Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 

CPEC and Regional Integration
Author: Faaiz Amir

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being projected as a game-changer not merely for the peoples of China and Pakistan but also for the region. Similar to other economic corridors, CPEC aims at connecting adjacent countries for commerce, trade and industrial development thereby leading to collective socio-economic growth. Pakistan anticipates greater industrial and trade activity through communication and energy infrastructure, construction of industrial zones and a bustling Gwadar Port. Moreover, for Pakistan CPEC is more than an economic investment aimed at invigorating its economy; it is also a strategic asset that could provide much needed equilibrium against emerging Indian military and economic influence in South and South West Asia. CPEC, for China, besides being the shortest possible trade route to Arabian Sea, Middle East and Europe is a way out of Malacca Strait Jacket. For landlocked regional states like Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, CPEC could provide a greater than before economic and trade opportunity to stimulate their economies. Additionally, regions of Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia are expected to reap huge economic windfall from the Corridor.

The paper intends to probe into the real motives behind the overall concept of CPEC and the benefits that it brings to China and Pakistan. Also, it identifies the potential of the Corridor in blending the regional economies blurring their geographical boundaries.

The paper, while scrutinising the inherent dangers of such interstate mega projects, argues that an increased economic interdependence and cooperation, as promised by CPEC, is likely to ease interstate disputes and tensions thereby, bringing stability and prosperity to the region.

Faaiz Amir

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