The Silk Road Spirit and Phe­nom­e­non of Con­nec­tiv­ity

The Diplomatic Insight - - Editor's Note - Saa­dia Saif Ni­azi

he Silk Road Spirit is hav­ing a deep and strong bond with the phe­nom­e­non of con­nec­tiv­ity between dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions of the world as it was in the days of an­cient Silk Road. The Old Silk Road was not just a road but it was a cra­dle of great her­itage of human civ­i­liza­tions be­long­ing from dif­fer­ent vi­brant re­gions such as South, Cen­tral and Mid­dle East re­gion till Ro­man Em­pire (Mediter­ranean Sea). Span­ning thou­sands of miles and years, the an­cient silk routes em­body the spirit of “peace and co­op­er­a­tion, open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness, mu­tual learn­ing is now a day part of Chi­nese idea of “Con­nec­tiv­ity”, prop­a­gated through its Rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea of Belt and Road ini­tia­tive (BRI). This ar­ti­cle would an­a­lyze the whole BRI with its six eco­nomic cor­ri­dors in con­nec­tion with lens of con­nec­tiv­ity un­der the Silk Road Spirit. The BRI was Xi Jip­ing in 2013, dur­ing his visit to­wards Cen­tral and South­east Asia in September and Oc­to­ber of 2013, where he raised the ini­tia­tive with the fore­name of “The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st-Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road”. The Chi­nese idea of BRI is based on fu­tur­is­tic eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship among China’s neigh­bors and even be­yond. It is now an up­graded ver­sion that em­pha­sizes the mega scale con­nec­tiv­ity through vi­brant cor­ri­dors of road, rail­ways and mar­itime link­ages. This forms vi­tal por­tion of the Old Silk Road. It is im­per­a­tive to un­der­stand the no­tion of “Silk”. Presently the “Silk” has a dif­fer­ent con­no­ta­tion. It metaphor­i­cally stands for unique com­modi­ties such as hy­dro­car­bon, oil, gas, gold and lithium etc, which have be­come a sign­post for traders of the Silk Roads. There­fore, the coun­tries with their “New Silk Prod­ucts” the Hy­dro­car­bon as well as the states which are pro­vid­ing the main con­nec­tiv­ity to trans­fer the­ses re­serves are be­com­ing an im­por­tant player of th­ese New Silk Roads. In the 21st cen­tury, a new era marked by the theme of peace, de­vel­op­ment, Silk Road Spirit, at the same time the world is fac­ing is­sues re­gard­ing weak re­cov­ery of the global econ­omy, com­plex in­ter­na­tional and re­gional sit­u­a­tions, clash of nat­u­ral in­ter­ests, hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues, hege­monic de­signs, ex­ces­sive poverty, frag­ile economies, and ex­plod­ing pop­u­la­tion etc. The BRI is Chi­nese ac­qui­si­tions in 76 linked to Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s sig­na­ture for­eign pol­icy. The BRI pro­vides a vi­sion­ary blue­print for even global eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the new world or­der and of­fers a mod­ern­day so­lu­tion that fos­ters in­clu­sive growth and de­vel­op­ment in the 21st cen­tury. It refers to con­nec­tiv­ity as in the days of Old Silk Road through two ways; (i) The land-based “Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt” and (ii) The seago­ing “21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road”. Con­nec­tiv­ity is the main theme un­der which the BRI is ini­ti­at­ing projects. Beijing has ini­ti­ated six main cor­ri­dors; (i) Bangladesh, China, In­dia and Myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (BCIMEC), (ii)China-Indo-China Penin­sula Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CICP-EC) (iii) China-Mon­go­lia-Rus­sia Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CMR-EC), (iv) Chi­naPak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (C-PEC), (v) China-Cen­tral and West Asia Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CCWA-EC), (vi) New Eurasian Land Bridge (NELB).

(i) Bangladesh, China, In­dia and Myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (BCIM-EC)

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