CPEC, its impact on regional cooperation

Tuesday, 10 April 2018 02:51 Written by  Read 106 times

Economic harmony is the best approach to encourage regional coordination and connectivity. Such harmony intertwines the economic interests of nations, which, in turn, makes threats common, as well. Shared interests and threats among countries lead to unanimity among them, as well as joint efforts to counter the threats.
One of the major reasons for war, backwardness, and afflictions in this region is the imaginary conflict of interests. Some countries still cannot see that they can gain more from their neighbors through friendship than hostility. They are still bogged down in pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan. That along with the faith in conflict of interest not only have created barriers to regional cooperation but also paved the way for the interference of transregional powers. As a result, the region in general and Afghanistan in particular has not been able to utilize its enormous economic potential.
The execution of major economic projects links the interests of nations. In addition to other projects, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) subsumed under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road (OBOI) Initiative can also play a pivotal role in regional economic connectivity. China wants to extend CPEC to Afghanistan as well, which is an important step towards regional cooperation because the mega project can connects the interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan as two rival states, as well as of China as a global economic power. If executed and extended to Afghanistan, the project can largely stop Pakistan from playing a destructive role and fueling instability in Afghanistan, because even if instability in Afghanistan cannot jeopardize Pakistan’s interests, it can definitely harm Chinese interests -- a scenario that Beijing, as a strong side, may never allow Islamabad to create.
To encourage and ensure regional coordination, Afghanistan should not fritter away even a single opportunity of its inclusion in regional economic projects, of course one that can contribute to stability and economic development in the country. The more the economic interests of regional countries become connected, the lower the interference in each other’s internal affairs and the chance of success of disruptive elements in the region to achieve their goals. Last but not least, such project can play a crucial role in building trust.

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