Rift in romance? Here's why there's a lull in China-Pakistan CPEC affair

Established in 2013, CPEC intends to fast-track growth of Pakistan's infrastructure through a number of measures. But all has not been well in recent weeks.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Dec 06, 2017, 14:48 PM IST
Rift in romance? Here's why there's a lull in China-Pakistan CPEC affair
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Once upon a time, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was projected as the ultimate example of how two countries can collaborate on infra projects. That time may have passed with reports from Pakistan suggesting brewing trouble.

Established in 2013, CPEC intends to fast-track growth of Pakistan's infrastructure through a number of measures including heavily-subsidised loans from China. In return, China intends to cut trading time by primarily making use of Gwadar Port in south-west Pakistan. Other roads and highways - as part of CPEC - too aims to bring Pakistani cities closer to Chinese trading hubs.

But the proverbial honeymoon period may well be over.

On Monday, Beijing informed that it has decided to stop funding three road projects that are part of the much-touted corridor. While some suspect China is displeased with reports of corruption in CPEC projects, Pakistani media said China wants to wait for new procedural guidelines before releasing funds.

In either case, it points to a possible discord between the two countries.

And the same possible discord has been simmering for some time now.

An editorial in Pakistan's Dawn on Wednesday reflected on the several points on which the two countries have had divergent views. While it said, referring to on-ground indications, that the Diamer-Bhasha dam project may well have been scrapped, a Peshawar-Karachi railway project too has suffered delay. While the dam project, it is reported, hit a roadblock due to demands made by Chinese that Pakistan did not agree too, the railway network is delayed due to delay in getting cost estimates.

In both cases, and again, a possible discord cannot be ruled out in a project that may have begun in top gear but one that has now shifted down its pace.