New Delhi: A day after it came to light that Saudi Arabia was invited to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Islamabad has hinted that Riyadh may indeed become the third "strategic partner" of the $50 billion belt soon.
Tweeting to Pakistan Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry, former interior, planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal asked if China had been taken into confidence regarding Pakistan's decision to make Saudi Arabia a part of the corridor. His comment came after the minister announced on Thursday that Riyadh was invited to join the project.
Replying to his question, Chaudhry said that China was taken into confidence on the matter, thus hinting that the deal could be sealed soon. "Yes, China has been taken into confidence, expansion of CPEC is in China and Pakistan interest. Pak ll be a centre of economic activity of this region, era of darkness is over (sic)," the minister tweeted on Friday.
Yes China has been taken into confidence, expansion of CPEC is in China and Pakistan interest. Pak ll be a centre of economic activity of this region, era of darkness is over. https://t.co/m8AvLIuAEJ— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 21, 2018
Chaudhry had said on Thursday that Saudi Finance and Energy Ministers will visit Pakistan in the first week of October. He said the projects that Saudi Arabia would be investing in the CPEC will be smoothed out during the Saudi delegation's visit.
The CPEC is the fastest-moving and flagship part of President Xi's global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The CPEC aims to construct and upgrade the transportation network, energy projects, a deep-water port at Gwadar and special economic zones to eventually support Pakistan's industrial development as a manufacturing hub by 2030.
Chaudhry said Prime Minister Khan has assured Riyadh that Pakistan will stand with Saudi Arabia. "We have also assured the Saudi leadership that we will continue to provide security to their country and provide strategic support wherever needed," he said on the close defence partnership between the close allies.