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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority

Context:

Recently, China gave nod to Pakistan’s decision to scrap the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority amid reports of growing rift between the all-weather friends over the slow pace of the USD 60 billion project.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About CPEC Authority
  2. Reasons for Suspension
  3. What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?
  4. What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

About CPEC Authority

  • A 2019 ordinance formed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority.
  • Its objectives included quickening the speed of CPEC-related initiatives, identifying fresh sources of growth, and releasing the potential of global value chains and interconnected production networks through regional and international connections.

Reasons for Suspension:

  • Protests against the Pakistan Army in Gilgit Baltistan, which is occupied by Pakistan, have increased recently because of land disputes.
  • The army’s “land grabbing” rampage in the name of CPEC has incensed the local populace.
  • The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which opposed Chinese investments in Balochistan, carried out a suicide attack in Karachi University in April 2022 that resulted in the deaths of three Chinese.
  • According to reports, China is pressuring Pakistan to allow Chinese agencies to provide protection for its people, but Islamabad is reportedly objecting because it would mean Chinese armed troops would have boots on the ground.
  • Due to the previous administration’s modification of taxation policy in contravention of pledges made to China, the CPEC projects were also experiencing delays.

What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?

  • China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013.
  • CPEC is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • On 13 November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia.
  • A vast network of highways and railways are to be built under the aegis of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan.
  • CPEC passes through the disputed region of Kashmir where Indian and Pakistani border guards have occasionally exchanged fire across the Line of Control. The Government of India, which shares tense relations with Pakistan, objects to the CPEC project as upgrade works to the Karakoram Highway are taking place in Gilgit Baltistan; territory that India claims as its own.

What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

  • One Belt One Road (OBOR), also called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is an ambitious economic development and commercial project that focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe spanning about 78 countries.
  • Initially announced in the year 2013 with the purpose of restoring the ancient Silk Route that connected Asia and Europe.
  • The project involves building a big network of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure projects.
  • The project covers two parts. The first is called the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” which is primarily land-based and is expected to connect China with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
  • The second is called the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” which is sea-based and is expected to will China’s southern coast to the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.
  • Landlocked Nepal has recently joined OBOR by signing a deal that will help it improve cross-border connectivity with China, and Pakistan is set to benefit from the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect southwestern China to and through Pakistan, allowing access to Arabian Sea routes.

-Source: The Hindu


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