Why in news?
- China has hinted at a shift in how it will pursue its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amid growing concerns about debt repayments from many partner countries because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- In recent weeks, China has faced calls from countries in Asia and Africa to delay or waive debt repayments.
- China will focus on quality in the joint pursuit of the BRI, and seek to advance infrastructure connectivity.
- China would focus on achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration and would work with BRI partners for mutually beneficial outcomes.
- The world’s debt to China grew 10 times between 2000 and 2017, with developing countries owing $380 billion to China.
What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) One Belt One Road (OBOR)?
- One Belt One Road (OBOR), also called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is an ambitious economic development and commercial project that focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe spanning about 78 countries.
- Initially announced in the year 2013 with the purpose of restoring the ancient Silk Route that connected Asia and Europe.
- The project involves building a big network of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure projects.
- The project covers two parts. The first is called the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” which is primarily land-based and is expected to connect China with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
- The second is called the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” which is sea-based and is expected to will China’s southern coast to the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.
- Landlocked Nepal has recently joined OBOR by signing a deal that will help it improve cross-border connectivity with China, and Pakistan is set to benefit from the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect southwestern China to and through Pakistan, allowing access to Arabian Sea routes.
-Source: The Hindu