China has been a solid player in the political, military, and economic affairs of the Asia-Pacific region; the Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI) is therefore a natural move forward in China’s control. In divine light, the BRI is meant to embody the ancient silk route. Trade via the silk route included a vast network of strategically located trade posts and markets, and significantly standardized transport, exchange, trade, and distribution of resources alongside silk. China is a digital hub in the globalized world and is forming a quagmire for Pakistan to the inception of modern digitalization in Pakistan through CPEC.
Digital Economy/ Connectivity through CPEC
The CPEC is lauded as a “game-changer” inside Pakistan for its ability to reshape Pakistan’s social, economic, and political framework. The CPEC will not only contribute to Pakistan’s conventional economy but will significantly promote and develop its digital economy through numerous digital communication initiatives across its domains. Through CPEC, Pakistan will enter into a new world of digitalization and the modern era.
Cables in Pakistan
Pakistan currently has only one landing station for the respective underwater cable located in Karachi to handle the entire internet traffic of the country; any malfunction in that landing station would disrupt the provision of the internet in the country. An alternative landing station at Gwadar Port is planned to help eliminate and offset this problem. This would help to minimize reliance on established submarine cable routes and provide a more stable and efficient international communications network. By 2020, 6.299 kilometers of underwater cables will stretch from Gwadar to Djibouti and across the Digital Silk Road between Asia and Africa. In many ways, CPEC is tri-continental integration and is connecting digitally and conventionally through trade and voyage.
5G technology has been the greatest myth of the coronavirus pandemic but has been the greatest outlet of the CPEC Project. Huawei, a leading Chinese global technology firm, is also advocating for 5G rollout in Pakistan, where it already has a significant presence on the market. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has set up its 5G Working Group with representatives from telecommunications operators, retailers, suppliers, academics, R&D organizations, regulators, related ministries, and the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).
The BRI, through the Digital Silk Road, serves as the ideal forum for the spread of a regional digital economy rooted in the transformation of the economy of each BRI country and its interconnectivity through the digital and physical exchange, investment, and information sharing, digital infrastructure, and other tools.
By ensuring legal safeguards against cybercrime and by introducing effective enforcement and dispute resolution mechanisms, the BRI is ideally placed to raise the region into a new digital age and to help countries recover from the effects of the current pandemic.