Pakistan signs multi-million OBOR projects

(Image Source: AP)

Pakistan’s PM Nawaz signed $500 million worth of added projects with his Chinese counter part  during his participation at the OBOR (One Belt One Raod) summit in China. These projects are in addition to the already pledged $57 billion that Beijing plans to spend in its flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which serves as a major link in the grand scheme of OBOR.

The signing of the projects was also coincided by a major attack on labourers near Gwadar, killing 10. The attacks seems to be a message from forces not happy with progress of the CPEC and its associated projects in the region.

In China, the deals between  were signed during the two day One Belt One Road summit held in Beijing. The summit hosted leaders from 29 countries, all of whom shared a similar vision, to that of President Xi Jinpin of China, in expanding trade links throughout the region. President Xi, in his key note address, also called the OBOR ‘project of the century’

PM Nawaz was also all praise for President Xi. “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core component of your visionary initiative of the “One Belt-One Road,” Sharif told Xi, when they met at the Great Hall of China on Saturday, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.

The Indian media, on the other hand, is also taking keen interest in the OBOR summit and creating a positive narrative to convince PM Modi to join the initiative in future. Not only that, the media in India is also specifically focusing on Pakistan, while talking of the OBOR initiative, calling Islamabad ‘an enthusiastic supporter of the project’. India Today rued the missed opportunity by Modi, and argued that Nawaz has taken the centerstage by attending the summit.

Even though India missed out on the summit, Pakistan, by attending the summit showing its full support to Beijing, was also handed added infrastructure projects by China. Various MoUs were signed during the signing ceremony. The first MoU was related to the cooperation between the two countries, under the broader framework of Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road initiative.

Other MoUs were mostly related to power and infrastructure up-gradation. An MoU was signed to upgrade the ML-I railway line track and also establishment of Havelian dry port. Another MoU was signed for sign in regards to the up-gradation and maintenance of Gwadar Port and East Bay expressway.

One political positive for Pakistan was that Chief Ministers of all four provinces were also present on the occasion. Mr Sharif also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment for completion of early harvest projects under CPEC. Sharif also appreciated Chinese efforts for peace and prosperity in the region.

“The CPEC presents a great opportunity for strengthening regional economy.”, said Sharif during his visit.  The two sides discussed progress on CPEC, an important part of the OBOR project.

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