BRI (Belt and Road Initiative): A Game Changer

BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative)

BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative) is an investment program which has given trade a new look t o expand all over the world. This BRI Pomote trade which ultimately improves the economy of a particularly country which is connected with it and improves inter regional connectivity. This article tells how it is a Game Changer.

How Belt and Road Initiative is a Game Changer

The total of the world’s population is approximately 7.8 billion (2020) and that of the Asia’s population is 4.67 billion. Asia population is equivalent to 59.76% of the total world population which continue to experience rapid population growth and high fertility rate. It is undeniable fact that China is targeting this bulk portion of the world’s population which could be only possible through this BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative) .And this could make China a superpower.

 How East Asia is the First target Market of China

East Asia is the first target market of the china where it has its own big market. Countries which includes in East Asia are North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan and the Japan. The world’s third largest economy by nominal GDP. However the bilateral relationships between china and japan has been strained since long time and need to be mended because one cannot stop trading China and Japan. The world’s first and fourth largest economies respectively by GDP PPP.

Although China has included japan in BRI according to new agreement yet the US can play an important role here in the bilateral relationships of Beijing and Tokyo either to stop Japan participating in BRI since the United States is closed ally of Japan and Japan relies on the U.S for its national security to a high degree.

Moreover, Washington would never want BRI to flourish in the subcontinent since both economic powers are in a competition to win the race. It is predicted that Beijing would be the leading economies of the world followed by the end of 2024 and may surpass the US.

How BRI is a Fate Changer for South Asia

South Asia which is home to one fourth of the world’s population. China is increasing its influence in south Asian regions day by day. It is conducting multi-dimensional cooperation with all of the south Asian countries like Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

There was a time when intraregional trade was well below than its potential due to,” historical political tensions and mistrust, with cross-border conflict and security concerns” (World Bank).

However, the increasing influence of China in South Asia especially in the field of economic, Communication, Cultural exchange, energy and untraditional security cooperation seems to shed light on the words of the Napoleon, “ Let China sleep, for when wakes, she will shake the world”.

This BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative), game changer has already started working and connecting economies of the world.

Moreover, China is trying to promote peace and stability in the region in order to facilitate trade and energy corridors.  China along with Pakistan, is therefore major stakeholder in the peace process of Afghanistan. This peace process will give China an access to Central Asia and Europe. China’s one of the major interests in South Asia is long term stability in Afghanistan. It will allow it build railways, roads, electricity, and water projects in the country as part of its Silk Road Economic Belt.

How Central Asia is a major Stakeholder for China and its Impact on BRI

Central Asia region comprises of Kazakhstan, Kyrgstane, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These five Central Asian states have major strategic importance due to their geographic location and natural resources endowments.

Moreover, one cannot stop these Central Asian states embracing partnership with China through BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative) because these states need financial investments for technological and infrastructure buildup of their energy sectors.  China can help them out and will. China holding over US $ 4 trillion foreign exchange reserves with expertise in technology. It has emerged as a significant source of foreign direct investment. 

China has built extensive trade relationships with these states. It is keen to invest in and import fossils fuels including oil, gas and uranium. China has insatiable thirst for energy, therefore several oil and gas pipelines have been established over the last few decades but the initiative of Belt and Road indicates that thirst is still not over. The launch of this BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative) will connect it from Central Asia to Middles East Countries and Europe which are rich in Oil and Gas.

However, If China access to Central Asian countries then it will need to make its way from Pakistan to Afghanistan in order to reach in Central Asia. It is great opportunity for both countries, Pakistan and China to use this path and get access. This will benefit Pakistan in many ways. In future if China used this path for means of Production and for raw material  it would create thousands of opportunities for Pakistan. It is therefore projects like CPEC, Belt and Road Initiative have witnessed economically and financially benefit from the new investment and connectivity opportunities provided by Beijing.

How Middle East Countries are Important for BRI to Flourish

Middle East countries including Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, UAE, and Egypt. China has eye on these middle east countries want to target and has started influencing. These Countries are rich in resources especially in Oil and Gas. They have major strategic importance in the region keeping in view the importance of oil for China.

Beijing will never compromise on this region. The recent monster investment of US $ 400 billion in Iran under 25 year plan is an exemplary expression of their insatiable thirst for oil and Gas. This investment will not only flourish trade in the region but will also change the fate of Iran. Since it suffered a lot from the sanctions of Europe because of nuclear and military ambitious  which pushed this country deeper and deeper into poverty trap.

