The CPEC game plan


The present scenario in South Asia has drastically changed following the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. The new Afghan interim government is in its formative stages, which is expected to evolve. Pakistan and China would not want the civil war in Afghanistan to hamper the successful completion of the various phases of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In August, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong met with Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Reports claimed the two discussed issues of mutual interest including security issues. Indeed, changing political situation in South Asia would compel the stakeholders to create a game plan. The regional powers must not capitalize on Afghanistan’s current scenario for achieving their security interests.
Analysts opine that China’s investment in Pakistan has increased Beijing’s expectations for Islamabad to overcome or thwart all extremist intent present in Pakistan. Any developing situation in Afghanistan having a direct impact on Pakistan’s socio-economic fabric may not bode well for the CPEC.
One major goal of CPEC is to ensure regional connectivity and interconnectedness between Pakistan and China. The regional integration of South Asian states and that of the West and Central Asia is also an objective that is scheduled for completion. However, China and Pakistan must assure that the region’s peace remains intact and no internal or external forces can jeopardize the timely completion of all projects under CPEC.
Indeed, the economic growth, development, and regional unity will enhance once CPEC projects are complete and become revenue-earning engines for the stakeholders. Recently, earlier this year, China and Iran signed a 25-year strategic deal worth $400 billion. The two countries are expected to collaborate in infrastructural development, finance, banking, tele communications. China and Iran will probably have positive impacts on CPEC. This deal will give Iran’s Chabahar Port much importance in the economic dimensions of CPEC. Pakistan’s Gwadar Port will also endeavor to add value to CPEC and work towards national economic interest. Pakistan-Iran ties may also begin anew. The objective of CPEC stakeholders will be to maintain smooth diplomatic relations with each other that will bolster CPEC that will eventually unite the region on economic grounds.
The Belt and Road Initiative includes nearly 140 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Central Asia, East Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South East Asia.
To ensure smooth sailing in CPEC, the member countries must focus on their shared goals. The member countries must neutralize an external and internal threat, address security issues, and build confidence among each other by strengthening diplomatic relations. With a combined effort and a focus on the goal, CPEC will certainly herald the Asian region into a new future.