Global Times which is a state-run Chinese daily said in an article that China is concerned over the “˜increasing cost of security”™ & “˜potential setbacks”™ in the $46 billion CPEC. It acknowledged the fact that the project would not be “˜plain sailing”™ for the two countries.
It mentioned that the project faced risks due to a “˜complex regional environment”™ & also referred to the reported deployment of 14,503 security guards by Pakistan to protect the 7,603 Chinese nationals working on the corridor.
The daily has strongly supported the project in the past but these concerns raised by it are worth noting. Recently, Nawaz Sharif has said that the CPEC is of priority to Pakistan, to which the daily said, “˜given the difficulty in protecting the personnel that are working in Pakistan, projects under the CPEC may need to be implemented & assessed step-by-step”™. It also said that “˜China may not want to put too much focus on the region. At the very least, it would be unwise to put all its eggs in one basket”™.
These cautious statements of the state-run daily are a result of a number of things ““
- PM Modi raising the Balochistan atrocities on an international level
- PM”™s visit to Vietnam just before the G20 is said to have concerned China &
- A growing US-India partnership & the emergence of an Indian-Iranian-Afghan nexus which not only is something for the Chinese to think about, but it primarily isolates Pakistan & leaves it with no choice but to fast-track the CPEC
The Chinese government helped build a deep-water port at Gwadar & is also developing airport, infrastructure, energy, & transportation projects along the route. Pakistan”™sÂ DawnÂ newspaper reported that the Chinese side has suggested that Islamabad should formally rope in the army to ensure smooth execution of the project. It added that the Chinese wanted the establishment of a separate ministry or authority that would focus exclusively on the CPEC to escape entanglement in inter-ministerial red tape. This quite clearly shows that all the work & say is of the Chinese & Pakistan is merely providing land for the project, nothing more.
China has warned India that it will act jointly with Pakistan if India continues to oppose the project & that the consequences would be bad for the whole region. Well, this only exposes the deep & irreversible investments that China has already made in the CPEC & in my opinion it gives India more leverage. We have not much to lose ““ unlike China ours isn”™t an export oriented economy & hence dampening of relations wouldn”™t affect our economy much. On the other hand China has a huge trade surplus with India, which might well suffer if relations sour.
This is well a matter of survival for Pakistan, but China can choose ““ greater cooperation with Pakistan, an unstable & disintegrating neighbour, or India, a burgeoning economic & military power.
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