The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) came into being in 2013 after the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, outlined plans to set up a new a ‘new Maritime Silk Road’. The introduction to this research handbook begins by looking at the conventional views of the BRI. The purpose of the handbook is to provide an analysis of both thematic and functional aspects of the BRI. To that end, the handbook is divided into four parts. The first of these covers a wide range of thematic issues from history to geopolitical and diplomatic analysis. The second part focuses on participating countries in the Maritime Silk Road (MSR), while the third analyses the Belt that starts from China’s western inland regions to different geographical features of Europe, Central Asia and Nepal. The fourth and final part looks at the world’s attitudes to the BRI, concluding with a prediction for the future of the BRI amid a world order reshaped by COVID-19.