After mutual consultation Pakistan and China, “all weathered” strategic and diplomatic partners in South Asia, decided to enlarge their relationship in broader spectrum. In the past, they had cooperated with each other in political and military affairs but over the time, they felt the need to develop economic ties with each other to gain compatibility in the changing dynamics of the international milieu. Therefore, they started cooperating with each other in commerce and trade. CPEC is one of them.
Pakistan and China have signed a mega project called as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as an endorsement and continuation to the enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries. The CPEC project is being viewed as very beneficial not only for the states involved but also for the region as well.
Regional connectivity and economic development are two major aspects of the project. Furthermore, the land-locked Central Asian countries and Afghanistan will get short and easy access towards the warm-watered Indian maritime under the implementation of CPEC. The project will prove helpful to tackle the menace of terrorism from the region as well, which is a major risk for the security and stability of the region. Moreover, through the economic uplift of Pakistan under CPEC, there are chances for more business investments. Therefore, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called CPEC as a “Game-Changer” and “Corridor to Peace” for the region.
The project has tremendous importance for Pakistan. Pakistan and China signed 51 agreements worth of $46 billion under CPEC, the four main areas of collaboration between the two countries are; infrastructure, transportation, energy, and industrial cooperation.
The CPEC also has immense importance for China. China considers CPEC as “flagship project” because through this project China will get easy and short routed reach towards the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Additionally, China’s market will further boost up, and it will become economically stronger. China can also play a significant role in the Asian region in terms of economic uplift and regional stability being emerging as an economic giant. China will also get the chance to develop its North-western province Xinjiang, which is an under developed area.
Another Chinese concern over CPEC is to find an alternative to Strait of Malacca. The South-China Sea, which is a rich source of resources and a way towards Strait of Malacca is being disputed among China and other Southeast Asian countries. China imports largest part of its oil supply through the Strait of Malacca, so it has some reservations that, if other East Asian countries make alliance against China, then they can impose naval blockade on narrow Strait of Malacca and can choke China economically.
Under the ministry of industries, work is on the way on various infrastructure projects related to CPEC. Recently, Punjab Planning & Development Department in collaboration with Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms organised a lecture in this regard.
During the lecture, the Strategic Importance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Its Role in Uplifting the Economy of Punjab was discussed. The objective of the lecture was to provide a platform to all provincial departments and stakeholders to learn about the significance and impact of this ‘Game Changer’ project and be aware of the core issues and various factors such as finance, economics, governance, management, etc. entailing this project.
CPEC is a deliberate source to enhance Punjab’s economy as well. Other potential sectors such as light industry, electronic, textile, chemicals industry, IT, minerals, automotive industry and infrastructure sector could benefit from the CPEC.
CPEC will surely play its role as game changer for Pakistan yet we cannot forget tireless efforts of Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the Punjab Industries department. Their work and efforts to become this dream true is on the way which will be a marvellous step to make Pakistan prosperous.