The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China’s $46 billion strategic trade route to the Indian Ocean, promises to expand Chinese influence in the region and to help answer Pakistan’s deep need for economic development and stability. Pakistan’s minister of planning and economic development, Ahsan Iqbal—the cabinet official overseeing CPEC in his country—discussed this massive project at the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 3. Mr. Iqbal spoke to Pakistan’s outlook on its progress, its potential challenges and its implications for U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Ahsan Iqbal
Gwadar Port. Moign Khawaja/Flickr

China and Pakistan have begun signing the detailed agreements to start building CPEC—a swath of highways, energy projects, special economic zones, and other industry and infrastructure, now at varying stages of construction. The Chinese and Pakistani governments say these project will promote connectivity and economic development in Pakistan and South Asia. By reducing Pakistan’s widespread unemployment and energy shortages, CPEC may help the country address grievances that have fueled violence and instability.

Yet questions remain on what CPEC may mean for Pakistan and South Asia. Key CPEC projects in Pakistan are at risk from armed dissidents, corruption and political battles at the provincial level. CPEC could also have lasting regional implications for Pakistan’s neighbors. While India has raised concern over CPEC and greater Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean, the projects could be an opportunity to boost development and stabilization in Afghanistan. It is uncertain what this Chinese investment means for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and what stance the administration of President Donald Trump will take on these projects.

Speakers

Ahsan Iqbal
Pakistan Minister of Planning and Development

Andrew Wilder, Moderator
Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

The Latest Kashmir Conflict Explained

The Latest Kashmir Conflict Explained

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

By: Tara Kartha; Jalil Jilani

USIP Jennings Randolph Fellows Dr. Tara Kartha and Ambassador Jalil Jilani look at the latest crisis in Kashmir from their respective views. Dr. Kartha was a member of India’s National Security Council for 15 years and has over 30 years’ experience in national security policy. Amb. Jilani, a career Pakistani diplomat, is a former ambassador to the U.S. and former foreign secretary. This post represents the views of the authors and not those of USIP.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Pakistan’s Leader Vows to Press Afghan Taliban to Join Talks

Pakistan’s Leader Vows to Press Afghan Taliban to Join Talks

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

By: USIP Staff

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to return home from his first official trip to Washington and meet leaders of the Afghan Taliban to persuade them to drop their rejection of peace talks that include the Afghan government. Khan spoke to an audience of U.S. policymakers, scholars and diplomats at the U.S. Institute of Peace following talks with President Trump in his first visit to the United States as prime minister. Khan discussed his meeting with Trump and hopes for an improved relationship with the United States, as well as Pakistan’s struggles with corruption and poverty, and relations with its neighbors.

Peace Processes

View All Publications