Skip to main content

India-US-EU Combine Halts China's Belt and Road Initiative at the UN

The last vestige of BRI propaganda was deleted from a resolution on Afghanistan on December 6.

The Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

Seema Sirohi

Washington: In a significant expression of international will, references to China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI) have been deleted from all UN resolutions, bringing an end to Beijing’s “wordplay diplomacy” and dealing a blow to its biggest strategic gambit.

The spread of “Xi Jinping thought” via subterfuge came to a complete halt, at least at the UN, thanks to some diplomatic due diligence by India, the US and the EU. China’s little helper Pakistan could do nothing but watch.

The last vestige of BRI propaganda was deleted from a resolution on Afghanistan on December 6 in a final act of cleansing that started last year when India took a strong stand against BRI and rained on Xi’s parade by raising questions about transparency, environmental standards, predatory economics and violations of sovereignty.

Just as last year, when the coalition of India, US and EU worked to remove references to BRI from two other resolutions, the three-pillar resistance was led by the young Indian diplomats at India’s permanent mission who negotiated with other delegations and gathered widespread support.

The latest victory was achieved when references to BRI contained in the 2017 and 2016 resolutions on Afghanistan, which had the UN General Assembly welcoming “regional economic cooperation through regional initiatives, such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) Initiative and other regional projects,” were deleted. The 2018 resolution on Afghanistan was rid of BRI baggage.

“BRI at the UN is going, going, gone…” a UN observer told this columnist. The belt had fallen and the road was blocked.

Also read: India Breaks Ranks With SCO, Refuses to Endorse China’s Belt Road Initiative

Interestingly, references to all other regional initiatives such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India or the TAPI gas pipeline project and the Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran were retained, making the deletion of BRI reference even more noticeable.

In fact, the resolution made a special mention of the delivery of the first consignment from India to Afghanistan from Chabahar Port and the establishment of the Afghanistan-India direct air freight corridor.

The last bit will especially irk Pakistan because its attempts to squeeze Afghanistan economically by denying India land transit rights for trade are failing. Last week, the UN recognised the importance of other routes devised by India to help Afghanistan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Credit: Reuters/Sergio Moraes

The Chinese representative accepted defeat, registering mild unhappiness and noting only that the final text of the latest resolution had failed to mention the “consensus” reached in the past. He did not mention BRI, probably to avoid focus on the failure.

Diplomatic sources in New York said India, with support from the US and the EU, emphasised that all connectivity efforts in the region must be based on the principles of economic viability and financial responsibility – something that the BRI has spectacularly failed to do.

They argued that all transnational projects must follow “universally recognised international norms, rule of law, transparency and environmental standards” – basically the criticisms first made by India as Xi was showcasing BRI at a summit in Beijing in front of eager heads of state.

Those criticisms are now almost universally accepted and have become the backbone of the resistance. They have been used by the US, Japan, Australia in their Quadrilateral Security Dialogue to arrive at a counter-narrative of “sustainable infrastructure” (BRI promotes indebtedness) and “skill and technology transfer” (China brings its own workers for projects, giving no jobs to locals).

“Connectivity initiatives must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations,” a senior diplomatic source said. “They should promote trade, not tension.”

Also read: China’s Debt-Trap Diplomacy Along the Belt and Road

Countries from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, from Malaysia to Myanmar are already having second thoughts about BRI as the shadow of debt darkens their door and local populations gain almost nothing in terms of skills transfer or even basic employment.

This battle royale at the UN between China and the US-India-EU combine may seem esoteric but it is significant nonetheless. It was important to wage this war over words because the tradition of precedent allows countries to build on previous resolutions and augment their narrative.

Language buried in resolutions can be resurrected later at an opportune moment to one’s advantage and before you know it, bad ideas are being endorsed by the General Assembly.

But once something is deleted by consensual agreement, getting the same language back in the same resolution or others becomes difficult.

The Chinese, in the great power tradition, see the UN as a vehicle to further their agenda. They have been working meticulously over the past few years to spread their word and thought through various UN organisations.

In their vision, BRI is the perfect expression of the “very purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” and pretty much an incarnation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Well, not so fast, said the troika of India-US-EU.

Seema Sirohi is a Washington DC-based commentator.




https://thewire.in/diplomacy/india-china-belt-and-road-united-nations

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…