Sunday, August 30, 2015

From China to Pakistan: A well-thought-out 3,000km lifeline

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri and Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Beijing/Delhi/Karachi|

Hindustan Times - Aug 30, 2015

Through September, working groups of Chinese and Pakistanis will finalise 40-plus projects to launch the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Both governments see this as more than just a construction project. The corridor is designed to transform Pakistan’s economy—and potentially China’s global status.
Already in the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, the southern terminus of the corridor, the Chinese have begun upgrading the harbour. So has the expansion of the highway out of the port, a road that will run 3000 kilometres to the Chinese border town of Kashgar.
Much of the corridor’s initial expenditure is on power plants. Nearly $34 billion of the corridor’s funds will go to energy projects, with over half of this going to electricity production. When completed, Pakistan’s national grid will receive 10,400 MW additional power.
Beijing’s logic is simple. As an ex-Chinese ambassador to Pakistan explained, “Solving Pakistan’s power deficit is the first step to stabilising its economy.” Pakistan struggles with rolling blackouts thanks to an annual power deficit of about 5,000 MW. The contracts also help Chinese makers of generators, solar cells and the like, all of which suffer from huge overcapacity and need overseas buyers. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly says before his term ends in 2018, power cuts will be a thing of the past.

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