The China-Pakistan economic corridor was proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. On 20 April 2015, Pakistan and China signed an agreement to commence work on the $46 billion agreement, which is roughly 20% of Pakistan’s annual GDP. The China-Pakistan economic corridor is a part of Beijing’s “One belt, one road” (OBOR) vision to expand trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia that is worth $900 billion. OBOR will connect 20 countries by land and maritime links across Asia and Europe. The total size of CPEC is $45 billion but as per as details available, Pakistan will eventually be paying $90 billion to China over the period of 30 years against the loan and investment assorted worth $50 billion under CPEC. The amount increased to $54 billion after the inclusion of more projects in CPEC. The volume of return would increase accordingly.
Geographically, Pakistan is located in strategically important place makes it a corridor between the South East Asian countries and energy-rich Middle Eastern states. The corridor encourages the construction of a cross-border network of highways, railways, airlines, fiber optic cables and oil gas pipelines on both sides of the fences. The 3,000-kilometer long corridor is a comprehensive package containing the connection of Karakoram highway from Kashgar to Gawadar port providing China direct access to the warm waters of Arabian Sea, Middle Eastern oil via the deep water port of Gawadar. The completion of Gawadar would make Baluchistan an economic hub and create a strategic nexus between Pakistan, China, and Central Asia.
The United States is wary of Chinese strategic access to the Arabian Sea and its presence in the region. A few countries are trying to sabotage the mega project. Indian media is showing its anger by broadcasting controversial and false reports about the dilapidating situation of law and order in Pakistan which is threatening towards China’s projects in Pakistan. On Ist June 2015, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India’s Premier Narendra Modi has raised the issue of CPEC during his visit to China (2015) and called the CPEC is “unacceptable” for the country, which was sheer interference in the affairs of a sovereign country. China rejected Indian’s reservations on CPEC and China’s foreign office said that China will carry on trade ties with Pakistan. RAW increased its terrorist activities in Baluchistan. The arrest of Indian serving naval commander Kulbhushan Yadav in Baluchistan bears testimony to the fact that India is involving in terror acts and wants to destabilize Pakistan.
After the successful completion of Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fassad is progressing well. Insecurity and risk do exist but it will not hamper the construction of China- Pakistan economic corridor. India has invested heavily in the road linking project from Afghanistan to Chabahar port to lessen the importance of CPEC. But given the determination and commitment of Pakistan and China, InshaAllah this project would be completed in time. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said on Independence Day celebrations, “We have forged an all-weather friendship that is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey, and engaged in all-round cooperation, setting a shining example of friendly state-to-state relations.”
Many columnists, scholars, and politicians show their concerns about the extreme involvement of China in Pakistan. In October 2016, lawmakers from the Senate of Pakistan expressed a growing anxiety that the CPEC could turn into another East India company if the country’s interests were not protected. China wants to introduce its currency in Gawadar free zone under CPEC framework as part of its policy to internationalize the Renminbi (RMB), the official name of its currency. Minister of Planning and development Mr. Ahsan Iqbal said, “the use of RMB and any other currency would not be permitted in Pakistan, however, consideration is being given to using RMB for trade between Pakistan and China only”. Research indicates that rather than invading any country, China adopts a policy of investing in neighboring countries. “Invest, not to invade’ is the motto adopted by China when it comes to comparative weaker states. If one can study China’s rise, it’s quite easy to conclude that the Chinese model is to invest and build in the developing markets and share the commercial reward with the host nations. CPEC will provide the opportunity of immense economic ascend not only for Pakistan but will link China to the markets of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Baluchistan and the entire country would also benefit from it economically. This would help to make Pakistan an Asian tiger. Hope for the best.