CPEC rapidly shaping geo-economic dynamics, evolving connectivity

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Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali

Being the largest bilateral investment project in terms of geo-economic growth, regional partnership and development, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has emerged surprisingly as a boon both for Pakistan and China as well as for other countries in the region.
There is much to learn from the revolutionary progressive and development story of China as the emerging superpower has magnetically pulled 800 million people out of poverty during the last four decades through economic reforms and a targeted agenda which presents a compelling model for Pakistan to follow. Gwadar is located on an isthmus in the Arabian Sea on the southwestern coast of Pakistan. As such, it is an economic gateway to both the Persian Gulf and Central Asian countries, which would eventually connect more than 64 countries in Asia and Europe.
This is what it has been called the stand-alone pillar of the CPEC and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. CPEC is a framework of regional connectivity which aims at economic regionalization in the digital and globalised world. Besides China and Pakistan, the flagship project will put a positive impact on other regional countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asian Republics (CARs), and the Middle Eastern countries. Through CPEC the regional powers in Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East are shaping their geo-economic priorities and financial benefits which would further help generate peace, stable economies, enduring development and a win-win model for all of them.
The project is shaping requirements and cooperation models among regional countries by improving geographical connectivity and business engagement through improved road, rail and air transportation systems. Additionally, the upgraded flow of trade and business volume will result in a well connected, integrated region of shared destiny, harmony and development through CPEC.
CPEC Project Director, Dr. Liaqat Ali Shah, disclosed that the incumbent government of PTI was rapidly achieving immediate results from CPEC, adding immense unemployed youth were being provided with internship initiative opportunities whereas skilled professionals were already doing jobs due to the project. He said China is all weather friend of Pakistan and CPEC project has created further understanding and people-to-people contact between peoples of the two countries. He added that partnership in the form of CPEC would prove to be a historical milestone in the Sino-Pak bilateral relations. Since the beginning, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been taking keen interest and supporting the game changer project CPEC and is determined to accomplish the great initiative. The mega project would not only benefit Pakistan and China but the whole region, he said, adding, this project would prove to be a gateway to European markets for trade activities.” CPEC-projects under the overarching umbrella of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would help evolve connectivity between the regional and neighbouring countries, and economic and social uplift of the country would be further boosted through these mega projects.
As per Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives’ document, the CPEC project would envisage industrialization by 2030 and more than 20 specialized economic zones are being established under the Industrial phase of CPEC. Furthermore, five million low cost housing projects, CPEC-Internship and Kamyab Jawan Programme, agriculture sector development and other policy initiatives including shifting focus from trade to manufacturing sector, and private-public partnership are the major features of government’s efforts in achieving the goals.
The document further reveals that the set target of economic zones and industrialization would be achieved through mega projects which would be set up under the 2nd phase of CPEC.
After becoming fully operational, Gwadar would become harbinger of massive export-import activity and a gateway to both the Persian Gulf and Central Asian countries, which would engage economic partnership of around 64 countries in Asia and Europe, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar told the APP, adding CPEC was a hope of an advanced future with a modern economy based on peace and prosperity. Setting up of economic zones under the aegis of CPEC would bring about an unbelievable Industrial revolution in the country and industrialization would not only fulfill the domestic needs; rather Pakistan would be able to export its own manufactured items and millions of people will be provided with employment.
Instead of joining the activity to boost economy and peace in the region, India and some other countries are maliciously making false propaganda against CPEC which was another manifestation of desperate Indian attempts to mislead the world community,
Mian Anjum Nisar said. He further said that these countries are also trying to influence the global monetary forums and international financial institutions by disseminating wrong narrative about CPEC. It is worth mentioning here that the completed projects of the CPEC phase-1 have started delivering relief and are yielding dividends and tangible socio-economic benefits to the country’s people.
Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday while addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) moot of Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow said the CPEC and the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) supplement the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.

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