BEIJING - China is trying to create its own globally decisive naval force through the ambitious multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, the Pentagon has told the US Congress, warning that Beijing’s “unfavourable deals” strangle a nation’s sovereignty like an Anaconda enwrapping its next meal.
Touted as President Xi Jinping’s pet project, China is vigorously pursuing the Belt and Road initiative (BRI), offering billions of dollars of loans for infrastructure projects to different countries as it looks to expand global influence.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative in particular is blending diplomatic, economic, military, and social elements of its national power in an attempt to create its own globally decisive naval force,” John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, told members of House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
“China’s modus operandi preys off nations’ financial vulnerabilities. They contract to build commercial ports, promise to upgrade domestic facilities, and invest in national infrastructure projects,” he said.
The BRI focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe.
The project has become a major stumbling block in India-China relations as the controversial USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been listed as its “flagship project”.
India has objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through the Azad Land nor and boycotted a high-profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China last year.