Prof. Abdul Shakoor Shah
CPEC is Asian giant and landmark in Sino-Pak evergreen ties. It is regional integration chipping Pak-China with the rest of the regional states. CPEC is an open hub for all regional stakeholders among which Central Asia is of great vitality in regard to geopolitical, socio-economic and geostrategic terms. The landlocked but rich in resources Central Asia requires a gateway to reach regional markets namely Pakistan, China, India and the West Asia. The increasing energy demands of Pak-China can be met by developing trade with Central Asia. CPEC is not only an economic, strategic and diplomatic fort for Pak-China but it is also a boom for Central Asia. The Asian giant: CPEC is a gateway for Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the rest for transporting their goods to regional and global markets. The world is witness to China’s increasing role in international politics, global economic, Tech and future super power. China is excelling at its sustained growth constantly. Along with regional integration China has become a Challenge in the Asian Pacific regional powers like Russia, Japan and India and CPEC will muscle China further to knock down the dreamers of regional hegemony . Central Asia is abandoned in natural resources which attracts Russia, China and Pakistan to Central Asia. Chinese investment in Central Asian has been boosted up from $1billion to more than $50 billion. China Shares borders with Central Asian states. 75% of China and Central Asian trade is carried out through Xinjiang region. China-Turkmenistan has a gas deal, China Kaszkhstan Oil Pipeline. CPEC is an economic and strategic boom for Central Asia. Pakistan has left no stone unturned regarding Peace in Afghanistan. CPEC is an alternative route for three Central Asian states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and if the situation turns uneven. If instability prevails in Afghanistan, CPEC can easily be used as alternate routes. CPEC is a project of regional connectivity. CPEC is a regional changer project that is why most of Central Asian states have shown their great interests in the CPEC and in near future they will step ahead as potential partners. Trade routes from via Gwadar are the safest and shortest. The construction of roads and railways through CPEC will prove a regional game changer. It will link Central Asian states. CPEC will also enhance regional, social and economic integration. It will attract direct investment. CPEC is going to be the hub of bilateral and multilateral trades. The geographic location of the Gawadar Port is strategically important, since it connects Pakistan with South Asia, Central Asia, Iran, and China, all of which are very rich in natural resources or enjoy large markets. Located to the north of the Arabian Sea, Gwadar Port may be perceived as a potential challenge to Iran and the Gulf states. Conventionally, the regional trade has been carried out majorly via ports of Dubai and Ghabhahar. The construction of The New Gawadar International AirPort with an estimated amount of $230 million will strengthen Pak-Central Asian ties. Shanghai Cooperation Organization will also play its significant role in bringing Pakistan and Central Asian states closer through CPEC. Russian will get the opportunity to enjoy warm waters via CPEC. CPEC will play a key role in fighting against various isms. CPEC is going to be a vessel for members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization connecting them to South Asian, North Africa and the Middle East. Most interestingly, the central Asian will benefit from common industrial, economic, trade and technological fields. It will smother people to people contact, cultural ties and boost the tourism industry. CPEC is also an energy securing and energy provision hub. CPEC is also offering the opportunity of a joint security mission for regional stability. Strategically, CPEC is an open access to Indian Ocean that is why India and the US are perturbed over this giant regional connectivity project. The landlocked central Asian states are expected to get more benefits from CPEC with access to warm waters. They can not only boost their trade and industry via CPEC but they can also strengthen their international relations. CPEC with its geostrategic location and Pakistan as a cross road for South, East and West Asian countries is providing unique alliance formation for regional integration, economic boost, sustaining growth and maintaining regional peace and stability especially the balance of power in South Asia. CPEC is at the juncture of South Asian and Central Asia. CPEC is an obstacle against Indian malicious purposes of Asian hegemony.Pakistan has left no stone unturned regarding Peace in Afghanistan. CPEC is an alternative route for three Central Asian states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and if the situation turns uneven. If instability prevails in Afghanistan, CPEC can easily be used as alternate routes. CPEC is a project of regional connectivity. CPEC is the shortest route for China to get access to Arabian Ocean. South Asian intra-regional trade is hardly 3-5% of the total trade while it is 7% in East Asia. Indian intera-neighbor trade is roughly less than 3%. Central Asian States are facing severe economic, political and security challenges, although different from South Asian. CPEC is going to boost regional, intra-regional and intra-neighbor trade. CPEC is implementing neo-functionalism theory in the region. Afghanistan is a major factor in bringing regional peace. Almost all the countries are striving hard for the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It will get direct benefit from CPEC. Afghanistan will earn an annual amount of $50 million USD from transit rights, which is a major amount for reconstruction in Afghanistan. Another most important benefit which is being offered by CPEC is the time saving factor. Trade through CPEC will save time and energy. Time reduction factor is very important for all stakeholders.
(-The Writer is Prof. in English and Freelance Columnist, based in Lahore, Pakistan)