One Belt One Road: China's Marshall Plan For Asia And Africa?

China's much touted One Belt One Road initiative is easily Xi Jinping's favorite project. It is being projected as a revival of the ancient Silk Route. It also has echoes of the American Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe from scratch after the utter devastation of World War II. It is ambitious. It is fundamental. It is well intentioned. It is a giant billboard that announces, China Is Back.

It can not be all loans to poor countries. There will have to be generous grants. The loans will have to be at near zero rates with the option to forgive in a decade or two or three. Handled well the infrastructure projects will pay for themselves, both for China as well the recipient countries. China will gain much from increased trade, just like a revived Europe bought much from America.

India should participate, although it should maintain an active voice. Many small countries will benefit if India talks along the way.

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