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Astana to Spend $20b on Silk Road transport infrastructure

Astana to Spend $20b on  Silk Road transport infrastructureAstana to Spend $20b on  Silk Road transport infrastructure

Kazakhstan wants to develop advanced transport infrastructure to become a key part of China’s future transport network from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

Kazakhstan plans to invest over $20 billion by 2020 into its transportation industry to become the main transit country between the booming Chinese market and Europe, said Zhenis Kasymbek, Kazakhstan’s deputy minister of investment and development.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping brought up the idea of building a new Silk Road that would connect China with Europe and strengthen cooperation between Asia and Africa. This grand project would help China to build new political ties, as well as facilitate trade and economic activity from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

And Kazakhstan certainly wants to be part of this colossal project, as Kasymbek said: Since Kazakhstan is a landlocked nation and its economic partners may be thousands of miles away, it is crucial for the country to become successfully integrated into international transportation networks. Therefore, the new Silk Road project is of vital importance for the Central Asian nation.

According to estimates, the volume of trade between China and Europe will exceed 170 million tons by 2020. Today, the bulk of these goods are transported using water routes. Kazakhstan has set the goal of attracting the maximum amount of this trade via the land route through its own territory, the Kazakh deputy minister said.

  Counter Plan

India proposes to counter China’s maritime ambitions with a ‘Cotton Route’ to help forge economic and strategic partnerships with other countries by reviving ancient Indian Ocean pathways through which the fabric was exported to both the east and west.

Mindful of Chinese initiatives launched since 2013 to connect coastal states, including countries in South Asia and India’s extended neighborhood, Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has launched its own strategy to partner with countries with which it shares historical trade and people-to-people links.

Government sources indicated that the idea is to balance China’s growing maritime ambitions, especially its security interests and projects that have adverse implications for India’s defense.

China’s has identified countries including Sri Lanka, the Maldives and even India in the Maritime Silk Road initiative that connects Chinese ports with Africa’s eastern coast. Apart from the ‘Cotton Route’, India plans to launch Project Mausam, a regional initiative to revive its ancient maritime routes and cultural linkages with countries in the extended neighborhood.

The ‘Cotton Route,’ still in the nascent stages, will reach out farther and wider, official sources hinted. It is aimed at increasing India’s economic cooperation and strategic partnerships with countries in the Indian Ocean region. Sources said India’s first cotton exports date back to the 1st century CE.

 

Financialtribune.com