CHINA–PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR: BACKGROUND, EXPECTED BENEFITS AND POTENTIAL THREATS
The objective of the current paper is to highlight the importance of China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), narrate its anticipated benefits for Pakistan’s economy and also shed light on associated challenges and threats. During recent years, China has become one of the major trading partners of Pakistan along with United States and European Union. China’s foreign direct investment in Pakistan has also witnessed a considerable increase in the 2000’s. CPEC is mega project worth of US$46 billion with objective of connecting Pakistan’s Gwader Port to China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang through a network comprising of highways, railways and pipelines. CPEC is an extension of China’s proposed Silk Road in the 21st century under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative which aims to link Europe and Asia economically and physically through 900 deals worth of US$ 890 billion. CPEC offers number of benefits for Pakistan including improved infrastructure, alleviation of energy crises, improved business environment, additional 2-2.5% growth in real gross domestic product, and most importantly generation of 700,000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030. However, phases of political instability and volatile security situation in Pakistan and construction of Chabahar Port jointly by Iran and India pose some threats for the success of CPEC. Pakistan needs sustained political consensus and commitment at national level in order to improve and maintain law & order situation and provide domestic financing for the success of CPEC in the long-run.
Keywords: CPEC, infrastructure, One-Belt-One –Road, Silk road, Gwader, Pakistan