Strengthening Bilateral Bonds with Unimpeded Trade and Connectivity
On 5th October, Thursday, a meeting between the caretaker Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Jaleel Abbass Jilani, and Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi took place at the third Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation held in Nyingchi, Xizang where both representatives expressed their commitment to CPEC to strengthen ties and promote bilateral growth and development.
2023 marks 10 years since the start of Chinese President XI Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of BRI, is a billion-dollar project that aims to link China’s Kashgar city, Xinjiang province in the Northwest to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in the Southern region. The 62-billion-dollar estimated initiative has developed steadily over the past decade with over 25 billion dollars already invested in various projects across Pakistan.
Chinese investment in the railways, roads, energy sector, and the maritime industry came at a crucial point, helping Pakistan bridge the unexpected gap in monetary influx created by the discontinuation of US aid in 2018. During COVID-19 as well, Chinese investment in CPEC projects across the country kept Pakistan’s economy floating in trying times.
Pakistan and China boast a strong friendship of more than 70 years and the ties between the countries have strengthened further with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of which CPEC is a part of. Pakistan harbors a positive attitude towards the Chinese initiative and Pakistani media has also shown positive sentiments in support of the CPEC.
In December 2020, the Sukkur-Multan Motorway, one of the biggest transportation infrastructure projects was completed and handed over to the Pakistani authorities. The project not only opened new avenues in the declining job sector but also boosted economic development and better traffic conditions. With time, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has benefitted the local population with better job opportunities and contributed to the energy sector as well.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has greatly benefitted the local population, from roads and railways to job opportunities and economic development. The development of Gwadar Port alone has greatly contributed to the country’s financial growth. The development of the maritime industry has given locals access to the international market. Similarly, the development of local infrastructure has helped create more job and business opportunities.
One of the biggest advantages of CPEC so far has been the introduction of opportunities in the job sector. As of 2023, CPEC has created more than 190,000 jobs. In terms of the energy sector, the Karot Hydropower project has added 720 MW to the electrical grid. In the agricultural sector as well, the Pakistan-China Red Chilli Contract Farming Project is yielding estimated 700 tons of dried chilli. The development in various sectors has ultimately contributed to the overall economic growth of the country. With bigger and better opportunities for export and better facilities in general, locals have had the opportunity to increase their income and improve their living conditions. Safe and secure trade prospects and unimpeded connectivity across nations are the hallmark benefits of CPEC that have transformed Pakistan’s economic scene for the better.