The development of Asian-African Development Corridor and border areas: Indian Response to China’s Challenge

When the troop face-off between India and China on the Sikkim – Bhutan – Tibet Tri-Junction (also called Doklam region) is at their full swings which make both countries to deploy 3,000 troops each along the border, a good news has come from the Asian Development Bank, which has shown interest to fund the projects of Borders areas of India adjoining with China, including Sikkim. Under this, ADB has proposed an investment of $ 5 billion in the next 5 years before the Indian government. This development is important because till now, various International Financial Institutions were not interested in funding any project of India’s controversial border area. The reason for this can be said to be the pressure of China, because it does not want India to set up a good infrastructure in its border area, also, some of our governments ignored the basic structure in the border area of ​​the war of 1962. In 2015, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had come forward to develop a basic structure on the Chinese border beyond India, which will now further strengthen this work. This attitude of India can strengthen India’s stance on its frequent border disputes with China. India has stepped up efforts to develop infrastructure in the Indian border in the background of the Chinese military, which is being infiltrated in the Indian Territory.

After the war of 1962, India have had a soft policy towards China. Because of the dreadful defeat, it did not want to engage in any kind of conflict with China and Nehru was also supporter of the same policy. But how long did India hold hands against China’s bullying attitude, when China began to strengthen its frontier territory from India, then it became important for India to change its policy and start construction of infrastructure such as metalled road, rail network, bunker, check post of military etc. The effect was seen when the economy was simplified in 1992, because of this India gained momentum in Economic growth.

When India’s policy was to be pressed in front of China, at the rate of our own, we had stopped development in our border area, then the allurance of International Financial Agencies in funding development of India’s border has shown downfall. Now, when we have shown self-confidence and have taken the initiative of development and have shown courage to oppose China on various issues, then the inclination of the lender agencies has changed.

The desire to invest in this project of ADB can also be considered as a symbol of the growing friendship between India and America, which was reflected in the joint statement of PM Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, in which China was referred to as a collective nation, which is a challenge for both the countries. Also, India received support from the US against the Chinese showpiece “One Belt One Road”. OBOR is an integral scheme of Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose purpose is to develop infrastructure, rail, ports and power grid, whose beneficiary will be some countries of Asia, Africa and Europe. But by acknowledging the support of all the countries, China also seeks the support of India but it refused to come with OBOR as well as India’s critical stance towards China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEB) is also provoking Chinese army infiltration across the border area.

We can respond to the OBOR challenge of China through the Asia-Africa Development Corridor i.e. AADC, which will prove to be helpful in making India’s stature equal to China, with the rapid development as well as making impact in Asia, Africa and Oceanic countries. Meanwhile, India and Japan agreed to AADC in the 52nd annual general meeting of AFDB, which was held on 24th May in Gandhinagar. Unlike the OBOR evolving on the ground, AADC is a marine corridor which is a kind of consultation initiative. It will also connect Africa with Air India besides Southeast Asia. This initiative will be completely practical and beneficial, because it is not a government project like OBOR, in this there will not be much emphasis in trade and economic relations. This will show the resilience of opportunities and aspirations in Asian and Africa, which will give priority to the necessary projects related to health and medicine, agro-food processing, disaster recovery and skill development. It emphasizes the creation of the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region for a free and open area, which will play an important role in bringing prosperity in this area. Together with the international community of India and Japan, promote the development of industrial corridor in Asian and Africa. OBOR, on the other hand, is predominantly centred on European countries. India has a good experience in terms of business and contacts in Africa. Japan has advanced technology at the same time. To develop quality infrastructure, Japan’s mastery in AADC will work. The pair will compete in China. Japan is ready to pay $ 200 billion for the development of AADC and has so far invested $ 32 billion in Africa. The pair will also bounce into the European market. At the same time, Japan’s emphasis on the free ocean reflects its tactics on China’s discomfort, in which China is preparing a port to circumvent India in the Indian Ocean, called the “beads of beads”. India’s intention to reach out to its neighbours and Southeast Asians according to Indo-Japan plan is also being paid attention by the people, in which China is interrupted due to wooing Myanmar.

In the end, it becomes necessary that China’s challenge should not be answered by the military force but with diplomatic missions, in which development of border areas and industrial corridors should be the first priority. However, when Modi was not PM, he reiterated China to teach lesson as soon as he get into power, but now his aggressive stance has took back turn and his policy is stressed upon diplomacy  to combat rise of China’s influence in Asia- Pacific region, whose latest testament can be witnessed when New Delhi invited 10 ASEAN Countries Heads as a Chief Guest for 69th Republic Day  Celebration which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The move is particularly significant considering India’s current relationship with China which has earned the displeasure of the region due to the South China Sea dispute. At least four of the ten ASEAN nations, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brune, are involved in the South China Sea dispute. With this budge India is trying to form a Coliation of countries which are indulged in some or the other territorial disputes with China, which could prove to be a milestone in truncating China’s eminence in the integrity and sovereignty of the countries.

We are thankful to Yash Mittalour correspondent for this Article. Yash Mittal is a second year law student at ILNU.

Image Courtsey: http://www.dnaindia.com

Disclaimer: The Article represents the views of the author only and by no means reflect the opinions of ILNU of any person associated with it. Any counter opinion to the views of the author are welcomed for a healthy debate and discussion. 

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