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China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): The Project and its Prospects

Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy is the Director General of the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), New Delhi and the Think-20 Chair for India’s G20 Presidency. Click here for detailed profile [+]
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  • Occasional Paper No. 58

    The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been earmarked as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is described as Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy initiative and a grand strategy aimed at restoring China's “rightful'' great-power status in the world. It is a major plank in China's geo-strategic and economic architecture for the region, using Pakistan to secure an exploitative strategic perch in South Asia and the Arabian Sea, overlooking the crucial Persian Gulf, the west coast of India, and the east coast of Africa.

    Pakistan's economic distress, friction between Islamabad and Washington in recent years, and, its enduring tensions with India, provide Beijing an opportunity to draw Pakistan even closer into its strategic orbit.

    It is increasingly clear that not only will the CPEC extract a high price from Pakistan in terms of its sovereignty, it will also entail a substantial, if not downright usurious, economic cost.

    China intends to use Pakistan to hem India in, within the South Asian region and limit its elbow room in the Indian Ocean.
    The CPEC is viewed in Balochistan as an endeavour to exploit the province's natural resources at the cost of the local people, spurring the insurgency. Elsewhere too, it gives rise to misgivings among the local residents.

    The opaque nature of the CPEC and its geostrategic underpinnings detract vastly from any economic growth and development that it may deliver. These are some of the issues that this paper attempts to scan.

    About the Author

    Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy is the Director General of the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. A career diplomat of the Indian Foreign Service from 1981-2018, he was India’s Ambassador to Japan and Mexico. He is an expert on India’s defence, security and foreign policy issues, especially relating to China, India's neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific.

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