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A bold shift: India strikes out for its own interest by boycotting Beijing’s OBOR summit

India has undertaken an uncharacteristically bold foreign policy move by refusing to participate in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) summit in Beijing, meant to be China’s grand coming out globalisation party. While the Chinese are busy hard selling OBOR’s advantages to other nations it has several drawbacks, as presently structured, from the Indian and even the subcontinental point of view. Moreover China tends to block whatever India may lobby for at international forums – whether it be entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, permanent membership of the UN Security Council or UN sanctions against Masood Azhar – often acting, apparently, at Pakistan’s behest. Beijing thus offers New Delhi little incentive to help the Chinese along when it comes to issues and schemes they care for.

It may, in fact, be salient for New Delhi and MEA to study Chinese negotiation technique over the last three or four decades and imbibe some of it, especially when it comes to negotiating with Beijing itself. China bargains hard and relentlessly, leverages its large size and extracts the maximum for what it might give away. OBOR itself is a good example: its projects, as presently structured, will provide business to Chinese banks and Chinese companies while sidelining competitors.

President Xi Jinping has projected the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as OBOR’s flagship project. But CPEC plans are shrouded in secrecy, and whatever information is available is hardly comforting. It appears to envisage a large-scale penetration of Pakistan’s economy and territory, including that of PoK to which India lays claim, by Chinese enterprises and agencies. If this is globalisation, it is globalisation 19th century style. To get New Delhi on board OBOR China should be prepared to offer it a grand bargain: settle border disputes with India, get Pakistan to settle disputes with India as well and turn off the terror tap, and structure OBOR projects so that they serve the mutual interests of both sides.

Source: The Times of India

 

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