Americans should appreciate CPEC instead of meddling with it

Seymur Mammadov is the Director of the International Expert Club «EurAsiaAz» which deals with strategic issues of Eurasian Region. He also holds the position as editor-in-chief in news agency “Vzglyad”.

Seymur Mammadov 

The formation of the strategic interaction of countries located along the Great Silk Road currently being revived is increasingly determined by the general trend of regionalization of the processes of their integration (transport, energy, military-technical, humanitarian, etc.) to achieve sustainable inclusive development of countries in the neighborhood of good neighborliness.

An example of this is the implementation of the bilateral interstate project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has become the main component of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

The phased construction of CPEC will not only connect China and Pakistan with a common communications system, but will also ensure their transport interconnectedness and increased trade and economic cooperation with at least 68 countries, including Russia.

The joint Sino-Pakistan long-term development plan for CPEC (2017–2030) provides for the implementation of integration processes not only in the field of transport, but also in energy, industry, agriculture, education, science, tourism and other areas of humanitarian cooperation, which will promote intercultural, the intellectual interaction of the peoples living here, reducing instability in the region. The Sino-Pakistani economic corridor will be beneficial throughout Central Asia, as it will greatly simplify the logistics in the region.

There is no doubt that the project will be successfully implemented, as the governments of Pakistan and China have strong political will. However, only India, the United States and those affected by their propaganda remain his opponents. In addition, in Pakistan, some people who are motivated by external forces sometimes criticize this project, claiming that it is a debt trap for the country, but in reality it is a mutually beneficial project that provides for the interests of not only Pakistan and China, but also those countries that will involve in it.

Returning to the United States, I would like to note that this country conducted a major propaganda campaign both in the media and in political circles, in order to discredit the Sino-Pakistani project. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the population, the government is fully in favor of its implementation.

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The last time a negative opinion about the project was voiced in November last year by Alice Wells, First Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Wells said CPEC, which has a “dubious bidding process and conflicting contract terms,” cannot ensure sustainability and transparency — critical elements for a developing country like Pakistan — in the long run.

She also believes that CPEC is not an example of Chinese philanthropy, given that infrastructure projects are mainly financed by loans, and Chinese companies receive high guaranteed profits through the sale of expensive electricity to the Pakistani energy system.

Firstly, this project is one of the most important elements of the One Belt, One Road initiative, without which it is impossible to recreate the full picture of the New Silk Road.

Secondly, China intends to spend huge funds on the implementation of this project – 62 billion US dollars. Agree that China would not spend its billions on “dubious” projects, not being sure that the project will recoup costs and make a profit.

It is worth recalling here that back in 2001, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Zhu Rongji and in 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao made a trip to Pakistan, which gave impetus to the construction of the large seaport of Gwadar, located 400 km from the Strait of Hormuz leading to the Persian Gulf.

Projects to lay the foundation of the future Sino-Pakistan economic corridor started at the very beginning of the century. In 2007, the construction of three multifunctional berths was completed.

So, long before the conclusion of the CPEC agreement in 2015, China began implementing various infrastructure projects in Pakistan that already brought many benefits to the Islamic Republic, and most importantly, what often happens in such cases has led to a sharp reduction in unemployment in the Pakistani province Balochistan, as well as in Gwadar itself. In addition, the implementation of these projects has led to the creation of important infrastructure railway and maritime hubs.

America should appreciate CPEC instead of meddling it as project can bring Peace in South Asia

With its initiatives put forward, official Beijing creates enormous conditions and helps to ensure that the countries themselves in whose territories these projects are implemented derive no less financial and economic benefits from projects implemented under its auspices. The clearest example is Africa.

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To date, 37 African states are bound by Belt and Road (Now call BRI) agreements. The Chinese program offers Africa large-scale infrastructure projects – the construction of ports, bridges, railways and highways. Last June, the Belts and Road forum was held in Beijing. Among almost 40 foreign heads of state, the leaders of Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Djibouti flew there. One of the goals of their trip was to negotiate a reduction in the debt burden on their countries. China favorably responded to this request.

Without understanding the essence of what is happening, fearing and allegedly “worrying” about Pakistan, the United States and their representatives, in the person of Mrs. Wells, argue that China’s policy regarding the Islamic Republic carries the same “bondage” as African countries that the One Belt, One Road is nothing but the economic expansion of official Beijing.

Meanwhile, Pakistan should continue to show will in the direction of cooperation with China and not be afraid of further deepening trade and economic ties with China. Moreover, such a striking example is evident as China’s cooperation with African states.

A future-proof China-Pakistan joint project is designed to bring more benefits to Pakistan’s neighbors – these are Afghanistan, Iran, also India, which should not view it as a threat to their trade and economic security.

Today, the world is in the grip of global change, geo-economic interests change, the world has already become multipolar, military alliances are already extremely unstable, NATO is in crisis, more and more alliances oriented towards economic cooperation are being created.

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It is possible that in the future, India will join a number of projects both within the framework of the CPEC, and as a whole within the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative. New Delhi should not isolate itself from such global projects. China, India, Pakistan are neighbors, and neighbors should be friends, work closely with each other, improve the welfare of their peoples, and this can be achieved through the implementation of joint, regional projects.

India, Pakistan and China should create new regional economic unions, implement new geo-economic projects that would bring them even closer together. The Sino-Pakistani economic corridor can lay the foundation for the revival of good-neighborly mutually beneficial cooperation in the Asian region. So why not reach an agreement on the demarcation of borders between China and India, and between Pakistan and India? It is time for India to find a common compromise in resolving the conflict in Kashmir.

Summing up all that has been said, it remains to add that the implementation of the CPEC project absolutely excludes the prospects of including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the wake of China’s foreign policy, about which US government and political figures continue to make “warning” statements.

American diplomats have to accept the fact that the world has long ceased to be unipolar and the countries of Asia and the East prefer to deal with a more reliable China, on which they can fully rely. I believe that Americans should appreciate CPEC instead of meddling it as project can bring Peace in South Asia