CPEC: A transformational project

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The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered its second phase, with a focus on industry, agriculture, technology, tourism thus contributing to overall socio-economic development in the country. The flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is also helping in the development of remote areas, creation of jobs, and improving the livelihoods of people. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a transformational project for Pakistan. The CPEC has facilitated the upgrade of our physical infrastructure, addressed our acute energy needs, and contributed to the development of Gwadar Port. It is very much in sync with Pakistan’s renewed focus on geo-economics and economic security.
The emerging technologies like AI, robotics, 5G, big data, and quantum computing are having a huge impact on our lives. The useful applications of these technologies in sectors like trade, industry, agriculture, health and education cannot be denied. Consequently, this area has the necessary attention of the government of Pakistan. An initiative called Digital Pakistan has been launched. The government has announced new policy package to promote innovation and research in IT areas. A number of incubation centers in the country have been established to assist new start-up companies.
A Special Technology Zones Authority has been set up with the mandate to promote and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, ensure facilitation to technology players through a collaborative approach between government, industry and academia. It is a fast-growing area of cooperation between China and Pakistan. Many Chinese technology companies are already working in Pakistan. Realizing the potential of our bilateral cooperation in IT sectors, we have established a Joint Working Group on IT under CPEC.
The two countries have recently agreed to launch China-Pakistan Digital Corridor to further enhance cooperation in this regard. Last year, the two countries celebrated 70 years of our diplomatic relations – an important milestone in our friendship journey of seven decades.
We together organized more than 140 events, an extraordinary and unprecedented feat. Most of these events were in the field of culture, including art exhibitions, fashion shows, food festivals, literary gatherings and film festivals. The two countries also established 20 new sister province and sister city relations. These friendly agreements between our provinces and cities are now more than 40, and provide a solid framework for practical cooperation in the fields of  trade, education, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
Pakistan and China are also promoting linkages between their academic institutions. There are a number of Pakistan study centers as well as Urdu Study Centers in many Chinese universities. Similarly, China has established Confucius Institutes in Pakistan. Chinese language is also gaining popularity in Pakistani schools and colleges. We must build on the current momentum and further broaden and intensify our ties in these areas. In order to further foster a better understanding, the two countries are also focusing on the area of tourism. An MoU on promoting tourism was signed in November 2021, and the Year 2023 will be celebrated as Year of Tourism Exchanges between our two countries.
As one of the special relationships in the world, our friendship is based on enduring trust, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
Whatever the circumstances, and whatever the regional and international environment, this relation has remained constant.The future of this relationship will be exceedingly bright, not only for our two countries, but also contributing to peace, progress and prosperity of our region and beyond.