By Abdul Ghafoor
Apr 22, 2015
It is often said that Pak-China ties are ‘deeper than the ocean and higher than the Himalayas’. Recently these ties have superseded all such theoretical metaphors, particularly in light of the visit by the Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping to Pakistan, and the numerous Memorandums that were signed during this stay.
Pakistan and China have signed over 51 MoUs worth $46 billion in areas of energy and infrastructure; work on these projects is expected to commence immediately. Chinese investment in Pakistan comes at a time when it is vitally important, and it has quickly entirely overshadowed the intermittent US economic aid, given to Pakistan over a long period of 10-15 years.
These investments will greatly help Pakistan in overcoming its rising energy-shortage issues that have been the foremost irritant in preventing the growth of commercial industry in Pakistan. With enough energy, Pakistan can enhance its exports significantly and generate higher jobs. Furthermore, the Gwadar port of Pakistan will become an economic center for South and Central Asia. The port will become an important refueling center for trade cargoes moving towards the South East and the Far East.
The Chinese investment in Pakistan is a part of China’s Grand Strategy to maturate its comparatively underdeveloped western areas and bring them at par with eastern China. Besides this, the Chinese are committed to diversifying their energy corridors and rendering their energy security invulnerable.
The trade corridor will give China closer access to the resources of the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and Africa. Secondly, China has developed very close ties with Central Asian Republics, whose resources could be exploited and exported westward via Gwadar. Above all else, the Chinese efforts to connect Pakistan, Afghanistan, and CARs in a close-knit economic web will entail stability and prosperity for the region, and is therefore in the best interests of all states in the region.