Chinese $58 billion railroad to connect with Pakistan and reduce reliance on West

BARKING, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: A train engine pulls carriages that started their Journey in Yiwu in China into Barking rail freight terminal on January 18, 2017 in Barking, England. After travelling for 16 days and covering around 7,456 miles passing through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, The East Wind freight train which is made up of 34 wagons is hoped will herald a 'new era of UK-China relations'. The Engine that started the journey was changed to accomodate different gauge tracks in the UK. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 10:52 AM – Friday, April 28, 2023

China has proposed a massive $58 billion railroad project that will link western China with Pakistan, further reducing Western trade dependence.

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The railroad is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is China’s global infrastructure development strategy adopted in 2013 that includes investing in more than 150 countries, and international organizations.

The state-owned China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Co Ltd analysts examined and approved the proposal, despite its heavy price tag. According to the proposal’s assessment board, the 1,860-mile rail line comes with the potential to “reshape trade and geopolitics across the Eurasian Continent.”

According to the report, analysts said that the PLA government and the financial institutes “should provide strong support, increase coordination and collaboration among relevant domestic departments, strive for the injection of support funds, and provide strong policy support and guarantees for the construction of this project.”

By connecting China with Pakistan, the proposed railway system will reduce reliance on the Malacca Strait, which is currently the main and quickest shipping channel between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the Western-dominated trade routes in general.

The railway, which will connect the Chinese city of Kashgar to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, will be the largest transportation project that China has invested in so far. The country has also contributed to the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line in Indonesia, which is the first high-speed rail system in Asia and is set to open in June.

Pakistan’s economy is also expected to greatly benefit from the rail line due to the direct and easier commerce with China.

The project currently faces technical and security obstacles getting started. It would need auxiliary infrastructure and logistical capabilities which Pakistan does not currently possess. The labor laws in the two countries are also another obstacle that must be overcome, however, experts suggest that when the rail line is finished, other surrounding nations are also set to benefit from it.

Some analyst suggest that China can quickly overcome the obstacles that it is facing due to the significant advancements that it has made in several emerging technologies. Dale Aluf, Director of Research & Strategy at Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (SIGNAL) told ZAWYA news that China is leading the world in a multitude of technological advances.

“China is already leading the world in artificial intelligence, blockchain, 5G, and quantum technology publications and patents,” he said.

According to Walter Wang, Consulting Director at research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the advancement in technology that Beijing has made will allow it to more “efficiently promote the progress of BRI.”

“These advancements in technologies,” Wang said. “Will allow Beijing to more efficiently promote the progress of BRI, increase the bonding between China and BRI countries, and push BRI’s hard projects. Many countries aligned with BRI are rich in solar energy resources but lack the technologies and resources to construct renewable energy infrastructure. Through BRI, China can export advanced renewable energy technologies and earn incentives.”

According to reports, China is expected to further develop new train systems that would link China with Turkey and Iran which would open up more direct access to the regions.

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