World weighs gains as China’s Xinjiang gears to be New Silk Road gateway
DOT Desk: Caravans of the ancient Silk Road used to pass through Xinjiang, now the northeastern province of China, that looks set to become the hub of the New Silk Road, reports TBS.
The original Silk Road dates two millennia back to China’s Han Dynasty, which forged trade networks throughout what are today the Central Asian countries of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as modern-day India and Pakistan to the south. Those routes extended more than 5,000 kilometres to Europe, crossing about 50 countries and cities.
Now China has ventured on reviving this route through a multimodal transport network of road, rail, sea and air links.
After taking office in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his two-pronged strategy: the overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, first collectively called One Belt, One Road initiative, which eventually became the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived.
Xi’s vision includes creating a vast network of railways, energy pipelines, highways towards the West through Central Asia and Africa, and also Southeast and South Asia, including Bangladesh. The maritime route aims to link China’s coastal ports through the South China Sea to the Pacific and Indian oceans. China’s colossal infrastructure investments, both at home and countries along the route, aims to usher in a new era of trade and growth for economies in Asia and beyond.
Xinjiang gearing up
The regional museum in Ürümqi, capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, speaks to 10,000 visitors everyday about Chinese civilisation along the ancient Silk Roads and local ethnic cultures for millennia, including rich ancient artefacts ranging from silk to paintings, to bronze ornaments and mummies.