By linking China with the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Cihna-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will optimize trade potential and enhance energy security of China, Pakistan and the wider region, directly benefiting some three billion people in China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz speaking at a seminar on “CPEC: Corridor of Prosperity through Education and Business” herr at National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Wednesday said the One-Belt-One-Road was a visionary concept, which had proposed creating Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, with focus on connectivity of infrastructure including roads, rail links, sea routes, ports, and connectivity of policy, trade and finance.
He said the regional connectivity for economic prosperity was an important pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the present governmentwas earnestly implementing various trans-regional connectivity projects linking the country with energy-rich Central Asia and the Middle East and economically promising China and the Far East.
The CPEC was a vital bridge that connected the Road and the Belt, he said. It was located at crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. Pakistani seaport of Gwadar, on northern Arabian Sea near Persian Gulf, was at the confluence of both the Road and the Belt,he added.
Amongst all these projects, he said, the CPEC held a special significance, as it was a flagship project of China’s One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative.
He emphasized that the CPEC should not be viewed in the prism of regional power dynamics, old style alliance formation or ‘Zero-sum relationship’ between different countries. Its spirit was cooperation and not confrontation; collaboration and not competition, he added.
“It is a win-win project for everybody in the region and beyond. CPEC contributes towards a regional and an international order based on shared prosperity, mutual benefits and economic convergence.”
Sartaj Aziz said the CPEC was also a catalyst for regional economic integration. “It will foster regional harmony and forge closer relations among China, Pakistan and our neighbours,” he added. He termed the CPEC a recipe for alleviating poverty for millions of people by providing alternate livelihoods. The Corridor could also act asa bulwark against forces of terrorism and violent extremism — by engaging local youth in meaningful employment and presenting them with new economic opportunities, he said, adding that it would promote regional stability in the region and bring prosperity, particularly to underdeveloped areas by creating jobs and new businesses.
He said the CPEC will tap Pakistan’s enormous natural and human resources, address acute energy shortfalls, modernize Pakistan’s transport infrastructure to contemporary requirements, inject a strong impulse for national economic development and help in building a knowledge-based, egalitarian society, in line with aspirations of the founding father, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The CPEC, he said, would lead to human development in Pakistan by improving economic, industrial, infrastructural and financing activities, which was a key factor in progress and prosperity. Pakistan and China were already cooperating in the field of education through scholarships and exchanges of academicians, scholars, think tanks, journalists and media persons. Such exchange was going to enhance CPEC’s motives, he opined