CPEC’s Strategic Expansion & Visit of PM to China: An Expert Opinion
Hopefully, during the ongoing maiden visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be further transformed on the path of a “qualitative development” and “strategic expansion”.
Lots of proposals, propositions, plans, programs and projects have already been discussed and finalized for signing of MOUs/agreements during the visit of Premier Sharif in Beijing.
The visit of PM Sharif will have “multiplier effects” in terms of future socio-economic development, geopolitical stability and last but not the least geo-strategic “sustainability” for both sides.
It seems that during the visit to China, the CPEC Phase-II will be officially “commenced” in which lots of new mega projects of energy i.e. solar energy, hydro-power generation, coal and even wind energy will be discussed and subsequently approved.
In this regard, the government of Pakistan plans to develop solar energy production in the country up to 10000 MW and its modalities will be finalized during this visit which is good omen.
The completion of the 10,000 megawatts solar project will be a “value addition” in our national energy mix enabling us to meet the energy shortage at a “cheaper price”.
Thar coal energy production has been accelerated in the country and it has now been included in the agenda of the PM visit to China.
Moreover, the Gwadar coal project is also a mega energy project which will further stimulate social development in Gwadar and reduce poverty too.
Kohala Hydropower Project, Azad Patan Project, Electricity Meter Project and Hub Gwadar Transmission Line Project will be thoroughly discussed and approved during the PM’s visit to China.
The energy projects of the Gilgit- Baltistan (GB) the “Window of the CPEC” should also be pushed forward during this important visit.
The rigorous persuasions of the incumbent government of Pakistan in terms of new energy production shows, “sustainable energy vision” of the incumbent government to overcome widening energy deficits in the country along with achieving the “diversified” energy mix and cheaper energy production in the country.
The mega project of rail has become one of the main attractions in the current visit of PM Sharif to China.
Previously the mega project of ML-1 has been pending but somehow, the incumbent government has convinced the Chinese counterpart to include this project which is very important for the “rehabilitation’ and further “development” of Pakistan Railways in the country. Moreover, Karachi Circular Railway will also be discussed. Moreover, the future development of various important highways will be signed.
The MoUs of Babusar Tunnel, Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway, Mansehra-Muzaffarabad Road, Sago-Yub Road, realignment of Karakoram Highway (KKH) and M9 will also be discussed and may be approved during the recent visit.
The current visit of PM Sharif will open a new “window of opportunity” for both countries in terms of “manufacturing” and “supply chain networking”.
The proposed production facility of the solar panels with “Transfer of Technology Facility” in the country would be value addition in the country.
It would further enhance scope, utility and horizon of Pak-China Trade Agreement Phase-II. It would further expand the outreach of the CPEC projects in the country.
Hopefully, Pakistan will get new “impetus” in energy, infrastructure, investment, joint ventures and trade and last but not the least social development after the visit of PM Sharif to China.
The government of Pakistan should focus on the development of Information Technology (IT) sector under the flagship of CPEC Phase-II and include setting of six sub-working groups on communication technology infrastructure, application innovation, policy and regulation, HR development, cyber security and radio spectrum regulation, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, science & technology, quantum computing, robotics and big data study.
In this regard, proposed building of the Pak-China Technology Business Forum (PCTBF) would further foster IT & ICT cooperation between two countries in the days to come in which the private sector of both the countries including Software Houses and IT companies would play an important role.
To conclude, for achieving the desired goals of immense socio-economic integration, high volumes of trade, investment, industrialization, successful transition towards green energy production, agricultural revolution, sustainable disaster management cooperation, anti-climate change technologies, weather monitoring system and last but not the least further diversification of energy resources should be included in the CPEC-Phase-II.
I suggest that both countries should launch new corridors mainly, China-Pakistan Digital Corridor (CPDC), China-Pakistan Green Corridor (CPGC), China-Pakistan Health Corridor (CPHC), China-Pakistan Artificial Intelligence Corridor (CPAIC), China-Pakistan Agriculture Corridor (CPAC) and last but not the least China-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor (CPKC) which should be expedited and thoroughly discussed during the visit of PM Sharif to China.
In this connection, The “Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS)” Islamabad and the “Pakistan Observer ” would play an important role in the days to come.
Hopefully, these corridors would further enhance cooperation in different fields of Information Technology (IT), formation & building of Software Development Houses, institutionalization of e-commerce, quantum communications, block-chain technologies, IT Supply Chains, CHIPS, big data processing and integration, ICT and last but not the least, qualitative development in science and technology and space sciences in the days to come in CPEC Phase-II.
Furthermore, transition from carbon peak to carbon neutrality may be geared-up with the formation of CPGC in the country which would definitely promote development of green energies in the countries.
In this regard, China being the champion of renewables (wind & solar) should cooperate with Pakistan under the flagship project of the CPEC and stimulate its growth in the country by establishing solar planes production houses.
Building of lithium batteries, water storage batteries (GB geography is ideal for this innovative idea), production of electric vehicles, carbon capturing technologies, production of global warming control technologies along with an early warning system in weather monitoring technologies should also be discussed in the visit of the PM.
It anticipates that formation of the China-Pakistan Health Corridor (CPHC) will further enhance capacity building, efficiency in the medical field, vaccines and medical equipment in Pakistan.
Artificial Intelligence Health Production (AIHP) may be an innovative and value addition in the CPEC Phase-II in the country.
In addition to this, China-Pakistan Artificial Intelligence Corridor (CPAIC) would be a value addition in the CPEC Phase-II because it would accelerate a qualitative development path in the country.
It would foster modernization in the country. An Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence in Pakistan would be a game changer for both the countries.
Moreover, China-Pakistan Agriculture Corridor (CPAC) would focus on the agricultural environment, food security and green revolution in the country.
Duality of cropping technologies, diversification of crops technologies, drone agricultural production, hybrid seed center, bio-fertilizer production units, organic cultivation technologies and last but not the least, water conservation gadgetry should also be discussed during the maiden visit of PM Sharif to China.
The pending issues pertaining to speedy construction of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), LNG, mining, banking and finance cooperation (swapping of national currencies) and integrated social development projects in the GB and Balochistan through the development of SME should also be included in the CPEC Phase-II.
Irritants pertaining to bureaucratic hurdles, execution, implementation and completion of the CPEC Phase-II in the country should also be amicably settled.
Matters of proper security of the Chinese personnel working in different projects of the CPEC along with pending payments should also be thoroughly discussed and resolved for the easy and smooth sailing of CPEC Phase-II projects in the country.