Home / Economy / CPEC: One Belt One Road – Epochal Initiative | M. Akram Zaki
CPEC: One Belt One Road - Epochal Initiative

CPEC: One Belt One Road – Epochal Initiative | M. Akram Zaki

Since the election of extremist, right wing BJP government led by Prime Minister Modi. the Indo-Pakistan relations have become more complex His National Security Adviser, Mr. Ajit Doval and his Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr V.P. Singh, (Ex- Army Chief) are both very hostile towards Pakistan and China. They have a Doctrine of ”offensive defence,” which implies interference in internal affairs to destabilize the adversary. Hostile statements from Indian leadership , frequent unproved ceasefire violations in Kashmir and firing on Pakistan territory in Sialkot sector are destabilizing regional peace. India is also feverishly arming itself, which has upset the regional balance and created a threat to peace.

WEST ASIA or the Middle East, with its energy resources and strategic location, is in a real mess. It has multiple crises and each crisis has many dimensions. Every crisis has the potential to provoke a major global conflict. Time does not permit even listing of issues involved. Suffice it to say that all nations and, especially, great Powers should make sincere efforts to stabilize this vital region through peaceful bilateral and multilateral Diplomacy, including the system of the United Nationand the CICA framework. One indirect, but positive impact of the enflamed Middle East has been on the need of President Obama to tone down his assertive “Pivot Asia and rebalancing” policy by shifting Forces from Middle East to Asia-Pacific. Now, USA has to devote more time and attention to Middle East and Ukraine. There is also the constraint of resources due to cut in Defence Budget. Obama is obliged to adopt a more realistic attitude towards China. The prospect of building New Type Major Country Relationship Between China and USA have improved. This will be good for peace and security in Asia and the world

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is likely to face serious security challenges, rising out of US policy of “PIVOT Asia”, and “rebalancing” the USA-Japan-Australia-India security cooperation, the strident stand of Japan over Diaoyu Islands and claims of some East Asian Countries, on Islands in South China Sea, the possible danger of interception at Malacca strait , the growing Indo-Us Strategic Partnership, India’s Military buildup and her Naval ambitions to control Indian Ocean, India’s huge Military and Naval establishment at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, American Base at Diego Garcia, the Yemen Conflict, the strategic interest of a major power over “Socotra Island” in Red Sea to control Bab-ul-Mandeb and access to Suez Canal.

India’s Naval Doctrine was formulated by an Indian Historian and Diplomat, Mr. K.M. Panikar, who served as India’s Ambassador to China {1948-1952) He wrote two books on Indian Ocean strategy and role of Sea Power. Like Alfred Thayer Mahan before him, he recognized that England, an Island Nation built an Empire, by developing a powerful Navy and having control of Oceans. He maintained that Navy is not needed to defend the coastline; that is the duty of the Army. Navy is needed to control the Oceans and to prevent the entry and commerce of rivals. He advocated that Indian Ocean must be made fully Indian , Fortunately, it is not an Indian Lake It is really an Afro-Asian Ocean as it washes the shores of a large number of countries in Asia and Africa

In view of India’s negative reaction to Maritime Silk Road Initiative the safety of the Sea lanes and security of Sea Ports, like Chittagong in Bangladesh, Hambantota & Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Gwadar in Pakistan, has assumed greater importance The proposed construction of Kra canal across the Kra Isthmus in Thailand can help to avoid the crowded Malacca Strait and make Sea route shorter and safer The development of Gwadar Port and its link to Kashgar,3000 kilometers up north, by a network of Roads, Railways, Telecommunications and Pipelines is very significant for the Security and development of western China’s Trade with energy rich Middle East as well as with Africa and Europe.

Pakistan and China, during the last several decades, have built a comprehensive, strategic partnership based on mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual benefit. They are “Iron Brothers” and now they are raising this partnership to a new high, by massive development of infrastructure,like roads, railways, telecommunications , major energy projects to produce various form of energy, from coal, wind, solar, oil, gas, hydro and nuclear, also by setting up Especial Economic Zones, or Industrial Parks. Pakistan will be a corridor of safety and progress.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The proposal of building China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in its present form was formally initiated by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013.It was developed during the China visits of Pakistani President, Mamnoon Hussain in February 2014 and the visit of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif two months later. The final documents were signed in April 2015, and the CPEC project was inaugurated, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a State visit to Pakistan.

