Beijing, April 20: Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he would be donating billions of dollars in infrastructure and energy assistance to Pakistan, stating that the country is a "friendly neighborhood, which is troubled by terrorism."
Interestingly, the tens of billions of dollars that China is offering is way beyond what US had ever offered. Evidently, the latter's influence on the country is declining.
Xi would be the first Chinese leader to visit Pakistan in nine years. He will be arriving at the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Inside sources in Pakistan said that Chinese companies will be constructing roads, rails and infrastructure worth $46 billion in the next 15 years.
A closer took at the ties of the US-Pakistan and Pakistan-China, one would notice that there has been a common point of contention that led to the countries supporting Pakistan at different points of time.
While US urged Pakistan to curb the the crossing of terrorist groups to Afghanistan and killing the troops there, China too is concerned about terrorism in its own backyard as it faces growing restiveness in Xinjiang, which shares its border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. China is attempting to curb the terrorism in these parts by developing the impoverished regions of the country.
Pakistan too has not lagged behind in impressing its new "friendly neighbor" attacking the terrorist groups operating in the region last June. China meanwhile, has planned to invest to build a port facility at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. The infrastructure construction also includes rails and roads leading from the port across Baluchistan province and into western China. This could smoothen trade between Europe and China, which has to take the Strait of Malacca farther east.
Jahangir Tareen, a businessman in Pakistan, and the secretary-general of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said," The Chinese are stepping in, in a much, much bigger way than the United States ever contemplated. The assistance is far, far more than the United States government offered under the United States Agency for International Development."
In a write-up distributed to the Pakistani news media over the media, Xi said,"We need to form a '1+4' cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the center and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people."
Stating bluntly that the US has not been able to help Pakistan in any way as the resources they had provided were thinly distributed, Xi said that the "Chinese have come up with a much larger commitment and it is focused on a specific area, it has a signature infrastructure focus, and it is a decadeslong commitment." He also said that the US plan to deter terrorism in Pakistan also failed.
While this is just a case in point, there were others when China's ploy against India was evident. Pakistan bought 8 Chinese submarines, considered to be "very quiet, capable and lethal" to counter India's naval dominance in the Indian Ocean. This was a $6 billion purchase approved by a parliamentary committee in Islamabad.