People's Review Weekly

Is the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) a substitute for China’s Belt and Road Initiative?

-The US and China confrontat­ion imminent-

- BY N. P. UPADHYAYA (ARYAl) - satya saI

Biratnagar: This week I wish to bring into discussion about the “less talked” issues that demand albeit necessary world attention as the subject concerned has immense political significan­ce globally more so to this part of the world, the Gulf included. The first issue that has attracted world attention in recent days is the agreement signed in Delhi for the IndiaMiddl­e East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). The Corridor Scheme was just signed at the time of the G20 Summit held in Delhi, September 9-10, 2023.

The inking of the IndiaMiddl­e East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and that too in Hindu supremacis­t Delhi assumes great diplomatic significan­ce in that the signing of the Corridorli­nk speaks that in Internatio­nal relations, what is counted only is the primary interests of the countries concerned and “equations” keep on changing as per suiting to the needs and primary/ security/commercial interest of the countries individual­ly or for that matter on a collective basis.

What is of absorbing interest is that the initiative to this IndiaMiddl­e East Europe Economic Corridor was taken no less than by US President Joe Biden himself.

Later the US president’s idea of the corridor was seconded by yet another unstable political personalit­y Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman who had developed in recent years strained ties with its long-time security ally, the USA.

The MBS was, some say, not even on talking terms with Joe Biden as the latter grilled Saudi Salman over the ghastly killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a freelance Saudi Journalist and a sharp critique of MBS. Jamal Khashoggi was killed mysterious­ly in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

It was this killing of Khasshogi that strained the uninterrup­ted seven decades-long US-Saudi relations.

According to Wikipedia, On 2 October 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident/ journalist was killed by agents of the Saudi government at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Khashoggi was ambushed and strangled by a 15-member squad of Saudi operatives. The consulate had been secretly bugged by the Turkish government and Khashoggi's final moments were captured in audio recordings, transcript­s of which were subsequent­ly made public”.

A Flamboyant MBS:

And as revenge for the US meddling in Saudi’s affairs, the flamboyant MBS opted to inch closer to China, the bête noir of his long-time security ally, the USA.

It was this US-Saudi conflict which allowed China to enter into the Gulf/Middle East and in the process China won the hearts of the countries of the Middle East.

The Climax was China’s effective mediation between the arch-rival Saudis and Iran who have now restored their strained ties by opening their respective diplomatic missions in either country.

Needless to say, the US was perturbed by China’s entrance into a region that had traditiona­lly been the sole preserve of the US, the US was in search of an opportune moment to defeat the designs of China.

The freshly concluded G20 meet held in Delhi allowed the US to restore the damaged ties with Oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Finally, Joe Biden took PM Modi, MBS, and some European leaders into confidence and hence the idea of the Economic Corridor took a final shape at least for the moment.

This then reinforces the dictum that in internatio­nal politics/ diplomacy, neither there are permanent enemies nor permanent friends. Who is Ms. Ganga Dahal: This is how diplomacy works to which our Indiabend duffer diplomats don’t understand.

The current foreign ministry leadership has almost legalized the presence of PM Dahal's daughter, Ms. Ganga Dahal, in official/ bilateral meetings assuming that her august presence was a must if Nepal were to

take advantage of such meets.

Is she an internatio­nal relations graduate from JNU, Delhi? Her father’s official abode then! In which capacity, the foreign ministry’s leadership endures the necessary presence of Ms. Ganga Dahal at the official meetings is yet to be clarified.

Is Ganga Dahal the official of the foreign ministry? Ms. Dahal was present in the official level bilateral talks in Delhi with PM Dahal, the Delhi indoctrina­ted and exported Maoist leader to control Kathmandu politics and steer it the India desired way. Nepal’s foreign ministry appears hand-in-glove with an aligned India. Can the foreign ministry officials prove that Nepal is yet a non-aligned nation?

Prove it. It is an open challenge.

If not explained in clear terms then the population will be forced to believe that the current Foreign Ministry leadership either is incompeten­t or at best possesses a clear bend to the Maoists party led by “Lifetime” Chairman Dahal and by extension to India. Indeed a smart move it was as regards the Economic Corridor.

The launching of the passageway was duly announced during the just concluded Delhi G20 summit that saw the convergenc­e of several powerful world leaders. Indian Prime Minister Modi was the host, the declared rival of China whose president Xi Jinping for some calculated reasons skipped the G20 meet for the first time. Vladimir Putin followed suit for some understand­able reasons.

The initiation for this Corridor, we have been told, was primarily taken by the US President Joe Biden, this too we have already stated earlier, and presumably backed by PM Modi, as stated in the earlier paragraphs, who himself was assisted by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman-Al Saud (MBS). The UAE ruler also backed the idea initiated mainly by India and the US.

What is notable is that both the US and India are declared rivals of emerging China more so India has already fought wars with China and one more is in the offing. To cut the wings of China, the US and India are well placed in the Quad security mechanism designed by the US along with Japan and Australia.

So this Economic Corridor is meant only to neutralize China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), opine Nepali observers who do not have an India bend.

The Chinese reaction: Commenting on the IMEC, the Global Times, September 11, 2023, (just a day after the IMEC was inked in Delhi), says that the IMEC is an ambitious “modern spice route”. The GT further states that the “West clearly intended to challenge China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. It also quoted some unnamed analysts as saying that “IMEC may not necessaril­y achieve this objective.” Well, it is just the Chinese reaction. As for Nepal, the current Foreign Minister N. P. Saud will abide by the orders of FM S. Jay Shankar with all certainty.

To recall, President Xi launched the BRI in September 2023 from Nazarbayev University, Astana (Kazakhstan) and from the Indonesian Parliament in October of the same year.

Since then the US and its allies including India have been in search of a suitable substitute to China’s BRI and finally, the G20 Delhi meet provided this opportunit­y this September.

However, how China has taken the new move by the opposing camps has not yet come to the fore which, as and when it

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” -Soren Kierkegaar­ad
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” -Soren Kierkegaar­ad

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nepal