New Milestones and Future Endeavors in CPEC-2023

In a significant development that underscores the strengthening relations between Pakistan and China, the two nations are on the cusp of signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for over 15 projects. These new projects signify the deepening ties and the strategic importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for both nations.

The Belt and Road Forum in Kochi, scheduled for October 17 and 18, will serve as the backdrop for this historic signing. It is a testament to the importance that China places on its relationship with Pakistan that Prime Minister Anwar Haq Kakar will be attending this event upon a special invitation. This forum, the third of its kind, will convene in the Chinese capital and promises to further unify the vision of both countries.

During this event, Pakistan and China will usher in a significant leap in the second phase of the CPEC. 11 pivotal agreements spanning infrastructure, energy, and other domains will be sealed. To facilitate this, various Pakistani ministries and the Chinese embassy have tirelessly worked to finalize the project papers. Furthermore, this forum will also be the arena where Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar Haq Kakar deliberate on the future trajectory of their bilateral partnership, specifically concerning the CPEC. It’s worth noting that the CPEC initiative, a cornerstone of this partnership, was incepted a decade ago.

China’s commitment to the success of CPEC is evidenced by its investment exceeding 30 billion dollars. As part of CPEC’s second phase, significant attention will be paid to projects like ML1 and Thakot, with a broader focus on industry and energy projects. MoUs encapsulating these initiatives are poised to be inked during the forum.

The ML1 project is particularly noteworthy given its scale and implications for Pakistan’s infrastructure. Envisioned under this project is the overhaul of Pakistan’s 1733 km railway line stretching from Karachi to Peshawar. The goal? To modernize the railway infrastructure, lay down new tracks to augment train speeds up to 160 km/h, reconstruct several railway bridges, and raise the bar for railway services in Pakistan. In alignment with this project, plans are also underway to establish a dry port near Havelian. Jaiga, positioning Pakistan as a pivotal trade nexus in the region. The anticipated budget for this colossal project is a staggering 6806 billion dollars. While the spotlight remains on the massive infrastructure and energy projects, there’s more to the CPEC than bricks, mortar, and steel. This corridor is as much about cultural exchange, knowledge transfer, and shared economic prosperity as it is about rail tracks and highways.

The CPEC isn’t just a pathway connecting two countries; it’s an economic lifeline. The corridor provides a wide range of economic prospects, promoting efficient transportation of commodities and so bolstering the trading capabilities of both countries. Consequently, there has been a notable decrease in trade expenses and duration, so enhancing the competitiveness of goods from both nations inside the international market. In addition to its economic implications, the CPEC is facilitating the development of cultural ties. As professionals from both countries collaborate closely on various projects, they engage in a reciprocal exchange of not just skills but also narratives, culinary practices, music, and cultural customs. The establishment of an atmosphere characterized by reciprocal respect and comprehension is vital for the sustained achievement of any collaborative effort on an international scale.

The enhancement of infrastructure and connectivity inevitably leads to a significant increase in tourism. The juxtaposition of Pakistan’s scenic landscapes and China’s ancient heritage is a distinctive fusion that appeals to travelers. Furthermore, as the bilateral relationship between the two countries strengthens, there has been a noticeable surge in the desire among their respective populations to engage in cross-cultural exploration, resulting in a more profound and meaningful interpersonal connection.

In order to guarantee the efficacy and long-term viability of the initiatives included under the CPEC, a significant focus is placed on the enhancement of skills and the promotion of education. Academic institutions from both nations are engaged in collaborative efforts including research initiatives, student exchange programs, and curriculum enhancement. This practice not only guarantees the presence of a proficient labor force for the projects, but also affords young individuals the chance to gain foreign experience and access to improved employment prospects.

The CPEC may be seen as a process characterized by cooperation, economic development, and reciprocal regard. Although the immediate advantages are apparent in the realm of infrastructure and energy initiatives, the long-term benefits in relation to cultural interchange, economic collaboration, and mutual prosperity are incalculable.

The ambitions and aspirations of millions are closely linked to the success of the CPEC, as shown by the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and the transformation of plans into physical infrastructure.  With the unwavering commitment of both Pakistan and China, the future indeed looks promising.

Sahibzada M. Usman, Ph.D.
Sahibzada M. Usman, Ph.D.
Research Scholar and Academic; Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Usman has participated in various national and international conferences and published 30 research articles in international journals. Email: usmangull36[at]