BRI Reshaping Global Economy

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The “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) in limelight- global order took another stride amid of Chinese rise through its soft power expansionist drive and extended military prowess. Beginning in the year 2013, emboldened by the aspiration of reviving the ancient Silk Route, in the span of less than a decade, China has gained resounding success by transcending the preponderant BRI rhetoric to realities. From the Asia to Europe, and the Middle East to Africa, different corridors and infrastructural projects predominantly revamping global geo-economic architecture whilst offering opportunities to two-third of the world population to have considerable gains through engagement and cooperation. Furthermore, to accommodate maritime trading traffic, it vowed to invest in the development of ports alongside the Indian Ocean, from Southeast Asia and to East Africa and different parts of Europe. The significant development expanded the horizons of geo-economics by accumulation “blue economy” and intensifying maritime affairs competition among the global contending powers and their alliances.

From a geopolitical perspective, the BRI project led to competition among the US and China in pursuit of hegemony. Given the geostrategic significance and geographic location, the Indian Ocean has become the hub of clash of interests between two major contending actors. Delhi extend its sphere of influence through collaboration with the US to assert pressure, and outplay China. The nuclear powers would have to keep regulating and realigning their respective nuclear postures and strategies to deal with the challenges that would ascend due to the building of arsenal and consequences of nuclear strategies of the powers active in the Indian Ocean. The militarization of the Indian Ocean designs a vicarious drive towards hostile regional security architecture through intensified military-industrial complex and arms race. Fragile security development is one of the fundamental challenges of the BRI project. Beijing noticeably gained assistance from reliable allies to undermine coercion and deterrence designed by Washington and its allies. Such development in geopolitical and security architecture craft demands naval engagement in the realm of regional security affairs through incorporating with different regional allies to subvert the non-traditional security challenges.

As far as naval diplomatic roles are concerned, the Pakistan navy initiated the “Look Africa Policy” multilateral engagement campaign towards the African states to empower the national foreign policy clout. It is a dismaying factor that Pakistan yet to explore the avenues of engagement, cooperation, and projecting of multi-dimensional ties in the African continent. However, China already making inroads towards Africa under the BRI umbrella, the Sino-Pak alliance with converging interests in Africa would offer abundant opportunities for trade and economic cooperation. Thus, naval engagement would assist the consolidation of BRI prospects and the future in Africa.

The importance of Pakistan’s naval force is further extended in the aftermath of growing Sino-Iran cooperation. Iran substituted India with China in the mega-development project Chabahr port, thus in foreseeable future, Beijing can initiate a naval bloc to ensure the safety and security of trading routes from Gwadar to Chabar port.

Pakistan navy remains a constant variable of strong Sino-Pak defense cooperation. Through CPEC Defense Corporation, it continues to prosper the indigenous capabilities through importing advanced technological advancement. Having a strong naval force as a strategic partner would assist China to undermine conceivable impediments regarding the BRI project worldwide in foreseeable future. Although both countries hold a strong partnership that needs to consolidate to further uplift the trajectory of the complete success of Beijing’s BRI project. Furthermore, the Pakistan Navy pledge to seek a vibrant role in undermining the intervening imperatives of CPEC and the BRI project. For instance, extenuating nontraditional securities challenges- floods and pandemic is also a contribution of keeping the BRI ambitions on a smooth track.

For the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose legitimacy rests heavily on continuous economic growth, these structural problems within the economy represent an existential crisis. The BRI is intended to address these issues by stimulating external demand for Chinese goods, services and capital. Mainstream accounts depict China’s BRI as a predatory form of economic statecraft, seeking to ensnare poor countries for geopolitical ends. This paper has demonstrated that the BRI is, in fact, motivated largely by economic factors. Donors should support recipient countries to strengthen their development governance systems, and engage China in dialogue to bring Chinese development financing closer to international standards.

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