The Game-changer for Asia
The Silk Route philosophy was based on the concept of harnessing trade and cultivating regional peace in Asia. The magnificent Route not only spurred enormous trade, it also facilitated the inter-region connectivity. Different cultural hubs including — but not limited to — South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Africa are linked through this route. This connectivity, on one hand, enhances the geostrategic importance of China, and on the other improves the prospects of huge economic development across the region.
Decline of Silk Route
The decline of Mongol Empire and the discovery of sea route from Europe to Asia in the fifteenth century was a deathblow to the overland Silk Road. Then, the new Silk Route was discovered on the sea which linked the East and the West. This Maritime route brought a new wave of dynamic trade, economic development and fostered peace. However, when the Qing dynasty banned the maritime trade, the Maritime silk route eventually faded away.
Need for Maritime Silk Road Revival
The concept of revival of Maritime Silk Route and a highly optimistic attitude of China’s new leadership is being seen as a great strategy. Let me highlight the key benefits for China if this concept is revived. These are as under:
- China will have strategic access to other regions and may experience greater economic expansion.
- China can have access to energy corridors and other natural resources.
- China will have unique strategic diplomatic relations throughout the world.
- China can build its naval forces along its ports throughout the route.
- Indeed China will dominate the sea without having hardly any competition and hurdles.
Importance for Pakistan
Pakistan and China always had cordial relations and their friendship is described as “higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world, and sweeter than honey”. Besides China, the revival of Maritime Silk Route will bring immense benefit to Pakistan. The Gwadar Port will be a major player in inter-region trade and will bring a lot of economic benefits for our country. Further, China would even use Gwadar for expanding its trading activities, which would also be beneficial for Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan will be able to export its livestock, coal, seafood, rice, wheat, cement, shale oil and other commodities to China as well as other countries which will also increase employment opportunities and will bring in new ideas. Foreign investments would also pour into the country. The Gwadar Port can connect the energy-rich landlocked countries with the Maritime Silk Route. All these economic activities will put Pakistan into a win-win situation. Pakistan can aggressively promote its economic policies and can be saved from the hegemony of external forces which manipulate country’s internal policies. Hence, the overland Silk route and Maritime Silk Route will be a game-changer for the whole region.