Attempts by the evil duo of China and Pakistan to establish their hegemony in the post-covid world order have been dealt several blows by PM Modi’s diplomacy. China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), Pakistan’s only hope to feed its debt-ridden country is on the verge of destruction and they are blaming none other than India and America for that.
India and America sabotaged projects, says CPEC chief
Khalid Mansoor, the chief of China Pakistan economic corridor has accused US and India of sabotaging multi-billion dollar CPEC. Addressing the CPEC Summit at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Khalid said, “From the point of view of the emerging geostrategic situation, one thing is clear: the United States supported by India is inimical to CPEC. It will not let it succeed. That’s where we have to take a position,”
Mansoor seems oblivious of the real intention behind China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) and believes that an alliance with China will help Pakistan to prosper. According to him China is just assisting Pakistan in its development and does not have any strategic goals in mind. Accusing the US and Europe of being fearful of China, he said, “That’s the reason CPEC is seen suspiciously by both the United States and Europe… they view CEPC more as a move by China to expand its political, strategic and business influence,”
Confirming the nexus of China, Pakistan, and the Taliban, Mansoor added that they are in talks with the Taliban-led Afghan administration for a possible expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan. He further talked about the future economic cooperation with Iran in reference to CPEC.
CPEC-A brief history
Starting in 2015, CPEC is an integral part of China’s BRI, under which the communist administration is trying to revive the old silk route, a transcontinental route through which China traded with the rest of the world in ancient times. In April 2015, China and Pakistan signed an agreement to officially kick start the CPEC phase of BRI in both countries. Initially, the project was worth $46 billion, roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s GDP. However, over a period of five years, its total cost has increased to nearly $62 billion, putting its existence in jeopardy due to rising costs.
CPEC for Pakistan-The toy which costs more than the child
CPEC has been a bone of contention for Pakistan as the decision to proceed with the project was not taken by consensus and the Pakistani government unilaterally signed the deal without any substantive political backing. The project which connects western China with Pakistan’s Gwadar seaport has faced several hurdles from the people of Pakistan. China’s explicit reservation about the project in December 2020, owes mainly to the Baloch rebels hampering the development. As reported by the TFI, China has shifted its attention to Karachi due to the killing of its staff in Balochistan.
The Baloch liberation army has constantly been inflicting the Chinese with human as well as economic capital costs. Other than the opposition of CPEC by Balochs and Sindhis, who are oppressed by the Pak administration, terrorist groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been wreaking havoc on Chinese interests engaged in the project. In July 2021, a suicide bomb blast by TTP had killed 14 Chinese engineers heading towards their workplace for the Dasu Dam project. This led to China putting a total halt on the project
CPEC-A sovereign debt crisis for Pakistan
Moreover, other than the loss of lives, the growing cost of the project has also emerged as a bone of contention for China. The rising cost owes mainly to Pakistan’s dilapidating economy. Pakistan administration has been alleged to be diverting the Chinese money they had provided to them for CPEC. Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper has confirmed that the CPEC is an economic disaster for their country, as the sovereign debt accumulated on Pakistan will be huge which will lead to huge Chinese influence on Pakistan’s economy and other strategic matters.
On one hand, the Pakistani administration claims that CPEC will be fruitful to the country, while simultaneously it oppresses any voice rising against the implementation of the project. However, the discontent about the project among local people as well as people inside the administration has been going on ever since the project was announced. It reached its zenith in 2021, and that is why the project is set to be dumped jeopardizing the dreams of both Chinese and Pakistanis. shifting the blame on India and USA will not help Pakistan’s cause.