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Old Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Yousuf Aziz's Avatar
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Default CPEC: A game changer

CPEC: A game changer
By Tashfeen Jamal (The Nation)

Besides India, it is the UK which is not comfortable with the growing relations based on the Pak-China economic corridor. Background interaction with UK policy makers in Islamabad and elsewhere have revealed that Britain considers the ongoing cooperation between the two neighboring countries as an act of selling its soul in return for USD 45 billion. What constitutes political consternation in Britain is that at the end of the day Pakistan can realign its political and economic focus on China, instead of UK and EU.

In order to address the foregoing ill-conceived comprehension on the part of Britain and other EU states, we need to clarify that the China and Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project symbolizes the growing mutuality of interest and the vision of a shared politico-economic future on the part of two neighboring countries that has nothing to do with UK-EU fears. It creates a new framework of interaction on the basis of economic connectivity and regional cooperation which will have far reaching positive implications for the two countries as well as the adjoining regions, as economic uplift of any region or country has the potential to send peace and development signals across the continents. What Pakistan needs to impress upon its European detractors is that instead of radicalism, we need to export peace and prosperity.

The proposed CPEC recognizes the new realities of global and regional politics by cultivating a more systematic, up-graded and need-based interaction for socio-economic, industrial, energy and trade development. This also provides an opportunity to china and Pakistan to improve their interaction with Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Both Pakistan and China are expected to gain from the proposed connectivity through highways, railways, sea lanes, energy pipelines and electricity transmission lines. They will equally contribute to socio-economic development of other countries that become part of these arrangements.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s decision to include Pakistan in his first foreign visit in May 2013, after assuming office in March 2013, underscored the importance Chinese leadership attaches to Pak-China relationship. The visit’s timing significantly indicated a process of political-economic decision making in china as it took place immediately after elections in Pakistan.

The visit of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to China in July, 2013 marked a new phase in the development of the relationship by putting economic cooperation and connectivity squarely at the centre of the bilateral agenda. During the visit MoU on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was signed. The aim of MoU is to enable the two governments to cooperate in the planning and development of the Economic Corridor-based relationship, facilitate and intensify economic activity along the corridor map. The MoU further envisages development of long term plan for economic corridor up to 2030.

China and Pakistan are not expected to face any political problem in expanding their mutual connectivity as they have developed strong mutual trust through the multifaceted bilateral interaction over the last six decades. This experience demonstrates that “there are no contradictions in the strategic and political goals of Pakistan and China, and they have found out over the years that their relationship is mutually rewarding”. There is unanimity of views among various political parties in Pakistan “to strengthen Pakistan’s ties with China”.

A series of Meetings of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) and Joint Working Group on Transport Infrastructure, Energy and Planning were held, followed by the findings and recommendations of Working Groups Meeting wherein a list of priority projects/Early Harvest Project (EHP) of Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) have been finalized during 3rd JCC meeting which was held on August 27, 2014.

The first progress is on the long term planning: the outline for long term planning of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been prepared on the basis of understanding reached in the 2nd JCC meeting on the basic contours of the long term plan and experience in the context of economic corridor’s development. It identifies the key areas and major projects including spatial structure and functional zones, construction of an integrated transport system, IT connectivity, energy cooperation, industries and parks, agriculture development and poverty alleviation, cooperation in livelihood areas and people to people communications.

The second progress is on Transport Infrastructure Projects: the salient features of progress on early harvest projects include CPEC transport planning, road map of future work and port related issues which are the key elements of Transport Infrastructure Projects. It has been agreed that further efforts are still required to increase the pace of work on implementation of Early Harvest Projects (EHPs) in rail and port sectors. Both countries are stressing the importance of sustainable development of the Gwadar Port and Balochistan region. The primary focus is on associating the local community in the development initiative at Gawader and building public ownership through social and economic development project.

Historically, sea waters have always been used as a trade route since long and the modern trade has further enhanced the need of trade through waters. Pakistan being a gateway to the strategically important ‘Strait Of Hormuz’ in the Indian Ocean, blessed with hidden treasures and bordering two Islamic Republics, Afghanistan and Iran, has always been a centre stage for regional politics. The emergence of Gawadar Port as a vibrant regional economic hub has provided an opportunity to regional and extra regional powers to develop strategic and infrastructural connectivity with Gawadar Port. Geo-political environment is considered as important factor influencing the development of human society. The most critical element of the environment is the sea, which occupies almost three-quarters of the surface of earth.

The location of Gawadar port gives it two advantages; it is a warm water port making it available for operations throughout the year.

Secondly it is to be a deep-sea port, which is a reality on the earth and allows large-scale trade and economic activity. Gawadar can be a trading point for all the countries, making it the maintenance and fuelling hub. The construction of the Gawadar port has recently been handed over to china which has long term strategic interest in the port. The Chinese economy, which has been growing for past three decades, is expected to become the world’s largest economy in future. Also the presence of US forces in the region especially the Strait of Malacca through which more than 80% of trade passes, risk has increased for the Chinese economy. They are planning to use the Gawadar port in case of a military threat or war in the region. “The United States will shift more than 70% of its naval fleets into Asia Pacific.

The third progress is on the Energy Sector: both sides have agreed on the developments relating to energy planning. A meeting of the energy planning expert group was held in the first week of August,2015 where discussions focused on energy development plan, guiding principles of power planning, power grid development and list of Priority Projects like Gaddani Power Park and other energy resources so as to reduce energy imports. There was agreement amongst experts that hydropower, domestic coal, wind power and solar power should be developed and utilized actively.

The list of priority in energy sector projects calculates a total capacity of 10400 MW of power generation in Pakistan at an estimated cost of $15,506 million. Both the sides have entered in to serious deliberations to evaluate return on the projects and risk management. The primary focus is thermal and wind power in order to put them in to operation by the year 2017-18 and the hydro power projects are envisaged to be operational around 2020.

The political determination to implement various aspects of the projects has to be demonstrated time and again so that the bureaucrats and others involved in its different phases do not slack. It is important to make sure that all Memorandums of Understanding and any new policy arrangements that may be agreed in the future by China and Pakistan, are implemented in their true spirit without any delay.

Source: http://nation.com.pk/columns/20-Apr-...a-game-changer
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Default Well its true but

Pakistan is not at that level where it can fully utilize its resources and never going to be because the pathetic mindset of people and corrupt politicians. With the recent killing of Mashal Khan its quite obvious that education is not the issue here. As for any other nation yes it might be put as selling your soul for few dollars but for Pakistan its like getting dollar for nothing. So I think that CPEC is great for a country like Pakistan where a person can sell his vote for a cup of tea.
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