Sino-India competition in South Asia: Can India counter the growing role of China?

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Murad Ali
Usman Khan


Ever since Beijing has launched its grand transcontinental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi’s key foreign economic plan has ignited interest of policymakers and academia alike. This paper explores that under the BRI framework, China has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure-building in diverse regions across the globe, including South Asia where Beijing has expanded its footprints by implementing projects in various sectors. India, being wary of Chinese ambitions and intentions, has declined to join the venture as it has reservations over Xi’s ‘project of the century’. In response, India has come up with various initiatives to counter the growing role of Beijing in South Asia and beyond. Key Indian initiatives are examined aimed at rivalling China. For enhancing regional integration and connectivity, India, in partnership with Japan, has launched Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC). International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is another such venture to dwarf the Chinese BRI. In collaboration with the Group of 20 (G20), New Delhi unveiled another connectivity initiative – India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) as an alternative to the BRI. The paper concludes that although India is eager to compete with China, it does not have enough resources to match China’s regarding investing and implementing mega infrastructure projects.

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