Growing Chinese presence in Pakistan’s port city Gwadar has led to the protest. (GS Paper-II, Polity, Constitution, Governance & International Relations) Source: The Times of India

Why in news?

  • Pakistan ports City Gwadar is witnessing massive protests over severe shortage of water , electricity as well as threats to livelihood from illegal fishing, against  multi-billion project  CPEC.

  • Activists state that the needs of the locals are being denied.

  • Gwadar is an integral part of CPEC project under the Chinese flagship program of Belt and Road initiative.

What is CPEC( China- Pakistan economic corridor)?

  • It was launched in 2015 as a multibillion   bilateral project between China and Pakistan. This project is an integral part of China’s Belt and Road initiative.

  • The project aims to promote connectivity across Pakistan by developing networks of highways ,Railways and pipelines.

  • The objective of the project is to link Gwadar port in Pakistan to Xinjiang province of China via Khunjerab Pass.

  • The proposed projects would be financed by heavily subsidized loans by the Chinese government.

Pakistan interest in CPEC;

  • The heavy investment  by the Chinese would give a boost to the Pakistan economy by over 15%.

  • It would help Pakistan meet its energy requirement which is considered to be the biggest  breakthrough in the project, for example, Karot hydropower project and  Karachi nuclear power plant.

  • Pakistan critically lacks the basic infrastructure facilities. Investment by China is likely to uplift Pakistan’s deteriorating infrastructure like for example construction of a railway network worth 10 billion dollar and construction of 2000 km of road in the country.

  • The project also promises the huge employment opportunities in Pakistan.

China interest in CPEC:

  • This corridor would provide China with access to the Middle East and Europe and by shortening the route it would help China save millions of dollars.

  • Functional Gwadar port would provide a link between Maritime Silk Road and Arabian Sea. This would help China easily import its crude and refined oil.

  • In addition to the above mentioned profit China would gain huge strategic and geopolitical advantage in the Indian Ocean region.

Issues related to China Pakistan economic corridor:

  • The project lacks transparency and accountability and is generally opined that  it would be skewed in the favor of China heavily

  • There is apprehension whether the project would create job opportunities for the Pakistan locals as  Chinese are not partnering with local companies.

  • The project may itself in future undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan and dictate its foreign policy especially against India.

  • In the long run the presence of Chinese to various networks may influence the culture and pattern of thinking of Pakistan.

Concerns of India over CPEC:

  • India is concerned over the project as it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir( a disputed territory) which in itself undermines the sovereignty of  India.

  • The heavy presence of Chinese near the border area of the country itself poses a serious security threat.

  • Pakistan and China are now together trying to make Afghanistan join the CPEC infrastructure project.

  • In the effort of the same, China has now proposed to construct Peshawar- Kabul motorway as an extension of  CPEC in Afghanistan.

  • Now these new initiatives have raised the already prevailing concerns of India over  CPEC on economic ,political and security fronts.

  • India’s foremost concern over Afghanistan joining CPEC is that the investment made by India in Chabahar port in Iran would be undermined.

Way forward;

  • India must carefully calculate the potential benefits and possible concerns over belt and Road initiative and accordingly guide its future strategy.

  • India can also   make  use of the Asia- Africa corridor which is India -Japan economic cooperation to counter and balance the Chinese BRI project.

  • With the changing political scenario in Afghanistan, India must very carefully design its relation with it,  in a way that the advantage of China can be reduced in the area.

  • India can focus on building relationships with its own strategic project like Bangladesh -China -India -Myanmar economic corridor(BCIM).

Download plutus ias daily current affairs 24 November 2021

By :- Vivek raj Yadav