Update (Jan. 17, 2022): Pakistan and China have recently introduced an air cargo route between Islamabad and Kashgar. It is the second air cargo route in the country. The first one was launched in 2019 between Karachi and Kashgar.
The successful landing of a Pakistani air cargo plane at the Kashgar Airport marked the official launch of the all-new air cargo service. The news of this major development was released by China Radio International.
China has opened Kashgar Airport for international cargo routes to facilitate economic and trade development in the region along the Silk Road Economic Belt. This air traffic and service platform is further expected to strengthen trade ties between Xinjiang, South Asia, West Asia, and Europe.
‘Pak-Cheen Dosti Zindabad,’ was a famous jingle that ran on television channels back in the olden days. Kids used to sing along and the elders in the family used to smile. The friendship between Pakistan and China has brought both countries closer with each passing year. People of both nations can easily travel to each other’s country. The easy movement has also benefited trade relations. Lots of products are imported and exported to and from Pakistan and China.
So, how did it all begin and how is the future going to be like? Here we’ve tried to answer some of your questions about Pak-China relations.
Now, without further ado, let’s begin!
It all began in 1950 when Pakistan entered diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. It served as the foundation of a long and fruitful friendship between the two countries. Pak-China relations became economically beneficial in the year 1979 and, soon enough, China became Pakistan’s third largest trading partner.
China also started serving as the largest supplier of arms for the Pakistani military force a few decades ago. In fact, as per a 2018 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China provides around 70 percent of weapons to its southern neighbour.
Being good strategic partners, Pakistan and China support each other in a lot of matters. For example, whenever Pakistan raises its voice over the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir, it is usually backed by China.
Similarly, military cooperation between the two countries has also strengthened in recent years because of the collaboration on multiple projects related to the testing and launch of many assets and equipment used by the armed forces.
Pakistan and China have also decided to cooperate with each other for the improvement of the civil nuclear power sector in Pakistan. All these are fine examples of strengthening Pak-China relations.
If we take a look into the past, we realize that China had provided considerable financial assistance in different circumstances. Case in point: the economy of Pakistan suffered great loss at the time of the separation of West and East Pakistan (1969-1971). China provided a generous $60 billion loan to Pakistan, which was later converted into a grant.
Nearly 50 years later, the economic cooperation between Pakistan and China has strengthened even more in the form of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This route will support the economy of Pakistan as well as of China and will become an extremely profitable trade route upon possible completion in 2030.
Infrastructural Developments for CPEC
Starting from Khunjerab in Northern Pakistan, splitting in more than one road and going all the way to Gwadar and Karachi, the route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor was mapped out in the very starting phase of this massive project. For its completion, many expressways are being constructed and several roads are being repaired.
Reconstruction of different sections of the Karakoram Highway, N-30 Khuzdar-Basima Road and the 392 kilometres extension of Peshawar-Karachi motorway from Multan to Sukkur are important infrastructural developments, which are a part of the CPEC route.
It will be easier and quicker for heavy traffic to cover the distance of thousands of miles by making use of these roads. Transportation of goods from the port areas of Gwadar and Karachi to the mainland of China and Pakistan is the core purpose behind the CPEC project.
Progress in Energy Sector
The two countries have also joined hands to further enhance the use of technology in the field of energy production in Pakistan. These measures have been taken with an advanced approach to make use of alternative resources that are natural, clean and available in abundance in Pakistan for the generation of energy.
Many hydropower, solar power and wind energy projects account for a significant part of the CPEC project. According to Pakistan’s Government official website for CPEC, some of these projects are planned and under construction, while others have already been completed and made operational. Pakistan and China are also working together on improving the mechanism regarding the commercial use of nuclear power.
CPEC and Gwadar
Gwadar, which is a port city found in the coastal region of Balochistan, is one of the key priorities of the CPEC. The stakeholders of the project, with the support of the Government of Pakistan, are interested in turning Gwadar into a Smart Port City.
However, while it still appears to be a distant reality, the development work on the Gwadar port and its surrounding areas is going on at a good pace. All of this progress is the fruit of systematic collaboration among many investors, developers and the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA).
Formed over a decade ago, the GDA is playing a significant in developments pertaining to the CPEC. A lot is happening in the real estate sector of Gwadar as its expansion is underway and the value of properties in this city is likely to go further up in the coming years.
Many new commercial and residential projects are being constructed in the city of Gwadar these days in order to let its future residents enjoy an adequately facilitated lifestyle. The development in Gwadar holds great significance in terms of Pak-China relations.
With Progressing Pak-China Relations, Everything seems to be right on track!
Over the past decade, Pak-China relations have become stronger than ever. The militaries of both countries are cooperating with each other on different projects and exercises. Meanwhile, the development in Gwadar as a part of the CPEC is moving forward at a satisfactory pace.
Plus, after the completion of Gwadar Port, Pakistan will become home to one of the most advanced and profitable seaports in the world operating at a massive scale. It might take a few more years to accomplish all of these goals, but the benefits of the relations between Pakistan and China are already visible.
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