Sussex Asia Centre

Past Events

 

The Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia: domestic and regional impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Wednesday 16 May 13:00 until 14:30
Arts C333
Speaker: Dr Filippo Boni, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham
Part of the series: Sussex Asia Centre - Seminar Series Spring Term 2018

Abstract

Since the unveiling of the 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative in September 2013 by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, debates emerged about the potential impact of OBOR on the countries exposed to Chinese influence as well as on how such large-scale investments may alter existing regional equilibria. Against this backdrop, Pakistan took the centre stage in the South Asian component of OBOR through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a series of infrastructural and energy investments worth around $62 billion aimed at improving Pakistan’s infrastructure network and energy production. While along the new Silk Road envisaged by Beijing projects are struggling to take off, the early harvest projects coming under the CPEC umbrella are on track to be completed by 2019. As such, CPEC represents an ideal case study to assess the impact of OBOR on both the domestic and foreign policy arenas of the countries that are part of the new economic and political architecture envisaged by Beijing.

Drawing on semi-structured elite interviews conducted during fieldwork in Pakistan, the paper, on which the presentation at the Sussex Asia Centre is based, contends that after the first three years since it was officially launched, CPEC had a two-fold impact on both Pakistan’s domestic and regional policies. Domestically, CPEC has allowed the emergence of new actors in what was an almost exclusively military relationship between Pakistan and China. In this context, the civilian leadership has managed to gain some space vis-à-vis the CPEC-related decision-making process. This, in turn, has exacerbated the already tense civil-military relations, with the military advocating for a greater role in the handling of CPEC. Regionally, CPEC has worsened Pakistan’s relations with India while simultaneously enabling Pakistan to reconsider its bilateral ties with other regional partners, including Iran and Russia.

Biography

Dr Filippo Boni is a Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham. He completed his PhD from the University of Nottingham on 'Civil-military relations in Pakistan: an analysis of Sino-Pakistani ties 2001-2016'. Filippo is currently working on his first book on Sino-Pakistani relations since 2001 and he is part of the ‘South Asia Observatory’, a project sponsored by the French Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the NORIA South Asia Programme.   

 

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By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2018

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