US stance on CPEC
The United States has now openly supported the Indian position on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Trump administration has informed that it too believe the CPEC passes through a disputed territory. The $56 billion mega project passes through northern areas, which India claims a part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir. The US Defense secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee, ” The One Belt One Road (OBOR) also goes through a disputed territory and I think that it in itself show the vulnerability of trying to establish a sort of dictate”. He said US is opposed to OBOR policy in principle because in globalized world there were many built and roads and no one nation put itself in a dictating position. Hence, we oppose the one going through Pakistan.
The new US position on CPEC will further strain the already tense relations between the US and Pakistan. The latter is also opposed to the greater role that Washington has assigned to India in Afghanistan which is envisaged in a strategy that President Trump announced on August 21. It reflects the reversal of his earlier inward looking approach and depicts the China Containment policy initiated by its predecessors. The US now understands OBOR as being a vehicle by which Beijing can catalyze an irreversible change in the strategic balance of power of new trade routes and markets. The CPEC is a flagship of this initiative because it provides China with reliable non-Malacca access to the Indian Ocean. Russia has also backed this initiative.
The US has not opposed the joint Indo-Japanese infrastructure projects, the Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which is viewed the Indo-Japanese response to CPEC. It is also called the “freedom corridor” which will be built across the Indo-Pacific Rim land. China hosted 29 heads of states and governments at the Built and Road Forum in May which reinforces its claim to leadership of an emerging global and economic world order. India boycotted this summit. The summit conference was also attended by the representatives of more than 40 other countries and multi financial agencies. It was the clear expression that China is breaking out of its old foreign policy mould that had restrained it from attempting a global role. China is now propelling itself to the center stage of global power game. CPEC is a new geo-economic reality of representing an emerging world order. The US led new world order built on the devastation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is dying out. The recent historic visit of King Salman of Saudi Arabia to Moscow and Turkey’s towards Russia clearly manifest this scenario. The strong anti-globalization wave in the Western World that is showing a growing tendency to more protectionism also indicates the advent of China’s new world order.