China’s CPEC reality exposed as Gwadar port in Pakistan remains devoid of economic activity
10 August, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma
As China continues to brag about its economic collaboration with Pakistan, particularly the China-Pakistan Commercial Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gawadar, reports paint a different image, revealing...
As China continues to brag about its economic collaboration with Pakistan, particularly the China-Pakistan Commercial Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gawadar, reports paint a different image, revealing that many of these projects remain incomplete and the city is strangely bereft of economic activity.
The disclosure followed a report by Nikkei Asia, which took stock of the situation on a journey to Pakistan’s port of Gwadar, which is seven and a half hours from Karachi through the Makran coastal route. The media portal’s coverage was eye-opening, since it revealed that part of the 600-kilometer road is empty, with no eateries, bathrooms, or even gasoline stops. A total of 200 vehicles in total could be counted during the entire drive.
There were Chinese and Pakistani flags flying in Gwadar, a port city on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast. However, it looked to be a pomp and show in which the “greatness” of Pakistan-China ties was displayed, concealing how it smelled of impending Chinese-financed building projects and scarce economic activity.
“Near the seafront, broad avenues are curiously empty of vehicles. Inside the city center, the roads are narrow, congested and covered with foul smelling drain water, with few multistory buildings aside from the Chinese-built port compound,” the media portal noted giving the first-hand reportage of the ground situation.
It is difficult to imagine Gwadar as the starting point for a new global paradigm, but that is what Beijing wants the world to think, it said.
With the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress coming in Beijing, the CPEC, like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is in trouble. Many high-profile initiatives have either failed or provided mixed to dismal results.
Also Read: Third party involvement in CPEC is inherently illegal in India: MEA
This week, Nikkei Asia launches a three-part series to assess the BRI nearly a decade after its inception.
The early hope for the project has been overtaken by disillusionment due to mismanagement, debt issues, and corruption, which have left many projects incomplete or unable of reaching their projected potential.
Nikkei Asia journalists have traveled to focal points of BRI investment over the last decade – from Gwadar to Sihanoukville and Colombo to Kuala Lumpur. Their reporting illustrates the already mature legacy of China’s far-reaching efforts to increase its global influence.
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