The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has long been hailed as a transformative project that could revolutionize Pakistan’s agriculture and industrial sectors. However, its progress has been hindered by the country’s historical ties with the West. A recent seminar organized by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) shed light on the potential of CPEC and the need for Pakistan to reevaluate its foreign policy and embrace economic diplomacy.
This article explores the perspectives shared by experts at the seminar and emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between the US and China while harnessing the opportunities presented by CPEC for Pakistan’s economic development.
- CPEC’s Untapped Potential
Speakers at the seminar emphasized that CPEC holds immense potential for modernizing Pakistan’s agriculture and industrial sectors. However, this potential has not been fully realized due to resistance from certain quarters in positions of power. The project offers a crucial opportunity for regional economic connectivity, which can pave the way for Pakistan’s economic growth and development.
- Shifting Foreign Policy Paradigm
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, highlighted the need for a new charter of foreign policy that prioritizes human security, climate change, energy, food security, water scarcity, population, and education over traditional military-centric approaches. He stressed that Pakistan’s national security should be redefined to encompass these critical areas.
- Emphasizing Economic Diplomacy
Experts agreed that economic diplomacy should form the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. By focusing on social and economic development, including food security, climate change, technology, counter-terrorism, and poverty alleviation, Pakistan can strengthen its global standing and create beneficial relationships with other countries.
- Redefining Pakistan’s Relations
The seminar participants pointed out that Pakistan’s longstanding connections with the West and economic dependence on it have been impediments to embracing CPEC’s potential. To fully capitalize on the benefits of CPEC, Pakistan must redefine its relationships and engage with countries in the Middle East, China, and its neighboring nations.
- Averting a New Cold War
With the backdrop of US-China rivalry, experts highlighted the importance of Pakistan striking a delicate balance between its traditional ally, the United States, and its neighbor, China. Pakistan’s unique geopolitical position requires careful navigation to avoid being caught in a new cold war.
- Revamping the Economic Model
Several speakers stressed the need for Pakistan to reassess its economic model to foster regional peace and encourage trade. Revisiting the country’s economic policies and pursuing conducive economic models can pave the way for sustained economic growth.
A recent seminar organized by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) shed light on the potential of CPEC and the need for Pakistan to reevaluate its foreign policy and embrace economic diplomacy.
The seminar on ‘Navigating challenging times: US-China relations and Pakistan’ brought to the forefront the critical importance of embracing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a transformative opportunity for Pakistan’s economic growth.
By prioritizing economic diplomacy, redefining foreign policy, and establishing balanced relations with both the US and China, Pakistan can unlock the full potential of CPEC. Embracing this mega-project can trigger a significant modernization in agriculture and industry, paving the way for a prosperous future for Pakistan and fostering regional peace and cooperation.