From Beijing to Guangdong and Shanghai to Chengdu , Eastern China is overcrowded, brimming and desperate to expand. Even with a reduced growth target the country needs to adjust its fiscal policy measures with a renewed pledge to economic prosperity goals. Economy is not a sole headache for self-centred leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The list of worries goes beyond economic agenda. International trade, regional political nexus in the South China Sea region and trade liberalisation are a few to name.
The economic, cultural and social background of the mega-cities development of China’s provides ample evidence of the success of country’s mechanisms of governance and urban growth strategies. However, China’s economic power in western half of the country is yet to be exploited. The Chinese government envisions a new era marked by the theme of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, it is all the more important for it to carry on the Silk Road Spirit in face of the weak recovery of the global economy, and complex international and regional situations.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a well planned, strategically significant and economically viable option that will set China’s role in a multipolar world. The region expanding from Chengdu to Yunnan and Gangsu to Kashgar, which is bigger than Europe in size is yet to be explored, tapped and plugged with prosperous China. Thus, several regions in central and western China are in need of a quick surge in economic activity.
The growth targets for infrastructure development in Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Chongqing and Shaanxi are ambitiously high. As China comprehends the Belt and Road Initiative will further its agenda to Central Asia and the Middle East, China’s western inland regions are desperatedly looking for speeding up projects involving construction, engineering and transportation.
The mega cities on China’s well-developed eastern coast has less potential to attract further expansion, while central and western regions will continue their high-speed growth in investment in future. By tapping into these unexplored and unpaved regions, both internally and externally, China can pursue a target that matches to it’s economic might.
However, what is lacking in this design is an ostentatious expression of an intention to embark upon these projects . Arguably, it reflects China’s age old policy of not being over ambitious when riding on a rocky roller-coaster of economic and development growth.
In an age of rising protectionism and anti-globalisation , China’s political backing to those regions that have never been on the radar of powerful global economic giants, can be a blessing in disguise for them. The regional neighbours of China which are less developed, scarcely populated or hitherto unknown to the world are equally promising, attractive and well-suited to the agenda. Apart from densely populated countries such India, Pakistan, Iran small regional small pockets like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal and Tibet can be for more attractive locations for meeting growth targets than China’s internal dispersed regions.
China’s ambitions for regional development, cooperation and advancement in various sectors may not necessarily be exploitative in nature as is brandished in regional and international press. Any of the world power-houses is too good to be branded as highly responsible, intrinsically positive in its political or otherwise agenda and comfortably sitting on a moral high ground. Why is it not good for China to take one step forward and extend a helping to those smaller nations and countries who have not yet been able to be fairly and equally benefited from their immediate circle of influence?
So, will it be too optimistic or dangerous for people of Jammu and Kashmir region to reflect upon a possibility of closer economic, social and cultural ties with China? Luckily, history has a whole lot of conceptual, experiential and thematic areas to look into such possibilities. For people of Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining regions, the time has never been so ripe to be open for a realistic, pragmatic and tactical change in their direction.