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Blue Dot Network

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March 03, 2020

Why in News?

The Blue Dot Network was a proposal which was on table when the US President Donald Trump made a maiden visit to India.

What is the Blue Dot network?

  • It will certify infrastructure and development projects.
  • It was jointly launched by the US (Development Finance Corporation), Japan (Japanese Bank for International Cooperation) and Australia (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).
  • It is a multi-stakeholder initiative that was launched in November 2019 on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit (Thailand).

What does the initiative aim to do?

  • It aims to promote high quality and trusted standards for global infrastructure development by bringing together the governments, the private sector and civil society.
  • The infrastructure projects will be vetted and approved by the network depending on standards, as per which, the projects should meet certain global infrastructure principles.
  • The projects that are approved will get a “Blue Dot”, thereby setting universal standards of excellence.
  • This will attract private capital to projects in developing and emerging economies.
  • The proposal for the Blue Dot network is part of the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy which aims at countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Why the proposal is countering BRI?

  • BRI is a programme that wants to connect Asia with Africa and Europe.
  • It wants to connect them via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
  • The name was coined in 2013 by China’s President Xi Jinping.
  • It consists of a belt of rail routes, highways, oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure projects extending from Xian in Central China through Central Asia, Russia, West Asia and Europe.
  • There is also a branch extending from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar in Balochistan via Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

What are the areas in which Blue Dot need a lot of work?

  • Financing - The BRI involves direct financing that will give countries in need of immediate short-term relief.
  • But, the Blue Dot Network is not a direct financing initiative and therefore may not be what some developing countries need.
  • The question is whether the Blue Dot is offering first-world solutions to third-world countries.
  • Coordination - The Blue Dot will require coordination among multiple stakeholders when it comes to grading projects.
  • Given the past experience of Quad, the countries involved in it are still struggling to put a viable bloc.
  • Therefore, it remains to be seen how Blue Dot fares in the long run.
  • [Quad - An informal strategic dialogue between the US, Japan, Australia and India.]

How has the US’s foreign policy towards China evolved?

  • Prior to 2001, US foreign policy was focused towards integrating China into its plan.
  • But this changed after China’s emergence as a global superpower.
  • Under Barack Obama, US foreign policy started shifting focus to Asia, where the US wanted to counter China’s growing influence.
  • The National Security Strategy (NSS) under Trump says that the China seeks to displace the US in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • It also says that it wants to expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favour.
  • The US sees China’s infrastructure investments and trade strategies as reinforcing its geopolitical aspirations.
  • As per the US, China’s efforts to militarise outposts in the South China Sea restricts the free movement of trade and undermines regional stability.


Source: The Indian Express

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