Silk Road Initiative of China - Routings


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.


In September 2013, President Xi Jinping of China outlined a bold and ambitious vision for infrastructure development and “Neighborhood Diplomacy”. The “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) Initiative includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, referencing the once expansive trade routes that dominated medieval trade between East and West.



The initiative envisions an integrated trade and economic network stretching across Europe and Asia. This represents a historic opportunity to link the economies of Eurasia physically through infrastructure networks as well as virtually through technology networks and potentially administratively through legal and regulatory frameworks. It provides Enlarged Europe with a solid partner in the East where its most challenging foreign policy issues reside, from Russia to the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan.



One of China’s most ambitious economic and foreign policy projects aims to connect the disparate regions in China’s near and distant neighborhood through a massive program of infrastructure building. It’s President Xi Jinping’s personal project, and some Chinese analysts have dubbed it “the number one project under heaven.”


The “belt and road” would be serviced by a network of roads, high-speed railways, fibre-optic lines, transcontinental submarine optical cable projects, and satellite information passageways.
 
According to Korean scholar Jae Ho Chung, when completed, the OBOR will include 60 countries, with two-thirds of the world’s population, 55% of the global GDP and 75% of global energy reserves. It will consist of 900 infrastructure projects, valued at about $1.3 trillion. Much of the funding is expected to come from Chinese banks, financial institutions and special funds.

OBOR Routings

Reflecting at the land and sea routes of the old Silk Road linkages, the OBOR has land and sea dimensions that converge at certain points, which together constitute an extraordinary seamless connectivity that embraces all of Eurasia and the Indian Ocean littoral. The Eurasian land connection, known as the “New Silk Road Economic Belt” or simply the “Belt,” is made up of railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, and major energy projects.

Beginning at Xian, the legendary starting point of the old Silk Road, the OBOR will have two routings: one, across China to Kazakhstan and then Moscow, and the other through Mongolia and southern Russia to Moscow. Both routes will merge and then go on to European cities — Budapest, Hamburg and Rotterdam. The southern route will branch into one that will cross Iran and Turkey, and end at Budapest. It will have another branch from the Pakistani port of Gwadar to the Chinese city of Kashgar in the western province of Xinjiang.

The sea route, known as the “Maritime Silk Road” or simply the “Road,” made up of ports and coastal development, begins from China’s eastern ports and goes on to Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Africa and then on to West Asia and the Mediterranean, embracing Greece and Venice and ending at Rotterdam. Both routes, again recalling the old Silk Road, will have a series of loops and branches, with the two main routes also meeting at important junctions, such as Gwadar, Istanbul, Rotterdam and Hamburg.



Monday, 16th Jan 2017, 06:36:34 AM

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