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South Asia: A Bump in the Belt and Road

May 16, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
If India opposes China's activities in its traditional sphere of influence, the Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia will amount to little more than a bundle of bilateral deals.
(Shutterstock)

As part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is looking to build new inroads into South Asia. The region is rife with opportunity for Beijing. By establishing new security and economic connections with neighboring South Asian countries, China hopes to quell unrest in remote Xinjiang province. South Asia also offers an easy outlet for China's manufactured goods as the country weathers an economic slowdown. In the long term, moreover, the region would afford Beijing access to new trade routes outside the Malacca Strait and the contentious South China Sea. But of all the projects China has undertaken through its Belt and Road Initiative, its ventures in South Asia are the riskiest. The region's deep geopolitical divisions and security challenges could derail Beijing's plans there. And so long as India opposes China's activities in its traditional sphere of influence, the Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia will amount...

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