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.

A NEW POWER BALANCE

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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