CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the leading project of China’s ambitious vision for a modern reconstruction of the Silk Road. The development will offer a glimpse into how China plans to realize the Belt and Road Initiative, while success will boost confidence of countries and regions along the routes. For regional development, the network will ultimately expand to link other countries, stimulating an economic and trade boom in the region.
The CPEC is a transformative project, which holds enormous potential for transforming lives of region’s people. It will not only change the destiny of the whole region but also opens a new vista of common development. The corridor will also provide China an opportunity to reach European and African markets through land route. It is expected that out of total US $46 billion, the US $34 billion would be allocated to energy sector while US $11 billion would be spent on communication and infrastructure.
The CPEC will be a game-changer and its major beneficiaries will include Pakistan, China and Gulf countries. Last year, the Chinese government committed to build the corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. The 3,000km economic corridor is an under-construction mega project to connect Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan to China’s north-western city of Kashgar. When the corridor is materialized it will serve as a primary gateway for trade between China and the Middle East and Africa. In particular, oil from the Middle East could be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to China through Balochistan province in Pakistan. Such a link will vastly cut the 12,000km route that Middle East oil supplies takes to reach Chinese ports. Apart from shortening the distance for the Chinese exports and imports it will enhance the trade volume in the whole region.
Geo-strategic location of Pakistan makes it the direct beneficiary of this mega economic corridor. In the same context, volume of the services sector, infrastructure and industrial sector will reach to new heights. CPEC is being considered as an economic booster, which will help to raise economic growth of Pakistan to a desire level. Increased trade, production and export would definitely give Pakistan more space in international markets. An immediate effect of construction of the CPEC will be a boost in foreign investment flows. China is the largest foreign investor in Pakistan, with inflows of US $696 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014.Besides increasing foreign direct investment, the project will support Pakistan’s external position by bolstering trade flows between the two countries, which have already doubled since 2009 to US $8.6 billion in 2014. The CPEC is a corridor of opportunity for Pakistan where people of all provinces will be benefited in terms of economic and human development. All provinces and political parties of Pakistan unanimously supported CPEC given its long-term benefits particularly Pakistan and generally for whole region. Building of Gwadar port, projects like road links, industrial parks, power projects, rail links and fibre optics are the prominent features of the visionary economic corridor benefiting and uniting all ethnic groups in Pakistan.
The Chinese development projects under the umbrella of CPEC are not welcomed by some foreign powers. Many foreign countries and their intelligence agencies are extending their support to the militants to sabotage multibillion-dollar CPEC project. Juxtapose to it, India has already voiced its unfair reservations against the CPEC, which China out-rightly rejects. Islamabad has voiced its concern that hostile Indian spy agency RAW has been whipping up terrorism in Pakistan on the bases of evidences regarding RAW’s involvement in Karachi and Balochistan’s terrorist incidents. Moreover, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar publicly outlined the strategy of waging proxy wars in Pakistan through sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism as a state policy while offering the double financial budget to the terrorist groups who are involved in terrorist actives. India is constantly using Afghanistan’s land to destabilize Pakistan. In this context, there is a need that international community should take notice on these irresponsible statements coming from Delhi and RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities against Islamabad.
Pak-China relations are based on equality and all weather friendship. The main indicator of their brotherly relation is that China neither intervenes in Pakistan’s internal affairs nor it tries to dictate Pakistan like the US. China believes in peaceful rise and follows policy of non-intervention in other country’s affairs. China likes to develop peaceful relations with its neighbours. China is a stabilizing factor in the region. It’s Land Silk Route and Maritime Silk Route initiatives are the steps to strengthen the underdeveloped economies. China needs to invest overseas to help digest its domestic excessive production capacity while Pakistan is in dire need of foreign direct investment. In this regard, CPEC would prove to be a milestone for both countries’ growth.
The article was carried by Pakistan Observer.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessary reflective of IPRI