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Through efforts like the Belt and Road Initiative, China finances an increasing number of development projects in South Asia. From rebuilding and enhancing the strategic Gwadar Port in Pakistan and funding rural development projects in Sri Lanka to constructing a mega thermal power plant in Bangladesh, and reforming transportation networks in Nepal, China has invested billions of dollars in the region. Some analysts view these ventures as opportunities for states to upgrade infrastructure, while others express caution, warning that these funds come with strings attached and may threaten states’ sovereignty. In this virtual panel discussion hosted by South Asian Voices (SAV) and the Stimson Center on December 7th, SAV Editor-at-large Akriti Vasudeva moderated a discussion with SAV contributors Atif Jalal Ahmad, Avasna Pandey, Nilanthi Samaranayake, and Uzair Younus to discuss the benefits and implications attached to Chinese investments in South Asia.

Watch their full discussion below. For more analysis on the impact of Chinese development projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, read the SAV series “Instruments of Influence? Chinese Financing in South Asia.”

Speakers:

Atif Jalal Ahmad

Atif Jalal Ahmad is a DC-based researcher, who was born in Bangladesh. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and Economics from Rutgers University, and his Master of Arts in Strategic Studies, International Economics, and South Asia Studies from Johns Hopkins University SAIS. He has worked at the Wilson Center as a Research Assistant on South and South-East Asia, researching areas such as politics, security, economics, and religion.

Avasna Pandey

Avasna Pandey is the program manager at the Center for Investigative Journalism-Nepal. Prior to that, she worked as the Editorial page editor at The Kathmandu Post.

Nilanthi Samaranayake

Nilanthi Samaranayake is the Director of the Strategy and Policy Analysis program at CNA, a nonprofit research organization in Arlington, VA. She has authored publications on Indian Ocean security issues and small states in international affairs, including China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries (U.S. Institute of Peace).

Uzair Younas

Uzair Younus is a nonresident senior fellow at the South Asia Center and works full-time at Dhamiri, an innovation firm helping companies align their business competencies with public good needs. Prior to joining Dhamiri, Uzair was a Director at Albright Stonebridge Group, where he focused on developing and executing advocacy strategies for companies and non-profits operating in South Asia. Uzair regularly publishes articles on South Asian politics and economic issues for Dawn, and has been featured on Bloomberg, CNN, and CNBC. He earned his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy with a concentration in Economic Policy and South Asia from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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Image: umairadeeb via Flickr

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