Rethinking India’s Approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Rethinking India’s Approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Economic & Political Weekly, 29 June 2019

The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April 2019 witnessed a transformed discourse on China’s grand connectivity initiative. Evoking an agreeable geo-economic vision, the joint communique spoke of “extensive consultation,” “green,” “people-centred and sustainable development” as well as “high quality, sustainable infrastructure” that is “inclusive and broadly beneficial” (Belt and Road Forum 2019a). There is little doubt that China viewed the forum as a platform to exude more responsive and multilateral norms, with Xi Jinping himself acknowledging some of the problems with the initiative. There are three broader trends that might have convinced Beijing that the time was ripe for an adjustment.