Australia, US, India And Japan Developing Alternative To China's OBOR?

| February 19 , 2018 , 15:04 IST

China's multibillion-dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative has come under criticism at an international level, with concerns over one nation using one path to dominate the trading sphere.

In an attempt to counter the influence of China and its OBOR initiative, Australia, the United States, India and Japan may soon be considering establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative, Reuters reported, citing a senior US official.

According to the unnamed official, the plan regarding the 4 regional partners is still in "nascent" stages and "won’t be ripe enough to be announced" during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the US from February 21-24.

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However, the official did say that the 4-nation project was on the agenda for the talks between PM Turnbull and US President Donald Trump.

The source added that the plan was an “alternative” to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, rather than a “rival” to the OBOR.

"No one is saying China should not build infrastructure,” Reuters quoted the official as saying.

"China might build a port which, on its own is not economically viable. We could make it economically viable by building a road or rail line linking that port," the official said.

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Asked about the four-way cooperation initiative Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan, the US, Australia, and India regularly exchanged views on topics of common interest.

"It is not the case that this is to counter China’s Belt and Road,” he said.

Japan is meanwhile, planning to use its official development assistance (ODA) to promote “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”, which has been endorsed by the US and is being seen as a counter to China's OBOR.

The United States, Japan, India and Australia first met as a 'Quad' to discuss and cooperate on security a decade ago and have recently revived their 4-way talks to deepen security cooperation and coordinate alternatives to the regional infrastructure financing offered by China.