Executive summary on CPEC and OBOR

We have started a new page – CPEC Watch. As part of this initiative, you will see articles on related topics in our regular posts.

This article will be updated as we go along so that it remains current and relevant. Date of last update will be shown at the bottom of the article. Links that form sources for this and other articles are given on the CPEC Watch page

  1. CPEC is actually a part of the larger OBOR initiative of President Xi.
  2. OBOR consists of a belt which is actually a series of land routes (road or rail) that connect China to Europe. The “road” is actually a sea lane aka Maritime Silk Route (MSR) which connects various ports, mainly in the Indian Ocean.
  3. CPEC will provide rail connectivity from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang to Gwadar, a port it is building (or partly built) in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. That’s a distance of over 2000km as crow flies, much longer in reality.
  4. On top of this, CPEC will also feature roads and energy project which primarily address Pakistan’s energy shortfall.
  5. There are other pie in the sky projects linked to OBOR’s MSR part such as BCIM (Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar) which are in various stages of consideration.
  6. China’s financing initiatives such as AIB are linked to this overall plan.
  7. Substantial share of CPEC dollars ($30b+) go into energy sector projects, primarily coal. These are fast track projects which obviously use a lot of Chinese machinery and labor, not to speak of capital. We are planning a separate article on these projects.

What makes it unique?

  1. The CPEC engagement is unique since thus far China has been reaping the strategic benefits of its illicit affair with Pakistan without paying a cent for it. In fact bills were forwarded to Uncle Sam who was cuckolded by the jihadi Generals. But that is not a workable option any longer.
  2. Now China is literally putting money where its mouth is. That too not Corporate or private sector like Alibaba or Huawei that invest in India, but state funds and that too in a high visibility prestigious project aka OBOR/CPEC on which President Xi has staked his personal reputation.
  3. This means China will not take kindly to any roadblocks, real or perceived. Whether it succeeds or not is another matter altogether.  Its track record overseas, particularly in countries that differ culturally has been mixed. Africa is a good example.
  4. If things don’t go too well for the regime, it may quickly find convenient scapegoats to blame and wash its hands off. Communism has its advantages, it doesn’t have to explain anything to anyone.


30th October 2016