'The regional development move launched by China is arguably one of the greatest trade connectivity and infrastructure projects in the world'
India is not convinced by the future of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and could be withholding its support because China is driving the development master plan for the Asia region, analysts said on Wednesday.
The uncertainty was voiced at the “Asian Regional Conference on BRI: Prospects and Challenges” organized by local think-tank Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“The regional development move launched by China is arguably one of the greatest trade connectivity and infrastructure projects in the world,” the BIPSS president, Maj Gen (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, said.
“It involves a mammoth investment, with China mulling over funding of $3 trillion. (But) India says it is not sure about the long-term plans (and) this is a reason for it being detached from the development scheme.
“The shortcomings in infrastructural development in the Asian region are so severe that not a single country is capable of resolving the problems, both in terms of funding and regional support.”
Dr Lalilufar Munir, Professor of International Relations at Dhaka University, said India might have been calculating its possible outcomes through a win-loss theorem.
“Since the BRI was initiated by China, India is not coming forward since it has an ego problem over authority in the project,” she said. “India is not considering joining the platform since it will have to work under China as a secondary power.”
The BIPSS chief hoped that India will change its stance as the BRI - previously known as One Belt One Road mega project - will not just help a single country benefit.
“There are still chances that India will join the BRI network some day as it is indirectly working on different issues related to the move,” he said. “The BRI will significantly cause the economy in the South Asian countries to boom.”
Madhu Raman Charya, a former diplomat of Nepal, said the BRI is a gateway to a wider regional development and will help India to benefit in the long run.
The Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, Zhang Zuo, attended the seminar as a chief guest.