Economic corridor

By Shahid Jameel

At the end of cold war, with the emergence of multi-polar system at international arena, process of globalization got impetus. Resultantly, interdependence among states increased and now states have begun to develop their diplomatic relations with each other on the basis of their geostrategic and geopolitical interests. Likewise, Pakistan and China, who are considered as two “all weathered” strategic and diplomatic partners in South Asia, decided to enlarge their relationship in broader spectrum. The bilateral cooperation in almost every field of life strengthened the relations to get deeper with the passage of time and both the countries celebrated “Pak-China friendship year” every year.

CPEC is very vital and a joint venture of Pakistan and China. China Pakistan Economic Corridor has the potential of making Pakistan one of the most strategically important countries in the region. China will also benefit from this economic corridor, which will greatly reduce China’s trade route from 12000km via sea, to 2000km via land i.e. from Kashgar to Gwadar. China and Pakistan have a very strong friendship, and this Chinese initiative will further strengthen that relationship, by making China a stakeholder in Pakistan’s future. Pakistan will become the most strategically important country in the region because it will improve trade and economic connectivity between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The energy projects announced, as part of the CPEC agreement will end Pakistan’s energy crisis once and for all.

Though China is the new emerging power in world yet India and other foreign actors have left no stone unturned to detract Pakistan from joining to this new venture of china. It is obvious thing that India does not want to see strong Sino-power in Asia. Therefore, it is using its utmost efforts to restrain the project because the success of this venture will undermine the power of India and some other countries as well. Due to this reason importance of CPEC is beyond the imagination, Gwadar to Kashgar route will not only decrease the distance between china and Middle East but will also provide safe and secure way of oil to china. As Gwadar is locating at the fore front of Strait of Hormuz which is the passage way of $40 trillion trade in a year, moreover it will decrease the shipping cost of china to Middle East and African countries to great extent. For that reason, Chinese government is investing billions in this project. Basically CPEC is the name of multiple roads of one corridor: in Pakistan there are three major alignments having multiple roads are the part of this project, western alignment, eastern and central alignment all of these three alignments will be connected through highways and motor ways. However, western alignment is more important rather than others because it will open the door of prosperity and development in Balochistan and KPK, because Chinese investors will establish their manufacturing units on this route, which will increase the opportunity of employment in these remote areas.

This is the reason that why foes of Pakistan and china are conspiring against the project; ongoing deficit of the trust about CPEC in Pakistan is also the result of these conspiracies. All over the world keen eyes are on this project, and for that China wants to complete this project as fast as possible. The major reality is that china is going to invest in Pakistan’s history’s ever biggest FDI in Pakistan, the country which is facing economic uncertainty since 1970’s. Therefore Fabian tactics are required to carry on the project and to counter with the Machiavellian strategy of competitors. Therefore it is highly imperative for the sake of country’s development and for the sake of nation’s prosperity.

Khunjerab pass, a border between China and Pakistan – referred to as the world’s highest paved border crossing, in the Karakorum Mountains. The Pakistan-China Economic Corridor will move from Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan in the mountains down Karakorum Highway. At an altitude of more than 15,000 feet, outnumber cargo trucks will be crossing over Pakistan’s border with China. The initial outlines of this corridor are already visible, where the highway snakes past mountains, glaciers, and rocky valleys. From central Pakistan, more roads will be built to provide access to Gwadar Port in Balochistan. Pakistan benefits from its strategic location and China is taking advantage of that. Around 80% of China’s trade and energy imports travel through the pirate-swarmed Strait of Malacca and Indian Ocean, both patrolled by the Indian Navy. The CPEC would not only be the alternative to Strait of Malacca but also provide China with an entry point to the Persian Gulf. Strategically some countries are worried that the China is broadening its geopolitical influence and possibly its military presence in the region.

In this purview of CPEC’s impact on Pakistan’s geopolitical posture, the aspect that has recently attracted a great deal of attention is the development of Pakistan-Russia relations. Before sketching out recent developments, it is important to mention that beyond the headlines the relationship between Islamabad and Moscow remains modest, especially if compared to the long-standing, deep historical ties between Russia and India. Trade relations remain weak; on the procurement side, Pakistan is behind India and Bangladesh in terms of arms supplies from Russia. Pakistan and Russia signed a defense agreement in November 2014, conducted the first ever joint military exercise in October 2016, and a high level Russian military delegation visited both North and South Waziristan, where the Pakistani started the operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014.

Besides Russia, Iran is another important player on the regional chessboard. Pakistan’s relations with Iran to date are a story of a great, though unfulfilled, potential. The early signs related to Iran’s involvement in CPEC seem to go in the same direction. Iran has expressed its desire to become a part of CPEC investment and China has also welcomed the opportunity for Tehran to contribute to the development of the economic corridor. In particular, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, declared that ‘Iran can also be a very important country along the Belt and the Road initiative, so we really look forward to enhance our cooperation with Iran’.

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