Join OBOR Project and China Can Build 100 Airports in India: Chinese Analysts

Should India join China’s Belt and Road initiative (OBOR Project) to get help build massive airports project that India is planning to construct? Chinese analysts believe there is scope for immense bilateral cooperation between India and China in the infrastructure sector and Delhi must not look at China with suspicion.

Indian politicians should stop being concerned to embrace China-proposed Belt and Road (B&R) initiative as it would help build India’s plan to build 100 airports in the next 10 to 15 years, experts said Wednesday.

Over the recent years, India has put much focus on infrastructure construction and the country should seek cooperation and help from China as the latter could provide capital and technology supports, Lou Chunhao, an expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu made an announcement on Tuesday that India plans to invest about USD 60 billion in the airport construction project, which would almost double the South Asian nation’s airports, which counts to 120 at present.

The minister said that private capital will be brought to aid the project financially under public-private partnership (PPP) program.

Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said that China-India cooperation in infrastructure has great potential. “India has a vast labour force, and naturally India would use its own workers to build its airports,” he said.

“However the Indian government may have trouble finding funding for the whole project and may need to seek foreign assistance. China could be a reasonable source to provide funding,” added Zhao.

Lou backed the opinion, saying there is much scope for bilateral cooperation in the infrastructure sector. He went on say that India should approach for pragmatic cooperation with China, because “that will actually benefit India”.

India’s air transport market has grown by 16.6% year-on-year through May 2018 and has shown double-digit growth for 45 consecutive months. IATA estimates that Indian air passenger traffic will grow to 520 million in 2037, becoming the world’s third-largest air traffic market.

The airport construction in foreign countries, such as one in Pokhara, Nepal or the expansion of Togo airport had the participation of Chinese companies under the Belt and Road initiative.

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