Gwadar port of Pakistan. Photo by Umargondal, Wikimedia Commons.
By Wajih Ullah*
The 21st century is an era of new arrangements in international political system. The major powers keep focusing developments takes place in world politics or regional alignment. China and Pakistan all weather friends, celebrating 70 years of their strong diplomatic, political, security and strategic partnership, portraying “deeper than oceans and higher then mountains”. The major hallmark of this friendship shifts into strategic model, after signing a “China Pakistan Economic Corridor”. The flagship project proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping under the umbrella of “One Belt One Road”, the revival of Ancient Silk Road, the “Game Changer” for this region , worth of $62 billion dollar, connecting the 68 countries via land and maritime routes, linking three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor enliven Pakistan strategic and geo-political position in South Asia as well as Central Asia. Multiple strategic developments tool place after signing a CPEC projects. The presence of China, Pakistan and India, all nuclear power neighboring countries, had a great importance in international arena located in South Asia. Animosity between Pakistan and India create unbalance circumstances in arms and nuclear trade war. Afghanistan a conflict zone for many decades a problematic land in this region, hurdle to enter in Central Asian States, While India and Iran relationship especially in context of Baluchistan where a key project of CPEC “ Gawdar Port” the deepest seaport in Arabian Sea, ongoing insurgency in Baluchistan evidently proof India involve to sabotage the CPEC. For that perspective, how Pakistan and China able to counter non-state actor, foreign involvement or internal proxies between states. Keeping in view, China already taken every step to secure CPEC project.
The “One Belt One Road” initiative covers three continents Asia, Africa and Europe. Beside this, the vital project was “China Pakistan Economic Corridor”, here security arrangements different with rest of project. Geo-political and security dimensions varies time to time. Four factors which determine the security arrangements of China Pakistan Economic Corridor
Internal Security problems of Pakistan , presence of non- state actor in BaluchistanIndian involvement, rising question that CPEC passing through disputed territoryAfghanistan conflict, Afghan land the shortest route towards Central Asian StatesRift between two world power America and China, America is not happy with this project, because of increasing economic development in Pakistan and Foreign Direct Investment
In addition to that, the leadership of both countries, civil or military shows full commitment to ensure the security of CPEC. Recent visit of Army Chief of Pakistan to China and met her counterpart, Gen Han Weiguo discussed “Regional Security environment, security of CPEC and bilateral cooperation. Win- Win strategy is core point of China’s foreign policy. Both countries working with “Three elements of forces Terrorism, Extremisms and Separatism”.
Pakistan facing terrorism since many years, now internal security environment is friendly for foreign countries. China facing separatist movement in Xinjiang Uighur called East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Tackling this movement Pakistan caring an operation in FATA, eradicate the elements presence in Pakistan tribal area which boost china’s confidence in Pakistan.
Prior to that, India was another major player in South Asia, having trillion of economic size, human resource and nuclear power. India was not happy with ongoing regional economic development, in context of Pakistan, having China influence in Pakistan to boost Pakistan economic prosperity. India knows it cannot change neighbor, but Kashmir issue and longstanding mistrust between both countries make it impossible to involve India in this project for regional development. For that reason, India and America on same page to curb Chinese influence in South Asian. American attitude towards CPEC was not positive, because American thinks it’s a Master Plan of China to create its hegemony in international system.
Pakistan is blessed with geo-graphical position, which enable Pakistan to played smart moves in South Asia, deteriorating internal security situation creating major obstacles towards a regional player. The era of 21st century is not about military might, Geo-economics take position international political system. Strong and balance economy of a country make it possible to maintain political stability.
China, all-time-tested friend, cooperating Pakistan in every political, diplomatic or strategic terms. For that purpose, China initiate a dialogue in Afghanistan to tackle the terrorism issue, support Pakistani stance and bring Taliban on negotiation table. Fragile security situation of Afghanistan creating chaos in Pakistan, securing border is top priority.
To conclude, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, is not a project related to infrastructure, land or Maritimes lines, but protecting a future oil and trade routes. A project securing a strategic or political interest in future by development of sea ports, controlling Indian Ocean. Shifting “Military maneuvering to Economic maneuvering.”
* Wajih Ullah student of Politics and International Relations in International Islamic University, Islamabad