Recently the Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the progress of CPEC despite debt concerns
What is CPEC?
- The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects meant to deepen economic ties between China and Pakistan.
- It was launched in 2015 and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan
- It aims to build a network of roads, railway lines and power projects throughout Pakistan with an estimated value of $62 billion
- CPEC is a a flagship plan under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
- The CPEC will connect China’s largest province Xinjiang(Kashgar) with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan.
- CPEC is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones
- A vast network of highways and railways are to be built under the aegis of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan.
- Modern transportation networks built under CPEC will link seaports in Gwadar and Karachi with northern Pakistan, as well as points further north in western China and Central Asia
A brief note on the Belt and Road Initiative of China
- The BRI was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013.
- It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes(involving infrastructure development and investments)
- The BRI is seen as an attempt by China to further its influence abroad with infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investments all over the world.
- ‘Belt’ refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt and Road refers to the sea routes or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
India’s stand on Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC
- India has refused to endorse BRI since the beginning as it has raised concerns about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which comprises major part of the project, passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- New Delhi has always maintained that CPEC will have serious security implications for India as it includes highways that could facilitate the rapid movement of Pakistani troops.
- PoK is considered a contested territory by the international community. Nevertheless, for India, PoK remains an emotional and sensitive issue.
- It is little wonder that China’s insistence on establishing the CPEC project through PoK is seen by India as a deliberate disregard of its territorial claims.