China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered as the flagship project of President Xi Jinping. Under the ambit of this project, China will invest $60 billion for better infrastructure, railway lines and optic fiber web across Pakistan. The ailing economy of Pakistan will greatly benefit from this initiative. In the latest demarche, it is believed that Saudi Arabia is to become the third strategic partner of CPEC after the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia. There is no arguing to the point that Pakistan and Saudi will mutually benefit from this move, but it would definitely come at a cost for both the countries.
The horizons of benefits for Pakistan will increase, but there are strings attached to it. The delayed TAPI pipeline project has marred the relations of Pakistan and Iran up to some extent. Now at this point, if the arch rival of Iran joins CPEC, Iran may take measures to counter it. And Pakistan cannot afford to lose its important neighbour.
In the presence of two economically powerful nations, Pakistan may struggle to keep emphatic control over CPEC. Moreover, the security level would have to be increased with increase costs and Pakistan cannot afford surpluses at this crunch moment.
In addition to this, if the policies governing CPEC are not elucidated for both the countries, Pakistan will find itself in a very precarious position amid any possible conflict between China and Saudi Arabia. Companies of both countries will strive to get more hold on the projects of CPEC and only Pakistan will be at the losing end in case of murky details and regulations.
After joining CPEC, Saudi Arabia may have to visit its policies. Amid the growing trade war between America and China, It seems enviable for Saudi Arabia to join the project of America’s arch rival.
Need of the hour is that Pakistan needs to contemplate all the aspects of extreme future that could derail the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Iran should be taken into consideration with regards to another future partner and all the pending issues with Iran should be resolved as soon as possible. Moreover, cogent rules and policies should be made for the partners of CPEC and China should be taken into confidence for course of action in the future.