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BRI Forum for int’l cooperation

IN a matter of just few years, Belt and Road initiative of visionary and farsighted Chinese President Xi Jinping has become a successful model of international cooperation. Based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and shared prosperity, the very initiative has attracted many countries to become part of it to cultivate the fruits of progress and development. We have no doubt in saying that President Xi will also be remembered in the history for not only visioning such a mega development project for the world but also turning into a reality.
Second Belt and Road Forum which opened in Beijing on Sunday provided yet another opportunity to the proponents and supporters of the BRI to sit together, take stock of the development taken so far under the umbrella of the initiative and consider ways and means to further expand the scope of it for a better and prosperous future of their peoples. Opening the Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping very aptly and rightly declared that the Belt and Road has opened up new space for the world’s economic growth. Indeed the BRI no longer is a connectivity project but it has thrown up many opportunities for the countries to cooperate in diverse fields including technology, agriculture and industries. As the future belongs to digital world, President Xi said that China will keep promoting the construction of Belt and Road Science and Technology projects. Indeed this is the futuristic vision and way forward to keep the BRI relevant in the years and decades ahead as in today’s world digital connectivity has become a sort of oxygen and important to strengthen global relations and exploit the economic prospects. The speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the opening session was also very significant and relevant one keeping in view the challenges faced by the humanity especially the developing world. Whilst referring to the progress of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project – one of the main components and earliest manifestations of the BRI, he also put forward five points to further the clout of the mega initiative. Imran Khan said we must undertake joint efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change, establish BRI tourism corridors to promote people-to-people and inter-cultural understanding, anti-corruption office, poverty alleviation fund and concerted efforts to further liberalize trade and investment flows encouraging the private sector and businesses to collaborate in projects.
Undoubtedly all these are people centric recommendations and progress towards that end collectively by Pakistan, China and other BRI members could help not only address some of the most impressing environmental challenges but also address economic woes in order to ensure a safe and secured future for our peoples. As both Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of the CPEC which will see revival of industries and promotion of agriculture sector in Pakistan, both the countries should also work towards promotion of tourism along the diverse and picturesque length of the CPEC. In addition, both the countries should also plan massive tree plantation campaign along the rail and road infrastructure projects of the CPEC in order to turn this project into a green corridor and an example for others. We also need to be mindful and cognizant of the naysayers of the BRI both in the West and in our neighbourhood which keeps not only criticizing the Chinese model but are also hatching conspiracies to sabotage this platform of advance cooperation. The attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi as well as recent terror attacks in Balochistan is a clear manifestation that enemies are out to hurt the CPEC but by the way of further expanding the level of cooperation in different fields, we can foil their sordid designs. The success of the BRI can be gauged from the fact that so far about one hundred and twenty countries have signed its cooperation agreements and we are confident that in the days ahead we will see more and more countries joining it. Those so far opposing it will have to reconsider their position and jump on its bandwagon to reap the fruits.