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BEYOND THE CHINA-PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (CPEC)

Pakistan and China have signed a multifaceted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, the relationship between the two countries seems to be minimal. When it comes to maintaining ties with China, CPEC is seen as the backbone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. However, relations between the two countries are scattered over several other important fields, which are often neglected by policymakers. The multicontinental flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) covers three continents and improves China’s strategic and military position in the region and the world.

Political, economic, and strategic commitments mark Sino-Pak ties that are higher than the Himalayas. These relations date back to the beginnings of both countries. Pakistan acknowledged the revolutionary government of China and opened the way for Beijing to join the group of nations when the opposition was undefeated worldwide. There have been two big critical junctures in Sino-Pak relations that have deepened relations. The first was during the Indo-China war of 1962 when Pakistan saw an opportunity to further strengthen relations by settling its border dispute with China and ceded Aksai Chin, a strategically important region in northern Ladakh. Second, Pakistan served as a coordinator between Washington and Beijing in 1971 and negotiated the visit of US President Richard Nixon to China. This visit terminated China’s foreign isolation and opened potential approaches for economic and social integration.

The changing dynamics of global and regional influence have taken both countries into a bilateral relationship. The increasing rivalry between the US and China is forcing small states of troubled regions, particularly South Asia, the Middle East, and East Asia, to stand on one side. Pakistan, being locked into a traditional antagonism with India, needs a balancer in the region, and China could better serve its interests. The Asian hegemony is also a major pivot point for the bulging claws of China and India and both countries are trying their best to increase national ties to diminish each other’s ascendancy.

The project of CPEC doesn’t add to the economic forum of China but there are many factors at the back story. CPEC will not only provide to the hegemonic stability of China but will also make China a major mediator and player to bring peace and stability in the region that is mainly in Afghan Peace Deal between the Kabul government and Afghan Taliban. CPEC will also add up to the military expansion and position in the region as China has increased its Military to a significant level. Military expansion is one of the main agendas and goals of China through the flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative.

There are no two opinions that the CPEC is of vital importance to Pakistan’s economy as well as the strategic advantages attached to it, but aggrandizing it at the cost of other main areas is not a wise strategy and is a bitter decision. Pakistan should redefine its core national interests as a result of the shift in global and regional power centers and the development of military technology. In addition to CPEC, several areas need to be addressed, requiring the attention of the governing class, academia, intelligentsia, and the general public.

About Khizer Rehman

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