The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player, a move that could potentially act as a counter to China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative.
The Trump administration has resuscitated the ‘New Silk Road’ initiative, first announced by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July 2011 in a speech in Chennai, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South and Southeast Asia.
A brief outline of the two projects was made available in the administration’s maiden annual budget yesterday, which indicated that the ‘New Silk Road’ project would be a public- private initiative in which India would be an important player.
The state department said the budgetary request of its South and Central Asia will support the two initiatives: the New Silk Road (NSR) focused on Afghanistan and its neighbours, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia.
This request will be leveraged through side-by-side collaboration with regional countries, other bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, and the private sector.
It said “the importance of…the NSR grows” as the transition in Afghanistan continues and the US “strives to help the Afghan people succeed and stand on their own.”
The state department said it will deepen support for the objectives through “far-reaching” public diplomacy programmes.