China hosts Indian politicos to sell road project

Beijing recently hosted leaders and representatives of major political parties of India to a conference to hard-sell the “One-Belt-One-Road” project. 

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPM, Anil Shastri of the Congress and Vijay Jolly of the BJP were among the delegates attending the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Beijing from October 13 to 16. Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed a special session of the conference and spoke on “New Vision of the Silk Road, Actions for Common Development”.

Since 2013, Xi has been articulating the idea of a “21st century Maritime Silk Road”, reviving economic connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans and linking China’s coastline with Southeast Asia, the Gulf and the eastern coast of Africa.

He has also been proposing a “Silk Road Economic Belt” reviving the ancient link between China and Mediterranean through central Asia.

The two projects are now together called One-Belt-One-Road initiative and Chinese government has been pulling all stops over the past year to elicit support from other countries and make it a success. 

India already made it clear that it viewed the “One Belt One Road” initiative as “a national initiative” of China and not an international venture. New Delhi maintained that successful revival of the ancient trade routes would require “not only physical connectivity and requisite infrastructure, but even more important, a climate of peace, stability, mutual trust and respect, support for mutual prosperity and free flow of commerce and ideas.”

“The mirror image of the Silk Road on the seas is the spice route. A maritime route that extended from Canton (Guangzhou)  through the Mallaca Straits, India-Sri Lanka onwards to the Arab lands and further on to Alexandria, Florence and then to the Caliphate in Istanbul, also, the capital of the Roman Empire, Constantinople,” Yechury told the conference in Beijing.

“The “One Road, One Belt” concept cannot comprehensively realize the inherent potential of this region unless this Maritime “Spice Route” is simultaneously revived. India and China have a mutually beneficial project at hand,” he added.

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