The book “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: A Reappraisal” by Shahid Amin provides a comprehensive analysis of the state’s foreign policy throughout the years while keeping in mind the relations between Pakistan and India. The book explains, in great detail, how the perception of an “Indian threat” has influenced Pakistan’s decision-making. Apart from the India-Pakistan relations, Mr. Shahid Amin also elaborates on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion, and its relations with the Muslim countries and China.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has promised to create millions of employment opportunities, and undertake essential infrastructure and energy projects. The author, Muhammad Ali Talib, a practicing advocate of the High Court of Pakistan, notes that despite the benefits of CPEC, the immense Chinese lending to Pakistan has created a debt problem for the latter. An AidData report, analyzing 100 Chinese debt contracts, reveals that the Chinese loan agreements contain confidentiality clauses that prevent borrowers like Pakistan from revealing any details of the agreements to the general public. Furthermore, these contracts include cross-default clauses, stabilization clauses, and “No Paris Club” clauses which increase China’s bargaining power and policy influence over the borrowing states.
China has exhibited a deep interest in developing the Gwadar Port of Pakistan, under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), for the enhancement of its strategic and economic benefits, while India is investing in the Chabahar Port under the tripartite Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Iran and Afghanistan, with the drive to counter China’s growing presence in the region. Both ports are situated at the international energy trading route and provide connectivity to different regions of the world including Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Such equalizing behavior of both states is not just causing problems for them but also for the neighboring states such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, in this regard, which are the key stakeholders in the construction of these ports. The authors, Ms. Kinza Shah and Mehwish Kayani, look into the geostrategic and geo-economic importance of both ports. This paper also explores the stances given by the major states of the world over the construction of Chabahar and Gwadar ports in accordance with their national interests and ties with the major stakeholders of both the ports i.e. India. Iran, China and Pakistan.
Recognizing the worth of the world’s digital economy, the incumbent government of Pakistan has set off on a path to digitalize the state. In 2018, the government adopted the Digital Pakistan Policy and introduced certain fiscal measures to facilitate the digital transformation of Pakistan and increase investment in the state’s IT sector. Furthermore, through CPEC, China has invested in the development of Pakistan’s digital infrastructure by introducing several projects which will enhance digital connectivity.
Since Pakistan is located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia, any development in the two regions has direct implications for it. At the same time, Pakistan’s geographical location enables it to act as a bridge between the Central Asian Republics and the South Asian states. The author, Hajra Sajjad, notes that through trade agreements and cooperation in security-related areas, the regional connectivity between the two states can be increased. She further states that strengthening the ties between the two states will counter India’s increasing influence in the regions, providing the states of the regions with some relief.
The paper deals with China’s ‘soft balancing’ in Pakistan through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and explains how such has helped limit the influence of the United States in Pakistan after 2015. The author argues that the CPEC is a step towards a more Beijing-led regional order —part of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and greater ambition of extending his country’s influence — which has been working in China’s favor.
China’s economic transformation in the last 40 years has had a huge impact on the global economy. This unprecedented economic scenario has attracted a lot of interest, particularly from developing countries looking to emulate China’s success. The author considers the infant industry model to explain China’s rapid industrialization and subsequent economic rise and explains how China’s long-term approach and facilitative policies have enabled local industries to become competitive worldwide. It also discusses what countries like Pakistan can learn from the Chinese experience with regards to strengthening their industrial base.
Over the years, the people of Pakistan have expressed their growing concern over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It has become a common misconception in Pakistan that CPEC is just another modern-day East India Company. The author, Ayesha Zafar, compares the two and argues that the objectives of CPEC and the circumstances under which China set foot in Pakistan are different from that of the East India Company. She notes that while the East India Company was imperialist in nature and only benefitted the British Empire, CPEC profits both China and Pakistan. Instead of exploiting Pakistan, it is aiding in infrastructural development, energy production, and alleviating unemployment in Pakistan.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the star project of the Belt and Road Initiative, holds immense potential for improved ties, increased tourism, and enhanced trade between the two countries. Moreover, due to the changing global travel policies and SOPs, particularly in the United States, Pakistan may become a more lucrative tourist destination for Chinese travelers.
The article details the energy projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The thesis is that the Chinese-led CPEC could finally resolve Pakistan’s energy crisis.