Regional cooperation should be promoted. Relations with neighboring countries in particular while with other countries like Russia in general should be improved keeping in view the changing international political dynamics. Their participation and investment in CPEC should be encouraged. That is also in the interests of the country. As maxim goes, “we cannot choose neighbors, but we choose friends.” The geography cannot be altered. Thus, there is only option that is the promotion of peaceful coexistence. Pakistan has to forge regional cooperation for CPEC’s long term success. In order to achieve that objective, it is important to resolve long standing issues particularly with India and Afghanistan. Comprehensive dialogue which started with India should be carried forward on the basis of equality. Moreover, during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Afghanistan in December 2015, he assured them, “the respect for sovereignty and Afghanistan’s enemies are Pakistan’s enemies.” There is no denying there exists mistrust between the two countries. However, Afghanistan should be apprised of economic benefits. It is in dire need for economic development. Afghanistan can earn transit fee which will improve its economy. Furthermore, as Iranian president Ruhani suggested, “Chabhar is not in competition with Gwadar, but both will complement each other.” Recently, President Hassan Ruhani while meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan in New York showed willingness to participate in CPEC. Therefore, promotion of regional cooperation is particularly important for CPEC.
In the end, CPEC is an extraordinary project for Pakistan and China. It will uplift the economy of Pakistan and cut down the distance for China from 13,000 Kms to 3,000 Kms. Moreover, it will be a game changer for the entire region. The landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian States will get easy access to Gwadar port for trade purposes. However, it is very challenging task to materialize the full potential of CPEC. Regional cooperation and connectivity will also help in removing misgivings and pave the way for economic integration and peace resultantly. Thus, CPEC is a testimony for China-Pakistan relations that are described as “sweeter than honey, higher than Himalayas and deeper than oceans.” It is also a hope for the troubled region.
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