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The Silk Road Headlines newsletter mostly focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but recently some attention has been given to US President Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) and the EU’s redesigned connectivity strategy: EU Global Gateway. One country whose infrastructure diplomacy we have not extensively featured is India. Recently, Ritika Passi from the PerthUSAsia Centre published a short report about India’s infrastructure diplomacy in the context of an increasingly competitive Indo-Pacific. She explains that although India does not have a flagship initiative like the BRI, it is an active player in infrastructure investment tied to development cooperation. India’s focus has been its own neighbourhood, with countries in South Asia and Africa receiving most investment (particularly Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). One of the primary drivers of India’s infrastructure plans spanning maritime and digital spaces is power competition with China. Several projects have also faced challenges. According to Passi, domestic politics is often a reason that infrastructure projects (for example those in Nepal and Sri Lanka). Other issues such as “bureaucratic delays, challenging work conditions and an uncertain security situation” present challenges to the India-Myanmar Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. provided by

Vera Kranenburg from Clingedael Institte

Equatorial Guinea is home to 1.4 million people, but it has come to the global spotlight after a report by the Wall Street Journal put forward the claim China is likely to build a military base in the country.

According to US officials and intelligence, China’s first military presence in the Atlantic Ocean is to be at the country’s biggest city and formal capital, Bata. Back in 2014, CCCC First Harbor Engineering Co. Ltd – a wholly owned subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC), completed a rehabilitation and expansion project of the Bata Port, extending it to a deep-water commercial port. Later on, Equatorial Guinea signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019.

If true, such a military base would signal a stark shift in China’s Africa policy and the BRI, as Africa is the largest regional component of the initiative [China’s new military base in Africa: What it means for Europe and America]. While there is no evidence to verify the Pentagon’s assertion and the source remains unnamed, alarm bells have gone off across both sides of the Atlantic. This is no surprise, as the scoop comes out in times of heightened fears of China’s involvement in ports, from Palermo, Italy and Piraeus, Greece, to the Caribbean [Italian Alarm as China Eyes Port of Palermo].

Provided from Clingendael Institute

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