Moreover, this long term agreement of 25 year plan will help out Iran to get rid of sanctions in the future and will rise emerging economy of the world. Whereas, China will be benefiting heavily on discounted especially in oil, gas, and petrochemical resources at expense of $ 400 billion.

Moreover, Beijing will also invest in the field of economic, communication, Banking, Telecommunications, ports, railways and lots of other projects. This agreement will also deepening military cooperation which it will give China an edge in the region.

Moreover, this agreement will also focus on joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing-all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross- border crimes.”

This is exactly what China has been trying to sustain peace and promote stability in the region to facilitate trade which is necessity for the successful implementation of CPEC as well. Pakistan can also get an edge from the sharing of intelligence of both countries. Meanwhile this agreement can boost more trade between Islamabad and Tehran.

More interestingly, If Iran adopts China’s digital currency in the future then both countries will ever get rid of dollar. Keeping in view the importance of this monster investment which is 10 times greater than that of CPEC investment, is not only going to benefit to China and Iran but it is a game changer for the region.

China’s Belt and Road-linked investment project like CPEC will also play its key role here. CPEC is dubbed as the flagship project of BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative). Gwadar Port would be used as a trade route between China and Iran. This will ultimately help to flourish the Baluchistan province of Pakistan where you find Gwador port.

However, Gwador port has an upper hand than Iran’s Chabahar port with respect to its territorial position and utility but this does not pronounce to degrade chabahar’s value it has its own significance.  China’s rapid advance through Belt and Road- linked investment projects has made Asia emerge as a new vanguard for global trade and connectivity.

Pakistan A Key Player For China to Have its Access to Central Asia and Middle East Countries

Pakistan is an important player for China, if it wants to have its access to Iran, Afghanistan or Central Asia then it will need to cross Pakistan, this path will take it from Afghanistan to Central Asia. To put it simple, China may use this route in the future for both purpose material and production. This will create an employment opportunities for Pakistan.

Moreover, If China wants to have access to Middles East countries then there are two routes from Pakistan. First it has to reach to Gwador Port then by taking shortest route of Sea to reach UAE from where it can easily access to Middle East countries.

Secondly, it can easily access to Middle East countries from Iran to Iraq through Pakistan. Furthermore, if it wants to access to Europe through Pakistan then the latter route will provide it clear path from Iran to Turkey and from Turkey to Europe.

Needless to say, Projects like CPEC, Belt and Road Initiative will help China to fulfill its dream to become next superpower. These projects help China in securing a new alternative trade for goods especially Oil and Gas from Middle East.

It may not be wrong to say here that Pakistan is a right hand for China in terms of it access to its target market. However, if this hand get strain then it may otherwise disturb the Chinese dream to become next superpower. So, it would never compromise on the bilateral relationships with Pakistan and will always want Pakistan’s economy to flourish in the region and has always been standing with Pakistan during hard times. China has never interfered not only in the internal affairs of Pakistan but also other countries and this why China is so far successful in influencing South Asia.

If China captured this market of 6.91 billion and succeeded in controlling over it, Asia would be the hub of production of the world and raw material would distribute all over the world from here.

However, if one look at the history, raw material was produced in the Europe and America which distributed all over the world. Whereas Russia was its competitor which did not go a long way due to USA policies.

However, China stood and targeted Asia’s market where it installed projects Like CPEC, BRI ( Belt and Road Initiative) and got access to Central Asia and Middle East countries from where it entered to Africa and started increasing influence in the African continent.

Influence of China in South American Countries

Now it wants to access to Europe and America. It has already started influencing in countries of South America including Peeru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chilie, Venezuela, Argentina, Cambodia.

China and Brazil has built extensive trade relationship, with total bilateral trade rising from just over the $3 billion in 2001 to over $44 billion in 2010 and then to $100 billion in 2019. More importantly both are members of an economic organization called BRICS.

“China and Chile are strategic partners with a long history of cooperation, trust and high level of exchanges, all of which lay the ground for strong future bilateral ties”, said former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

Cutting long story short, these South American countries are nearest to America whereas China has good bilateral relationships. China engages with them in import and exports as well. It is undeniable fact that china’s increasing influence around the world and South Asia is no different.


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