Regionalism in South Asia has entailed the search for collective efforts to overcome mostly weak, congeneric economies, political fragmentation, socio-religious cleavages and the consequent deep-rooted conflicts between state and societies. In order to enhance regional cooperation, for quite some time, the idea of Economic Corridor (EC) has become not only a trend in geopolitical strategies but also a buzzword in plans for stimulating economic growth as well as deeper integration of Asia’s sub-regions. This has especially been the case within South East Asia. In South Asia, it is a more recent phenomenon that the establishment of economic corridors has gained prominence. One of the most advanced examples is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The presentation will put the CPEC in the larger context of major strategic development projects led by the Chinese and analyse the domestic and regional impacts. Furthermore, the elaboration will shed light on the interests, challenges, and impact of such initiatives from an economic as well as (geo-) political perspective. Having this in mind, following questions will be addressed: How realistic is the implementation of such a mega-project in Pakistan? Will the CPEC fulfil its function as an ‘Economic Corridor’? And what can the CPEC achieve regarding regional economic cooperation and integration beyond the Pakistan-China nexus?
About the Speaker:
Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf, Senior Researcher (member) at the South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University, and Director of Research at SADF (Coordinator: Democracy Research Program). He was educated at the SAI and Institute of Political Science (IPW) in Heidelberg. Additionally he is a visiting fellow at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST, Islamabad), affiliated researcher at the Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU, Durham University), and a former research fellow at IPW and Centre de Sciences Humaines (New Delhi, India). He is the co-author of ‘A Political and Economic Dictionary of South Asia’ (Routledge: London, 2006), co-editor of ‘Politics in South Asia. Culture, Rationality and Conceptual Flow’ (Springer: Heidelberg, 2015), ‘The Merits of Regionalisation. The Case of South Asia’ (Springer: Heidelberg, 2014), and ‘State and Foreign Policy in South Asia’ (Sanskriti, 2010), and Deputy Editor of the ‘Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics’ (HPSACP). Furthermore, he has worked as a consultant for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany, and is member of the external experts group of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Task Force, Federal Foreign Office, Germany.