During the G-7 summit on Sunday (June 13) in Britain, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi remarked that China’s expansionist ‘Road and Belt initiative’ will be assessed carefully. It must be mentioned that Italy had endorsed China’s initiative in 2019 in a bid to revive its economy.
While speaking about China, Draghi emphasised, “It’s an autocracy that does not adhere to multilateral rules and does not share the same vision of the world that the democracies have…We need to cooperate but we also need to be frank about things that we do not share and do not accept. The U.S. president said that silence is complicity.”
The Italian Prime Minister pointed out that while the country’s participation in China’s expansionist policy was not raised at G7, the agreement will be carefully assessed. During the summit, the G7 countries offered help to developing nations to counter the Road and Belt Initiative of China. Prior to Mario Draghi’s appointment to the office of Prime Minister, Italy was a supporter of China’s policy.
US, along with other G7 partners, has proposed a new global infrastructure initiative called Build Back Better World(B3W) to check the growing influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. A US official said, “This is not just about confronting or taking on China. But until now we haven’t offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards, and our way of doing business.”
“Global decisions no longer dictated by small group of countries”: China
Hitting back at the world’s richest democracies that are desperately looking for a blueprint to take on Beijing, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London said, “The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone…We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries.”
Currently, the leaders of the G7 – The United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan – are using their gathering in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay as an opportunity to showcase to the world that the richest democracies can offer an alternative to China’s growing dominance.
Road and Belt Initiative of China
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Xinping, mooted the idea to revive the ancient Silk route and termed it as One Belt One Road (OBOR). He presented OBOR as a program that will propel infrastructure growth in participating nations and increase connectivity across Central Asia, Europe and Africa thus significantly increasing trade. The projects that China had financed before 2013 were amalgamated in OBOR.
The OBOR initiative was later named the Belt and Road Initiative. India has been one of the nations that have rejected the BRI for its intrusive projects, especially the CPEC that passes through Gilgit Baltistan, parts under Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. China’s debt trap policies, its aggression to claim most of the South China Sea and other expansionist policies have, in recent years, forced many nations to re-think their support to the BRI.