For the first time China has signed a mega project outside the country with the collaboration of Pakistan and named it as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Xinjiang (Kashgar) in China to Gawadar Pakistan is the end point of the project. The most part is misinterpreted as a straightforward street arrangement between China and Pakistan; however it is much more than that. It is a game changer for both Pakistan and China, as Gawadar Sea Port is considered the endpoint of the venture. Gawadar being the prime exchange point of the world can pull in a considerable measure of activity and being a remote ocean port further enhances its value many folds.
CPEC has three extensions in Pakistan, named as eastern, central and western routes, joining all territories of Pakistan. CPEC is not just a system of streets for transportation of exchange merchandise from China to Gawadar. However, it incorporates vitality, modern and instructive ventures are also been seen in Pakistan. Along the course of CPEC every one of these undertakings are arranged and will change Pakistan into a financial hotspot.
India has solid reservation on this project as should be obvious because of its importance to Pakistan, a longstanding enemy of India. In a move to counter Sino-Pak venture, India has offered Iran its own economic route which will connect India via Iran to Afghanistan and Central Asia by developing Iran’s Chahbahar Port which was the real port at distance of 72 km in the region before Gawadar. Iran is likewise not positive over Gawadar port as it has undermined the significance of Chahbahar port. Also India has reservation as CPEC is going through the Gilgit- Baltistan region of Pakistan and India claims it as disputed region, which they call as Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), India also claims that as a disputed territory China cannot use this region for this purpose which is passing a road through the region? In any case, the general populations of the region have firmly supported Pakistan and are part of Pakistan since the independence in 1947 from the Dogra Raj.
Similarly, United States of America is of the view that CPEC will influence the vital adjusting of the locale. As China will have its naval presence in the region and may counter the move of US in the South China sea where it is trying to involve India to counter Chinese presence. US is attempting to dispatch India in the area as contender of China and to keep a close eye on the developments. In any case, China has completely expressed that it will proceed with the venture as a team with Pakistan and any endeavors to disrupt the venture will be taken seriously. The CPEC project will not finish in Middle East; it will gradually expand to the Europe, Central Asia, and Africa etc. In fact, it is part of a much bigger “Silk route economic belt” initiative of China which passes through many countries connecting them to the export oriented economy of China. Due to this initiative most of the European countries which have strong relations with US will try to benefit from the rising Chinese economy and may change their stance vis a vis US.
Many independent investigators are of the view that the Indian and US concerns over CPEC are unjustified and it rather strengthens Pakistan and China’s claim that it is a spotless monetary project. Recently in Washington the US and India signed a defense agreement that will have a direct impact on both Pakistan and China. The two partners to utilize each other’s military offices for checking China’s developing impact in Asia and in the battle against terrorism. Both U.S and India are now pushing for a proxy war against Pakistan especially to sabotage the project as was seen recently by declaring Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a terrorist organization. This organization is not involved in terrorism. Just because of labeling them as terrorist group, compelled the faction to increase their operations in the already unstable province of Baluchistan where the Gawadar port is located.
However Pakistan knows that CPEC is the silver bullet solution to its economy as it is projected that after the completion of this project, it would add around 3% annual growth to the GDP of Pakistan. So there should be no doubt that Pakistan is well determined to push ahead with this project but what lies ahead will be seen soon after a new president takes office in the US and his own views about this project.
Published In Passu Times English Dated 30th December, 2016