President Xi Jinping’s signature policy proposal, the Belt and Road Initiative, is now a constitutionally mandated pursuit of the Communist Party of China. Reuters reports that a pledge to “pursue the Belt and Road initiative” was “unexpectedly included in the ruling Communist Party’s constitution on Tuesday, giving it greater policy heft and added pressure to succeed.”
Though international perspectives on the Belt and Road vary from critical to enthusiastic, and details of the initiative are still vague, one country is certain to be unhappy with the upgrading of China’s ambition to build infrastructure networks across Central Asia and beyond: India.
- India Today notes that “India was the major lone absentee to Xi’s [Belt and Road] summit in May, and experts say his reiteration of the significance of the plan could widen an already sensitive rift with India on the issue amid other recent strains in ties.”
- The center of that rift, India Today says, is that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a central piece of Belt and Road, runs through territory that India contests with Pakistan. China “didn’t seek to consult” India when deciding to name CPEC a “flagship” part of Belt and Road, India Today says.
- Furthermore, a Brookings Institute analysis argues that India’s foreign ministry has always appeared to interpret Belt and Road as nothing more than a “national initiative…devised with national interest” in mind. India Today says that China “has shown no inclination as yet toward addressing any of India’s primary concerns on CPEC.”
- Territorial conflicts have become especially prominent in the India-China relationship as a border standoff still simmers between the nations — with Bhutan stuck in the middle — in the Himalayas.
Other pet Xi projects also made it into the Communist Party constitution, SCMP reports. These include “pushing ahead with the anti-corruption battle,” a vision to “create a community of shared future for humanity,” and a call to “let the market play a decisive role and let government function better.”
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