 7.48 per cent at Rs 275.80); State Bank India (down 7.13 per cent at Rs 234.60); Tata Steel (down 5.65 per cent at Rs 566.60); and Axis Bank (down 4.29 per cent at Rs 501).

(Porisma P. Gogoi can be contacted at [email protected])

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Rahul sir said it’s all about mental preparation now: Shubman Gill



rahul dravid

Kolkata, March 24 : His U-19 World Cup heroics still fresh in memory, top-order batsman Shubman Gill is now looking to walk Rahul Dravid’s talk and be mentally strong as he gets ready to play against the “big boys” in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“We all talked to him. He had a word with all of us before we dispersed after the tournament. He had a one-on-one chat with everyone. He told us that from here on, there will be more mental preparation.

“When you go to the higher level, there is a difference and it is more in the mind. You have to prepare yourself mentally,” Gill told IANS in an interview at KKR’s team hotel here.

“It’s more of a mental game now. Dravid sir told us that everybody has skills, but it’s how you prepare yourself mentally to execute at the stage and at that particular time,” the 18-year old Punjab right-hander added.

Under Dravid’s tutelage, Gill and his teammates claimed a record fourth U-19 World Cup, beating Australia in the final by eight wickets.

All through the tournament, India were not only unbeaten but utterly dominant, winning three matches by 100 or more runs and two by 10 wickets.

“It was a great experience for all of us in the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand,” Gill reminisced.

“Our bowlers did a great job, both the medium pacers and the spinners. We got great exposure and because of that opportunities have opened up for all of us. People have started recognising us. We get motivated by that and our chances to doing well are enhanced,” he said.

Soft-spoken and very articulate for his age, Gill finished the World Cup as the “Player of the Series” after scoring 372 runs in five matches at a whopping average of 124 and a strike rate of 112.38.

Asked about his stellar show at the showpiece event, Gill again credited Dravid.

“We were fortunate that we worked with him (Dravid) and that helped not only me but all of us play the way we did. He shared all his experiences of going to New Zealand with us before the World Cup, during our preparations. He is such a legend,” he said.

At KKR, there is a shortage of top-order batsmen and Gill could come in handy with his penchant for big runs. Gill, who had a base price of Rs 20 lakh in the IPL auctions, was roped in for Rs 1.8 crore by KKR.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to… play at such a high level. I am really looking forward to it. Our preparations are going well and we will try to deliver our best,” said Gill, who is more about textbook shots than big bat swings.

Against arch-rivals Pakistan, Gill underlined his potential with a classy 94-ball 102. Comparisons with India skipper Virat Kohli have already started doing the rounds but Gill, whose favourite cricketer is Kohli, wants to take it easy.

“I look up to Virat Kohli. But at the moment, my only goal is to make my team win every time. Our chances of taking the next step will only be enhanced if we win the IPL. I always think of how I can help the team and how I can contribute.

“If I do well for KKR, I will automatically do well for myself,” said Gill, who made his first-class debut before the World Cup for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy in late 2017 with a half-century in the game and 129 in the next match.

Not wanting to think too much about breaking into the senior team, Gill signed off by saying he admires each and every member of Kohli’s side and it is their fielding and fitness that attracts him the most.

“This Indian team has changed the trend in terms of their fielding and fitness standards,” Gill said.

“Now the Indian team is one of the best fielding sides in the world. The way they carry themselves, their attitude on and off the field, all the guys, I really admire them.”

(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at [email protected])

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