CPEC - a highway to regional peace and prosperity

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 22, 2015
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Pakistan will be the major beneficiary as the corridor will transform the economic outlook of the country. It will create thousands of jobs and create prosperity for down-trodden people. It will connect the people of Pakistan's all regions who will be able to benefit from Chinese investment. In fact both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif highlighted that all region of Pakistan will enjoy the fruit of the economic corridor.

The Chinese people and government will also benefit from it immensely. The project creates an easy outlet for the western region of China to the Gwadar seaport, thus bringing China to a stone throw from the oil-rich Middle East. A ship takes just one day from Dubai to reach Gwadar whereas it might take about two weeks to reach Shanghai. It also cuts costs as the per container cost from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan is about US$250 while the same for China could be up to US$1500.

Control over Gwadar brings China closer to Europe and Africa. The cost of shipping from Western Europe to China is almost double the cost of shipping from Pakistan.

Being placed closer to the oil-rich Gulf region means easy supply of oil and gas to China through road and rail links. There is also the possibility of building a direct gas pipeline from Gwadar to China, which would boost economic activity.

The CPEC projects also have strategic importance as in the future China can use the refueling facility, which is being planned at Gwadar, to provide fuel to its submarines. It will increase its outreach to the strategic Indian Ocean.

The CPEC is also crucial for the regional connectivity and economic prosperity. President Xi mentioned in his speech to the parliament that the corridor is part of the Chinese new Silk Road economic belt and maritime Silk Road initiatives. He said China is also planning another corridor to link up with Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. So, the CPEC is the first plank of Chinese idea of connecting the region for trade and mutual benefits.

The current corridor linking Pakistan and China is important due to location of the Gwadar port which provides the shortest trading route for the landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries. China can also use it to trade with these countries.

When about two years ago, the concept of the connecting economic corridor came to light during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Pakistan, there were reservations about it. Many people thought it could take years before the project became feasible, but in just two years, the comprehensive CPEC has been launched.

It will be a game-changer for the region and the most formidable tool to fight militancy and terrorism, which is the biggest threat for the stability of the region. That is why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed it as "corridor to peace."

The writer is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/SajjadMalik.htm

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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