Davos: Expressing strong support to China on its Belt and Road Initiative, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said it is much more than just an infrastructure partnership and will go a long way in creating a shared future in a fractured world.
Speaking at a panel discussion here at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Abbasi said, "We strongly recognise the vision of China and President Xi Jinping".
China's massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes. The issues related to BRI, earlier known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), have been a major bone of contention between India and China as one portion of the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
"We believe the Belt and Road Initiative is perfectly in sync with the WEF theme of creating shared future in a fractured world. It is much more than just a partnership on infrastructure and it will cause significant improvement in lives of people from different countries," Abbasi said. He further said half of humanity lives in this region and this initiative will have a big impact towards a shared future in a fractured world.
The BRI is a physical manifestation of the bond between countries that have existed through history and can result in freer movement of people, goods and ideas, and a greater culture of openness, Abbasi said.
He also said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has started to show results with a big boost to manufacturing and exports.
The key principles are financial stability and lessening of environmental impact and Pakistan being a more responsible global citizen, he said.
Speaking in the same session, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jim Liqun also lauded the initiative and the benefits it would bring to the region. Liqun said financial sustainability is key to the long-term success of the initiative.
"We should never do a project that would be a white elephant," he observed.
Singapore's Minister in Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said the city-state is very happy to be part of the BRI and believes it will help in a big way in contributing to global growth.
He said Singapore is closely working with the Chinese agencies for this project.
US-based infra consultancy major Aecom's Chairman Michael Burke said BRI is the largest infrastructure project seen in our lifetime and will have a big impact on the GDP of the region with free movement of goods and other benefits. He said such a project cannot be completed by a single country or by just private or public sector and therefore Aecom expects to participate in it in a big way for many years to come.
Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev said the fractured world is being discussed in Davos and the BRI initiative is one of the best ways to address this.