Islamabad: Pakistan is set to gain the most from the Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran signed last week worth USD 400 billion, as per an Express Tribune report.
As per reports, China will invest billions in different Iranian sectors, including gas and oil, while Tehran is due to ensure regular energy supplies to Beijing for 25 years at a discounted rate.
Amin Saikal, adjunct professor of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia, said that the deal carries the potential to result in “a marked geopolitical shift” in the Middle East and Asia.
“Although Tehran and Beijing have had close trade, economic and strategic ties, a further strengthening of these provides Beijing with a wider entree into a region which so far has not been an arena of intense US-Chinese rivalry,” Saikal told Sputnik.
Moscow-based American political analyst Andrew Korybko, in an opinion piece for The Express Tribune, described this deal as a lifeline that would ensure the West Asian country’s long-term stability in the face of American sanctions and increased US-led regional military pressure.
Korybko said that it’s in Pakistan’s interests not only to see to it that the larger neighbourhood remains stable but also to enhance its regional connectivity with all interested countries.
“Considering the fact that Pakistan hosts the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it’s only natural that this megaproject expands westward into Iran as a result of China’s reportedly promised investments there,” the political analyst added.
According to Korybko, this deal would advance the regional integration vision that the political analyst previously had termed as W-CPEC+, with the “W” referring to CPEC’s western expansion.
The American political analyst further said that it would greatly benefit their relevant interests if their ties with Iran improved — considering the fact that the Islamic Republic provides the best means for bringing together the eastern (Pakistan) and the western (Azerbaijan, Turkey) halves of this group.
Chinese-Iranian economic ties
W-CPEC+ is the best opportunity for the emergence of a broader regional integration network comprised of all four countries, he stated.
Asserting that Chinese-Iranian economic ties will continue to be dominated by the energy sphere, Korybko said that their inevitable diversification into other domains will lead to more bilateral trade.
“All of these are poised to combine in mutually beneficial ways that will unleash the power of the Eurasian Century and consequently improve Pakistan’s pivotal role within it,” Korybko said.