ISLAMABAD: A group of Pakistani lawmakers has expressed concern that Beijing could eventually use the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor+ (CPEC) to boost its trade with India. The 2442km corridor stretches from the Chinese border to Pakistan’s Gwadar port+ on the Arabian Sea.
According to a report in Dawn, some members of Pakistan National Assembly , during a meeting of the senate standing committee on planning and development on Wednesday , said that China was investing in the CPEC project to explore new vistas of trade with different countries from India to Central Asian states as well as Europe.
Committee chairman Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said, “With improved rail and road links with India… China would expand its trade not only with Central Asian states and European countries but also with India to economically strengthen its eight underdeveloped provinces.”
“Irrespective of sour India-Pakistan, China will definitely use CPEC to expand its trade with India because one who invests always watches one’s interests first.” Mashhadi also suggested that China’s trade relations with India were far bigger than Pakistan, as China had inked $100 billion trade agreements with India last year.
Meanwhile, The Economist said that Balochistan was one of Pakistan’s troubled regions and, therefore, a “surprising location for (CPEC) what officials hope will become one of the world’s great trade routes”.