The China – Pakistan Economic Corridor: India’s Dual Dilemma

By Sajjad Ashraf

The Chinese commitment to invest US$46 billion into Pakistan is driven by two main considerations. China’s current $4 trillion foreign trade and 7 million barrels of daily oil imports are largely dependent upon sea-lanes that can be choked by competing powers. Convinced that the U.S. is seeking surrogates to contain its rise, China is seeking alternate and less vulnerable routes. Second, China has finally decided that its troubled but reliable (even dependent) friend, Pakistan, has problems that can best be handled by investing in its power sector and infrastructure development. In the process, as a part of its larger One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) gets a priority because this is the only network that connects China to the Arabian Sea –shortening its maritime distance with the energy rich Persian Gulf market by over 10,000 kilometers.

Kalrkahar, Chakwal, Punjab.

The extent of China’s commitment betters the US$12 billion (estimated to be $120 billion in 2015 dollars) Marshal Plan used to rebuild several European countries after World War II. Some on-going Chinese aided projects are now incorporated into the CPEC. This large infusion of capital, if utilized properly, can potentially change the regional power equation.

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