"New Silk Road" (An Article for Indian Express)

China’s Belt &Road Initiative is a marker of its vaulting ambition. India will need to reset & respond

Confucius, the Chinese thinker, philosopher and strategist, lived about 2,500 years ago, but President Xi Jinping, like the rest of his countrymen and women, seems deeply influenced by him. So when representatives of the unrepentant West, like journalists and diplomats, questioned the motives behind Xi’s mega economic project called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s official news agency, Xinhua, quoted Confucius: He who wants success should enable others to succeed. The fact that Xinhua is quoting an ancient thinker is emblematic of how far the Chinese Communist Party has come in its pursuit of influence worldwide.

The BRI may have been launched as a 21st century Chinese iteration of the ancient Silk Road on which Marco Polo travelled, but under Xi’s mentorship, its ambition has grown to rival that of Han or Tang dynasty emperors. With an exclusive $40 billion budget, allocated after $100 billion was already promised by the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, 50 Chinese state-owned corporations have been involved in building 1,700 projects — ports, roads, railway lines and industrial parks — along the BRI route.

One major artery unfurls across the heart of Central Asia and, cutting through Pakistan, will join up with the Maritime Silk Route on the Indian Ocean and into Africa; another route will traverse the Mediterranean and end up in Europe. Annual trade is expected to cross $2.5 trillion and enrich more than a billion people. The scale of the project is staggering. No wonder the world is taking sides. Truth is, no one can ignore what China is up to.

It would be an understatement to say that Delhi is apprehensive about the challenge — the fact that one element of the BRI, called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, has certainly served to refocus Delhi’s mind not only on the sovereignty question but also on the differential in power with the dragon next door.

Certainly, the Chinese economy is five times the size of India, which makes the act of cutting a cheque much easier; especially in the poor economies in India’s neighbourhood, the yuan goes a long way. The question is about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to deal with its “bitter neighbour in the north,” as erstwhile National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra described China after India’s 1998 nuclear tests. But if Delhi could take a leaf out of Confucius’ book and attempt a reset, some of the mutual antagonism could be contained. After all, he who wants success should enable others to succeed.


1) Strategist (रणनीतिज्ञ) - Strat-e-gist
Meaning - a person skilled in planning action or policy, especially in war or politics - Noun

Synonyms - planner, schemer
Example - Nepolean was a great strategist.

2) Unrepentant (बेरहम) - Un-re-pen-tant

Meaning - showing no regret for one's wrongdoings - Adjective
Synonyms - remorseless, shameless
Example - He remains unrepentant about his comments.

3) Diplomat (राजनयिकों) - Diplo-mat

Meaning - an official representing a country abroad - Noun
Synonyms - ambassador, envoy
Example - The new government has expelled all foreign diplomats.

4) Emblematic (प्रतीकात्मक) - M-ble-mat-ik

Meaning - serving as a symbol of a particular quality or concept, symbolic - Adjective
Synonyms - typical, characteristics
Example - A crown is emblematic of royalty.

5) Pursuit (पीछा) - Per-suit

Meaning - the action of pursuing someone or something - Noun
Synonyms - chasing, stalking
Antonyms - retreat, surrender
Example - The company is ruthless in its pursuit of profit.

6) Iteration (यात्रा) - It-er-a-tion

Meaning - the repetition of a process or utterance - Noun
Synonyms - emphasis, repetition
Example - The URL is built up in every iteration of the recursive process.

7) Unfurls (फहराने) - Un-fur-ls

Meaning - make or become spread out from a rolled or folded state, especially in order to be open to the wind - Verb
Synonyms - unfold, unwind
Antonyms - close, compress
Example - The sea continued to unfurl.

8) Staggering (चक्कर) - Stag-ger-ing

Meaning - walk or move unsteadily, as if about to fall - Verb
Synonyms - reel, sway
Example - What a staggering fact.

9) Festoon (तोरण) - Fest-oonMeaning - a chain or garland of flowers, leaves, or ribbons, hung in a curve as a decoration - Noun
Synonyms - adorn, deck
Example (English) - All streets leading to the palace are decorated with colorful festoons and banners.
Example (Hindi) - महल की ओर जाने वाली सभी सड़के रंगीन तोरणों और बैनरों से सजी हुई हैं।

Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension question, try to answer the following -
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of silk road in china?
  • How silk road will impact the Asian people?
Given below are some words to check your vocabulary you can make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
  • Sovereignty
  • Erstwhile
  • Understatement
  • Antagonism
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