The twenty first century is a media century. Media disseminate the information according to the recommendations of media agglomerates. The media agglomerates use the financial capital for making any project successful or unsuccessful. It is an age of commercialism where consumer products to human emotions all are commercial. Even commercialization of religion has been the amazing attribute of contemporary world’s political economy.
In such materialistic world countries make alliances or invest their money for attaining commercial benefits. In the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the most important among the six Chinese economic corridors (China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor, China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar BCIM Economic Corridor) in the region that connects China with the whole world through sea water. Although people believe that these six corridors will connect China with all South West, Eastern, Central, South Asian and Middle eastern countries along with Bangladesh, India and Myanmar economic corridor, China is going to lead the economy of the whole world. It will take China to Europe, and Africa. In the BCIM India is yet to confirm its membership. In fact, it is an effort to integrate the whole world with an integrated economic community.
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) means that all five economic corridors are a single belt and run as land route the sixth and the most important one is the CPEC that links the belt to the sea water.
The west is propagating against the BRI as it is going to be the future commercial hub for the economic activity. The economic integration used to be the monopoly of the west after the 18th century when Suez Canal was leased for 99 years to the French and British imperial powers at the end of 19th century. The Suez Canal shortened the distance between West and the East. It linked the Red sea at Suez with the Mediterranean Sea at the Port Said.
Since the last three decades’ economic integration used to be in the hands of two regional alliances named as European Union and Association for the South East Asian Nations and after the Brexit and stumbling European economy and the docile role of ASEAN gave way to China to fill the vacuum in the regional political economy. Thus, China that had been waiting for the opportunity since 1990s availed it well and activated its economic corridors with the positive frame of mind and assisted the meager economies to sustain themselves through the Chinese sponsored economic corridors. In 2013 Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan and Indonesia and introduced his vision of BRI. The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang popularized the same vision in Asia and Europe.
The world is unable to digest the Eastern domination upon economic activity in the twenty first century. But the international environment when the US is no more sole super power but shared the status with other industrial powers like, Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and India. Thus the center of power is divided and China is making economic headway by hard work and utilization of its system capabilities very efficiently through its leadership. Therefore, it is also perceived that it is not democracy or any other form of government that makes economic development but the efficient use of system capabilities makes any system socially, politically and economically developed.
The BRI is the jugular vein for the development of the regional political economies. There are more than sixty countries that may get benefits out of BRI if they contribute positively and exploit their system capabilities efficiently. Almond and Powell named these ‘system capabilities’ as extractive, regulative, distributive, responsive and symbolic capabilities. All the countries which are linked with BRI have to be very much vigilant of the western propaganda, that China initiated the economic corridors for escaping itself from regional conflicts in South China Sea.
Chinese history is an explicit evidence that China never did any political or armed intervention in any other country. China did not have any colony in any part of the world to date. We have to ignore the baseless fabrication of facts regarding Chinese 99 years lease for the Sri Lankan Hambantota port. China did this deal strategically to control Indian influence in the region. China is not interested in political aggrandizement. India is the only country in the region who can try to sabotage the BRI. Hence the Chinese intelligent move to take the Hambantota port for 99 years’ lease looks rational.
This Chinese economically integrated project (CEIP) is a value added project which is going to inject energy in the feeble economies of the region. China has invested lot of money as usually referred almost $63billion has become the flagship of China’s $1 trillion-plus BRI. Which is seven times the magnitude of the US’s Marshall Plan to restructure Europe after World War II in 1945 if estimated according to the value of present day value of the dollar.
The geographical location of Suez Canal was beneficial for the West in the 19th century for maritime trade. In the same way, in the twenty first century the BRI is sine qua non for the trade and development of Asia, Europe and Africa. The Suez Canal was more beneficial for the developed world but the BRI is lucrative for the weak economies.
The Way Forward
BRI is a case of political wisdom for the regional and global political economy. The world has to sustain against the media agglomerates and strife for the sustainability of the economic integration in the world with libracanatlism. It is a mixture of liberalism and mercantilism as no country in the world today, can have purely liberal or mercantilist economies. China and India are the pertinent examples in this respect, opened their economies after 1979 (Ding Xiao Ping) and 1982 (Rajiv Gandhi) respectively. All the concerned countries in BRI have to get together and must make an economic alliance in their socio-political and economic interests. The alliance can be named as Belt and Road Initiative Alliance. BRI is a case of political wisdom to sustain the stuttering economies in the region. After having headway in infrastructural developments we need to focus on soft infrastructure relating to making pragmatic policies regarding CPEC and BRI to transform our dream of strong economy to a reality.