By | Rachel Brooks
December 20, 2020
Image credit: “File:Iran – Pakistan border – panoramio.jpg” by franek2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor has opened the crossing to Iran. Likewise, the Pakistani military has appointed a new control unit over Gwadar bay. Gwadar, a key region to the CPEC, is a major economic access point, considered the “jewel” of the CPEC deal, that will promote the economic empowerment of Iran, while likewise opening a highway for China to access its energy needs. This likewise promotes a circumvention of United States sanctions upon the region.
While Pakistan is set to open the path from CPEC to Iran, China’s People’s Liberation Army has appointed a unit to the Western Theater Command of the CPEC. This was reported by The Hindu on December 19.
Arshad Mehmood gives insights
Arshad Mehmood is a conflict journalist with The Media Line USA, independent U.S. news. He contributes his analysis on the relationship between China and Pakistan since the early stages of the PRC’s development.
Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1950. Over the years, the relationship has turned into an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.”
Both countries consider each other as the closest friend and partner and the Chinese consider Pakistan as its “Iron Brother.” Meanwhile Pakistani says that “our friendship is higher than the peaks of The Himalayas.”
Though diplomatic relations were established in 1950, Chinese military assistance began in 1966, and China has become Pakistan’s largest supplier of arms and its third-largest trading partner.
Chinese, despite various times during the critical phase of their economic growth, did not alter its principle to hold up to Pakistan for keeping up an equilibrium of power in the region, entirely essential for Pakistan’s national security, integrity, and sovereignty.
Pak- China friendship has also undertaken a change in post 9/11 scenario, but their overall contented and long-term consequences have maintained significance.
China’s relations with Pakistan have continued to build-up at the mutual level in the Post – Cold War era. With the enforcement of Pressler Law in October 1990, when the US had discontinued the defense supply to Pakistan, China not only financially and politically supported Pakistan but China did a lot to strengthen Pakistan’s security pledging delivery of mass military hardware to fulfill the gap which was created due to the suspension of the US.
Chinese involvement in the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear capacity is very well known by the world, China played a pivotal role in shattering the nuclear quarantine imposed by the West and The US against Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention that Since 1993, China National Nuclear cooperation has been working on a 9300 Mw power plant at Chasma. It is the first example in the world of a non-western and developing country exporting a power reactor.
China is providing Pakistan with huge military, technical, and economic assistance, including the transfer of nuclear technology and equipment.
China has also assisted Pakistan in building several arms, ammunition, and aircraft rebuild factories.
Both countries have cooperated in large-scale infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including highways, gold, copper mines, major electricity complexes, power plants, dams, and various nuclear power projects.
In 2015, China announced the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC, which is part of its intercontinental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), intending to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia, as well as to counter US influence in the region.
This is the biggest overseas investment by China announced so far and the corridor is expected to be operational within three years.
CPEC “spans Xinjiang region and whole Pakistan in spatial range”.
The economic corridor will run about 2700 km from Xinjiang to Gwadar(Pakistan).
Gwadar is a most strategically deep seaport and it can serve as a port of exit for minerals from Balochistan and Afghanistan, and as an entre-port for wider trade in the greater Indian Ocean zone from South Africa to New Zealand.
Experts say that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its connectivity with Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa will help to re-shape the entire region.
Pakistan’s 560-mile border with Iran runs from the Salih mountains to Gwadar Bay on the Arabian Sea.
The regional security situation will change rapidly after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
US policymakers are worried about how The United States will be able to maintain its intelligence presence in the world’s most strategic region after the evacuation of troops from Afghanistan.
On the other hand, China is making every possible effort to strengthen its foothold in the region just to confront the US efforts for its presence in the region.
However, China’s relations with Central Asian states, including Azerbaijan, are good so far.
The CPEC does not pose any threat to the security of the Caucasus or central Asian countries because China does not want to give the United States any opportunity to gain the sympathy of any country in the region.
Meanwhile, after the US and EU continuous sanctions, Iran has no other option at all, and hopefully, Iran seems to join CPEC in the coming days.
In a developing situation, Iran has separated India from the most important railway line project from Chah- Baha Port to Afghanistan and the project is now with Chinese financial support, Iranian railways are completing the project on their own.