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CPEC: The new world economic order

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with its flagship project the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has received enormous attention globally. Through BRI, worth over one trillion dollars, Beijing aims to increase China’s connectivity with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and even the Pacific. CPEC is one of the first BRI projects through an investment of $63 billion in infrastructural and other projects across Pakistan. The Gwadar Port is CPEC’s centrepiece. As some countries, such as the United States and India, have apprehensions on the BRI/CPEC, there is no shortage of false or propaganda-driven information about these projects. With the aim of providing factual information on CPEC, the book CPEC: A Precursor to Regional Economic Growth and Stability, edited by Professor Zafar Iqbal Cheema, is a step in the right direction.

Comprising of a dozen chapters, this edited volume provides timely analyses of a range of geo-economic and geopolitical issues in the context of CPEC. Various chapters of the book are written by prominent experts from China and Pakistan. This book is a product of the Strategic Vision Institute’s China Studies & Information Centre based in Islamabad.

For the benefit of readers, the book is divided into four thematic sections. The first section focuses on CPEC within the Pak-China framework with chapters written by QuratulainHafeez, Hassan Dawood Butt, and M Waqas Jan. These chapters provide a comprehensive account of the historic relations between China and Pakistan and focus on geo-economic and geo-strategic aspects of CPEC.

While the first chapter comprehensively deals with the background of Pakistan-China relationship, the second chapter by Butt argues, “The overarching vision of CPEC not only includes Pakistan’s economic well-being through regionals trade but also allows it to position itself as a key regional hub for connecting diverse cultures and societies.” In the final chapter of section one, Jan presents an inclusive analysis of Gwadar and the Gwadar Port. By examining the socio-economic situation of Gwadar, the author argues, “Gwadar holds immense potential in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of a stagnant region.”

Pakistan is likely to be strategically and militarily strengthened, diplomatically integrated, technologically more advanced and socially more synthesised with China” through CPEC

Section two of the book benefits from detailed chapters by Syed Hassan Javed, Song Guoyou and Liu Jun who focus on not just the BRI but also China’s economic rise. Javed presents a comprehensive account of China’s economic model with an analysis of the role of the Communist Party. This chapter follows Song’s examination of the grand vision behind the BRI vis-à-vis regional integration. In this chapter, the author from China claims that the BRI is not merely limited to investment in infrastructural development because “the end goal of this massive initiative is to foster a joining of hearts and minds of a diverse range of people.”

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Source: Daily Times

Date: August 1, 2019

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