Executive Intelligence Review


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Will Provide a Sea-Based Trade Route for Central Asia

Jan. 3, 2018 (EIRNS)—In an insightful article in the Jan. 2 Eurasia Review, a Pakistani scholar, Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi, points out that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is looked upon by the landlocked Central Asian countries not simply as a network of connectivity, but more as an access to the busiest maritime trading route—the Indian Ocean—and to cross-border power exchange.

In her article, Hashmi writes that the development of Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Makran Coast on the Arabian Sea—a bay linking the Indian Ocean with the Strait of Hormuz—will allow Turkmenistan, which borders the Caspian Sea, an access to the Indian Ocean.

Tajikistan is also eyeing access to Gwadar Port, as it would be a junction to connect that landlocked Central Asian state with the rest of the world. Uzbekistan has expressed a similarly supportive stance about CPEC. The participation of energy-rich Uzbekistan in the CPEC project has the potential to double Pakistan’s energy supply for the next six years, ensuring the country better access to electricity.

Kazakhstan, a major beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative located in northeast Central Asia, bordering China and Russia, is also apparently eager to launch joint projects under CPEC, and has highlighted the importance of the CPEC project for Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region. Kazakhstan would like to join the mega-project as it would provide an alternative route for access to sea, she said.