Golez: A must read for Philippine planners and policy makers:
"Why India's decision to not endorse China's Belt & Road is wise foreign policy"
Philippine planners must be fully on guard in considering Belt & Road Initiative projects being proposed in the Philippines with "liberal" Chinese money because of the general principle that the Belt & Road Initiative is primarily for China's geopolitical and geo-strategic interest which could be in conflict with Philippine interest. Philippine planers and policy makers must always be mindful of China's overaggressive claims on our exclusive economic zone (China claims 90% of the West Philippine Sea and seized by force Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal).
The following points must be carefully considered. I quote from the article:
1. Golez: India correctly assesses what is its national and economic interest: "It is not in India’s national and economic interest to endorse OBOR. Apart from strategic reasons such as territorial integrity and sovereignty as impediments, India does not stand to gain any economic dividends by a mere endorsement of the Chinese initiative. China, on the other hand, could benefit from India’s approval of OBOR. This is because India’s posture is a critical factor in influencing countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal to adopt favourable policies towards China and OBOR. This is the underlying reason China has been pushing India to endorse OBOR. This raises the question on why India should endorse OBOR without gaining any leverage from doing so."
2. Golez: Inducing countries to implement big projects with China money could result in big debts and underused infrastructure capacity: "There are serious doubts about achieving the proposed objectives of OBOR in the Central and South Asian region. China’s extension of its helpful hand to countries in the region does not seem to reflect the set agenda. What these countries are left behind with is huge debt burden. An example to illustrate this fact is Sri Lanka.
3. Golez: Belt & Road Projects appear to be designed to generate employment for Chinese contractors and labor and China's lending rates are high: "There have been reports pointing to the modus-operandi of Chinese contractors in executing projects abroad. Sri Lanka is faced with a $8 billion debt to China. This is largely due to the exorbitant rate of interest the Chinese demand for the loans they have sanctioned to Sri Lanka for infrastructure development. Such financial practices are against international lending norms for development projects. This also takes away the opportunity for countries along the OBOR in achieving mutually beneficial economic interdependence."
"Reports also suggest that the Chinese contractors do not create employment opportunities for the domestic population. Chinese workers migrate to construction sites taking away jobs from the Sri Lankans. These workers are also said to be Chinese prisoners, which is a violation of human rights. Such practices must not be encouraged by India in any region."
4. Need to tread cautious path: "Weighing the advantages and disadvantages, India has rightly chosen to not endorse OBOR as it does not hold any significant value to do so given the status-quo. While strongly objecting CPEC, India has also kept its options open for the future. Cooperating on a case to case basis and treading a cautious path will safeguard India’s national interests in the longer run. India’s policy makers seem to have picked the wise choice indeed." https://t.co/NrM93q8Fhb