OBOR or BRI (Belt & Road Initiative)


China One Belt and One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before these we must know the background of this initiative that is Silk Rout.  The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe.

2013 China’s President Xi Jinping, who drew inspiration from the concept of the Silk Road established during the Han Dynasty in China officially opened trade Around 200 B.C., Silk Route was a network of trade routes that connected the east with the west.

OBOR or BRI spans about 78 countries. BRI involves building a big network of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure projects. This a version of globalization.

BRI Initiative covers two Strategic Aspects

Here ‘Belt’ refers to the overland routes (involving only landlocked regions) for road and rail transportation. It called the SREB (Silk Route Economic Belt) while the term ‘Road’ interestingly refers to the trade through sea routes. MSR (Maritime Silk Route).

SREB Land route passage that links China with south east Asia, south Asia, Central Asia, Russia and Europe by land.

MSR (Maritime Silk Road), a sea route, connects China to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, India, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Egypt and Europe, encompassing the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

BRI five major priorities:

Policy coordination (Promotion of intergovernmental cooperation, multi-level intergovernmental macro policy exchange & communication mechanism)
Facilities connectivity (Improvement of connectivity of infrastructure construction plans & technical standards systems)
Unimpeded trade (Reduction of investment & trade barriers, promotion of regional economic integration)
Financial integration (Coordination & cooperation in monetary policy, set-up of financing institutions)
People-to-people bonds (Cultural, academic exchange, dialogue & media cooperation)

They contain the following economic corridors:
  1. (NELBEC) The New Eurasian Land Bridge, which connects Western China to Western Russia.
  2. (CMREC) The China-Mongolia-Russia Corridor, which connects North China to Eastern Russia via Mongolia
  3. (CCWAEC) The China-Central Asia-West Asia Corridor, which connects Western China to Turkey via Central and West Asia
  4. (CICPEC) The China-Indochina Peninsula Corridor, which connects Southern China to Singapore via Indo-China
  5. (CPEC)The China-Pakistan Corridor, which connects South Western China through Pakistan to Arabia sea routes.
  6. (BCIMEC) The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor, which connects Southern China to India via Bangladesh and Myanmar
  7. The Sea Corridor, the maritime Silk Road connects coastal China to the Mediterranean via Singapore-Malaysia, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Strait of Hormuz.

China has announced investments in the various infrastructure projects and is funding them by offering low-cost loans to the participating countries BRI estimates vary widely from US$1 trillion up to US$8 trillion investment.

Many participating countries, like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are positive about OBOR due to massive investments by China in local transmission projects in these nations.

Landlocked Nepal has recently joined OBOR by signing a deal that will help it improve cross-border connectivity with China, and Pakistan is set to benefit from the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect southwestern China to and through Pakistan, allowing access to Arabian Sea routes.

At the same time, the BRI has been increasing its geographical scope by shifting its focus from the historic Silk Road region to the entire globe.

By connecting the less-developed border regions like Xinjiang with neighboring nations, China expects to bump up economic activity. OBOR/BRI is expected to open up & create new markets for Chinese goods. It would also enable the manufacturing powerhouse to gain control of cost-effective routes to export materials easily.