Defence experts on Sunday said the Chinese flagship programme ‘One Belt, One Road,’ a network of trade route that seeks to connect Asia, Africa, the West Asia and Europe, poses a major security threat to India as Beijing is trying to encircle New Delhi by undertaking construction projects in the neighbouring countries under the guise of connectivity purposes.
Yesterday, India decided to skip the OBOR Forum that is being held in Beijing from May 14 till May 16 citing sovereignty and territorial concerns. As many as 65 countries are expected to take part in the meeting.
“It poses a huge security threat to India. It would stand totally encircled from east, west, north, as well as the Indian Ocean Region in a far stronger measure vis-a-vis what it is today,” defence expert P.K. Saighal told ANI.
“They are trying to connect railway lines to Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh primarily with a view to further create far greater difficulty for India from the security point of view under the guise of better connectivity purposes,” he added.
Another defence expert Uday Bhaskar has said that India’s decision to not attend the forum would have huge repercussions for New Delhi as well as Beijing.
“For China to realise the full potential of the trade, economic and connectivity of the OBOR, India must be a full member and must participate in cooperative way with China,” Bhaskar told ANI.
“For India, whatever aspiration it has of increasing the GDP, alleviation of poverty and stable neighbourhood cannot be achieved in a robust manner without engaging with China,” he added.
The OBOR project will be a vast network of sea and land routes across dozens of countries where Chinese would, reportedly, spend USD 1 trillion on railways line, roads, ports and other infrastructures.
A key part of the OBOR initiative is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Islamabad’s Gwadar port and Beijing’s Xinjiang province.
The project passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region which India claims it to be a part of its territory.