A report by ‘Siegfried O, Wolf’ throws light on CPEC and BRI, two much talked-about Chinese ventures in recent times. The report is titled ‘The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Context and Assessment ‘. He argued that the main objective of these projects is to establish a link between China and its neighboring countries and with other countries having enormous energy resources. As China is in dire need of energy resources because Its own resources are not sufficient to cater its growing industrialization.
Currently, China is importing over 80 % of energy resources from Middle east, Central Asian States and Africa. China is importing these resources via South-China Sea where The Strait of Malacca is the crucial point. It is a narrow passage between two Indonesian Islands and may create problems for China in the future. Moreover, The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is guarded by Indian and other US-friendly regional states.
A former Chinese president identified this issue and the Chinese officials have been working to find an alternate route to avoid such situation. China has taken into consideration some others routes such as ‘The Sunda’, ‘Lambok’ and ‘Makassar Straits’ but all of these are inappropriate for one or the other reasons.
In this scenario, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the only secure route which not only guarantees security but is also economically feasible. It is the vision of President Xi Jinping and is regarded as the significant part of BRI(Belt and Road Initiative). In fact, it is regarded as the most important leg of BRI as other parts of BRI are linked to completion of CPEC. It will also help China to revive her old gory of 18th century when it was the World’s leading trade nation and to revive the old Silk Route.
The chief objectives of China through CPEC are economic and commercial in nature. The energy resources of Middle East and Africa will be transported through Gwadar Port established in Balochistan, one of the provinces of Pakistan. However, it would also benefit China in terms of security as the geo-strategic goals of china are also linked to her economic development. It is pertinent to mention here that China and US are competing each other in terms of economy and geo-strategic hegemony. Currently, China is just next to the US.
In this scenario, completion of CPEC projects and begining of operations at Gwadar Port as per schedule is the daunting challenge for both China and Pakistan. To mitigate the challenge of security, two security divisions have been established under the command of Pakistan Army to ensure physical security of the CPEC route. Pakistan has shown a lot of foresightedness and professionalism by building a domestic consensus over CPEC and securing its route. However, a few points need to be taken into consideration by Pakistan to secure the long-term economic benefits of CPEC. First, The ownership of the corridor must be the state of Pakistan. Second, a sizable portion of the economic dividends of he CPEC must be given to Pakistan to upgrade its education and health sectors.