China’s “belt and road initiative” is a massive infrastructure and development campaign through which China aims to stimulate trade and economic growth across the continent and beyond. Now comes news that four other countries, including the US, India, Australia and Japan, may be aligning to create a version of their own. Here’s a closer look at the plan.
Not Counter, But Complement
According to the Australia Financial Review, “Australia is discussing with the United States, India and Japan the establishment of a joint regional infrastructure scheme to rival China's multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in an attempt to counter Beijing's spreading influence.”
However, an insider is careful to note that plans are still in a “nascent” stage, with the preferred terminology being “alternative,” not “rival.” Said the unnamed official, “No one is saying China should not build infrastructure. China might build a port which, on its own is not economically viable. We could make it economically viable by building a road or rail line linking that port.”
Echoed Japanese Chef Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga during a news conference, “It is not the case that this is to counter China’s Belt and Road.”
Beyond the Belt and Road
Dubbed “the Quad,” these four countries began discussions about regional and global cooperation in 2007, according to The Diplomat.
Said India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of talks between the four countries, “The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly interconnected region that they share with each other and with other partners,” as reported by Financial Express.
Given the increasing focus placed by many countries on the value of mobility in today’s global world, this partnership may also bodes well from an international exchange perspective.