China emerging as colonial power

What was being suspected for quite some time is now out in the open. China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project and its advancing of huge loans to developing countries for infrastructure development is actually a part of its policy of promoting economic colonialism. Many countries that took huge loans from China are finding themselves caught in a debt trap. Pakistan has run up a debt of $52 billion; Sri Lanka $13 billion; the Maldives $1.2 billion; Montenegro $1.1 billion; Djibouti $1.4 billion; and Kyrgyzstan $1.5 billion. Many of these countries find themselves unable to repay the loan with interest. They are being forced to sell the equity of these projects to the Chinese companies that advanced loans to build them.
According to The Sun of Britain, China has embarked on the path of economic colonialism because Beijing knows that most of the debtor countries will be unable to repay their loans and come under its economic dominance. Citing the instance of Pakistan, the paper has said that Islamabad has taken a loan of about $60 billion from China for building the much touted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In global ranking, Pakistan stands 147th out of 190 countries. It can never repay this loan. Right in Pakistan, people are asking in hushed tones whether their country is becoming a Chinese colony. In Myanmar, the Government had to cancel many China-aided projects due to strong resistance of the local people. What is more, wherever possible China is building naval and aircraft landing facilities in the debtor countries. Djibouti is an instance.
These developments in India’s neighbourhood cannot but be a cause of worry for New Delhi. The size of China’s economy at $12.1 trillion is more than five times that of India’s ($2.8 trillion). So, competing with China in the field of extending financial assistance to neighbouring countries for their economic development is out of question. What India can do is to take a selective approach in participating in the development process of her neighbours. The policy should be to assist those countries with which we have a long history of mutual trust and cooperation and who are not supposed to act against Indian interests. At the same time India should explore the possibility of joining hands with countries like Japan, Australia and South Africa in extending multilateral aid to countries of South and South-East Asia. This is imperative as the hopes that were raised by the forming of the BRICS Development Bank in 2013, with its headquarters in Shanghai, have been belied.

Monday, 3 September, 2018