China and Pakistan have developed strong bilateral trade and economic ties and cooperation over the years. The relations between the two countries have very often been termed as being, deeper than the deepest sea, sweeter than honey and higher than the highest mountains of Himalayas. Overs the years the two countries have come out to be credible and most reliable friends in the region. Both the countries require each other to remain as reckoned powers in the region where neighbouring countries, India and Russia in particular, are trying their best to establish their hegemony, makes China-Pak quite dependent on each other. China has gradually emerged as Pakistan’s major trading partner both in terms of exports and imports.
Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef has inaugurated a historic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth $46 billion, considered to be the largest investment ever by China in any foreign country. This Corridor is of high significance, as it shall run through one of the most vital geostrategic locations in South Asia. It shall mainly act as a trade bridge between China, the Middle East and Europe through Pakistan but will generate thousands of opportunities and revenue worth billions of dollars for both countries. This project, which will start at the end of this year, will strengthen ties between the two countries that goes back to decades. The project includes $15 Bn for much needed energy production from coal, gas, wind and solar energy. It also includes construction of 3000 kms road network connecting Kashghar from China, going south all through to the Arabian Sea.
It has become no secret that China is expanding its influence in South Asia. A major concern for Pakistan here is that is it China’s sheer love for Pakistan that it is bringing in this big an investment, as China has also started different projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and others countries in the world, or is it actually plays into larger agenda of China to influence South, Central and South East Asia in particular and the world in general, economically as well as geopolitically. This corridor is one of the many megaprojects planned by China in Asia for expanding its influence to counter the relatively better established US sphere of influence in the region. The US has a similar agenda in the form of ‘Pivot to Asia’, which is aimed at countering China’s economic and military expansion in Asia-Pacific.