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Lt Gen P R Shankar , PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retired)

Lt Gen P R Shankar , PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retired)

Lt Gen P R Shankar is a retired Director General of Artillery. He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy Khadakvasala, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Army War College, Mhow, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterrey and National Defence College, New Delhi. He has held many important command, staff and instructional appointments in the Army. He has vast operational experience having served in all kinds of terrain and operational situations which has confronted the Indian Army in the past four decades.

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    Rabindra

    Since the announcement of BRI in 2013 ,approximately 05 years back , US has termed it ” Made in China, Made for China” and India has rightly criticised it as it doesn’t respect our Sovereignty.
    Covering over 70 countries , BRI encompasses a sphere which has two third of the global GDP.This threatens the hegemony of the US. India also feels threatened by the trade corridors in its neighbourhood.
    On the other hand UK, Germany, France, Russia have seen it as an opportunity , either to attract the greater share of the planned investments or to gain from lucrative construction projects.

    Though hostile, US encourages its multinationals to reap benefits from the BRI projects.General Electric, caterpillar amongst host of others have their finger in this lucrative pie. General Electric made a $ 2.4 billion or so profits in 2016. by selling equipment and machinery for the BRI projects.

    In this short span of five years , Pakistan’s problem of power shortages have eased and the 17-20 hours power cuts in major cities is a rarity now. Many parts of Pakistan too are now connected by fast surface transport roads , gains of BRI.

    In 2017 , Pakistan Debt Servicing amounted to $ 5 billiuon, out of which $ 500 million or 10% went to China. 42% of the Pak loans repayment commitment is to multilateral fpreign institutions , 18 % to the members of the Paris Club.

    China is becoming a close confidant of Taliban and possibly , other than Russia , it is the only unmolested nation in Afghanistan. Along with the transit route from Gwadar to Kashgar and its further links to Centralm Asia, it is aiming to develop routes to Iran and Afghanistan ,as part of the BRI.

    Five years are too little for such a multi mega project encompassing land and sea routes .By 2030, China is likely to be nearly as powerful as US in naval power , to pritect its maritime routes world over.
    Poor nation , without the power to develop Infrastructure and thereby progress , see Chinese investments to be much more beneficial than World Bank or IMF loans, though Hambantota example does spell doom , on defaulting on loan. But historically , China hasn’t been a colonial power and its influence has been maximum upto Korea and the Diet Line in Vietnam .
    And China is India’s largest trading partner but the trade is largerly skewed in China’s favour. to develop India needs trade with China , albeit with a lesser or no trade deficit.

    China has embarked on a ” Make in China” by 2025 project, which encompasses not only alleviating poverty totally but also to become leaders in manufacture and export of cutting edge technologies like AI, Electric Cars, space technologies and many many others .

    Therefore to write off BRI is a bit too premature… though most of us will be happy to see it fail in Pakistan , our enemy ( and China is its largest military equipment supplier as also its major support in international forums like UN).
    I hope it does but it may be wishful thinking.

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