Saudi Arabia could not be the third-party strategic investor in the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a flagship project called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as earlier it was announced by Islamabad.
BRI is a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping and it is aimed to increase further its influence around the world through infrastructure projects funded by the country.
Pakistan’s Ministry for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar said they would have a separate bilateral deal with the Saudi Kingdom and not to include as a strategic partner in the CPEC.
He added, “Saudi Arabia is not to become a collateral strategic partner in the CPEC. This impression is not true.”
About a month ago, following the return of Prime Minister Imran Khan from Saudi visit, the Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the Kingdom could be the third strategic partner of the CPEC.
However, it is interesting to learn the U-turn of the country as Chaudhry was seated beside Bakhtiar while clarifying why Saudi Arabia could not be a CPEC partner.
Bakhtiar said there could be many offshoots in trilateral agreement like China-Pakistan-Germany and China-Pakistan-Japan.
A Saudi Arabia delegation is currently in Pakistan to assess capitalization on the offer.
Meanwhile, India has opposed the CPEC project as the project is also laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.