A group of US senators allegedly issued a letter to India in 2020, requesting that India join the Blue Dot Network. According to observers, the Blue Dot Network serves as a counterweight to China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) plan.
What is Blue Dot Network?
The Blue Dot Network is a multi-stakeholder effort that brings together governments, corporate sector organisations, and civil society to create “high-quality, trustworthy standards for global infrastructure development.”
The Blue Dot Network was established jointly by the United States, Japan, and Australia in 2019 on the margins of the 35th ASEAN Summit.
Additionally, the US, Japan, Australia, and India are all members of the QUAD Group – Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. It is a casual, unstructured strategic discussion amongst the four. If and when India becomes a member of the Blue Dot Network, there is a possibility that the QUAD will become an extension of the Blue Dot Network.
The Network will serve as a “Michelin Guide” for infrastructure projects, which means that projects that are a part of this initiative will be vetted and approved by the Network following the standards, which stipulate that the projects must adhere to certain global infrastructure principles.
Approved projects will receive a “Blue Dot,” establishing a high standard for excellence and attracting investments and private funds to initiatives in developing and emerging nations.
Is the Blue Dot Network a counter to the OBOR?
The Network may appear to be a bulwark against the OBOR concept. While strategic analysts believe the Blue Dot viewed as a counterweight to the OBOR, they think it requires considerable fine-tuning for two reasons:
There is a critical distinction between the OBOR and Blue Dot — while the former provides direct finance that will bring immediate relief, the latter is not a direct funding programme. It so may not be what certain nations want.
When it comes to grading projects, the blue dot will require collaboration among different stakeholders. Given their divergent views on the criteria that must be adhered to, convincing them to agree on a single element would be difficult.
Belt and Road Initiative
- The BRI is a large-scale initiative that focuses on connection and collaboration across a diverse range of countries spanning the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe.
- The project, which was launched in 2013, entails constructing motorways, trains, marine ports, electricity grids, oil and gas pipelines, and other infrastructure.
The project is divided into two halves.
- It is a land-based economic belt projected to link China to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
- The Silk Road of the Twenty-First Century will be sea-based and connect China’s southern coast to the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.
What are the benefits of India joining the Blue Dot Network?
The following are the advantages of joining the Blue Dot Network:
When it comes to the development initiatives that India will undertake, there will be increased openness and financial responsibility. Additionally, it will assure “principle-based” and “sustainable” infrastructure spending.
- It would equip India’s economy with high-quality infrastructure and allow future foreign investment.
- The Blue Dot initiative aims to provide international corporations, who are frequently hesitant to engage in emerging economies due to concerns about corruption or climate change, with the necessary knowledge of which projects to fund.
- It may provide India with an economic advantage over China in the form of higher-quality infrastructure projects.
- The Network will serve as a worldwide recognised mark of approval for large infrastructure projects, emphasising that they are not exploitative but sustainable.
- The project supports efforts to promote development finance cooperation in support of sound infrastructure and long-term economic growth.
Finally, the Blue Dot Network participants will convene a steering committee to ask partners representing sovereign governments, economies, the commercial sector, and civil society to join the initiative and support the Network.
Here’s how the Network will work:
- Any country or corporation may join the Network if they agree to comply with the Network’s stringent guidelines for fostering quality, private sector-led investment. To apply for certification by the Blue Dot Network, projects must complete an online application.
- The Blue Dot Network will help countries, businesses, and local communities alike. When projects are certified by the Blue Dot Network, communities and investors may have confidence in the infrastructure’s high standards and long-term viability.