About Jean-Francois GautrinJean François Gautrin is an associate research fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.
By Jean-Francois Gautrin. Posted March 5, 2018
The New Silk Road Initiative was originally unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and became known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). From the beginning, the initiative was presented as a reestablishment of the trade routes that were successful many centuries ago. The initiative was also a call for partner countries to accelerate transport infrastructure improvements and connectivity to boost trade. Through active diplomacy and intense public relations, 65 countries felt they had to join the initiative with the prospect of Chinese financial assistance.
By Jean-Francois Gautrin. Posted March 9, 2016
Despite strong linkages in the past during the colonial period and strong ethnic and traditional ties, South Asian countries have become increasingly more diverse since their independence. While they are geographically closely connected, this does not mean that they are well integrated. Countries in the region have vastly different sizes, populations, and topography, and there are significant differences in their economies and income per capita. The conditions, however, might be ripe for a boost in regional integration. Implementing highly visible and symbolic transport connectivity projects, which have long been considered as dream realizations, would trigger the acceleration of regional integration for the benefit of all.
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