Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation - May, 2017 | China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation - May, 2017

Category : Events   Source : Pakistan-China Institute (PCI)   Date : 22-05-2017   

Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation - May, 2017 [File Photo]

The Belt & Road Forum that took place in Beijing on 14th & 15th of May is being termed as world’s most comprehensive diplomatic engagement this year.

The forum developed around the idea of Belt & Road, China’s extensive plan to engage 65 countries into shared development and trade. Delegates from 110 countries, including 28 heads of state, participated to make their contribution to the extensive Belt & Road development activities.

The forum was utilized for agreeing upon project financing plans in the developing world at a time when international commitments from the Western states are being pulled back due to resource constraints and transforming priorities.

Strategies for numerous corridors planned under the Belt & Road were discussed, which were intricately linked with the five areas of cooperation highlighted by President Xi Jinping in his speech, including peace, prosperity, openness, innovation, and cultural connectedness.

Led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s delegation had an elevated presence due to the country’s progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is the flagship project of Belt & Road. Already under implementation across various regions of the country, CPEC is set to achieve completion on multiple fronts and serve as a blueprint for China’s Belt & Road cooperation with other countries. The Prime Minister emphasized on the relevance of Belt & Road across various sections of the society whereby the project will not only build government-to-government cooperation and business-business partnerships, but also people-to-people contacts.

The forum was also addressed to by the Chairman for Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. Representing the national consensus that he has nurtured for the project by engaging all political groups and their delegates in the parliament of Pakistan, the Senator commented on the people-to-people connectivity that is envisioned as part of the Belt & Road initiative. He described the role of think-tanks in carrying out the requisite groundwork for making Belt & Road successful, for which 109 institutions from 43 countries have joined the Silk Road Think-tanks Association. Senator Mushahid Hussain described the association of think-tanks as a platform to align the objectives of development initiatives along the Belt & Road. He also termed the Belt & Road project as the most important diplomatic and development initiative in 21st century.

Numerous leaders of the states and heads of international institutions made speeches at the forum, including President Putin of Russia, President Erdogan of Turkey, UN Secretary General, Managing Director Christine Lagarde of IMF, and Secretary General Antonio Guterres of UN. All representatives conveyed their willingness to cooperate in the larger plan through joint projects, and highlighted the interconnectedness it would offer to the world, leading to shared development and prosperity. The enthusiastic international participation can be credited to the extensive initiative that aims to connect 65 countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe, and will directly impact the economic well-being of more than 3 billion inhabitants of this region.

The Belt & Road Forum also engaged representatives from think tanks from around the world as the project aims to enhance engagement on all levels, with specific emphasis on knowledge sharing and cultural collaboration. Representing Pakistan as the premier think-tank, Pakistan-China Institute captured the limelight at forum’s multiple sessions where the Executive Director Mustafa Hyder Sayed described his institution’s efforts for fostering people-to-people ties with China, facilitating intellectual exchange between students and scholars, conducting joint research studies, and inducing cultural linkages in the larger Belt & Road projects. In an interview to Robert Kuhn, Mustafa Hyder described CPEC as an opportunity for the country which will test their capacity of absorbing investments and taking out the desired results, and emphasized on the role of institutions in converting Belt & Road and CPEC into projects of extensive socioeconomic development.

Sharing information back home as the only Pakistani think-tank participating in the forum, Pakistan-China Institute engaged in live updates through various social media. A feed from their twitter handle (@pcipakchina) highlights the institute’s engagement during the forum: