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B&R Key Words (13) : Similar Initiatives (Part II)

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

05-05-2017 09:43 BJT

Editor's Note: Keywords to Understand China: the Belt and Road Initiative is a selection of "China Keywords" entries included in an eponymous multilingual platform to help readers better understand China's B&R Initiative. It is one of the major projects implemented by the China International Publishing Group and the China Academy of Translation.

India: Project Mausam

Project Mausam is a foreign policy initiative of the Indian government under Narendra Modi. It envisions a new platform for cooperation in the vast area extending from the South Asian subcontinent to other parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, in which India will play the leading role.

Rooted in the history of trade between the littoral countries deeply influenced by Indian culture, the project pushes for renewed collaboration among these countries in the exploration of maritime resources, and trade.

Initially proposed as a cultural program, Project Mausam is now evolving into a quasi-strategic initiative with diplomatic and economic reverberations.

India was a major staging post on the ancient Silk Road routes on the sea, and today it is an important partner of China in advancing the Belt and Road Initiative. There is no conflict between "Project Mausam" and China's initiative in either structure or nature; on the contrary the two can be readily aligned and even integrated.

Russia-India-Iran: North-South Corridor

Initiated by Russia, India and Iran in 2000, the North-South Corridor is intended to be a freight and cargo transit route, stretching from South Asia to Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia, and ending in Europe.

The proposed route has an estimated length of 5,000 kilometers, 40 percent shorter than the length of the current Eurasian transit, and is expected to cut transport costs by 30 percent.

It stretches southward from St. Petersburg by the Gulf of Finland to cross the Caspian Sea from the southern Russian port of Astrakhan to northern Iran’s Now Shahr port, onward to the Port of Bandar Abbas in south Iran, then across the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea to reach the port of Mumbai in India.

It will also connect India’s western coast ports and Iran's ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar on the Arabian Sea. A multi-modal transport system is envisioned integrating motorway and rail transport and ocean shipping services.

The project has, however, experienced delays due to lack of capital and political differences. As Iran is centrally located, its lukewarm response, in particular, contributed to a protracted failure to reach consensus on any specific action plan.

The project gained traction again in 2011 on the back of India’s renewed push. Sixteen countries including those in Central Asia have now joined. But the prospects are dimmed by the potential conflicts between India and Pakistan.

European Union: Southern Gas Corridor

The Southern Gas Corridor is a major initiative by the European Union (EU) to diversify its energy supply, and thereby reduce its dependence on a single supplier.

After years of talks between the EU and countries concerned, a plan was proposed in 2008 to build a southern corridor, with projects including the Nabucco Gas Pipeline.

This EU-funded 3,300-kilometer-long pipeline project seeks to ship gas from the Caspian Sea to Austria and onward to other European countries via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. With an estimated investment of 7.9 billion euros, the pipeline is expected to deliver 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

There are still daunting challenges in selecting sources of supply and pipeline routes and addressing international dynamics before the concept of this corridor can become a reality. The EU's path to energy security remains protracted.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)


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