China-Pakistan economic corridor: strategic implications for Pakistan
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:44 by Shahzada Saleem Akhter
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a conglomeration of infrastructural development and energy projects, is aimed at connecting China’s landlocked autonomous region of Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in the Indian Ocean. The projects aim to transform Pakistan’s economy through a network of highways, railways and pipelines. Although, both Pakistan and China view CPEC purely through economic lens, it also has regional strategic implications. This view has complicated the policy and scholarly discourse on the mega project, which on the one hand stands to transform Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure, and on the other hand generates apprehensions about efficacy of the CPEC and relations with regional countries. Against this backdrop, this thesis provides a brief background of Pakistan-US relations, a comprehensive analysis of the CPEC project, China policy to connect with energy rich regions by building an economic corridor with Pakistan, and Pakistan’s economic and strategic orientation in the evolving regional dynamics. Using Structural Realist lens, the study highlights that although the CPEC project is in its inception stage but there are several positive landmarks that include successful execution of several infrastructure and power projects. However, the project also faces several challenges both at the domestic as well as at the regional level. However, given the predicament in which Pakistan was placed, CPEC has enhanced its economy as well as strategic position.