Time for rethink on CPEC

India needs to cut the Gordian knot of strategic stalemate in its external environment

MK Bhadrakumar
Former Ambassador

A‘whispering campaign’ has been going on that CPEC is fated to put an intolerable burden on Pakistan’s debt repayment liabilities, with no commensurate economic returns. Fact check is uncommon in our part of the world: Moody’s says CPEC may account for 9-10 % of Pakistan’s GDP this year. There was much speculation that PM Imran Khan, burdened with the immediate task of finding money for debt servicing/repayment, might not be enthusiastic about it. However, the dust is settling down and what emerges impacts Indian interests in a medium and long-term perspective.

Being the flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China attaches the highest importance to CPEC. This became apparent from the extraordinary ‘special invitation’ extended by Chinese President Xi Jinping last month to Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar to visit Beijing against the backdrop of the cloud of uncertainties regarding CPEC, with a view to underscoring that CPEC is not only the anchor sheet of Sino-Pakistani cooperation, but also imbued with regional and global significance.

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