September 30, 2018 | Lodhi’s Speech at UN
September 29, 2018 | China rebuts US allegations
| Russian missiles challenge
September 28, 2018 | Iran defies America
| Britain and the EU
On Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most recent visit to China, India has again refused to support the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
New Delhi complained that one of BRI’s key connectivity projects – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – runs through sections of Kashmir that it considers occupied by Pakistan.
Both India and Pakistan were elected as full members of the SCO last year in the hope that the two antagonists would arrive at an understanding, but so far India has resisted.
This has as much to do with the India-Pakistan differences on Kashmir, as the China-India rift, as the “Indo-Pacific” strategy pursued by Washington.
In short, India is torn between a commitment to a US led India, Japan and Australia axis in the Indo-Pacific region and the BRI.
The BRI is a vast pan-Eurasian economic vision, while Indo-Pacific agreement is basically “a vehicle for the military containment of China”.
New Delhi now appears more interested in the International North-on Transport Corridor (INSTC) which is to link Russia with India via Iran to the exclusion of China and Pakistan.
India’s investment in Iran’s Chabahar port envisaged a ‘New Silk Road’ to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan and China. It hasn’t so far come to fruition.
Instead, China has already offered to take up the slack when India failed to come up with finances required to complete port project.
Then, every other member state of BRICS that is Brazil, the Republic of South Africa (India), China and Russia supports the JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement to set up a free trade zone between Iran and the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) recently and, with Iran a key hub of BRI and partner of India in the INSTC, a member of the SCO and also linked to the EAEU, India could be left out in the cold.
“China is pursuing advanced capabilities which the United States has no current defense against” Admiral Phillip Davidson, the nominated US Pacific force commander warned the US senate.
So, playing the two ends against the middle will simply not work, as before. But, worrying as that could be, Modi’s India appears intent on trying.