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Ahsan rejects neighbours’ fears about CPEC

| Says India will soon realise CPEC opposition not in her interest

October 01, 2017

BEIJING -  Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not against anyone, CPEC is for everyone.

“No one can obstruct the construction of CPEC and we will make sure success of the project,” he told China Global Television Network (CGTN), adding, “The CPEC is the testament to China-Pakistan friendship.”

He said, “Pakistan has raised a special force of about 15,000 personnel who are assigned exclusively for the security of Chinese personnel at the CPEC project.”

China and Pakistan agreed to strengthen anti-terrorism and security cooperation along CPEC in this month, he added.

Ahsan spoke highly of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Interpol conference.

He thought global security governance must be inclusive and each country’s security considerations must be taken into account.

Talking to Global Times, a prestigious Chinese newspaper, he dismissed apprehensions that CPEC will jeopardize South Asian stability.

He said the CPEC was not against anyone rather more regional connectivity and cooperation will benefit the neighboring countries.

“CPEC is not against anyone but is for everyone. If there’s more regional connectivity and cooperation, everyone will benefit.”

“India will soon realise that opposition of CPEC is not in her interest. It will also help them do better trade with China and Central Asian republics,” he added.

Ahsan said, “CPEC has entered the phase where its fruits and dividends are beginning to be visible.”

“All CPEC projects have become reality and have convinced even the worst skeptics who taught us this is just an illusion,” he added.

Pakistan, he said, was troubled by an energy crisis for years, but things were getting better now thanks to the corridor.

He said the Sahiwal Coal Power Project began production in July, providing 1,320 megawatts of energy.

Another 1,320 MW power project, Qasim Power Project, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to Ahsan Iqbal.

“They offer very valuable power to Pakistan when it comes to an energy crisis,” he said.

Ahsan also expressed his hope of speeding up another mega project–the Diamer-Bhasha Dam – which will produce 4,500 MW of clean hydropower electricity upon completion.

“Pakistan faces a serious water security challenge,” he said. “We are in the area with a high climate-change threat: Our glaciers are melting, our water is decreasing and the population is growing.”

The minister also said his country hopes through cooperation with China to build reservoirs on the Indus River, which could also alleviate Pakistan’s water security challenge.

Under CPEC, the Gwadar Port in Southwest Pakistan became operational in November 2016 and has turned into an “international port of the future,” he said.

Originally valued at $46 billion, the value of CPEC projects has now reached the $65 billion mark. CPEC is seen as the main plank of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative.

He said the economic corridor is a transformation project which effectively brings China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Pakistan’s own Vision 2025 together.

The regions of South Asia, China and Central Asia serve as important engines of economic growth in Asia and are bonded closely by this innovation.

It also offers a platform for global supply chains through which Pakistan and China would be able to facilitate regional and international trade contacts.

In addition, it brings valuable investment into Pakistan amid serious energy crisis. By connecting South Asia, China and Central Asia via CPEC, more job opportunities could be created for over 3 billion people in the region.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 01-Oct-2017 here.


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