The slogan of constructive engagement policy was raised by President Xi Jinping and he is perusing this idea through One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. According to some estimates the OBOR would establish close lands and maritime connections among more than 60 countries across Asia and Europe. This connectivity definitely usher an era of prosperity for all the members of this project.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a massive bilateral project that has been agreed to be completed by 2030. CPEC is a partially developmental scheme and partially strategic gambit. Due to CPEC the connectivity will open up West China to the South and this will contribute to One Belt One Road initiative policy. The originally intended $46 billion investment that China intends to invest in Pakistan under the CPEC has now been expanded to approximately 55 billion dollars.
The goal of CPEC is to connect China’s north-western region of Xinjiang to Gwadar port of Baluchistan. It is to transform Pakistan’s economy and improving infrastructure. The successful completion of CPEC may generate three to four times more profit then the investment and a massive new network of roads, railways and pipeline. The roads will be approximately 2700 kilometers from Gwadar to Kashgar. This is a right decision for both China and Pakistan and the entire region.
The route of CPEC starts from Pakistan through Gwadar Baluchistan and ends in Kashgar that is the Western part of China. It will be connecting the areas of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces and Gilgit Baltistan in Northern Pakistan to reach Khunjrab Pass and beyond China. According to Maj General, Afzal, more than 85 km road has already been completed and 1.5 km road is considered per day which is even faster than international standards.
CPEC has a high value for both the countries: China and Pakistan. Pakistan will increase its economic growth through this project. It is envisioned as a corridor of peace, prosperity and development. CPEC project is having potential to transform the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan. This is the highest ever Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the history of Pakistan that would play a vital role in resolution of long-lasting energy crunch in the country. Maj General, Afzal, DG FWO said that 10 industrial zones , 15 dry ports, 3 thermal power project, 10 oil shortages and 8 smart cities were the part of CPEC plan. CPEC will have a transformational impact on the state and prosperity of the people of Pakistan. It will boost the trade, investments and exploration of mineral resources in Pakistan. It is seemed to be a breakthrough for Pakistan’s development, creating new businesses and job opportunities which will help in the alleviation of poverty.
Beside Pakistani gains, CPEC is viewed as a game changer for China as well. CPEC would contribute constructively in the gradual peaceful rise of China. Pakistan through Gwadar provides shortest possible route to China to access Arabian Sea ant the oil enriched Arab world that will further boost up the economy. China will also get relief from Malacca strait as CPEC will shorten the sailing and trading time by at least 26 days that would naturally cut the transportation cost at least by 3 times.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor is solidifying relations between the two nations however, progress on CPEC is not without hindrances. The project faces multiple security and political challenges in Pakistan. These challenges and threats are internal as well as external. The center provinces conflict over the route has become the key hurdle in materializing CPEC. Moreover security is also another major hurdle in this regard. In order to make this plan successful, the government in the center and in the provinces need to eradicate the threat posed by terrorist organizations.
*Mishal Batool, Is a student of Bachelors in Defence and Diplomatic Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University. Her area of interest is development and strategic studies, she can be reached at [email protected]