China-Central Asia Summit and Role of BRI & CPEC and Pakistan
Editor's Note: The author is Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.
The recently held China-Central Asia Summit has introduced new concepts of regional connectivity, socio-economic cooperation, and industrial development which are holistic and harmonious. It rightly showcased the real secret of modern mutual human survival, economic stability and sustainability along with mutual respect, sovereignty and territorial integrity between both the sides.
During the summit it was agreed that political consultations, common economic development plan, common human development cooperation, common anti-terrorism strategies and above all common regional connectivity under the flagship project of BRI would be right giant leap in right direction.
According to official data, trade volume between China and Central Asia countries in 2022 hit a historic high of $70.2 billion up by over 100 times since diplomatic ties were established about three decades ago.
China has now become the biggest investor, trading partner, industrial development stimulator, green transition & transformation supporter, human development’s initiator and last but not least, champion of greater regional connectivity in all the five Central Asian countries through BRI.
Moreover, it is in the process of implementing and completing the most integrated, interactive and coordinated transport, railways and aerial corridors with all the countries of Central Asia mainly Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. And BRI has been trying its best to change the geography, geology, geopolitics and geo-economics of this region which is good omen for rest of the world. Thus China-Central Asia Summit and BRI both have universal appeal and applications.
Pakistan has special holy connection with all the Central Asian countries which is based on its centuries old religion, civilizational, cultural and economic ties and strong economic ties with China would have direct positive and productive impacts on Pakistan’s foreign policy, internal security and last but not least, macro-economy.
All countries upheld their support towards BRI in the region which is also good omen for the further development of CPEC Phase-II projects in Pakistan. The mega railway project ML-I connecting Karachi, Peshawar and Kabul would be game changer in the days to come.
Undoubtedly, the land of Central Asia is full of natural resources (oil & gas) and minerals. It has been famous for its superior human wisdom, innovations, skills, conflict resolution, good governance, progress, prosperity and connectivity for centuries. It has been connecting hub for ancient Silk Route.
However, most of these countries are double-land locked due to which all their human talents, natural treasures, and political wisdoms have been marginalized. But BRI and its flagship project CPEC have now opened a window of opportunity for all regional countries to promote spirits of greater regional connectivity for achieving common goals of peace, progress and prosperity.
In this regard, all the Central Asian countries showed keen interest to get connected with the CPEC projects, increasing their regional connectivity with South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe via Karachi dry port and Gwadar Seaport in the days to come. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have been substantially vocal to increase their bilateral relations and economic ties with Pakistan.
To conclude successful holding of China-Central Asia Summit has inspired the policy makers of Pakistan to further promote CPEC towards middle corridors of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan so that pending dreams of immense socio-economic integration and greater regional connectivity would be achieved as soon as possible.
The presidents of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev have already showcased respective policies of greater regional connectivity however Mirziyoyev's “Ten Initiatives” actually sparks greater regional connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia in the days to come.
This year is the 10th years of BRI which has successfully changed the concept and context of regional connectivity, socio-economic integration and development of economic and transport corridors. Precisely, it successfully discarded the concept of the Western/USA imperialism and changed it into spells of immense regional integration.
Moreover, it out-rooted the exploitative system of regional and international engagements and institutionalized the holistic and comprehensive policies of community with shared future, the GDI, GSI and GCI.
The new world is globalized and peace, progress, prosperity and participation of China-Central Asia have direct correlation with the BRI and CPEC. Thus Pakistan has golden opportunity to promote CPEC Phase-II and build socio-economic prosperity and connectivity with the help of BRI and China.