CPEC potential game-changer for Pakistan economy: Chinese daily

Beijing, Nov 15 (IANS) The beginning of cargo trade operations from Pakistan’s Gwadar port is a step towards closer ties between China and Pakistan with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project playing a significant role in promoting the development of the local economy, a Chinese daily said on Tuesday.

In its initial phases, the CPEC faced problems due to ethnic conflicts but the ambitious economic corridor — linking Kashgar in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur and Gwadar Port in southwest Pakistan — has become a reality with the first shipment of Chinese goods on Sunday through the port, the Global Times reported.

Pakistan has tremendous development potential given the strategic value of its location at the intersection of South Asia, China and Central Asia. The next aim of the Sino-Pakistan cooperation was expected to be tapping that potential to benefit the local people, the daily said.

“Renovated port of Gwadar will help pave the way for China and Pakistan to strengthen their industrial cooperation” as new trade routes exporting goods to West Asia and Africa from the port open up, it said.

“The benefit gained in recent years by cooperating with China is Pakistan’s open attitude toward Chinese investment.”

Recent years have seen increasing mutual trust between the two countries, with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying “whoever is against the CPEC is against Pakistan”.

This forms a sharp contrast to political suspicions concerning Chinese investment in some other countries like India, which are still reluctant to participate in China’s Belt and Road initiative, the daily added.

China is working with countries along the Belt and Road route to build a network of roads and infrastructure facilities.

“The CPEC has the potential to be a game-changer that will allow Pakistan to play a more important role in the economic landscape of South Asia if India continues refusing to enhance its economic ties with China.

“China’s initial success in pushing forward the CPEC may arouse vigilance in India, but it would not necessarily be a bad thing if the changing economic landscape in the region puts some pressure on New Delhi to rethink its strategy toward the Belt and Road initiative and Chinese investment,” Global Times said.

China always takes a positive and open attitude toward working with any countries along the route and there is huge potential for cooperation between Beijing and New Delhi in a number of fields such as improving and upgrading the railway system in India, it added.