by Elton Gomes
Under the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, a new bus service between Pakistan and China will be launched to facilitate easier travel between the two countries, according to media reports.
Launched in 2015, the $50 billion CPEC project involves a planned network of roads, railways, and energy projects linking China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea.
Passengers will have to furnish their passport, CNIC (Pakistan’s National Identity Card), a valid Visa, original invitation from China, and a ticket to use the services.
Who will be running the bus services, and when will services start
The bus service has been initiated by a private transport company, and it will be officially launched on November 13. The buses will operate between Lahore in Pakistan and Kashgar in China, Islamabad’s state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
A one-way ticket for the 30-hour journey between the two destinations will cost Rs 13,000, while a return ticket has been priced at Rs. 23,000. Radio Pakistan stated that bookings have already begun.
The bus service will be launched in an attempt to boost friendly relations between long-time allies China and Pakistan, according to the CEO of the private company, Muhammad Anwar.
Which routes will the bus ply on
According to the schedule issued by the authorized operator, the bus service will reportedly run four days a week from Lahore to Tashkurgan. The departure from Lahore would be on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday whereas the departure from Tashkurgan would be on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The passengers can book their tickets either from Lahore, Rawalpindi, or Islamabad.
What are its features
The buses will be equipped with cameras to ensure passengers’ safety. In addition, the service will offer premium and luxurious buses and better en-route services that include breakfast, lunch, dinner refreshment beverages, tea, and snacks. Wi-Fi services will also be provided throughout the journey.
How will this affect India
The CPEC is China’s flagship project of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which involves an investment worth more than $60 billion in infrastructure projects in Pakistan.
The CPEC is aimed towards rapidly modernizing Pakistani infrastructure and developing its economy through the construction of modern transportation networks, multiple energy projects, and special economic zones.
India has opposed the CPEC as it runs through PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), which according to India is part of Jammu and Kashmir – thus it comes under Indian territory.
India will be closely watching Beijing and Islamabad’s next move, especially after both nations recently agreed to develop better ties. China and Pakistan agreed to build closer relations and facilitate the construction of the CPEC.
Both countries made the promise during Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with Song Tao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xinhua reported.
PM Khan said the new Pakistani government sees its relations with China as priority and corner stone of its diplomacy. He said that Pakistan is willing to enhance bilateral ties with China and jointly push forward the construction of CPEC. The CPEC’s completion could bolster China’s resolve to complete its Belt Road Initiative – something that India opposes. Completion of CPEC could also see China strengthen its increasing influence over Asia Pacific.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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