China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is attracting a lot of powerful players most of which expressed keen desire to become a part of it. Russia, the United Kingdom and France, all displayed an increasing interest in the wonder project. Russia, evidently, has already been given permission to use Gwadar after Kremlin’s spy chief’s visit to Pakistan. Boris on his talk at the Government College University Lahore expressed desire for U.K.’s firms to join CPEC – a rather interesting development.
CPEC, originally a $46 billion mega project, is now valued at $55 billion. It is not only a game changer for Pakistan and China, but Asia and even Middle East as a whole. There is also a growing belief that India could start a war to disrupt CPEC activities or bring it an end altogether but given the number of powerful nations interested in the project, it is unlikely.
CPEC could be the groundwork for China-Pakistan-Russia superpower axis.
A few days ago, Russia and Pakistan held meetings where Moscow formally requested access to Gwadar. Reportedly, the chief of Russia’s intelligence agency, Federal Security Services, made a hush hush visit to Pakistan. The countries discussed strengthening their military and defense ties. Russian officials expressed satisfaction over the economic opportunities offered by CPEC and were keen to make investments in various sectors of Pakistan.
Many believe that growing ties between Russia and Pakistan could mark the end of India’s alliance with Russia. The once Cold War-era rivals Russia and Pakistan have significantly improved their ties over the last two years marked by military deals and joint military drills. Moscow now seeks closer ties with Beijing via Islamabad. India, the historical rival of Pakistan can’t possibly be happy about the coziness between Moscow and Islamabad. Russia has maintained her narrative that growing ties with Pakistan does not mean drifting apart from India. But, it is arguable that Moscow’s interest in CPEC could irk India, a strong oppose of the project, to a massive extent.
India has made no attempts to hide her reservations regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. In fact, New Delhi has made countless attempts to sabotage the entire project. The primary routes under the Corridor pass through the disputed region of Kashmir, a territory claimed by both India and Pakistan. A territory over which the two countries have waged three wars over. At the end of the day, the routes do not pass through Indian-occupied Kashmir. At any rate, joining CPEC would begin Russia’s formal alliance with Pakistan and China.
The United Kingdom
Moscow is not the only country interested in the Corridor. The United Kingdom, Turkey and France have been rather vocal about their intentions to join the project. The most promising of these intentions come from the United Kingdom, currently under a transition away from the European Union. After Brexit, the UK needs investments into non-EU projects and China Pak Corridor could very well be the target. Boris Johnson referred to this Corridor as a wonder project. He said,
I am very excited about the CPEC idea. And I would like UK firms to participate in the construction of this fabulous venture… but this should be part of an even more ambitious vision that would revive the ancient Silk route and see the rebirth of trading caravans connecting East and West.
France seems to be fascinated by the Corridor. Many consider France to be the first in line of many other European countries. Earlier in November, Jean Marc Fenet, head of the Embassy of France’s Regional Economic Department for India and South Asia, expressed the country’s desire to become a part of the corridor. He was addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said France viewed Pakistan as a huge and prosperous market for business. He added that France wanted to strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries and that France was taking a huge interest in Pakistan. French Embassy’s Head of Economic Department Philippe Fouet backed a message by Fenet that said France has what Pakistan needed to boost its economy – the advanced technology and expertise.
Pakistan is open to welcoming others to become a part of CPEC. Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday stated that Pakistan would be happy to see any country join the Corridor. He made these comments during his meeting with the Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov suggesting that Turkmenistan already received an invitation to become a part of the “wonder project.” Earlier this month, Sharif also invited Turkey to invest in CPEC during a Pakistan-Turkey roundtable conference with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
While one can’t put a finger on future alliances, one thing is for certain – any country that is willing to invest in the Corridor is ready to formally ally with Pakistan and China.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.