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Pak drifting away from China

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Dr.  Ved Pratap Vaidik

There are clear indications of certain major shifts happening in Pakistan’s foreign policy. By taking advantage of these changes, India and Pakistan can redraft and progress their bilateral relations to a good degree. Pakistan has been hitherto boasting of a ‘steel friendship’ with China and of late that “steel” is seen melting down.  China was in the process of investing over 5 lakh crore rupees in Pakistan for various construction activities and as per signals emerging the progress of those projects is now uncertain.

China was building a 1153 km long road from its Xinjiang province to a port called Gwadar in Pakistan so that it would get cheap and easy road access to Arab and African countries.  But the new government of Shahbaz Sharif has terminated the agency that was assigned to implement the Pak-China corridor.  Multiple reasons have been cited for the termination of this agency.  The first reason is, the length of this corridor in Balochistan is 870 km and the Baloch people are totally against it. They have killed dozens of Chinese workers.

Second reason;   much of the construction work is still not completed and it is taking a long time, much more than estimated.  The third reason is that Pakistan has been dilly dallying in investing its share in the project and has not given the promised thirty thousand crore rupee to the Chinese company for building a 2000 MW power plant. Similarly, Pakistan was to provide 55 thousand crore rupees for laying the railway line from Xinjiang to Gwadar.  This project is also in limbo. The fiscal condition of Pakistan is so bad that it is forced to approach many international organizations and rich Muslim nations for financial help. In such a situation if Pakistan moves away from China, then it has no choice other than reaching up to US for alms.

As of now the intensity of the cozy relation between Russia and China has thinned a little. Primarily due to the ongoing Ukraine confrontation and also due to Corona! America has been the biggest supporter of Pakistan in all sense.  If Shahbaz Sharif shows courage and takes a new initiative, then Pakistan can be rescued. If Pakistan’s relations with America are improving, then its ties with India will also automatically get better.

 Of late, America is extremely annoyed with China.  The US will now love to hold close its tested friend Pak.   If Shahbaz wishes, he can also try to open the doors closed with India.  Then America will automatically extend its support to him.

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educationalmissions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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