Islamabad : Pakistan has announced Saudi Arabia will not be made part of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework and the kingdom’s proposed investments would fall under a separate bilateral arrangement, days after Islamabad said Riyadh will be the third “strategic partner” of the project. Speaking at a joint news meet with inforamation minister Fawad Chaudhry, minister for planning and development Khusro Bakhtiar said there was no decision to bring a third country, like Saudi Arabia, under the framework of the CPEC.
The CPEC envisages linking China’s Kashgar in Xinjiang to Pakistan’s Gwadar port. The project — a key component of Beijing’s Belt and Road programme — is opposed by India as its planned route goes through the disputed Kashmir region. Many countries including India suspect the project is China’s geostrategic play.
Bakhtiar said there could be many offshoots of the CPEC where third country could be involved in a trilateral arrangement for infrastructure development, Dawn online reported. “Saudi is not to be a collateral strategic partner in CPEC. This impression is not true,” he said, adding third nation participation in CPEC was not limited to Arabia.