Abbasi hails benefits from Belt and Road plan
Davos, Jan. 26 (IANS): Infrastructure building in key projects of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has benefited Pakistan and regional countries, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said.
In an interview on Thursday with business journal Nikkei Asian Review, Abbasi introduced the two core concepts of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), namely, financial sustainability and environmental conservation.
“All projects are basically done on these two principles,” the Pakistani Prime Minister told the journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.
The CPEC is a network of highways, railways, pipelines and optical cables, and a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
Abbasi said that with infrastructure building and enhanced public security along the corridor, foreign companies will have more confidence to invest in Pakistan.
Improved roads will also facilitate more efficient power generation and lower-cost transportation, he added.
Abbasi noted that the progress of work on the country’s southwest Gwadar Port, a key project under the CPEC, will bring benefits not only to Pakistan, but to neighbouring Central Asian countries.
The national debt would not necessarily increase from the project construction as an independent body will shoulder the loans in most cases, Abbasi said, arguing the debt concern is not “a correct perception”.
The 3,000-kilometre-long corridor starts from China’s Kashgar in the west and ends at Pakistan’s Gwadar, aiming to promote economic cooperation between China and Pakistan in sectors of energy, transportation, infrastructure and industry.
It is opposed by India as it passes through a part of Kashmir held by Pakistan and claimed by India.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity along and beyond ancient Silk Road trade routes, thus building a new platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of growth.