Syeda Rabia Shah
CPEC, a biggest ever overseas investment by China, is a 3000 km long road that comprises highways, railways and pipelines to link Gwadar (a port city on the south-western coast of Balochistan) with Kashgar(a city in Xinjiang province of China).The total estimated cost of the project is US$46 and is expected to be built over 15 years.
China has been building relationships with the world since decades. To achieve this objective China provided economic assistance to South East Asian Countries during economic and financial crisis. President of China has givenhis foreign policy a new direction by initiating “constructive engagement” policy and pursuedsuch idea through Silk Route, an international trade route between China and Mediterranean, for which many experts believe that china is not only promoting international trade through silk route but also enhancing its geopolitical role in the world. “String of pearls”, a term used for a series of seaports, construction of Djibouti base are some of the examples. So, China is basically moving with the aim of promoting economic development and enhancing its global role by building relations with developing countries. CPEC is thus the part of this policy.
Pakistan and China have been friends since 1950,helping each other in difficult times. Pakistan helped China to connect to the world by opening its air space for Chinese Airlines. Pakistan supported China in becoming member of UN Security Council. China helped Pakistan during the war of 1965 and supported Pakistan in military missile and nuclear program even during the sanctions imposed by USA. CPEC is a result of this long-lasting relationship between two countries.
The CPEC is important for China as well because it links China directly to the Indian Ocean and Middle East through Gwadar port. Being closer to Strait of Hormuz, an oil shipping lane, the Gwadar port will be beneficial for China in reducing its transportation cost from the West Asia due to decrease in the distance from 12000km to 3000km.CPEC will also open doors to number of economic opportunities for Pakistan. The CPEC will help Pakistan in improving its infrastructure and meeting energy demand. Pakistan is facing serious energy problems. CPEC is equally important for both Pakistan and China. It will provide China a secure route to access the middle-east and Africa through Gwadar by reducing its journey from 12000km to 3000km and at the same it will contribute to economic development of Pakistan.