Actually, Pakistan, is China’s an old and time tested friend. Pakistan had provided to China, in April 1964, an AIR CORRIDOR to travel to Middle East and beyond, and ended the hostile encirclement of China, when PIA became the First Airline to start flights to China. Having a vision of the future, China and Pakistan soon, thereafter, started planning the construction of Karakoram Highway to link the two counties also by land .When the USSR was unraveling it was recognized that Pakistan’s strategic location makes it a natural transit route or a corridor of trade and energy not only for China and Afghanistan, but also between three regions of West Asia ,Central Asia and South Asia.

In 1992, Pakistan took the initiative, along with Iran and Turkey, the two other members of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and made five newly independent states of Central Asia and Azerbaijan along with Afghanistan as full members of ECO in November1992, raising the number of ECO members from Three to Ten. The First Foreign Ministers’ conference of ten ECO countries meeting at Quetta, Pakistan, adopted the “Quetta Plan of Action” to provide the Landlocked ECO countries of Central Asia a corridor and access to the Sea coast at Gwadar by building roads, railway, pipeline and telecommunication network Work on building a port at Gwadar was started earlier and the first Jetty was ready in1992.The two projects to build Gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan , IPI and TAPI also confirm the importance of Pakistan as energy corridor.

The idea of connecting Kashgar and Gwadar has been in the minds of visionary thinkers since many years. In 2001 Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji visited Gwadar and offered to build a Port, because work started earlier had been virtually given up. Plans to widen and to improve the Karakoram Highway were also approved..A study to build a rail link between western China and Pakistan was also reportedly prepared. At least since 2006 the idea of China Pakistan Trade and Energy corridor has been under discussion from time to time. Now the Fully developed master plan for building a comprehensive, multi dimensional China Pakistan Economic Corridor has been formally launched with great fanfare .It has been called a “game changer.” Pakistan and China are all weather Strategic Partners to implement the plans to ensure regional security and common development All provinces and regions of Pakistan will benefit from the projects envisaged in CPEC. While Pakistan will be developed any plans to contain or limit the outreach of China will be Neutralized, because CPEC will link the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The CPEC is an important part of “Asian Security Concept”

The construction of projects connected with CPEC require peace, stability and security. Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism by non-state actors , some of them also receive foreign support. Pakistan, since June 2014, is conducting a major operation “Zarb-e-Azab” against terrorism to destroy the hideouts of terrorists.. Pakistani nation is determined to eliminate the evil of terrorism from the country . Pakistan has also established a special Security Force for protection and Security of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese nationals and others working to complete the Corridor Projects.

This will make CPEC the shorter, cheaper and much safer link between China, Middle East, and then in conjunction with 21st Century Maritime Silk Road also with Africa, and Europe.

The Security and development of Asia, during the next decade will depend on many factors, including stabilization of the Middle East by settling Palestine dispute and other conflicts as well as the resolution of Kashmir and other Indo-Pakistan disputes. CICA member countries should exercise their moral and political influence for promoting peaceful settlement of disputes. They should abstain from interference in the internal affairs of other countries. They should promote cooperation in tackling challenges of terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime. Law enforcement should receive high priority for ensuring stability. People to people contact, and cultural exchange between countries should be encouraged, because people are the real force of Peace.

Pakistan supports the “Asian Security Concept” and Principles of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)The President of Pakistan, MR. Mamnoon Hussain attended the Fourth CICA Summit, held at Shanghai in May 2014, to demonstrate our support. We think that if member countries of CICA, demonstrate the Political Will and faithfully implement, the agreed principles of CICA Declaration of 1999 and the decisions made during the Four CICA Summits, Asia will have a bright future. It is especially important to consistently pursue policies, dedicated to peace, stability and common development. In the next decade, the energy rich Central Asia, and West Asia as well as energy deficit South Asia can improve connectivity and make all around progress in Agriculture, Industry, Commerce, Human Development, and contribute to peaceful co-existence between States of the Region and enhance cooperation for common development and common security for all. The CICA member States should not only cooperate among themselves, they should also develop peaceful cooperation and commerce with countries of other regions, like Africa, Europe, North and South Americas as well as Australia, New Zeeland and Asia Pacific. Asia, which has long tradition of Peace, will play a leading role in avoiding conflict, promoting mutual cooperation and building a Stable, Peaceful and Harmonious World.

The creation of this Non-governmental CICA Forum by China is really a praise worthy initiative. This can be an important instrument of promoting people to people contacts and cultural exchanges between Scholars, Journalists, Professionals , formers, Labour, students and youth and revive the ancient Silk Road Spirit of developing friendly interaction, understanding and cooperation between different cultures and creating a common human civilization. (condludes)


[The writer is ex-Secretary General-Foreign Affairs, Pakistan]

Source: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=275364

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