We have been hearing about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) over the years adopted by China in 2013. There have also been allegations of China capturing territories of small countries when they fail to repay the loaned money. China loans them huge amounts of money until they are in debt. For example, Sri Lanka.
To counter China’s BRI, the G7 countries devised the Build Back Better World (B3W) global infrastructure initiative.
The Group of 7 richest Democracies of the World (G7) formulated the B3W infrastructure plan to counter China’s President Xi Jinping’s multi-trillion dollar BRI. India was invited to participate in the G7 summit this year by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The other attendees were: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, United States and the European Union.
The G7 countries are powerful according to their per capita income and investment can be done on a larger scale. The summit leaders discussed strategic competition with Beijing during their meeting in England. The leaders have been searching for a reasonable response to the increasing authoritativeness of President Xi Jinping after China’s gushing economic and military rise over the previous 40 years.
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The infrastructure plan is being backed by the United States’ President Joe Biden. The developing countries need about $40 trillion by 2035. The initiative will provide an infrastructure partnership to narrow the $40 trillion to support developing countries as mentioned by the leaders in the summit.
An official under Joe Biden’s administration said that the Western countries failed to offer a positive alternative to the lack of transparency, poor environmental and labour standards, and coercive approach of the Chinese government that left many countries in debt and worse situations.
What is China’s BRI?
China’s President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 which involved development and investment initiatives that would extend from Asia to Europe and beyond. More than 100 countries have signed agreements with China for BRI projects like railway, ports, highways and other infrastructure. The initiative defines 5 major priorities:
The critical reviews of Xi Jinping’s plan suggested that BRI is a modern version of the ancient silk route to link China with Asia, Europe and beyond for the expansion of communist China. The country denies the reviews saying that the Western countries have been humiliating China for centuries. When a country cancels China’s Belt and Road deals, they warn them saying that this would further damage their ties. For example, Australia.
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What is the G7 alternative?
The B3W plan, as discussed by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy, will offer to spend trillions of dollars in association with the private sector while retaining the climate standards and labour practices. It is clearly sketched to outweigh the BRI which has been criticised to create huge debts.
The G7 countries along with its allies will use B3W to organize private sector capital in areas of democratic values like health, digital technology, gender equity and equality, as the White House said.
The US also asked other G7 leaders for a solid action on forced labour brought into the picture by China. Biden mentioned that forced labour is a disgrace to human dignity.
India expressed its concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is another project of the BRI as it ranges through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The project joins China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in the Balochistan province.
China has been trying to defend the CPEC by calling it an economic project by not aiming at any third country. India denied collaborating with the Chinese initiative previously and has refused to promote the BRI.