There has been a lot of noise on CPEC with how it is going to change the fortunes of Pakistan. Well, an economically strong Pakistan is in the best interest of India since it is expected to create more stability in the country and would strengthen the hands of the government in fighting extremism. We have to look at the cost on which this stability is coming. Pakistani leadership is basically pawning its country on the greed of bringing development for its people.
“Another East India Company is in the offing; national interests are not being protected. We are proud of the friendship between Pakistan and China, but the interests of the state should come first,” this was commented by Pakistani Senator Tahir Mashhadi when asked about the prospects which CPEC is going to bring for Pakistan. Well, few points to be noted here is that China and Pakistan do not share any historical, cultural or ethnic ties. Neither does it have the religious brotherhood that like of Saudi Arabia nor it does have a fledgling democracy with which the USA can share some values. China is a country which is bang opposite of everything on which Nazria-e-Pakistan was created. It’s an atheist country which thinks that religion is poison and completely denounces democracy in any form. The major matter of concern is that China is seen as dominant force by all his neighbours with only the rogue state of North Korea being its friend, which is in total shambles paying the price of their friendship. Like in the 70’s Amitabh Bachchan movies “Dushman ka Dushman dost hota hai”(My enemy’s enemy is my friend) this is the commonality shared by both the nations.
Well, geopolitical equations change, countries once at war with each other like USA-Japan are now best of friends but creating a relationship based on enmity and short-sighted development has merely made Pakistan as another province of China. China is basically a loan shark which has made sure that the cost of development which will suit its need will be paid by the poor people of Pakistan. It’s doing development just like the East India company had done with building ports, power plants, and roads so that it can smoothly carry its raw materials and bring it’s ‘Made in China’ brands via Gwadar. Meanwhile, generations of Pakistani spend their money on repaying the debt.
India can also take a leaf from the book and repeat the same with Bangladesh, albeit at a much smaller cost. India is already in advanced talks to develop the Bengali nation’s newest sea port-Payra along with Japan with whom India has very good relations and is a rival of China for the Matarbari deep sea port in Cox Bazar. Sabroom, the southern border town in Tripura is just 146 km away from Chittagong port, which will help in a great way to trade with our North East states reducing our dependency on “Chickens Neck” Siliguri. It will help in cost reduction of goods traded in Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and the eastern parts of Assam like Dibrugarh since this area is mostly flat land unlike the high mountainous regions of Xinjiang it will be easier to build road and railways through this route.
Developing Agartala-Chittagong route will also help in developing the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati route resulting in the overall development of East and North East India.
It will also subsequently bring more development for Bangladesh which will help in curbing extremism and bringing a pro-India and Big brother image among its masses. A growing and developed Bangladesh will also help in curbing illegal infiltration problems on our eastern borders, which is also used by insurgents supported by ISI and other Islamic groups to create disturbance in India ex-2014 Burdwan bomb blast case. Local northeast based insurgents like ULFA also use Bangladesh as a base for their regular hideouts.
More development will mean more jobs for North East which will subsequently reduce the number of people joining these banned outfits.
The Same thing can be done to Myanmar also with major towns like Imphal and Kohima just 100 km from their borders. Establishing an economic corridor in these regions will not only lead to more jobs and prosperity to the North East but will also open up India’s gates towards South East Asia towards Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia. Imphal can become the gateway to South East Asia and South East Asia can me it as their gateway to India.
All these tremendous development efforts will also help in taking away these regions away from China’s reach which can possess an immediate threat to our borders.
In the end, Nations which are visionary can create economies out of thin air. China and Pakistan have no historical, religious or cultural links even the border which they are sharing with China is actually POK. Which due to the utter failures of the past Governments is not part of India and there would have been no CPEC possible. Or blunder is Pakistan and China’s gain.
Whereas Bangladesh was part of India till 1947 and shares a 4000km+ border, Myanmar has a long relationship with India since it is this place where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Army started its march and the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was put in exile and eventually died on this land.
So it will just take a pragmatic leader to execute the things which will take the East and North East along with entire South East Asia towards prosperity marking a death knell towards Terrorism, Separatism, and Insurgency.