ISLAMABAD: By linking China with the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Cihna-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will optimize trade potential and enhance energy security of China, Pakistan and the wider region, directly benefiting some three billion people in China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz speaking at a seminar on "CPEC: Corridor of Prosperity through Education and Business" here at National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Wednesday said the One-Belt-One-Road was a visionary concept, which had proposed creating Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, with focus on connectivity of infrastructure including roads, rail links, sea routes, ports, and connectivity of policy, trade and finance.
He said the regional connectivity for economic prosperity was an important pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy and the present government was earnestly implementing various trans-regional connectivity projects linking the country with energy-rich Central Asia and the Middle East and economically promising China and the Far East.
The CPEC was a vital bridge that connected the Road and the Belt, he said. It was located at crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. Pakistani seaport of Gwadar, on northern Arabian Sea near Persian Gulf, was at the confluence of both the Road and the Belt, he added.
Amongst all these projects, he said, the CPEC held a special significance, as it was a flagship project of China's One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative.
He emphasized that the CPEC should not be viewed in the prism of regional power dynamics, old style alliance formation or 'Zero-sum relationship' between different countries. Its spirit was cooperation and not confrontation; collaboration and not competition, he added.
"It is a win-win project for everybody in the region and beyond. CPEC contributes towards a regional and an international order based on shared prosperity, mutual benefits and economic convergence."
Sartaj Aziz said the CPEC was also a catalyst for regional economic integration. "It will foster regional harmony and forge closer relations among China, Pakistan and our neighbours," he added.
He termed the CPEC a recipe for alleviating poverty for millions of people by providing alternate livelihoods. The Corridor could also act as a bulwark against forces of terrorism and violent extremism -- by engaging local youth in meaningful employment and presenting them with new economic opportunities, he said, adding that it would promote regional stability in the region and bring prosperity, particularly to underdeveloped areas by creating jobs and new businesses.
He said the CPEC will tap Pakistan's enormous natural and human resources, address acute energy shortfalls, modernize Pakistan's transport infrastructure to contemporary requirements, inject a strong impulse for national economic development and help in building a knowledge-based, egalitarian society, in line with aspirations of the founding father, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The CPEC , he said, would lead to human development in Pakistan by improving economic, industrial, infrastructural and financing activities, which was a key factor in progress and prosperity. Pakistan and China were already cooperating in the field of education through scholarships and exchanges of academicians, scholars, think tanks, journalists and media persons. Such exchange was going to enhance CPEC 's motives, he opined.
The Advisor said the successful implementation of various CPEC projects would also entail market improvement in national production capability and business environment.
The key sectors, including energy, finance, food, agro-based industry, livestock, construction, steel, transport and logistics, light engineering, plastics, value-added textile, mining and ore, assembly operations, tourism and IT services could flourish under the CPEC , he said.
Infrastructural improvement would encourage Greenfield industrial set-ups, but it was the focus on high tech and value additive industries that would provide the real platform for competitive trade in the global economy, he said. "Through joint ventures with Chinese businesses we can enhance our capacity, productivity and revenues manifold."
Appreciating the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), he said it had over the years built bridges between Pakistan and the outside world, by imparting high quality education in foreign languages.
The said the NUML's Chinese language department was also reputed for its learned faculty from China, placed here through a robust exchange programme of teachers, and for its able graduates produced each year.
The university, therefore, was well positioned to provide its academic inputs on all aspects of Pakistan-China bilateral relations, particularly China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he added.
"I hope the academic communities of the two countries will keep taking interest in CPEC to improve our perspectives and enrich the discourse on this important initiative."
He urged greater collaboration between universities of the two countries and thinks tanks with their counterparts in China under the umbrella of CPEC . As economic activity and businesses expanded under the CPEC , more opportunities in education sector would be created, particularly in higher education, he added.
"We need to have a strong backup of experts, engineers and technicians to fully optimize the benefits of CPEC ."
Among others, the seminar was also addressed by NUML Rector Major General Zia-ud-Din Najam, Zhao Lijun and Dr Mujeeb Afzal. (APP)