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Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amidst insurgency/secessionist movements in Asia

Panel organised by: Khurram Shahzad Siddiqui (University of Nottingham), Guo Yongliang ( Chinese People‘s Armed Polics Force Academy)

Panel description

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a vision announced by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is aiming at reviving ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Africa and Europe. The vision at its core, is an outgrowth of Beijing’s decades-long agenda to integrate Xinjiang and utilise this region’s unique geopolitical position to facilitate a China-centric Eurasian geo-economic system by establishing Xinjiang as a ‘Eurasian Continental Bridge’, and a gateway to not only Central Asia, but also South Asia and the Middle East.

BRI is a combination of two ambitious initiatives; the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and a twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Route Economic Belt (CMSR). The Southern Corridor of SREB starts from the city of Guangzhou (southern China) moves to the city of Kashgar (Xinjiang Province) with Pakistan at Khunjarab Pass. From Khunjarab in the northern Pakistan the Southern Corridor is linked to the Gwadar Port (Balochistan) in the south, a gateway to the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf. The Southern Corridor will be implemented through the China Pakistan Economic Coridor (CPEC), a 64 billion US$ project located at the confluence of SREB and CMSR, therefore it has attained a pivotal significance as a project of BRI.

The northern end of CPEC (Xinjiang Province of China) is a home to a secessionist movement, and the southern end (Balochistan province of Pakistan) is infested with insurgency along with great unrest in the Pakistani mountainous province of Gilgit-Baltistan (opposite to Xinjiang) as some groups are strongly opposing the CPEC. In the prevailing situation, there is lack of comprehensive and joint response strategy from the Chinese and Pakistani authorities for combating the three evils’ of ‘terrorism, extremism and separatism’ in these restive regions.

The panel examines the CPEC segment of the BRI amidst the uncertain environment in the restive regions with regards to the prevailing level of unrest along with the contributing factors, the responses of the respective governments and their efficacy at three tier level, that is Security, Political and Economic and the future prospects. The panel will highlight the void in the existing policy to tackle this sensitive issue and put across the way forward in the avenues of Security, Law and Economic policy making by the specialists of the subjects.

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