The friendship of Pakistan and China starting from May 21, 1951 has survived hardship and stepped onto a new level as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), enters into second phase with focus on industrial cooperation, trade, agriculture, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development.
It is believed that “competition is the law of jungle, but cooperation is the law of civilization”. China-Pakistan strategic cooperation is an indispensable factor for the South Asian peace and stability. It not merely focuses on energy, agriculture, commerce and trade but includes social development projects as well.
Pakistan was among the first group of countries establishing diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Mutual visits by top leaders, including that of President Xi Jinping in April 2015 and the state visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to China in late April, have further strengthened bilateral partnership. Evidently, China has profoundly committed to contributions in developing different sectors of the Pakistani economy.
Currently, 22 projects are undergoing fast implementation, higher in pace in comparison with any other corridor of the BRI initiative, making CPEC the central corridor of the initiative.
China is focusing on and playing a key role in connecting the continents. The global community is quite conscious about the potential of the BRI, which is to establish connection across three continents which would influence the lives of about 4.4 billion people
One of such contributions will benefit Pakistan Railways the most. The upgrade plan seems like a comprehensive restoration of Pakistan Railways. In addition, CPEC has flourished into a reality that ensures the bilateral cooperation in multiple fields including agri-business, as well as in education, innovation and technology.
China will invest US$1 billion in 27 multi-projects in Pakistan that the two sides have recognised as vital for socio-economic development of Pakistan. Both the countries welcome these initiatives which will hopefully be a win-win situation for both. Gwadar Port is transforming rapidly into an economic hub and noting the depth and breadth of the BRI, it is of immense significance for the world in terms of connectivity and shared prosperity.
China is focusing on and playing a key role in connecting the continents. The global community is quite conscious about the potential of the BRI, which is to establish connection across three continents which would influence the lives of about 4.4 billion people.
Being an emerging power, China considers the role of regional relations vital for global peace and prosperity. Henceforth, BRI is a positive-sum cooperation, a platform for dialogue, developing new paths of cooperation encompassing people to people, inter-government, B2B and media to media relations.
BRI is expected to help China gain a bigger footprint in the globalized world, improve global economic governance, and promote common development and prosperity. The true spirit of BRI is regional integration with no hegemonic designs and with an aim to limit the world from further economic damage.
The misconception that BRI is a “debt trap” on developing economies is baseless and seen as a result of mudsling propaganda against the initiative. Specific debt data in Pakistan have proved them wrong as loans from China only take a small amount of Pakistan’s overseas debt.
BRI is undoubtedly functioning as the central nerve network for the world by bringing together countries and regions, enhancing trade and connectivity, boosting investment and socio-cultural ties between people of diverse cultures and regions.
BRI is not only proving to be a network of economic exchange but also a network of peace, happiness, prosperity, exchange of knowledge and technology, under the umbrella of harmony and mutual interests. This makes BRI a cake having shares for all which translates the establishment of a unified comprehensive global future as change is the only constant.
Convincingly, President Xi’s passion for improvement and enrichment of BRI ensures green development and transparency. Notably, BRI is larger than any of those regional models and does not compete with other regional models but complements them. This makes China’s role integral especially in relation to emerging or weak economies.
President Xi’s BRI holds unique significance of infrastructure projects that help countries to fully utilize and benefit from their resources by better participating into the global supply. An idea initiated by Xi has now transcended its borders and reached the heights of glory to impact the larger world by creating growth and shared prosperity.
The author is a social scientist and foreign and public policy analyst based in Islamabad.
HONG KONG NEWS