The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment project, is heralded as a game changer for Pakistan’s economy and for regional cooperation more generally. As a crucial part of the major development initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR), to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the CPEC is widely linked to hopes, interests, as well as regional and global geopolitics. However, such a mega-project also raises numerous questions, especially with regards to the feasibility of its implementation, the impact on the region and, India’s stance vis-a-vis the endeavour. Therefore, this Research Paper seeks to shed light on involved interests and challenges, potential impact on regional development and makes special reference of India’s role in it.
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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a significant part of a regional initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) or the New Silk Road Economic Development Corridor. Basically the OBOR plan aims to revive ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe and Africa. This was a vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Since its announcement Xi’s vision has made headway and has become a major focus of Chinese diplomacy. Led by Beijing, the OBOR concept refers to two ambitious development proposals – the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The SREB seeks to revive the ancient Silk Road that once connected China with Europe by land via high-speed railroads, highways, energy and distribution networks, as well as fibre optic networks. The CPEC must be understood as a crucial part of the China’s OBOR’ initiative aiming at the establishment of an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road through Pakistani port facilities.