Some Pakistani politicians expressed concern on Wednesday (16 November) over the possible use of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by Beijing to enhance trade with India. In a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development, the lawmakers felt that China was investing in the CPEC to explore new vistas of trade with different countries, right from neighbouring India to Central Asian states and Europe, Dawn reported earlier today.
The Committee endorsed a point of view of a senator that with improved rail and road links with India through Munabao and Amritsar under CPEC, China would expand its trade with India to economically strengthen its eight underdeveloped provinces.
"China will definitely use the CPEC to expand trade with India because one who invests always watches one's interests first," said the Standing Committee chairman Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. He stated that China's trade relations with India are far bigger than with those with Pakistan as Beijing had inked a $100 billion trade agreements with New Delhi last year.
"Irrespective of sour Pakistan-India relations, China will do trade with India through the CPEC," Mashhadi added.
Despite the official narrative in both Beijing and Islamabad, CPEC is failing to yield the expected “dramatic” results. With China-Pakistan bilateral trade tilting heavily to the former’s side and with Chinese companies failing to implement various CPEC projects due to disagreements, for instance, over tariff rates, and with the “corridor” not being “wide enough” to support the expected trade volume, the illusion of success is fading and with it is also falling the grand notion of real development for Pakistan. Islamabad is now beginning to learn the cost of Chinese development.