CWA Commentary

Photo Source: The Print
   NIAS Course on Global Politics
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)
Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore
For any further information or to subscribe to GP alerts send an email to subachandran@nias.res.in
Print Bookmark

CWA # 131, 12 June 2019

The BRI Summit 2019
Higher than the Himalayas: Pakistan and China

  Raakhavee Ramesh

As of January 2019, CPEC included 9 completed early yield projects and 13 projects under construction, with a total investment of US$19 billion. It drove Pakistan’s economic growth by one to two percentage every year and created 70,000 jobs in Pakistan and free assistance for some livelihood projects in Pakistan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted around 5,000 delegates from across the globe at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing from April 25 to 27 to talk over his signature infrastructure project, which began in 2013 to reconstruct ancient trading routes through Eurasia. This year’s meeting mainly focused on addressing international criticism by keeping down its rhetoric and tightening oversight. Compared with his speech two years ago, Xi was more low-key on the Belt and Road initiative’s growing presence in other countries and had fewer concrete proposals. The President focused more on glancing criticism and suspicions about the multibillion-dollar initiative and stuck to discussing steps on China taking to clean up the project, and vowed “zero tolerance” on corruption. Besides the 37 heads of state or government in attendance at the BRI conference, the event was also marked by the presence of CEOs of industrial and business concerns, IFIs and other international organizations.

By making the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) the poster child of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has capitalized a huge amount into the project. The CPEC has come to signify an important indicator of how things could possibly develop for the countries that have received investment along the new Silk Road. With US$62 billion of investment, Pakistan branded the CPEC a ‘game changer’ aimed at benefitting the whole of Pakistan. CPEC's potential impact on Pakistan has been compared to that of the Marshall Plan commenced by the United States in post-war Europe. 

CPEC - A cooperation plan concentrating on energy, transportation infrastructure, industrial park cooperation, and Gwadar Port has been executed in the outline of this corridor. China and Pakistan have recognized the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which meets regularly. Smooth improvement can be witnessed in a number of projects. Key projects, such as the road to the Gwadar Port, Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, Karakoram Highway

Phase II, Lahore Orange Line Metro, and 1,320MW Coal-Fired Power Plants at Port Qasim have been launched. Some projects have already brought profits. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is open to third parties for cooperation, and more countries have joined or voiced a willingness to participate.

Assessing the performance of the first phase of CPEC, Mr Khan noted with satisfaction that Pakistan’s energy supplies had increased immensely, critical infrastructure gaps were being plugged, Gwadar that was once a small fishing village was renovated into a commercial hub, which oversees some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes, while Gwadar airport was going to be the largest in the country. He also acknowledged that Pakistan was amongst BRI’s earliest and most enthusiastic proponents. The corridor investment has upgraded transportation linkages and efficiently resolved years of crippling power crisis facing the country. CPEC has regarded the alleviation of energy shortage in Pakistan as one of the important areas of construction since its launch. Currently, 12 projects with a total installed capacity of 7,240 MW have been commenced or put into operation.

Since the country is entering the second phase, he has stressed the need to counter climate change and poverty through Sino-Pak joint efforts. He also mentioned agricultural cooperation and industrial development. CPEC has resolved the problem of inadequate investment capacity caused by insufficient savings and lack of foreign exchange in Pakistan.

As of January 2019, CPEC included 9 completed early yield projects and 13 projects under construction, with a total investment of US$19 billion. It drove Pakistan’s economic growth by one to two percentage every year and created 70,000 jobs in Pakistan and free assistance for some livelihood projects in Pakistan. They expect that CPEC will result in the creation of millions of jobs, and add 2 - 2.5 percentages to the country's annual economic growth. More than 30 Chinese and Pakistani enterprises, including hospitality, banking, insurance, financial leasing, logistics, overseas warehousing, grain and oil processing, fishery processing and home appliance assembly, started working at the free zone. CPEC will ultimately give landlocked western Chinese regions the shortest and a more secure route to international markets through Gwadar port. It may be a bilateral endeavour, but NewDelhi cannot ignore its spillover effects on regional governance.

However, not all seemed well as China was not capable to convince Pakistan to revive the Diamer-Bhasha project. Pakistan, which has been at the forefront of BRI due to the CPEC is taking a thoughtful approach towards some of the projects they have signed earlier. Islamabad has already walked out of the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project that was part of the CPEC, quoting strict monetary conditions imposed by Beijing, due to lack of financial authority and weak environmental standards.

China’s efforts to rebrand and assimilate the Belt and Road’s image did have some success, drawing eight more heads of state to this year’s conference. While Beijing and Islamabad have conventionally maintained close defense ties, both the countries say their deepening economic cooperation in recent years has cemented the overall relationship.

Print Bookmark

Other CWA Publications

Conflict Weekly
May 2022 | CWA # 739

IPRI Team

Another racial attack in the US, Divide within the EU over the Russian oil ban, and violence in Israel

read more
NIAS Africa Weekly
May 2022 | CWA # 738

NIAS Africa Team

IN FOCUS | Communal Tensions in Ethiopia

read more
France Presidential Elections 2022
May 2022 | CWA # 737

Padmashree Anandhan

What does Macron's victory mean for France and the EU

read more
France Presidential Elections 2022
May 2022 | CWA # 736

Rishma Banerjee

The rise of Marine Le Pen

read more
France Presidential Elections 2022
May 2022 | CWA # 735

Ashwin Immanuel Dhanabalan

Five reasons why Emmanuel Macron won

read more
France Presidential Elections 2022
May 2022 | CWA # 734

Sourina Bej

Four challenges ahead for President Macron

read more
Conflict Weekly Cover Story
May 2022 | CWA # 733

S Shaji

Sudan, three years after Omar al Bashir

read more
Conflict Weekly
May 2022 | CWA # 732

IPRI Team

Intensifying political crisis in Sri Lanka, Communal tensions in Ethiopia, and 75 days of Ukraine war

read more
NIAS Africa Weekly
May 2022 | CWA # 731

NIAS Africa Team

IN FOCUS | Mali ends defence ties with France

read more
The World This Week
May 2022 | CWA # 730

GP Team

India-Nordic Summit, and New EU sanctions on Russia

read more
Conflict Weekly
May 2022 | CWA # 729

IPRI Team

Mali-France tensions and anti-UK protests in the Virgin Islands

read more
The World This Week
May 2022 | CWA # 728

GP Team

New US assistance for Ukraine

read more
Conflict Weekly
April 2022 | CWA # 727

IPRI Team

​​​​​​​UK-Rwanda asylum deal, Mexico's continuing femicides, and Afghanistan's sectarian violence

read more
NIAS Africa Weekly
April 2022 | CWA # 726

NIAS Africa Team

IN FOCUS | UK-Rwanda asylum deal

read more
The World This Week
April 2022 | CWA # 725

GP Team

China's Boao Forum for Asia, Russia's new ICBM test, and a Cold War in the Solomon Islands

read more
Conflict Weekly
April 2022 | CWA # 724

IPRI Team

The battle for Donbas, Violence in Jerusalem, Riots in Sweden, Kyrgyzstan- Tajikistan border dialogue, and China’s military drills

read more

Click below links for year wise archive
2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018