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Friend turned foe

Friend turned foe

Pakistan sprang a nasty surprise on its all-weather ally, China, by denying the dragon's financial assistance to build the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha dam in the disputed Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir region, where India still stands to declare its claim. A part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the dam is touted to equip the Pakistani economy with crucial support in the storage of 6.4 million acre-feet of water and generation of 4,500MW cheaper hydropower.

Aimed to benefit people of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan region, the project has been witnessing roadblocks due to its heavy financial requirements, as the Asian Development Bank had earlier rejected a proposal to finance the project owing to its sensitive location in a disputed area. China, that has emerged to become Pakistan's reliable better half in recent times, had put forth a proposal to fund the project as a part of the CPEC initiative. But, surprisingly, Pakistan shot down China's proposal, choosing instead to tread the path of self-financing. Pakistan officials have proclaimed that China's strict regulations had compelled Pakistan to turn its back on its reliable neighbour. China, reports claim, sought for ownership of the project, which did not suit the sensibilities of the Pakistan authority.

For once, India can be satisfied with Pakistan's move as one that is not jeopardising its own position within the subcontinent. In Beijing, authorities seemed to have been struck by an unanticipated reaction from Pakistan, who China had so forth believed was comfortably in its kitty. Chinese experts went on to state that as the fate of CPEC remains in jeopardy, Pakistan would not take the ominous step of striking down the partnership. However, it did. For its own good and for the good of its much-hated neighbour, India. Pakistan seems to have woken up to China's domination across Asia, where infrastructural projects have turned into tools for the Chinese economy to further its dominance by bringing nations under its subservient glance.

The case of the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka is still fresh in public memory, and indeed Pakistan's too. China's inclination towards adopting conniving methods of manoeuvring its way to find a comfortable spot that burgeons its own economy at the cost of the autonomy of others has become an open secret, a weapon that could turn on its head to in fact now be lethal for the Chinese. Pakistan has woken up in time before China was able to pierce the final sword.

Though the China-Pak relation was working in favour of Pakistan, especially in countering India's growth in Asia and beyond, Pakistan seems to have realised that all that glitters isn't gold. Pakistan's assertion of its own autonomy will boost its economy that is crumbling under Chinese pressure and inadequate sovereignty. Pakistan's timely rejection of China's bid has saved its economy from a possible unwarranted control that could hijack its independence. A dragon, no matter how domestic, could still unleash its lethal fire, turning all-weather friends into instant foes.

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