Call for Papers: International Conference on the "Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Trans-Regional Integration"

  • -
  • 9:00 am
  • Area Study Centre, UoP

Organizers:        

Area Study Centre (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar, Embassy of People’s Republic of China, Islamabad, Pakistan, CPEC Centre of Excellence, Islamabad and IM Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan

 

CONCEPT NOTE:

Regional integration refers to the regional connectivity through the development of communication infrastructure, regional cooperation, coordination, interdependence and converging efforts to compete successfully and efficiently in the global economy. Coordination and harmonization of policies can be achieved only when cross border connectivity infrastructure is developed inter and intra-regionally. China is developing that cross border connectivity infrastructure under Belt and Road Initiative. Belt is the overland connectivity from China via Central Asia to European markets while Road provides the same through Sea Lanes of Communications. China plans to develop six corridors under the BRI including CPEC. The regional states need to coordinate and harmonize their policies to achieve the aim of regional and tran-regional integration. The idea of control over integration process is central to the entire spectrum of major powers competition in the region of Central and South Asia. USA announced its New Silk Road in 2007, Russia declared its own plan of integration i.e. Eurasian Union in 2012 while China initiated its plan of regional integration Belt and Road in 2013. The three plans are competitive as well as cooperative at times. However the basic aim must be to integrate the so far poorly integrated regions of the world. Integration involves bringing together diverse components and allies through the development of cross border infrastructure. It is strategic management. The BRI and its flag-ship component CPEC are evolving trans-regional integration processes which may facilitate the integration of West Asia, Western China, South Asia and Central Asia from Siberia up to Indian Ocean and beyond.

The BRI and by extension CPEC is harmonized convergence of perceptions and the trans-regional blending on ground. CPEC as a flag-ship component of China’s BRI having role in the Belt through Kashgar, Xinjiang and in the Road through Gwadar, Indian Ocean. The context is transregional connectivity and economic growth by plugging infrastructure gaps across Asia. Western, Central and South Asia are least integrated regions in the world. Countries in the region face multiple and identical challenges in the realm of socio-economic development. Growth path of every region is a function of many factors unique to that region. In case of Western, Central and South Asia, resource endowment cannot be overlooked. The under development of regional states is mainly due to the lack of regional integration which in turn is due to the lack of transregional connectivity infrastructure. Regional peace, security and development are inextricably linked to regional integration and cooperation while shared growth and peace promotion are the main objectives of regional economic integration. The regions going to be connected by BRI and CPEC are endowed with immense and diverse natural resources the need is just to connect the resource poor countries to the resource rich transregionally.

CPEC under BRI in the above context carries geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic dividends for China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and for the Central Asian Republics as a best supply chain. For Pakistan is located at the meeting point of Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Western China. Saudi Arabia and Russia have also been engaged regarding BRI and CPEC. Iran holds significance as far as regional geo-economic and strategic scenarios and Pak-Iran bilateral relations are concerned. China has important energy relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Central Asian Republics are important for economic (energy) and geographical reasons. CPEC will thus result in efficient market access inter and intra-regionally under the BRI. Bilateral and multi-lateral Regional Integration Arrangements (RIAs) needed to be emphasized upon and expedited. These RIAs can be bi-lateral, tri-lateral and multi-lateral transregionally. Meanwhile, Russia has initiated its plan for regional integration i.e. Eurasian Economic Union and President Putin has already declared Eurasian Economic Union’s complementarity with the BRI. The realignments are visible, though, resolution efforts as well are afoot for solution to the conflict in Afghanistan via a negotiated settlement, as opposed to the ongoing proxy and hybrid wars. Still, the opening up of South, South West and Central Asia plus western China by means of inter and intra-regional connectivity infrastructure, trade and financial influences will have an integrative and an affirmative impact on the region.

Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar in this context plans to organise a two day conference. The focus of conference is on the opportunities created by BRI and CPEC regarding trans-regional integration. The ongoing New Great Game from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and up to the Eurasian heartland i.e. ‘Central Asia’ envisages access to markets and at the same time denial of that to rivals. International law and global trade regimes are under threat and sanctions are applied as an instrument of coercive diplomacy and foreign policy. Regionalism is the way forward for regional states to overcome the impediments in their socio-economic development by translating their own resources into sustainable inclusive development and also to correct the distorted world order based on globalism.

