CPEC- Economic Revolution or Hype

Ashutosh MALIK
15 September 2017
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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a massive $55 billion bilateral developmental project between Pakistan and China, is supposed to be a “game changer” in the geopolitics and economics of South Asia. This economic corridor aims to connect Kashgar in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan through a vast and complex network of roads measuring 3,000 km as well as other infrastructure projects. On paper the CPEC, intended to be completed by 2030, is a win-win for both countries. China will save millions of dollars every year by shortening its route for energy imports from the Middle East by about 12,000 km and also gets greater access to the Indian Ocean. On the other hand, Pakistan expects infrastructural enhancement and the reduction, or even elimination, of its severe energy crisis by getting in return an estimated $34 billion for various hydro, solar, thermal, and wind-driven power plants. The interests of China in Pakistan are not just economically driven. There also lay geo-strategic interests. For instance, Gwadar port not only provides China with lucrative commercial benefits but also huge strategic and geopolitical advantages. Although at present Gwadar is being developed for commercial purposes only, there are huge chances for it to develop into a well-equipped military naval base in the future, which would provide China an enormous strategic advantage in the region. On the other hand Pakistan, which is currently suffering from the worst kind of extremism, terrorism, and rampant corruption, intends to benefit economically from the project and thereby improve its world image under the patronage of China.

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