Indian opposition to China’s New Silk Road

A map showing key elements of China’s Belt and Road Initiative
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is designed to more deeply connect the Chinese economy with others in Eurasia and Africa. India is a vocal critic (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • India is worried that China’s huge infrastructure program has geopolitical goals
  • Experiences in Sri Lanka and Pakistan seem to confirm this suspicion
  • China wants India on board, but New Delhi wants more leverage first

India has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a set of interlocking cross-border infrastructure projects that New Delhi sees as a thinly veiled geopolitical power play by Beijing. India was conspicuously absent from the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing in mid-May. India’s Foreign Ministry said that while it supported such connectivity initiatives, it expected them to follow “accepted international norms” of transparency and financial responsibility. It warned against projects that created “unsustainable debt burdens.”

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