The fourth edition of Military Literature Festival (MLF) saw information rich discussion on strategic shift in pivot of geography wherein Chinese Expansion and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China were discussed at length.Defence experts Ambassador Gurjit Singh, Lt Gen PM Bali and Brig Praveen Badrinath discussed the issue, while Maj Gen Amritpal Singh moderated the session adding his valuable comments to the discussion.Lt Gen PM Bali AVSM, VSM said that the last three decades have seen strategic rise of China, which has stared shifting geographical pivot in terms with the world’s economy. He said that as feared by international experts China has set on its conquest over other countries through BRI by means of gaining control of host country’s economy. The countries agreeing to BRI claim to have long term capital gains, especially in maritime projects, but the same need to be seen.Ambassador Gurjit Singh, former Indian diplomat, said during British times China was buffered by Tibet. But now thanks to connectivity and technology the world has flattened. Chinese are now building connectivity through large amount of railways and ports. He said that China was making in roads everywhere purely due to deep pockets.
Despite its much-hyped BRI project, China has failed to maintain its own domestic markets and has given severe economic shocks to countries like South Africa, where these BRI projects have been initiated, during corona times where it refused to pick up raw material. He warned that Chinese economic plans are fraught with danger. These are not economic plans but strategic projects that do not abide by timelines. He also dwelt on Russian-Chinese relationship.Brig Praveen Badrinath talked about Chinese perspective of heartland theory. He said that through the BRI corridors, smaller countries are falling prey to China road projects. He argued that pattern of events over last few decades indicates China was slowly but surely moving towards debt trapping nations. Sino Russian cooperation has moved leaps and bounds from being not so good to China has made Russia look like a willing partner. He added that what Russia had intended to do, China has managed to do. Maritime Silk Routes of Chine perfectly compliment its BRI route. Through BRI China remains major contributor in Africa’s infrastructure.