Inevitability of CPEC

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Gohar Karim

Each and every mature mind is well aware of the fact that Pak-China relationship is higher as mountain and deep as ocean which started in 1949 and grew stronger with the passage of time. The CPEC is an example of the strong friendship between the two countries. Chinese Government announced that it will finance Chinese companies to build $45.6 billion worth projects in the fields of energy, transport and communication. It is the biggest overseas investment by China announced yet.
This project has a great strategic importance for China as well because by virtue of this it would achieve access to the Indian Ocean – a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific through building a Strategic Land Bridge from Xinjiang to Gwadar. Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this Strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas. The development and operation of Gwadar Port by China needs to be seen as part of Chinese Grand Maritime Strategy.
Many challenges are also associated with CPEC. Besides the difficult terrain and atrocious weather in northern mountainous area for construction and maintenance of roads, pipelines and hydro projects, internal security, India factor as well as US factor cannot be ruled out. The government may devise policy to impose toll tax on Chinese oil shipment and trade traffic. Security issues need to be tackled properly. Pakistan should develop the training centres and Chinese languages centres and develop industries rather than focusing on importing goods. Finally, Pakistan should take this opportunity with a practical approach.
—Karachi