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Day 47 – Q 1.India’s decision to stay out of the Chinese BRI initiative is a prudent geostrategic step. Do you agree. Don’t you think India should also refrain from joining the US led counter to Chinese BRI initiative? Critically examine.

1. India’s decision to stay out of the Chinese BRI initiative is a prudent geostrategic step. Do you agree. Don’t you think India should also refrain from joining the US led counter to Chinese BRI initiative? Critically examine.  

चीनी बीआरआई पहल से बाहर रहने का भारत का निर्णय एक समझदार भूगर्भीय कदम है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? क्या आपको नहीं लगता कि भारत को चीनी बीआरआई पहल के लिए अमेरिका के नेतृत्व वाले काउंटर में शामिल होने से भी बचना चाहिए? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।


Recently. Prime Minister Modi focused on India’s “Strategic Autonomy”- the statement implicitly upholds India’s sovereignty & is free of any inclinations towards any country. Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is regional connectivity project by China to increase its economic, military and political foot print all over the world.


“One Belt, One Road initiative” or Belt and Road initiative it is a project ensuring economic prosperity to all the stakeholders according to Chinese perspective, but it is also perceived to be a project to increase Chinese economic, military and political footprint all over the world and an attempt to spread Chinese hegemony. While, most countries in India’s neighborhood and extended neighborhood have accepted the Chinese concept & are hoping for economic prosperity in the process- India has proved to be a aberration and has decided to stay out of the Chinese initiative on grounds of geostrategic prudency, upholding sovereignty & environmental concerns.

             India’s decision to stay out and boycott the project can be analyzed on following factors

  • China Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through sensitive areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, which is the biggest reason for India’s stance as it is against India’s stance of Pakistan occupied Kashmir being an integral part of India and thus is against India’s sovereignty.
  • Maritime Silk route, an integral part of the project is perceived by India to be carried out with a view of “Encircling India”, thus it is considered to be threat to maritime security of India.
  • There can be a possible attempt to isolate India in the neighborhood and choke some of India’s options of trade.
  • There is uncertainty about Chinese true intentions, the decisions with respect to BRI is not taken taking all stakeholders into account and are generally unilateral.
  • The project is considered to be just an attempt to globally propagate the hegemony of China.
  • There is a threat of Chinese aggression in South China Sea to spread to Indian Ocean, leading to instability & panic in the region.
  • The project could lead to large amount of carbon emissions augmenting the greenhouse effect, which is principally against India’s stand of reduced carbon emissions. 

However, there is counter argument to India’s stand and India is being criticized to lose a historical opportunity to augment its economic prosperity due to the following reasons-

  • The BRI initiative should not be looked from narrow perspective of Chinese aggression; economic prosperity should not be considered to be a “Zero Sum Game”.
  • By choosing to be an outlier, India is reducing its own economic benefit, when most of the countries in the neighborhood choose to benefit from the process.
  • BRI initiative is going to move ahead, with or without India; so India should join it but remain cautious at the same time.
  • It may further degrade India’s relations with China and some of the neighboring countries.

In context of current geopolitics in order to counter China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, it is considered that United states of America has launched a counter to the Chinese initiative by starting QUAD consisting of India, USA, Japan and Australia. Again there is both argument and counter argument on India joining the same-

  • As “Power negates power” – it is an effective way establish counter hegemony of India.
  • It can restrict Chinese aggression in South China Sea and keep a check on Chinese activities.
  • India can benefit on strategic, economic and security dimensions.
  • It can benefit the flow of capital to India.
  • It can increase India’s image and position of being a “Net Security provider” in the region.

However, it is said “Eye for an eye-makes the world blind”- so, the entire concept of BRI and its counter will entire be a “Lose concept” because- 

  • It will again divide the world into two groupings based on security grouping in guise of trade benefit.
  • India can get trapped in “Great power Politics” of the world, which can prove to be a self-harming trap.
  • There is a need for India and China to move together with synergy and make 21st “Asian Century” in true sense.
  • China-USA have strong economic relations; India would unnecessarily get trapped in a scenario of antipathy in times when there is economic interdependences.
  • It may threaten national security and long term stability of the region of Indo Pacific region.
  • Enmity with China and Pakistan can make India vulnerable on all fronts.
  • India should understand the dynamics of interdependent-multi polar economic world order. 


Thus, it is imperative that India bases its decision strictly on Strategic Autonomy, keeps its own interest at the pivot and take principled & pragmatic decisions by carrying out a SWOT analysis of its decisions and keeping long term benefit & global peace at priority. Thus, India needs to come out of knee jerk reaction and carry out sustained policies.         


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