A policeman stands guard next to giant portraits of (L-R) Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, China's President Xi Jinping, and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in Islamabad, April 2015.
Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

As China expands its regional influence, its relationship with Pakistan will be increasingly important. Last April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed a series of agreements cementing their partnership, including final plans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an economic initiative to connect the two countries through a web of railways, roads, pipelines, and other development projects. Once built, the nearly 2,000-mile-long corridor will shorten China's route to the Middle East by about 7,500 miles. No wonder China has invested $46 billion in the project.

Yet for all its potential benefits, the corridor comes with political risks. It will pass through three restive regions: Kashmir in India and Pakistan, Xinjiang in China, and Baluchistan in Pakistan. China and Pakistan’s economic relationship will affect all three areas, likely for ill.


During the last UN Sustainable Development Summit, in September, Sharif said of the corridor, “

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  • FAHAD SHAH is a journalist currently reporting from Kashmir and New Delhi. He is the editor of the anthology Of Occupation and Resistance: Writings from Kashmir and founding editor of the magazine The Kashmir Walla.
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