Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Silk Road:India,China A New Begining

The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits India after 27 years of what was a friendly and positive meeting.Let us hope that after years of rancour,border disputes,both countries will put a new perspective on a relation since the times of Marco Polo...

206 B.C-220 A.D.The caravan comprised of seventy Bactrian two humped camels loaded with jade,lapis lazuli.Silk was yet to be discovered.And the name ‘Silk Road’would not emerge until at least the 8th Century.But Asian banking was at its zenith!The  camels were but a means of ferrying goods and culture that at a very early stage in human history united the Hungarians,Persians,Turks,Egyptians,Chinese and India.

In Medieval times the discovery of sea routes and the rise of the West led to the disappearance of this famed corridor of Mid and Central Asia.

The importance of cutting costs in transporting the huge manufacturing out of China to western markets would be easier if such a road could lead to the port of Kolkata(Calcutta) over the now open for trade Nathu La pass in Sikkim straight onto the Bay of Bengal for transhipment to Europe ,Africa and the Americas.

Major ports in China lie on the eastern seaboard-Dalian,Zhenjiang,Shenshen etc much further east than Kolkata.The only shorter route would be if the arctic passage could be opened up and Canada allowed the Northwest passage?

Political compulsions are making China skirt India and try and use the Pakistani port of Gwadar and develop deep water capacities in Myanmar as per 2011 news reports.

With a slowdown in global GDP and the need to find efficient systems for distributing finished products globally it makes sense for a “NEW” Silk Road to be established.Synergies with Kazakstan,Krygzstan and other Baltic republics rich in mineral wealth could be moved through pipelines and would be cost effective for energy starved India,Bangladesh,Pakistan,Nepal and Myanmar.

Every economy in South East Asia needs that boost.But will complex politico-military compulsions come in the way?


Let us hope that is true for all of us on the planet.

1 comment:

  1. The Silk route primarily was of mutual interest and benefits during the historcal ages. However, with dwindling exports of Chinese goods to US due to sharp appreciation of yuan vs USD, the Chinese explore all possibilities to compensate their loss of US mkts with that of India. Lets hope its a two way traffic, else we may have "made in China' crypted in everything we see around us. Also, you know what may happen to INR.

    I think the geopolitical crisis between India & China is less serious and the current Chinese gesture may be a prelude to a bigger economic crisis if China doesnot reciprocate in equal measure in a economic sense.