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China's Belt and Road Initiative

21st Century Silk Road

Belt and Road Initiative
China is good at building large infrastructure projects and many Civil Engineering Marvels. This project, Belt and Road initiative which is also referred to as the 21st Century Silk Road or New-Age Silk Road, one of the most ambitious infra projects ever taken by humankind.

The Original "Silk Road":

This was initiated by the Han Dynasty which also started in China. There were many explorers and travelers who traveled on these routes. One German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen who traveled on these routes named it Seidenstrassse or Seidenstrassen called Silk Road / Silk Routes. The route doesn't only had roads but also had sea route which made far places also connected. The Old Silk Road had roads starting from East of China and reach out till current Turkey, and sea routes pass through the South China Sea > the Indian Ocean > the Arabian Sea > and far in Gulf  and then in the Mediterranean. This, in short, had connected places as China, India, Java, Persia, Arabia, Somalia, Egypt, and Europe. This road has given many things to other words such as Spices, Gun Power, Paper, Exchange of Livestock, Grains, Language, Culture, Religion, and Philosophy, and Science.

What Happened To The Old Silk Road?

Belt and Road Initiative
The "Old" Silk Road flourished over centuries for various reasons but it started to decline at the end of the Tang era. The main problem was economic disruption on the Chinese end so there was less trade exchange in general. 
Also at that time with the growing advantages of shipping by the sea the road trade was reduced through Central Asia. The control of Tang was reduced and wasn't recovered until the Qing in the 18th century.

What is China's Belt and Road Initiative?

The New Silk Route also called 21st Century Silk Road, is named "Belt and Road", where the belt is meant for overland routes and roads are meant for shipping routes. This will be from South-East Asia to Eastern Europe and Africa covering up to 71 countries that will account for half the world's population and quarter of Global GDP. This project is expected to have a cost more than ONE TRILLION DOLLAR...
You might know that Chinese Firms do invest in many countries and work in Civil Engineering in many Africa nations. This helps them to start and work on the project on an un-presidented scale. The massive marketing campaign for something that was already happening as I said here.

What Is Risk In This?

Belt and Road Initiative
As this is altogether a new project and many routes are new. The economy of the country will have to think of it as it may affect the budgets and stability of the nation. Handling such a huge Civil Engineering Project they might have to take loans or investments from other nations which they will have to make a repay after years but you might think where will this investment come from, YES CHINA. The only major firms and the one which will gain profit from this are Chinese Firms. Hence countries from Malaysia to Pakistan have started to think over this project. There are also concerns about Chinese using this as a step to expand their Military presence.
If It Can Carry Goods,
It Can Carry Troops
said by Jonathan Hillman, Director of Reconnecting Asia Project at CSIS.

What's Next?

Not everything is a bad about this project, there can be chances of improving the economy where you have money to spend on the development of these routes roads and ports.
Ahead I don't see any path forward for this project. But China will try to have its the outcome and try starting the parts of routes, which will then attract then countries to join the route.


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