Biden's global infrastructure plan gets India's attention

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Biden's global infrastructure plan gets India's attention
US President Joe Biden’s B3W proposal is an alternative to China’s BRI pushout and could find many takers from countries who have been disillusioned with Beijing’s global outreach.Courtesy: Reuters

PM Modi urges international community to implement projects for everyone in a more effective and transparent manner.

A Build Back Better World (B3W) plan unveiled by US President Joe Biden at the G7 summit promises an alternative to China’s belt and road initiative and has already garnered great interest from a host of nations such as India.

The plan involves raising hundreds of billions in public and private money to help close a $40 trillion infrastructure gap in needy countries by 2035 and build an ambitious new global infrastructure initiative with G7 partners. India has already said that it will study the initiative, which is expected to create millions of local employment.

"On the specific question of joining 'Build back better for the world', I can confirm that relevant agencies of the government of India would study them and would engage with them at a later stage,” senior Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official P Harish told reporters in New Delhi.

B3W will be global in scope, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa to the Indo-Pacific. Different G7 partners will have different geographic orientations, but the sum of the initiative will cover low- and middle-income countries across the world.
- White House statement

Not on board with BRI

India has refused to join China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – which is facing criticism even by subscribing countries due to mounting debt, a lack of local employment and transparency.

At G7, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the international community to demonstrate to the world that they can implement projects in a more effective and transparent manner.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi makes his pitch to leaders of the G7 nations last week. Biden’s alternative to China’s BRI approach could be just the news India has been waiting for as the US’s partner.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi makes his pitch to leaders of the G7 nations last week. Biden’s alternative to China’s BRI approach could be just the news India has been waiting for as the US’s partner. Courtesy: ANI

According to a senior MEA official, “The PM has emphasised that democracies should demonstrate that in the project implementation sphere we can deliver not only within the country but in other countries also. On this issue, the PM referred to India's experience in neighbouring countries, African countries and that in development framework partnership. The PM also indicated that India stands ready to do more in this regard keeping in view the ethos of transparency and inclusion.”

According to the White House, the G7 and other “like-minded” partners would coordinate to raise private-sector capital for investment in climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality, backed by development finance institutions through the B3W plan.

“B3W will be global in scope, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa to the Indo-Pacific,” the White House said. “Different G7 partners will have different geographic orientations, but the sum of the initiative will cover low- and middle-income countries across the world.”

Discussion on TRIPS waiver

The India-South Africa TRIPS waiver proposal also found widespread support at the G7 due its focus on the need to diversify technology transfer and financing for equitable vaccine distribution.

"There was widespread support in the deliberation for text-based negotiations for the India-South Africa proposal for TRIPS waiver at WTO. On the need to provide financial assistance to various manufacturers in the world was a general agreement to increase its capacity, regional production hubs, providing financing, technology transfer and skill development in these regions," Harish said.

"I can say without hesitation that India's engagement with the G7 and guest countries stands on its own. This is the second G7 summit that the PM attended. He attended in France in 2019. This is also the first time India has been engaged and ministerial and working-level tracks as a guest country. This is a significant engagement," the senior MEA official added.

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