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Silk Road projects could benefit India: CII official

CII official

Beijing:  The Silk Road projects announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping could benefit India’s infrastructure development, a Confederation of Indian Industry board member said today.

“I am not aware of how it politically affects India but it makes sense from business and economic sense as it aimed to improve infrastructure and connectivity,” said Shekhar Datta, Board member of the governing council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

While India has its own initiatives to improve its connectivity in the neighbourhood, the USD 40 billion Silk Road fund could assist India’s own infrastructure development, Dutta, who headed the Indian business delegation at Boao Forum for Asia inaugurated by Xi today, told PTI.

While the main Silk Road mainly connects China with Europe through Central Asia, it also incorporates Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) and the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).

The Maritime Silk Route (MSR) is an initiative that aims to connect China’s ports with ports in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Greece and Kenya.

India is taking part in the BCIM but non-committal about the MSR due to its strategic concerns over Chinese domination in the Indian Ocean.

Indian government now has allocated Rs 20,000 crores annually for the infrastructure development in the country and any additional funding could speed up the process.

Datta said it is good that India joined the China- sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which could help to draw its funds for infrastructure development.

He expressed surprise over lack of Indian official representation at Boao Forum for Asia attended among others by several heads of state.

Considering the level of participation by major countries at the Boao Forum, the Indian participation is not visible, Datta said adding that he would suggest a ministerial participation from next year.

The Forum’s annual meeting was inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Boao town, south China’s Hainan Province today. The Forum is modelled on Summer Davos Forum.

Dutta said the forum attended by 13 heads of state and several prominent Chinese and international businessmen is a good platform for India to make its presence felt as it looks to draw more investments from China.

About the USD 20 billion Chinese investment in two industrial parks in India, he said it was progressing well.

They were expected to pick up speed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to China in May, Datta said.

The investments in the industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharastra were announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit India last year.

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