China Pakistan Economic Corridor is popularly known as CPEC. It is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. Belt and Road Initiative is actually a recreation of the famous ancient Silk route. Projects are aimed at opening and developing of the transport corridor between countries, this project is majorly planned spread across Asia and Europe and also other parts of the world. Under this project, the Chinese are investing in infrastructure, like the construction of Highway, Railway, Oil Pipeline, Seaport, power plants and development of Economic Zone.
CEPC is also part of the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative. In this article, I am going to restrict myself only to CEPC and its various aspects and perspective related to India, Pakistan, China and other regional, and global players. According to media reports, CEPC in the starting cost of the project was 46 Billion USD and as of now, its cost is increased to more than 60 Billion USD. The cost and specifications of the project are undisclosed and ambiguous. Till now no information about this deal has been officially released officially form the Pakistani government.
Under this project, China is going to invest in the collection of Infrastructure projects between Pakistan provinces of Balochistan passing through Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh to The Chinese province of Xinjiang. A major objective of this project is to provide an alternative Chinese supply/trade route. Major Chinese import and export have to pass through the Indian Ocean and Malacca Strait. Malacca Strait is a busiest ocean trade route and chokes point. Aggressive and Expansionist Chinese international policy, mostly it supplies has to pass through the unfriendly country dominated region. Apart from the alternative route, CPEC will also be used to connect the trade route with Afghanistan and the Central Asian country.
One more theory is there, which Chinese deny but Indian think-tank raises a concern and reiterate the number of time. “String of Pearls” is a geopolitical strategy in which Chinese is surrounding India in The Indian Ocean. China is heavily investing in neighboring countries to increase Chinese influence aimed to surround India. Apart from Pakistan (CPEC) China is also worked rapidly in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Somalia to implement the “String of Pearls” strategy. The Indian government is taking a proactive and aggressive measure to counterbalance this geopolitical strategy.
Funding for the CPEC project is not an aide but a loan, at very liberal terms but relatively at a high rate of interest. Like other countries, Pakistan is also started feeling the heat of debt trap due to Chinese loans. I personally believe that economics cannot be created artificially. Many factors derive economy like market, labor, raw material, Political stability, law and order situation, and many other factors. Of Course, Infrastructure is important of all, but I think Infrastructure development should go simultaneously hand in hand with other factors. The planned project route is passing through one of the world’s most disturbing reasons; still, Pakistan’s establishment is struggling to control these regions. CPEC is going to be a big economic disaster for both China and Pakistan. In terms of geopolitical strategy, CPEC is going to serve beneficial for both China and Pakistan.
India has many objections over the passing of CPEC through the area of Indian land (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) without Indian permission. And another main concern is increasing Chinese influence in the Indian Subcontinent. To counter this Chinese policy the Indian government is taking care to improve relationships with subcontinent countries. Against the will of the Chinese government, the Indian government is promoting and supporting Indian private and Government Companies to invest in a disputed Chinese neighborhood. On the strategically front Indian government has established and strengthened its first “Tri-Service” in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located near the Malacca Strait and in case of any military conflict or standoff, the armed force can easily blockade 70-80 percent of total Chinese import and export cargo ship that passes through this narrow Strait. Maximum Chinese Oil import has to pass through this strait. According to me, the Indian government masterstroke is funding and opening of Chabahar Port and connecting it to Afghanistan via Rail and Road, developed by India. This will remove the dependency of landlocked country Afghanistan over Pakistan to connect with other countries of the world. This route will also be beneficial for India, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries to connected and trade with central Asia. Due to this China and Pakistan’s monopoly over connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia is over. In the long run, this will contribute to heavy financial loss to CPEC.
Indian is a peace-loving country and wants to have good relations with all other countries, specialty neighboring countries (Even with China and Pakistan). Here I would like to share one of my Ideas. If we Indian, allow Chinese to use our existing infrastructure for the Chinese trade route. This will increase Indian influence over China as compared to Pakistan. Indian trade will be also get benefited. This will be the last nail in the confine of CPEC.
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