China is eager to see Russia join The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, according to a recently published article in Globaltimes, though the Russian embassy in Islamabad denied the reports.
“Russia’s participation in the CPEC, including the use of the Gwadar Port, could give a boost to Sino-Russian cooperation and be a demonstration project of One Belt and One Road (OBOR) that will enhance future multinational cooperation,” writes Li Xing.
That’s certainly true. A sound infrastructure is a pre-condition for the economic integration of neighboring countries. But the real reason behind China’s eagerness to bring China to CPEC project is elsewhere in my opinion: use Russia to appease India, which claims control of a crucial part of CPEC.
CPEC is part of China’s vision to write the rules of the next era of globalization and help its export and investment engines run for years to come.
Specifically, CPEC is the express link between Western China, the Middle East, and Africa — China’s second continent. Ideologically that is, which can explain why Beijing has committed $46 billion to the project.
The trouble is that CPEC passes through Pakistani regions claimed by India. That makes it a bumpy road, to say the least — Pakistan and India continue to fight for control of these regions.
That’s why China needs to make peace with India.
So far, China has done very little to appease India. In fact, it has done quite the opposite: repeatedly blocking India’s efforts to join the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).
And it has sided openly with Pakistan in the India-Pakistan Kashmir impasse, as evidenced by statements by China’s senior officials on the sidelines of the ongoing 71st session of United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Perhaps, Russia could broker a peace accord between India and Pakistan, and save CPEC. That would be good news for the markets in the region.