Off the wire
Spotlight: Turkey's grassroots benefit most from Ankara-Istanbul high-speed rail  • (BRF) Economic Watch: Chinese technologies connect Belt and Road  • Iraqi forces push into 4 IS-held neighborhoods in western Mosul  • (BRF) China Focus: Xi launches Belt and Road forum to map out new global vision  • Across China: Traditional handmade shoes popular gifts for Chinese mothers  • China calls for restraint on Korean Peninsula  • 12 students commit suicide in central India over exam results  • (BRF) Chinese listed firms seek opportunities along Belt and Road  • (BRF) China holds Silk Road-themed art exhibition  • 23-year-old woman gangraped and killed in northern India, two suspects held  
You are here:   Home/ Editors' Choice

Ex-Pakistan PM: B&R Initiative 'world's game-changer' / by Zhang Lulu, May 14, 2017 Adjust font size:

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday lauded the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a "game-changer for the world."

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is in Beijing to attend the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14. [Photo by Zhang Lulu/]

Aziz is in Beijing to attend the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation opening on May 14.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the building of a Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013. It is primarily an infrastructure and trade cooperation framework that spans Eurasia as well as the rest of the world.

Aziz, speaking to, said that the BRI "will be a game-changer for the world -- not just for one or two countries -- because it will set the tone transcending many cultures, borders and ideologies."

Aziz said the concept of the Belt and Road is about "sharing and caring" about China's neighbors and "countries that believe in peace, progress and prosperity." "If you have peace, progress and prosperity or make efforts towards that, you will find the world to be a better and safer place," he said. "Getting different cultures and geographical areas together is what the world needs most."

China and Pakistan launched a comprehensive cooperation plan under the BRI when President Xi visited the south Asian country in 2015. Xi called for a "1+4" cooperation structure with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as the center and the Gwadar Port, transport infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation as four key elements. A total of US$46 billion Chinese investment was pledged then.

Aziz, a banker-turned-politician, explained the economic rationale behind massive Belt and Road projects.

He said that any development plan must necessarily take into account the return on investment, but not all the return has to be in cash or tangible. "The thrust of the Belt and Road Initiative is infrastructure, and infrastructure is an enabler, a way of getting maximum benefit from your economy."

He said better infrastructure can lead to more trade, jobs and investment. Therefore instead of eyeing only tangible "financial returns," the BRI looks at the holistic "economic return" -- including better education for people in countries involved -- that can eventually boost the economy of a country.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is in Beijing to attend the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14. [Photo by Zhang Lulu/] 

He also said that lending institutions under the initiative, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, should make rigorous analysis of borrowers as any development institution would do. "Nobody is saying that this is a charity program; it's not. It is a very well-thought-out, holistic, out-of-the-box new way of looking at development globally and regionally."

Aziz also praised the Chinese leadership for proposing the BRI. "This concept shows that the leadership of China -- President Xi and his team -- believe in not just growing China but also growing other countries in the region and in the world."

"To me, this initiative manifests the quality and strength of the Chinese leadership. They have a vision, they have been consistent about it and now they are taking it to the next level."