International Relations

Afghanistan will be included in the CPEC

Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan have decided to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan in order to fully realise the country’s potential as a regional connectivity hub.

What is CPEC?

  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of the most ambitious components of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), was announced with considerable fanfare in 2015.
  • CPEC is a set of infrastructure projects that began building in Pakistan in 2013.
  • Originally priced at $47 billion, CPEC projects are now worth $62 billion as of 2020.
  • It aims to swiftly update Pakistan’s infrastructure and strengthen its economy through the creation of new transport networks, many energy projects, and special economic zones (SEZs).
  • On November 13, 2016, the Chinese cargo was transferred overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime transportation to Africa and West Asia, making CPEC partially operational.

India’s reservation against CPEC

  • India, which has tense relations with Pakistan, opposes the CPEC project, which is now upgrading the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • This is the land that Pakistan illegally occupied in 1947-48.
  • During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in 2015, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj reportedly informed the Chinese.
  • India did not oppose to China’s development of the Karakoram Highway between 1959 and 1979.

Why is CPEC necessary?

  • Economic drive for Pakistan: CPEC has been hailed as a “gamechanger” for Pakistan’s economy.
  • Debt trap diplomacy: At the same time, China is the sole country investing extensively in Pakistan.

Progress report

  • Slow pace: Despite being the site of multibillion-dollar projects, Gwadar lacks basic essentials such as consistent access to water and power, much alone other infrastructure.
  • But the road to completion has proven to be lengthy and convoluted. According to reports, the pace of CPEC projects in Pakistan has slowed in recent years.
  • Baloch independence movement: Another hurdle to the stalled project is the targeting and killing of Chinese officials.
  • Consistent security risk: China is also attempting to put the army in the CPEC projects, which Pakistan has opposed. 
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