Development of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor within a context of structural geopolitical power conflict

LIU Zhi1,2 HUANG Dekai1

(1.Institute of International Studies, Yunnan University)
(2.China’s Association for Southeast Asian Studies)

【Abstract】Since its original proposal in 2013, while the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor has made some progress, it has not lived up to expectations, and increasingly there is a lack of energy among parties to move forward. The roots of these difficulties can trace back to conflict vis-à-vis geopolitical power structures in the region, the region’s tendency towards singular economic functionalism, and its lack of security cooperation. The influence of geopolitics on the development of the BCIM-EC is much greater than that of economic factors, with the geopolitics around the BCIM being shaped primarily by the bipolar power structure within the grouping dominated by China and India. The main reason why the BCIM-EC is unable to make essential progress is the failure of India to play its role as a key major power, which is largely because of the lack of mutual political mutual trust between China and India. The only way of overcoming these challenges is for strategic trust to be increased between China and India. If the two powers are able to jointly provide public goods, or devise a means of sharing power within the grouping, they can collectively develop the BCIM-EC. At the same time, by paying careful attention to enhancing cooperation and competition (co-competition) with other economic corridors, the shared interests of all participants of the BCIM-EC can be advanced.

【Keywords】 BCIM Economic Corridor; geopolitics; power structure; regional cooperation;

【Funds】 Major project of National Social Science Fund (15ZDB112)

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This Article

ISSN:1002-8404

CN: 11-1306/C

Vol , No. 01, Pages 27-49+157-158

March 2018

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Geopolitical power structure and regional cooperation
  • 2 Progress, problems and challenges of BCIM-EC construction
  • 3 Major power dilemma confronting BCIM-EC and solutions
  • 4 Conclusions
  • Footnote