China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Shaping regional and global doctrine | By Dr Nasreen Akhtar


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Shaping regional and global doctrine

CHINA Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) involves two traditional friends – China and Pakistan. These states are the major irritants to their rival – the United States (US).

Whereas, China and India have fought war in 1962 … still border dispute continues and border tension may erupt anytime. India’s rivalry, regional and global interests have further strengthened China-Pakistan friendship. There have been ups and downs in the Pakistan-US relations for decades, and sometimes seriously pernicious.

In international politics, no perpetual friendship or relations exist. States keep changing their policies and foreign relations. In foreign policy “always decisions are judged in hindsight”, however, relations are assessed before the implementation of policies of the respective states.

During and after the cold war, Pakistan has been an important state in international politics – it had played a pivotal role between the US and China in the early 1970s – being an ally of the US, Pakistan had been engaged in Afghan conflict(s).

Pakistan, as a (security) partner, did whatever it could do but it remained failed to gratify the US because of the divergence of interests between the two old friends.

The first and fundamental rule of international politics is “protection of state’s interest”. Every state has the legitimate right to draw its interests in accordance with internal and external as well as geopolitical environment. End of the cold war brings more chaos and raises tension in all regions.

In 2009, Hillary Clinton, the (then) Secretary of State, acknowledged that Pakistan was left to suffer and face the challenges after the Soviet’s disintegration “and the US created the problems” for Pakistan.

Unfortunate 9/11 incidents happened in the US and those tragic incidents changed the world’s narrative – Pakistan decided to be the third time partner and supported the US doctrine on “war on terror”.

Despite Pakistan’s support against ‘war on terror’ the US developed its nexus with India to make it ready to compete with China – because China was rising when the US was fighting in Afghanistan.

India is ambitious to have the US support in containing China. But US-India nexus augmented Pakistan’s concerns. Several incidents occurred during the war against terror in Afghanistan that increased serious trust deficit between the two old partners – US and Pakistan.

In fact, trust deficit helped Pakistan revisit the foreign policy and strengthen its ties with China which never disappointed whenever Pakistan needed help amid crisis.

As we know, US-China rivalry is not new. China is the only state which has the competence to compete with the US everywhere. The US philosopher, Noam Chomsky, has categorically stated that “China is not rising, it has risen”.

On one hand, China has created unrest to the US and on the other hand Pakistan has, in US’ view’, deceived the  US  in Afghanistan  as the Taliban have liberated their land from the foreign forces.

Though the US soldiers have confessed that it was their “strategic failure” yet the Biden Administration is not ready to accept. Moreover, the China-Pakistan strong nexus has annoyed the US policy makers.

The Biden Doctrine specifically contains China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), a global grand strategic project that includes CPEC.

China, presently, has become the top rival of the United States in the world. Previously, the US raised its concerns about CPEC.

In 2017, the former US Secretary of Defence, Jim Mattis, said, “OBOR [current BRI] to secure China’s over both the continental and maritime interests, in their eventual hope of dominating Eurasia and exploiting natural resources there, things that are certainly at odds with the US policy – what do see China playing in Afghanistan and particularly related to BRI”. It seems the US has left Afghanistan but not this region – South Asia – it remains significant due to CPEC and China- Pakistan partnership.

CPEC is considered the ‘flagship’ of BRI. Because of geostrategic importance, Pakistan is playing a pivotal role in achieving geo-economics goals and CPEC is a major factor.

CPEC, as a major corridor of BRI, provides land and sea routes to China and provides ‘Rapid, Cheap, and Safe’ access to the world markets – Central Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Via the Indian Ocean China would watch its historical rival’s activity in the Indian Ocean – it has upset India as well globally, China and Pakistan have become common rivals of India and the United States.

Recently, the Central Intelligence Agency of America (CIA) established the China Mission Centre (CMC) which would counter China in all regions.

CIA chief, William J. Burns, terms China’s rivalry as the “most geopolitical threat we face in the 21st Century.

He said, “CIA will deploy more officers, technicians, linguists and specialists in countries around the world to gather intelligence and counter China’s interests”. CMC will be working to contain China at regional as well as at the global level.

The new Biden Doctrine would create unrest in the world instead of peace. After fighting so many wars the global power/s should cooperate to uplift the developing/troubling countries. New cold war between China and the US would encourage the rivals to exacerbate tension in the [already] polarized world.

Though rivalry and conflict is a part of international politics, states can develop a cohesive approach for the better world.

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