Pak-China strategic and economic cooperation: challenges & opportunities for the region

By Nasurullah Brohi

The phenomenon of continuous swing in the global political dynamics besides a shift in power among the major players of the world, the face of interstate relations keeps changing respectively. Given the fact, it is important that our understanding of the world we live in should also evolve accordingly, and we are not stuck with a worldview that has no relevance to the evolving realities of a world in transition. Global politics is always characterized with three tendencies; namely, cooperation, competition and conflict where a continuous process of state to state interactions through economic cooperation, regional conflict, intrastate wars, power struggle between two belligerents, alliance formation for countering common causes of security, pursuance of economic interests through bilateral, regional and multilateral relations are on the move and further complicated by the globalization of the world where every state at its best seeking the chances of maximizing of its national interests through various available means.

In the globalized world the rapidly emerging economy of China, which has put the position of many states on a stake in the world where the competitive economies do not always guarantee benefits, but also bring up many challenges and conflicts between the developed and developing and between the rich and poor.

The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan with a cooperation deal worth US$46 billion, focusing on a broad spectrum of cooperation addressing the core issues like energy, transport and infrastructural developments has a greater degree of impact on the lives of people on both sides.

The relationship of the two countries are not only limited to the economic cooperation, but a time tested relationship based on mutual trust, respect, regional cooperation and assistance not a reflection on the notions of international relations where enemy’s enemy is thought to be a friend. What both leaders rightly proclaimed about the Pak-China relations are like a deep rooted tree and the relations having to elevate to strong strategic cooperation shifting towards strategic partnership and bilateral commitment of cooperation in the fields of civil nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards by Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and its firm commitments and efforts for en route into the global non-proliferation regime.

Pakistan is highly committed to disarmament and non-proliferation efforts of the international community under the IAEA, which is expressed by its firmly unilateral cessation of nuclear testing and with highly sophisticated security mechanism for ensuring security and the safety of strategic assets.

The Pakistan-China security interests are also professed to be firmly unified and the strategic partnership between two countries has bystander as a time-tested trust having a deep support of political, institutional and popular sustain within the masses of both sides. Despite of unsmooth relations of the two countries with India, the China encourages and appreciates the Pakistan’s eagerness for peaceful resolution of all of the outstanding issues with the neighboring countries just for the sake of a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous region.

Apart from the bilateral cooperation, both countries have greater role in the peace building and rehabilitation process of Afghanistan, by realizing the fact that peace and development in the region are mostly connected with the stability and peace in Afghanistan. The new regime under President Ghani also explores a range of option, especially through China’s increased role in bringing the Taliban on negotiation tables for a peaceful political solution that could bring an end to the Country’s prolonged quarrel.

China’s investment plans with Pakistan are envisioned with the overall regional infrastructural developments therefore, through the initiative of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will include building a new road network along with the railway line, an airport, dry ports and developing other infrastructures by setting-up oil pipelines cording Kashgar and Gawadar for the energy projects which will cost more than US$30 billion besides the recent deals that comprise US$46. Moreover, these plans also include New Silk Road linking the region with Europe through Central Asia which will not benefit Pakistan and China only but it intends broader goals of regional peace, progress and prosperity.

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Nasurullah Brohi

Nasurullah Brohi works as a Research Fellow at the Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]

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