Fallacy Again - No Energy Projects of CPEC being Shelved
"I Feel as If I Am Going to Visit the Home of My Own Brother". This was the statement made by President Xi Jinping prior to his visit to Pakistan in 2015. Where previously Chinese officials have referred to Pakistan as an Iron-Brother, Pak-China relationship is as strong as ever. A depiction of strong bilateral relations can be seen in the manifestation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The CPEC project is an extremely significant and vital joint venture of Pakistan and China. With speculations of a shifting balance of power from the West to the East. The world is seemingly moving towards multi-polarity and China is the rising power center and challenger to the US hegemony.
Amidst all this, India and European Union (EU) among other countries are uncomfortable with CPEC-based growing relations between Pakistan and China. Even with the talks concerning International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the foremost concerns of the West have been the increasing Pak-China relations and the CPEC project.
CPEC project symbolizes the growing mutuality of interests and the vision of a shared politico-economic future on the part of the two neighbouring countries that has nothing to do with rest of the world. This provides an opportunity to Pakistan and China to improve their interaction with Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Both Pakistan and China are expected to gain from the proposed connectivity through highways, railways, sea-lanes, energy pipelines and electricity transmission lines. Due to this project, major investment is coming in Pakistan (recently Saudi Arabia announced to invest $15 billion), and surely it will create economic activity in the country resulting into prosperity at all levels. The project also includes construction of 11 industrial zones in Pakistan.
However, India with her focus on the Chanakya doctrine with its four agendas has done nothing but criticize Pakistan for every positive step it takes towards national development.
India’s hegemonic ambitions cannot stand Pakistan developing and thriving with the prospect of what CPEC would bring to the Muslim state. This anti-Pakistan stance has been further solidified with PM Modi's anti Pakistan declared policy – where the basic aim of India was to isolate Pakistan at regional and global level. So, it is understandably disappointing on their end to witness the prospects of development being brought by a growing Pakistan-China relationship. India does not want China to enhance its trade and investment in other countries through connectivity which is to be greatly facilitated by CPEC, as India considers itself a competitor to China at regional and global level.
While on one hand India has always tried to hinder Pakistan’s growth and success, on the other side of the picture is the animosity existing between China and India and the threat India feels from a rising China.
Now, coming to present times we see an ever-increasing opposition of both the West and India against CPEC. With the new (PTI) government in office and with the ambition it brings of addressing the existing economic crisis, it has been announced that some major CPEC projects would be shelved, for example, Islamabad has officially conveyed to Beijing that it is no more interested in the 1,320 MW Rahim Yar Khan power project in view of sufficient generation capacity already lined up for the next few years. Pakistan has been facing a devastating power and energy shortage for the past one and a half decade which has not only made its society suffer, but has also forced a large portion of its industry to move outside the country due to insufficient energy to run those industries. It will be extremely illogical to reject any project that will help in filling this energy gap and the Pakistani policy-makers will never subject to such a decision.
Right from the start of the project India has strongly opposed CPEC in view of it passing through the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the US has also thrown its weight behind India by saying that it too believes the route of the corridor passes through a disputed territory – a reference to Northern areas of Pakistan. Both India and America are threatened at their ends by a peacefully rising China and they view this economic partnership as another means of expanding influence and moving a step closer to becoming regional and well as major power competitor against USA. What they don’t see is that the CPEC project is open and inclusive and invites other countries to invest for mutual benefit and shared prosperity of the respective regions and it includes more than 65 countries of the world, not just Pakistan and China. Despite accusations by the West and India, CPEC is an economic cooperative initiative and it is backed by the UN and several other countries of the world which suggests it is not directed against any third party. So, it is high time that India understands how this obsession with CPEC needs to stop as it is purely developmental and is not intended to target India or threaten it in any way.