Date :02-Oct-2021

THE bubble around China’s overambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is set to burst soon after the latest red-flagging about hidden debts that have crippled scores of lower and middle-income countries. Findings in report published by AidData have revealed that BRI participant countries owe China over USD 385 billion in hidden debt. The report is endorsement of the fears expressed by many countries, including India, on China using the BRI as a tool to further its ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. Beijing uses such big-ticket infrastructure and power projects as a State policy to trap middle and smaller income countries in high debts. Maldives and Sri Lanka are already paying exorbitant costs for engaging China in projects on their land. Many small African countries have been saddled with huge debts after being lured into projects by Chinese companies. The BRI, a dream of Chinese Premier Mr. Xi Jinping, is a larger form of the same game where participating countries are saddled with excessive credit and later are forced to surrender their physical and liquid assets to China. This was the prime reason, apart from the project compromising its sovereignty, why India bluntly refused to join the BRI. It was a wise decision.