U.K., France, Russia Want To Join Pakistan-China’s CPEC

1 Dec

 

By Polina Tikhonova

Russia is not discussing the possibility of joining CPEC with Islamabad. “The Pakistani media reports about secret negotiations between Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of projects as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are not true to the facts,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said in a press release.

The CPEC is apparently becoming a new association (like BRICS), as many countries are showing interest in being part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. With ambitions to even become a new union (like European Union, but not limited only to Europe), the CPEC, co-created by Pakistan and China, has already attracted big international players such as Russia, the U.K. and France.

 

The $51 billion project has been all over the news lately, not only because it’s a game-changer for China, Pakistan and Asia as a whole, but also because there’s a theory that India could start a military conflict over the CPEC. But seeing how many nations are siding with the CPEC, it’s very unlikely that India would start a war over it.

Interestingly, Russia’s bid to join the CPEC comes as a yet another indication that Moscow, which has been India’s key weapons supplier for decades, is abandoning India for Pakistan. It seems that Russia has more chances than any other country to join the CPEC, as theories about a possible China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle keep piling up. The CPEC may be that formal launchpad to form an alliance between Beijing, Moscow and Islamabad.

CPEC is foundation for China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle

But what’s all the fuss about? Is the CPEC really becoming the new BRICS? It could be so.

Just days ago, Russia and Pakistan reportedly held backdoor meetings which led Moscow to formally request access to Gwadar Port and ask China and Pakistan to be part of the lucrative multi-billion-dollar project. According to sources cited by Pakistan’s Daily Times, the chief of Russia’s intelligence agency, Federal Security Services, made a secret visit to Pakistan.

Russian intelligence officials and Pakistani high officials reportedly discussed strengthening their bilateral defense and military ties. The two nations also reportedly expressed interest in reshaping the cooperation between their intelligence agencies. The Russian intelligence chief was also said to have visited Gwadar, which is a key point of the CPEC, a 3,000-kilometer network of roads, railways and pipelines that connects Kashgar and Gwadar.

Russian officials were also reportedly satisfied with the economic opportunities offered by the CPEC and, according to the media outlet’s sources, even expressed interest in using Gwadar Port for international trade. The Russians were also said to have pledged to make investments in various sectors of Pakistan to deepen their economic ties.

Is CPEC the end of India and Russia’s friendship?

Although Russia and Pakistan were Cold War-era rivals, the two have greatly amended their relations in the last two years. Their new friendship, which has been backed by military deals and joint military exercises, is attributed to the fact that with the help of Islamabad, Russia wants to get closer to China, which is Pakistan’s traditional ally.

India, Pakistan’s traditional and historical enemy, can’t be happy about Russia’s warm ties with Islamabad of late. Russia is well aware that India is a strong opponent of the CPEC, and joining the project would probably mark the formal end of their friendly ties.

 

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