The bloodline of pak-china friendship
The suggestion for this mega multi-dimensional project was first put forward by the Chinese politician Li Qui Yang, during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. This project was finalized and agreed upon on 20th April 2015 with its essence being the connection between Kashgar and Gawadar by building 4 roads interconnected with each other, 2 railway lines, oil & gas pipelines, airlines and fiber optics with an estimated budget of $46 billion. Along these trade routes, several economic zones will be built to assist pumping up their produce precipitating into an economic boom in Pakistan. The total investment in this venture is the 20% of Pakistan’s annual Gross Domestic Product and 90% of it will be paid by China.
Table 1 – Budget allocation to the segments of CPEC
|Power Generation Programs||$33.97 Billion|
|Lahore Transport Plan||$1.60 Billion|
|Gawadar Port Projects||$0.66 Billion|
|Pak-China Fiber Optics Project||$0.04 Billion|
These plans are divided into three terms.
- Short term plans from 2014 to 2017.
- Medium term plans from 2017 to 2025.
- Long term plans from 2025 to 2030.
Until now only short term planning has been revealed but others are unclear yet.
The short term plan will consume $28 billion of the total budget until its completion by the deadline in 2017 and will inject 10400 megawatts of electricity into the national grid. 870 megawatts of this electricity will be generated by the Karwat Hydroelectric Plant ($1.6 billion) and Saki Kinar Hydroelectric Plant ($1.8 billion) by 2020.
On the other hand by 2017 coal power generation plants in:
- Sahiwal ($1.6 billion) will produce 1320 megawatts.
- Muzaffargarh ($1.9 billion) will produce 1320 megawatts.
- Rahim Yar Khan ($1.9 billion) will produce 1320 megawatts.
- Thar ($900 million) will produce 600 megawatts.
- Port Qasim ($1.8 billion) will produce 1320 megawatts.
- Gawadar ($360 million) will produce 300 megawatts.
Along with this $1.3 billion and $900 million for excavation of coal from two mines will be invested in Thar.
Moreover by 2016 wind power generation plans in:
- Haidarabad ($390 million), two projects will produce 150 megawatts.
- Karachi ($260 million), two projects will produce 100 megawatts.
- Dadu ($130 million), projects will produce 50 megawatts.
A solar power plant ($1.3 billion) will also be built in Bahawalpur, of which 100-megawatt project is currently operational.
The long-term plan will produce a total of 16520 megawatts of electricity. The current nationwide requirement right now is 12000 megawatts and the shortfall is approximately 4500 megawatts.
Karakoram Highway will be 806 km from Havelian to Khunjraab and it will be connected to Gawadar through four different roadways interconnected with each other. The 2674 km western route will be completed by 2016 and will connect to Gawadar via Quetta, Zhob, Dera Ismail Khan, Mianwali and Hassan Abdaal. This route will cover 23% through KPK, 16% through Punjab, 11% through southern areas and 50% through Baluchistan. This segment is in progress in five divisions.
The Eastern route 3 is also in progress which will be 2688 km via Faisalabad and 2781 km via Lahore. It will be completed by 2017. Route 2 via Dera Ghazi Khan (Indus Highway) will be 2756km long. The shortest and the last route to complete (long term) 2442 km will be via Khuzdar, Jacobabad, Rajanpur, Bhakar and Mianwali. Besides this, the Orange Metro train will be 27.1 km completed with $1.62 billion.
After its completion, the port was handed over in 2015, to the Chinese for the duration of 40 years. Its 1200 meter container terminal, 300-meter cargo terminal, and 4 harbor berths have already been completed. According to the Gawadar Port Authority, the port will be fully operational by the end of 2015. This port is immensely important because of warm waters, for being on the mouth of world’s 20% oil resources (Strait of Hormuz) and key international trade route. China will trade plenty of imports and exports in this area and for this many other projects are also in progress.
Table 2 – Projects in Gawadar completing by 2017
|Gwadar International Airport||$230 Million|
|Pak-China Friendship Hospital||$100 Million|
|Pak-China Technical & vocational Institute||$28 Million|
|Clean Water Plant||$130 Million|
|2282 Acres of landscape levelling||$65 Million|
|Break Water||$122 Million|
|East Bay Expressway||$230 Million|
|Digging for harbor||$28 Million|
|Free zone Infrastructure||$12 Million|
Moreover, 2 projects of export infrastructure are to be completed by 2018 with a budget of $21 million. In long term, a four-lane road will be constructed from Muzaffarabad to Deena with a budget of Rs75 Billion.
Firstly, this segment of CPEC will require Pakistan to build a 662 km railway track from Khunjraab to Havelian. Its construction will be difficult due to the mountainous terrain of Karakoram but is doable. Secondly, the other portion of the track will be laid by China. It will connect Khunjraab to Kashghar, stretching 445 km. Both countries are very enthusiastically working towards it. Authorities in the Chinese province Xinjiang have allocated preliminary research funds for this international standard railway track connecting Kashgar with Karachi.
Importance of CPEC
CPEC has become a game changer because of its sheer scale and for becoming the doorway to one of the world’s largest economic trade route of the modern era as it will serve as the bloodline for the second strongest economy. This mega project will connect Kashgar to Gwadar through various roads, railway tracks, oil & gas pipelines, airlines and fiber optics. When this project becomes operational, it will boost Pakistan’s economy by at least 2 to 3 times.
CPEC will reduce China’s distance to the Persian Gulf from 16000 km to only 2600 km and will also provide a comparatively safer passage as well. Experts speculate that with this modern Silk Route, Asia will have unprecedented economic benefits from trade with Europe and Africa. It will act as the bloodline of the largest population-centric regions of the world, the gigantic market of Asia, which in return will strengthen Pakistan as its focal point.
Moreover, the country most influenced by this Pak-China collaborative effort will be India. Pak-China strategic ties will diminish India’s prospect of dominance in the Indian Ocean and by the time Gawadar Port is completely operational, it will ensure relief for Pak Navy and civil shipment from Indian espionage and its range as India had blocked 95% of Pakistan’s trade in 1971. All the ports up till Karachi are in the range of 100 km from Indian sea territory but Gawadar stands 400 km away giving it a secure vantage point. This will end India’s desire for supremacy in the Arabian Sea.
Most importantly, CPEC will yield a tremendous amount of fruits for Pakistan. It will generate a large pool of employment throughout Pakistan, bringing economic well-being to various parts of the nation. This project will have 38% of Baluchistan’s share and 25% of Punjab’s share. 11 of the economic zones will be situated in Baluchistan which will provide a better and modern living standard and eradicate poverty that is prevalent in the province which in return will help derail the anti-Pakistan ideology, eliminate insurgency and develop a sense of trust towards the federal center. Chinese investors are acquiring lands near Gawadar to develop industrial zones. CPEC will also assist the flow of minerals like oil, natural gas, copper, gold and precious stones from Baluchistan. Gwadar International Airport and the nationwide roads & railways network will connect under-developed areas with the developed areas which contribute to their growth.
The power development projects will cover the energy shortfalls in Pakistan, provide more with growth in demand as well as suffice for the newly developing industrial zones. This will embark every sector upon progress. According to the Chinese Prime Minister, this project will bring prosperity to both nations.
CPEC will directly link Kashgar to the Indian Ocean. China spends $18 million daily on importing 6.3 million barrels of crude oil from the Middle East. Furthermore, China meets 80% of its needs from the Strait of Malaka which results in the distance from the Middle East to China being nearly 9912 miles. With the development of the economic corridor, China’s expenses will be reduced by almost 33%, resulting from distance reduced to 3626 miles from Central China and 2295 miles from Western China to the Middle East. The distance from Europe to Western China will be reduced from 19132 miles to only 9597 miles and to Central China, from 17820 to only 10910 miles. The same factor will influence China’s trade with Africa as well.
Additionally, America is continuously struggling to increase its dominance in East and South-East Asia, especially in the islands of Philippines, where the presence of numerous American military bases pose a grave threat to the Chinese trade routes in the region. Through CPEC, China will no longer have to worry about the Americans as it will provide a direct supply line. If in the condition of war in the strait of Malaka, Gawadar will provide China the safest passage for all of its trade through Pakistan. It will ensure China’s better stance in the Strait of Hormuz as compared to America. As already mentioned, the strait of Hormuz is the channel that facilitates 40% of the world’s total oil supply which will also have Iranian oil added to it as well. If China only imports 50% of its oil supply from CPEC, it will save $6 million daily and more than $2 billion annually. Another benefit China will reap from CPEC will be that half of its exports are from Western China so its transportation charges will be hugely decreased. By next year Iran promises more and cheaper oil for the world which will save China any sea route for oil supply.
In August 2015, Pak-China agreed upon 20 more projects worth $1.6 billion to speed up the process. Furthermore, Asia bank and Britain have agreed upon investing $327 million. Kirghizstan has also shown determination to take part in it. An agreement has been signed to lay road and railway from Quetta to Zahidan and Iran. Pakistan is developing relations with Central Asia along with numerous other efforts coming along.