China opened up a new international trade route from the newly built Gwadar port connecting central Asia, South Asia, and seeing off an export ship to the middle east and Africa. Welcome to the second part of this comprehensive article on the CPEC corridor.
After the series of diplomatic isolations faced by Pakistan it has left with no other friend with the all-time friend china. Taking the advantage of this situation china has usurped the role of principal sponsor of Pakistan. though the military co-operation between the two sides is well document, what has changed the game is Beijing’s commitment of investing $46 billion in Pakistan over the next 6 years. this sum would be a good $15 billion more than what United States has pumped into Pakistan since 2002. Most of this will move towards developing the much-vaunted China Pakistan economic corridor CPEC. The transport and communication infrastructure – roads, highways, railways, cables, oil and gas pipelines will stretch 2,700 kms from Gwadar on the Khunjerab pass at the China Pakistan border in the Karakorum . From 2015 Chinese companies have invested about an average of $5.5 billion foreign direct investments.
BOOSTING EXPORTS via PAKISTAN
After this initial phase, china plans to set up economic zones in corridor where Chinese companies will locate factories. extensive manufacturing collaboration between the two neighbour’s will include a wide range of products including cheap toys and textiles to consumer electronics to supersonic fighter jets planes basic idea behind the project is to develop a sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure as a prerequisite for attracting investments into export oriented industries and manufacturing. As china is facing major issues on labour reforms in its mainland, it may find Pakistan as a huge employment crisis another source of cheap labour. Once completed the china Pakistan economic corridor with sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure combined with low labour costs is expected to draw growing FDI from manufacturers in many countries looking for low cost location to build products for exports to rich OECD countries. Again, made in Pakistan products may have a better acceptability in west Asia and other Islamic countries as against china made products. The CPEC will shorten the route for Chinese products for exports from landlocked western china by a whopping 12,000 a lot of transport bills . since china’s export to western countries are going down it needs new partners to explore new markets. This makes Pakistan an ideal partner for china for years to come.
ISSUES in Pakistan china relation
However there are several issues that can hit Pakistan china relations in future. one of them is china’s hardcore approach towards business. unlike US, china is not accustomed to drop in billions of dollars just to cover its strategic interests. Pakistan’s fragile economy – which has very few export avenues cannot afford to strict payment schedule applied by Beijing. so, the payments may become some big issues in years to come. Again, CPEC needs a good foundation to emerge as a manufacturing hub. For development of an industrial base there are many challenges which are needed to be overcome . the key ones are maintaining security and political stability, ensuring transparency and good governance with quality of execution. Pakistan’s gung-ho approach on internal security as well as relations with India is quite opposite to china’s concept of ‘peaceful rise’ which helped it in emerging as a manufacturing giant. At least a decade of political stability and internal peace is required to ensure a planned development to take place. Whether Pakistan can have this or china can hold its silence if things go south in Islamabad will be key to this relation. Again, seamless integration of china and Pakistan can also bring major security headache for china. Once CPEC is completed china’s soft underbelly Xinjiang- which has sizeable Muslim population will inevitably be more prone to Pakistan based jihadists elements exporting terror ideology to china. Pakistan shares a 372 mile long border with Xinjiang, the north western Chinese region home to 10 million Uighurs, a largely Muslim Turkic- speaking minority a region with sporadic outbreaks of violence between Uighurs and the majority Han population . this can be a major security headache for china.
The impact on India
A simpler analysis shows that the strong china Pakistan relationship will be a security nightmare for India . already presence of Chinese infrastructure in thee POK for CPEC has caused a lot of heartburn for India. the completion of the project will means that china will be viewed as a more powerful influence in the Indian ocean via Gwadar. Again, china’s infrastructural push in Pakistan would go a long way in making Pakistan richer and stronger entity than ever before.an economically stronger Pakistan would inevitable needle India more. With enhanced economic interest in Pakistan, Chinese leadership will convince the local populace that defending Pakistan is now integral to china’s own interest. So any future India Pakistan conflict may give china the opportunity to play a role of mediator between the two sides. However, there is a flip side to the story too. As mentioned above a peaceful reign in Pakistan is a must for completion of CPEC and it is intended for benefits . this may work as some sort of coolant on Pakistan’s extra hot foreign policy. Again for smooth running of CCPEC is inevitable that Pakistan ensures the security of Chinese citizens and its establishments . for this Pakistan would have to contain its own jihadists outfits so that another lal masjid type incident doesn’t occur. This in turn , India will benefit because time and again , it has called on the international community to pressurise the Pakistan to reigning in jihadists and their activities . now pushed by its ally, Pakistan will be compelled to undertake such measures . this can be a major gain to India. Officially china views its growing influence and especially investment in Pakistan an impetus for local development and is not meant to influence, undermine or threaten any third party’s official position. As china gains ore leverage in the country’s decision making structure the development goals are likely to receive more traction within Pakistan’s civil and military establishments .