We all have heard about CPEC but what is CPEC? To know this question, we have to dive in history first. After financial Crisis of 2007-08 China emerged as economically strong with more role and say in global governance. Another factor which favored china was that when whole world was engaged in war on terror, China increased its trade and international recognition. China also revised its old relationship and ventured new friendship across the world.
It was president Xi Jinping who raised the slogan of constructive relationship with world and with its neighbor specially. Pakistan as it’s reliable strategic partner has started to work more closely in area of investment, defense and peace building in region. CPEC as we see it today,
Started way back in 19990’s and then meeting between president Hu Jintao and president Gen. Parvez Musharraf at Beijing in 2003 took this relation to the next level. This Cooperation further strengthened when Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed in 2006. With this agreement trade volume between China & Pak expanded from $ 1 Billion to $ 15 Billion.
All this exercise and cooperation between China & Pak laid the Foundation of China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC). Now a day, CPEC is the most debated hot topic at national level and at international level. In Pakistan, there’s a reservation between provinces and stake holders regarding the CPEC route. Apart from that Asian countries and global community have mixed opinion which will be clarified through this post.
Background of CPEC
The long thought CPEC plan take us back to the 1950s when both China and Pakistan extend their hand of friendship toward each other. Subsequently Indo-Sino war and Pak-India war resulted this relationship to get stronger.
China had a long interest in Pakistan’s deep-water ports, especially Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Arabian sea. China began construction at Gwadar port which was completed in 2006 then due to political instability in Pak it was ceased.
Another reason which led China to propose CPEC plan was blockade of Strait of Malacca by the U.S and its allies. They tried to cut China off from middle east for oil supplies and from Africa. These are the main reasons why china is building alternate route to middle east and Africa by sponsoring China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
CPEC consist on series of project which were first proposed by president Asif Ali Zardari, who invited Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and agreed to build economic corridor.
Announcement of CPEC
CPEC was first announced in April 2015, during visit of Xi Jinping. In this humongous project China agreed and entered in an agreement worth $ 46 billion equivalent to 20% of Pak-GDP.
What The Catch For Pakistan in CPEC
The CPEC consist more than 51 agreement and MOU’s worth $46 billion, in which 30 agreements are designed to boost CPEC project. Remaining 21 agreement are on energy sector with an aim to provide 16400 megawatt electricity.
The CPEC also includes 3,000-kilometer network of roads from Gwadar port to Kashgar city. This project will also upgrade the silk route and Karakoram highway which is 1300 Km long.
In this one belt one road project a new airport and expressway will be constructed near Gwadar port. Through this plan the distance between middle east, Africa and china will be decreased by thousand of kilometer.
The layout of one belt one road economic corridor has taken the interest of various regions and will benefit them a lot and their public.
CPEC Route And Map
CPEC route and Map is a reasonable question which have been asked by the four provinces of Pakistan. Because the fact that Pakistan’s unstable political situation is a cause that Pak government is unable to agree on a route for the CPEC.
Initially Pakistan government promised that the CPEC route will through western Pakistan via Zhob and Quetta, which in result will help to develop the less privileged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces.
Subsequently CPEC eastern route and CPEC western route have also emerged. These routes will cover Multan, Faisalabad, Pindi Bhatia and Rawalpindi, Kalat, Quetta and Zob. The current proposed cpec route map published by the government of Pakistan is below;
Challenges to CPEC
With a great plan to strengthen the Pakistan, the cpec also faces challenges both at domestic and at international levels. Some of these challenges are as under;
- Law and order
- Political instability
- Civil-military relations
- Inter-provincial issues regarding CPEC
- Baluchistan factor
- International challenges
- India’s hostile attitude towards CPEC
- Indo Afghan nexus.
- Iran (chabahar port v/s Gwadar)
- Involvement of big powers
CPEC- It’s Impact on Region
No doubt China Pakistan Economic Corridor has amplified the role of Pak in West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. This is the reason that other regional powers have also shown their willingness to enter in this one belt one road project.
Due to its win-win situation all neighboring countries except India have shown their confidence in cpec project. The CPEC has a potential to improve the regional cooperation in the fields of socio-economic development, trade, shipping, road and railway transportation, communications, industry and banking sectors.
With CPEC it will leads us to a new era of regional socio-economic stability with enhanced regional cooperation.