1. in the east to the Mediterranean in

China’s One Belt One
Road (OBOR)/ Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) consists of the historical Silk
Road connecting Chang’an (now Xi’an) in the east to the Mediterranean in the
west. It is President Xi’s plan to connect Asia and Europe by investing in
infrastructure projects to enhance trade and cultural relations, supported by
vast financial resources, including a US$40 billion Silk Road Fund, the US$100
billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the US$50 billion New
Development Bank. There are two elements in the OBOR (One Belt One Road)/ BRI(
Belt and Road Initiative)  project. “One
Belt” refers to the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” which starts from Xi’an and
passes through major cities including Almaty, Samarkand, Tehran, and Moscow
before ending in Venice. The plan includes building of roads, railways, and gas
pipelines across central Asia to Europe with unique additional projects in
various parts of the overall OBOR/ BRI. “One Road” refers to the “21st Century
Maritime Silk Road,” which begins in Fuzhou and links major coastal cities
including Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kolkata and Nairobi before joining the
Silk Road Economic Belt in Venice. It will include ports and maritime
facilities from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar
(BCIM) Economic Corridor (EC) has
been receiving increased public attention because of its inclusion in the proposed
plan of OBOR/ BRI by China. When implemented, the project promises mega cities,
infrastructure, jobs and better living standards for people living in its fold.
Is the BCIM EC really a game-changer? Or will this project, like others
proposed by China under its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, result in the
most benefit accruing only to the Chinese provinces involved? The
BCIM initiative has graduated from a Track II initiative to a Track I
initiative over years. Despite all four countries having agreed to implement
the EC in principle, the progress has been slow. The primary motivation for
every EC is the prospect of either actual or potential economic growth, usually
through prospects of increased trade between the countries involved. The EC
itself will not create economic growth in the region, but instead it will provide
means for the regional economy to achieve its potential. The BCIM EC will function
as the basic frame work which will improve connectivity, facilitate trade and
regional development. The EC’s route has
been proven and is almost completely motorable.