all controversies and debates on CPEC, this project is undergoing major developments, thus giving a befitting reply to the opponents and adversaries of Pakistan and CPEC venture. Year 2016 and 2017 brought noteworthy evolvement in CPEC where people witnessed Pak-China friendship prospering and prompt expansion work being done under CPEC. Today, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become talk of the globe. CPEC, an essential component of One Belt, One Road proposed by China, is termed as a “Game Changer” for Pakistan. It is not only the pivot of China-Pakistan politico-economic relations, but holds similar promise for the region and beyond.
While the project offers enormous opportunities to Pakistan such as economic prosperity, socio-economic uplift of general population and under developed areas, there are also few challenges attached to it. Because of its wide-ranging scope, CPEC particularly has gained the attention of the West and the USA. For them this massive project by China under the concept of OBOR will make China an economic giant than already it is and will undermine the USA as superpower of the world. Under the OBOR, countries will be connected through infrastructure and telecommunication links. This will be accomplished by developing deep water ports, where possible and then building the infrastructure to link them through industrial zones and markets.
India has always tried to sabotage this project through different means. Be it confessional video of Kulbhushan Yadav or sponsored terrorist attacks in Baluchistan, India is trying its best to make CPEC a failure for Pakistan and overwrought its relations with China. India is seen countering CPEC by making developments on Chabahar Port and connexion with Iran and Gulf countries to enhance its regional influence. China has always dreamt of greater regional connectivity and before initiation and start of work on OBOR, there was an earlier concept of Kunming initiative. Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor is a concept to build the first expressway between India and China that will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The concept emerged in late 1990s, from China’s Yunnan province about possible sub regional cooperation involving South-Western China, Eastern India. Myanmar and Bangladesh. This eventually led to the development of the platform which came to be known as the “Kunming Initiative”. The first meeting of the initiative was organized in 1999 in Kunming capital of Yunnan province. Advocates of this multi-model corridor idea projected two prominent objectives behind this BCIM initiative, first is economic integration of the sub-region and second development of the border regions.
The ‘Kunming Initiative’ evolved into the BCIM Forum for Regional Cooperation during its first meeting with the objective to create a platform where major stakeholders could meet and discuss issues in the context of promoting economic growth and trade in the BCIM region; identify specific sectors and projects which would promote greater collaboration amongst the BCIM nations; and strengthen cooperation and institutional arrangements among the concerned key players and stakeholders to deepen BCIM ties. However, there is a perception among Chinese scholars that India is least interested to the BCIM project by linking its reservations on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through AJ&K and GB. India holds its undue claim on this territory and keeps on objecting that this CPEC route is illegal. Hence, in the current context of trust deficit between India and China, this BCIM initiative does not seems to be fulfilled in near future.
There is thought that after witnessing slow response from India, China may put in more concentrated efforts to link Kunming with Bay of Bengal by establishing its route through Lashio, Mandalay to the sea port Kyauk Phyu in Myanmar, which is feasible in terms of distance and location. It is pertinent to highlight that Myanmar plays a significant role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, due to its strategic location close to South East Asia and its better opening in the Bay of Bengal. But the current turmoil in Myanmar, Rohingya crisis in Rakhine state of Myanmar and fleeing of millions of Rohingyas to Bangladesh will result in trust deficit between Myanmar and Bangladesh where security of both the states is affected. Moroever India is now manipulating the Rohingya crisis and migrants in its own interest to achieve its long term objective to derail future connectivity projects floated by China in the region .India RAW is backing militants to sabotage CPEC same game plan with international players cannot be ruled out in this BCIM region. Likewise the sensitive security in North-Eastern states of India generate threat to this project completion. It must be kept in mind that India with its hegemonic designs in South Asia will never let any economic or defence related project to be completed as it will undermine its so-called superiority in the region. India claims its good relations with China but never wants that China which is economic imperative in the region should rule the world too.
Therefore, the concept on which this Kunming Initiative was launched “that regional cooperation should be guided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, emphasising equality and mutual benefit, sustainable development, comparative advantages, adoption of international standards, and infrastructure development in order to enhance connectivity and facilitate widest possible economic cooperation”, seem impossible to be completed under OBOR because of non-cordial relations among four member countries. Therefore, this project appears as a hopeless case because of prevailing security situation, Indian hegemonic designs in region and countering Chinese initiatives of OBOR particularly CPEC. Indian will definitely pursue prolonging the Myanmar security issue along with Bangladesh to achieved long term objectives in the region . India’s less interest in this BCIM also depicts India’s malicious designs to sabotage CPEC through whatever possible means. India is the only country in South Asian region that is opposing all kind of connectivity projects either in the form of CPEC or BCIM, provides substantial evidence regarding its role as major interrupter in regional connectivity.