What Does the China-Iran Deal Mean for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?
Authors: Muhammad Tayyab Safdar and Joshua Zabin
China and Iran’s new deal is a big win for Pakistan — and a bigger loss for India.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues to expand in scale and scope. Recently, details of a 25-year strategic partnership between China and Iran came to light, inspiring a furious debate among Iran’s netizens. The plan calls for up to $400 billion in investments spread over 25 years in telecommunications (5G), infrastructure, banking, and free trade zones — and controversially, a vast expansion in military cooperation to include intelligence sharing and weapons design. Amid all the hurrah from Iran, there has been a conspicuous silence from the Chinese side, and it would be wise to wait for official confirmation from Beijing before rushing to judgement on leaked documents from Tehran.
Still, the rapprochement between Beijing and Tehran is likely to have far-reaching effects in South Asia, especially for Pakistan.
One Road and Many Doors
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the constituent corridors of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB). CPEC is the biggest, most ambitious, and most developed part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative; Chinese policymakers have dubbed it as the flagship project of the BRI.
Since its formal launch in 2015, CPEC has sought to address Pakistan’s longstanding infrastructure needs and power shortages. Over the last five years, China has funded the construction of multiple roads in the country, while Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have set up power plants. In the long run, a network of roads, pipelines, and railway lines will link the southern port city of Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan province to Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang region, opening up new avenues for trade. Developing the transport infrastructure is a formidable challenge as the route passes through some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.
تاریخ انتشار اولیه: ۲۴ مرداد ۱۳۹۹
تاریخ رصد: ۶ شهریور ۱۳۹۹