Hussein Askary, Vice-Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden
The U.S.-backed India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) announced during the recent G-20 Summit in India is not merely a pie in the sky but a political fraud which can waste the time and energy of India and the nations of West Asia and Europe. There are no details presented of this project except a verbally pronounced general outline of creating a trade corridor from Indian ports to the ports of the United Arab Emirates and railways through Saudi Arbia and Jordan to Israeli ports on the Mediterranean, then once again from Israeli ports to European ports. There are many absurdities prevalent in this description and in the general discussion it has unleashed globally without any understanding of the physical economic realities such a project would imply.The suggestion that this project will replace China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) misses the most important point in what the Chinese President Xi Jinping launched as the “Economic Belt of the Silk Road” in 2013. The economic “belt” is not a trade route, but a “development corridor”. The lack of understanding among “experts” internationally and even among some Chinese ones of this crucial difference between the purpose of building infrastructure as being economic and social development rather than trade is a serious problem.
If the purpose of the IMEC were to facilitate trade and shipping of goods between India and Europe, then this is a bizarre idea as we will explain below, simply because there is a very convenient route through the Suez Canal operating today. Otherwise, if the IMEC is intended to promote economic development and cooperation among the member states, then they should join China, since the latter has been involved for many years through the BRI in doing just that. There is no reason for Europe or India (which is a great Asian, not Atlantic, nation with enormous potential) why not join hands with China which is the largest economic cooperation and trade partner of the West Asian nations Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and others. The unmistaken purpose of this American and EU move is to deepen the rift created by some tension related to border issues between the two giant Asian nations in a typical British Empire “divide and conquer” tactic.
Many levels of absurdity
What is the “development corridor”?
Development corridors of West Asia
Reality versus illusion
Going east while remaining in the west
Why is China a reliable partner?
Many surveys conducted by Western institutions show the popularity of China in the eyes of Arab people, especially the youth. Even if we put aside the horrific impact of the wars launched by the U.S., Britain and their allies in Nato and the EU on the hearts and minds of the people in the Arab world and West Asia, China is popular based on its own merits. (…)