The expansion of BRI and CPEC and the trans-regional integration continues. It is already stimulating and will stimulate further. The Sino-Pak commitment for the enlarged CPEC will have beneficial trans-regional integrating impact. Both BRI and CPEC are vital for the growth of economies in Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. The World Bank estimates suggest that developing countries around the world need $100 billion annual investment in infrastructure. This the American led west is not willing to invest. Take for example the case of Pakistan where China has pledged over $60 billion under CPEC. The Indo-US nexus is not happy and comfortable with BRI and CPEC. An escalation in Central Asia is an option. Besides, counter-terrorism is a component of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Russia is back in Afghanistan this time as Pakistan’s partner. Russia’s Eurasian Union and OBOR are complementary. The idea that BRI and CPEC are Chinese “debt diplomacy” is reductionist extrapolation of the neo-imperialists desiring to control pliant Russia and China and also to control the natural resources around the world.

The joint statement after Pakistan’s Prime Minister maiden visit to China included: enhanced bilateral relationship in defense, trade, counter-terrorism, regional security, health, agriculture, climate change, poverty alleviation, investment, space cooperation and culture. The two sides also agreed to establish China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue after renaming the former Strategic Dialogue at Vice Foreign Minister-level to Political Consultations. The joint statement pointed that both China and Pakistan desire timely completion of the CPEC projects with a focus on socio-economic development, livelihoods and job creation.

OBJECTIVES:

The main objective of the Conference is to deliberate upon and highlight the role of BRI and CPEC in prospective trans-regional integration of South, West and Central Asia, Russia and Western China. The scholars from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China would highlight the significance of regional integration through BRI and CPEC in regional context in their respective countries. The aim is also to mull over the prospects and challenges faced by the regional countries regarding close cooperation and regional integration. The Conference aims at gathering the relevant scholars and practitioners from the above countries to evaluate not only the forces shaping the trans-regional integration through CPEC, but also to deliberate upon the prospects of inter and intra-regional integration and to discuss the challenges thwarting trans-regional integration processes under BRI & CPEC. Academic and research themes of the Conference include, but are not confined to: 

THEMES:

  1. BRI: The Chinese Economy and the Trans-regional Integration
  2. The Potential Russian Role in Central and South Asian Economic Integration: the Eurasian Economic Union
  3. The ideas of integration and conflict: A case study of Afghanistan
  4. The emerging economies in the region and Regional Integration
  5. The Idea of Regional Integration Commission
  6. Regional Integration between Central and South Asia: Role of CPEC
  7. Eurasian Union and BRI: Complementarity
  8. The Roles of Gwadar and Chabahar in Regional Connectivity.
  9. The Sino-Pak institutionalization and fast-tracking of CPEC implementation
  10. Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones under CPEC
  11. China’s Special Economic Zones: Lessons for Pakistan
  12. The Port of Gwadar: A study of trans-shipment and transit hub
  13. The broadening of CPEC: Socio-Economic development
  14. The energy pipelines, roads, rail links and trans-regional integration under CPEC
  15. Free Trade Agreements amongst Regional States: Harmonizing and Coordinating Policies
  16. Economic and Political Challenges to Regional Integration
  17. The idea of third country participation in CPEC: A case study of Saudi Arabia
  18. The Pakistani-Russian Entente Cordial
  19. The New Great Game and Indian Ocean
  20. The regional and extra-regional threats to CPEC
  21. The Indo-US Entente and containment of China
  22. Regional Conflicts: Impact on Regional Integration
  23. BRI and Cultural Integration

 

 

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit abstracts of 150-300 words clearly indicating objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions by February 23, 2019. Length of complete research paper shall be 5000-6000 words with Turabian Style of Citation. Abstracts/papers will be peer-reviewed and selected paper presenters will be intimated by March 1st 2019.

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 23rd February 2019

Intimation of acceptance of abstracts: 1st March 2019

Deadline for the submission of final papers: 8th April 2019

Conference: 24-25 April 2019

 

  • P.S. Boarding lodging will be provided by the organizers. Limited numbers of travel grants both international and national are also available.
  • Please submit your abstract/paper and brief CV on the following email addresses.

 

Dr. Muhammad Ali Dinakhel
Conference Secretary
Area Study Centre (Russia, China & Central Asia)
University of Peshawar, Pakistan
Email: asc.conference.bri@uop.edu.pk
Email: aliasc@uop.edu.pk

Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan
Director                                                                               
Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia),       
University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9216764 Ext: 102, Fax: +92 91 9216661
Email: asc@uop.edu.pk