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24 May 2017

US to revive Asian infra projects to counter China

The Trump administration has revived 2 infrastructure projects in Asia, providing brief details in their maiden annual budget.

The New Silk Road initiative, announced when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor have both been resuscitated. India will play a key role in both.

The projects are seen as a means to counter Chinese influence through the OBOR.

In context

How the US is countering OBOR?
What is OBOR?


What is OBOR?

China announced the One Belt One Road initiative as a means to improve trade connections between Asia and Europe.

The ambitious project envisages creation of several trade corridors on land and across the sea, to ultimately link the trade between South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

India is opposed to one of the projects as it runs through PoK.


What is the New Silk Road initiative?

The NSR initiative was announced by Hillary Clinton in July 2011, in Chennai.

The initiative primarily seeks to improve Afghanistan's connectivity with its neighbourhood, by becoming a transit hub for energy and goods trade.

She emphasized on building economic corridors across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan up to Central Asia to consolidate trade between these countries.

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Clinton on the NSR

"Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan's and India's growing energy needs and provide transit revenues for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens. Furniture, fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond."


How will the projects be implemented?

According to officials in the Trump administration, their budgetary allocation will help support the projects.

They will implement in collaboration with regional partners in bilateral or multilateral mechanisms.

They will also use assistance from development banks. They said that the private sector will play a major role in realizing these two projects.


The Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor

The IPEC was initially proposed during the US rebalancing and pivot to Asia strategy which began in late 2011.

The concept sought to improve economic and trade linkages between South Asia and South East Asia, and eventually link South Asia to the Pacific states.

This involved development of new ports, road transit corridors etc. India would play a key role in the project.

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