Strategic partnership Current Affairs
Pakistan has invited Saudi Arabia to join $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the third strategic partner. Formal request in this regard was made after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia during his first foreign trip after getting elected.
Saudi Arabia is first country that Pakistan has invited to become partner in CPEC. Pakistan’s main interest in inviting Saudi Arabia in CPEC is to ensure huge investment from cash rich gulf country. This invitation comes after Pakistan concern over rising debt levels have especially due to unsustainable loans from China for CPEC projects, compromising cash-strapped Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Projects as part of CPEC in which Saudi Arabia will be investing will be smoothed out during visit of Saudi Arabia’s Finance and Energy Ministers to Pakistan in the first week of October 2018. During this visit, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will also finalise important economic partnership.
Note: Saudi Arabia has long history of financially bailing out Pakistan during economic crisis. Saudi Arabia had loaned Pakistan $1.5 billion in 2014 to strengthen its rupee currency, six months after Pakistan obtained its last IMF bailout.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
CPEC is flagship project as part of China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at enhancing China’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. CPEC aims to construct and upgrade transportation network, energy projects, deep-water port at Gwadar and special economic zones (SEZs) to eventually support Pakistan’s industrial development as manufacturing hub by 2030. CPEC will linking Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through vast network of highways and railways. The proposed project is financed by heavily-subsidised Chinese loans, disbursed to Pakistan Government by Chinese banking giants such as China Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
India and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) inked 14 agreements in various areas to boost bilateral cooperation between both countries.
These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in New Delhi.
The Crown Prince who is Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces is on a three-day visit. He is chief guest of 2017 Republic Day Parade.
Agreements signed are
- MoU in agriculture and Allied sectors
- Agreement on Oil Storage And Management
- MoU for cooperation in programme exchange
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Defence Industry
- Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
- MoU on Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport
- MoU on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency
- MoU on cooperation in prevention and combating of human trafficking
- MoU on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways Sector
- MoU on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest
- MoU for the cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and innovation
- MoU on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of Diplomatic, special and Official Passports.