Under the visionary leadership of President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, China has come up with “One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” connecting three continents of the world through six mega economic routes along with revival of old Maritime Silk Route. This was highlighted during a seminar on the Belt & Road Initiative by the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) here on Monday. The panelists discussed progress on the project and evaluated the opportunities arising from the OBOR for the local community.

Deputy Head of Mission Peoples Republic of China Mr. Zhao Lijian was the chief guest on the occasion. The speakers’ panel included Ambassador Akram Zaki, Dr. Akram Sheikh, Brig (R) Akhtar Nawaz Janjua and Amer Hashmi. The agenda of this seminar was to discuss the six trade corridors planned under the initiative of One Belt One Road (OBOR) with a greater emphasis on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is now leading Pakistan to a new era of progress and development.

The trade routes namely – China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor (CMREC), New Eurasian Land Bridge (NELB), China-Central and West Asia Economic Corridor (CCWAEC), China-Indo-China Peninsula Economic Corridor (CICPEC), China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIMEC). OBOR’s transnational economic roadmap encompasses three out of total seven continents (Asia, Middle East and Europe) and is going to be a wonder of the 21st century, the speakers opined.

In his keynote address Mr. Zhao Lijian said CPEC was a promising venture which had not only given a boost in the economic performance of Pakistan but also further strengthened bilateral diplomatic and strategic relations between Pakistan and China. Appreciating the CGSS initiative Mr. Lijian said it was a timely seminar organized by the CGSS to raise awareness among the people that it is in the best interest of the people of Pakistan. Various aspects of the CPEC are being continuously analyzed which is a sign of individuals and institution’s growing interest in it, he said. Mr. Zhao Lijin said China had given a new vision to the world with the initiation of the corridor and there are countless opportunities of investment, trade and development along this historic route.

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Zhao Lijin made it clear that the western route of the CPEC was an important and integral part of the corridor and like Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would also benefit a great deal from the project. We are planning to make more investment on the western part in the days to come, he said.

According to the Chinese leadership, purpose of the OBOR is not to expand its dominance rather it would be a win-win situation for around 60 states connected with these trade routes as it would cause implication of around 21 trillion dollars, strengthen their economies and improve living standards of about 4.4 billion people living there. In a wider perspective, Chinese look determined and are vigorously engaged in completing these trade routes.

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