BEIJING: Pakistan’s relations with its neighbours especially India and Afghanistan will be crucial for maintaining the security of the ambitious economic corridor project linking Xinjiang in northwest China and the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, a top security analyst has said.
There must be a “guarantee of security” for the project that will run through Azad Kashmir and “tribal regions of northwest Pakistan”, Li Wei, director of the Institute for Security and Arms Control Studies attached to the Ministry of Public Security said.
The security situation in the neighbourhood is very important for the project if it has to improve the economic situation in the region, Li said, adding: “India and Afghanistan are important countries in the region.”
“Geographically, the project is very important to boost economic development in western China and in South Asia and Pakistan,’’ Li said.
The port of Gwadar which the economic corridor will link was built, and now managed, by China. The corridor once in place will give China a link for its energy imports from West Asia. Pakistan hopes that the corridor will boost its economy and employment.
Li made the comments as a visiting group of top officials from China met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday to discuss various projects in Pakistan.
Sharif told the visiting Chinese delegation, led by Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top planning body, that Islamabad attaches top priority to the project that is expected to boost trade links between the two countries.
Li indicated that the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will negatively impact peace in the region.
He said China, Pakistan, India and Russia should be part of any political reconciliation process that is initiated in Afghanistan.