Monday January 22, 2018

Is China trying to revive the Old Silk Route? Find out!

China’s primary focus on culture and history is a sign that this is a way back to a “normal” economy

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Illustrated map depicting the journey of the Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) along the silk road to China. Image source: MPI/Getty Images
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  • The attempt to revive Silk Route is to dig back into its past glories and historical achievements
  • In the oasis city of Dunhuang, the ancient Mogao caves are being restored with special care
  • The first International Expo will take place in the Dunhuang city in September 2016 

The project of developing the Silk Route is neither spontaneous nor coincidental. It is a strategic scheme to keep the accusations that Beijing is enjoying the regional dominance owing to its financial stature, at bay. Analysts opined that it is China’s way of sending a message that the One Belt One Road project is an extension of the peace treaties China had made with Asia and Europe in the ancient times. The new project is to honour that Silk Route which remained the connecting route of theirs for centuries.  The Chinese are aiming at the revival of their agreements with Asia and Europe.

The economically boosted city of Beijing. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
The economically boosted city of Beijing. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

“The Silk Road has a shared legacy, for not only did it involve China, but many other countries including India, Russia, and Italy,” said E. Jun, the director of the Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu to The Hindu.

In fact, the museums have antics which remind us of India’s Buddhist connect with China. The museum is under construction but the work is progressing at an extremely triumphant rate. A mega theatre is being built, a few miles away, in the area that falls under the Gobi desert. The scale of cultural infrastructure that is being developed is amazing. China’s primary focus on culture and history is a sign that this is a way back to a “normal” economy. At least, that is what they seem to be aiming at.

The Old Silk Route of Indo-China. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

Mr Wu pointed told The Hindu that the overall contribution of the “culture industry to the total GDP of the city had already crossed the 55 per cent mark last year, and the figure is expected to rise, as plans to develop infrastructure take root.

The historic Mogao Caves. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
The historic Mogao Caves. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

However, the critics perceive the work going on to develop the Silk Route through these plans as “cultural overkill”. They are saying that the attempts made by China to revive their cultural heritage by constructing new cultural sites will result in drawing in a flood of tourists to that particular area and the novelty of the Mogao caves will wear off.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Its really good if they are trying to revive their agreements with Asia and Europe. This will not only help the financial condition of China but also of Asia and Europe.

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.