Bilateral International Relations Multilateral Prelims cum Mains

CPEC to consider Pak. social sector priorities

The News

  • China and Pakistan are looking afresh at projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in tune with Pakistan’s focus on development of social infrastructure.
  • China will give more assistance on a priority basis to such areas as agriculture, education, medical service and drinking water, delivering tangible benefits to more people.

 

What is the meaning of social infrastructure?

  • Social Infrastructure is a subset of the infrastructure sector and typically includes assets that accommodate social services.
  • Types of social infrastructure include- healthcare (hospitals), education (schools and universities), public facilities (community housing and prisons) and transportation (railways and roads).

 

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is clutch of projects aimed at rapidly expanding and upgrading Pakistan’s infrastructure and strengthening the economic ties between the People’s Republic of China (China) and Pakistan.
  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • CPEC aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.

 

India’s stand on CPEC

  • India has sent a clear message to China that it doesn’t support CPEC.
  • India registered its protest by boycotting the high-profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China.
  • India’s principal objection was that CPEC passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and thus it violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

India’s Concern

  • One Belt One Road (OBOR) and CPEC seems to be primarily driven by broad geostrategic and geopolitical aim.
  • CPEC will provide China strategic access to the Arabian Sea and enhance its presence in the region.
  • CPEC gives China a foothold in the western Indian Ocean with the Gwadar port, located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, where Chinese warships and a submarine have surfaced.
  • It allows China greater potential to control maritime trade in that part of the world, a vulnerable point for India- which sources more than 60% of its oil supplies from the Middle East.
  • Once completed, CPEC project would mean that the Chinese presence in entire Pakistan including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir becomes all pervasive and powerful.
  • The route of CPEC passes through POK and makes China an indirect stakeholder in Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan.
  • Tense bilateral relations with China, deep mistrusts and India’s growing concerns over Chinese hegemonic intentions in South Asia and Indo-Pacific region make it practically unlikely that India will ever consider joining this project.

 

Way ahead

  • CPEC is ultimately a thorn in India-Pakistan relations. The best way forward would be for India to come up with a concrete plan on PoK. Otherwise, its protests on CPEC may well be ignored by stakeholders in the project, with little consequence.

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