Pakistan’s political economist Prof S Akbar Zaidi today said the growing dependence on Chinese investment in Pakistan had cast a shadow on Indo-Pak trade prospects. “Currently, the official bilateral trade is stuck at around $2.1 billion and I don’t see it going to double in the next five years when Pakistan thinks China is the best friend,” Zaidi said on the sidelines of his lecture at the Bengal Chamber here. He believed that the prospect for Indo-Pak bilateral trade was of $10 billion.
“With Pakistan treating China as its best friend and putting all eggs in one basket which is unfortunate, I don’t see trade is going up” Zaidi said.
He indicated that as US cutting aids since the last few years and China’s aggressive investment plans in Pakistan, his country was moving close toward the dragon country. He said though official trade with India was about $2.1 billion, unofficial and via third country it was about $4 billion, Zaidi said.
He said, now more Pakistani students were studying in China than in the US.
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He said Pakistan was expected to gain from the investments from China of worth $56 billion in infrastructure, but warned that prostrating before China under the guise of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) might lead to potential debt problems.
In both Sri Lanka and Tajikistan, with rising costs and debts incurred by the host countries, a large chunk of land was handed over to the Chinese in lieu of unpaid funds, Zaidi said.