China builds diplomatic bridges by funding dams in Pakistan
Despite China’s claims to be a developing country and not yet experienced in foreign diplomacy, it can on occasion make very astute moves. China appears to be refining the blunt and brutal diplomacy tools they used in their early days, such as the arms for minerals deals in the Congo, and using its relative wealth to cement relationships. If one looks at the difference of approach undertaken by the US and China towards Pakistan, there are learnings there.
The US has used threats, coercion, military force, and the promise of arms to attempt to make Pakistan bend to its will. Such pressure may produce results, but in the longer term such a strategy rarely results in friendly or trusting relationships. China is learning from watching others, so it reached out to Pakistan in a different way. It is helping to fund the creation of 12 much needed dams in Pakistan. Such civil infrastructure improvements makes Chinese investment welcome, improves the lot of the average Pakistani, and gives China important access to further development opportunities. The US approach is unlikely to see them asked back after the security crisis passes, whereas China is taking a much more strategic, long-term view.
Pakistan and China have signed a $1 billion accord to construct 12 dams in Pakistan in all the four provinces.
A Chinese import/export bank would furnish $700 million loans, while the remaining $300 million would be taken care of by the Planning Commission (PC).
Sources say WAPDA had prepared a feasibility report, according to which 650,000 acres of land would be brought under irrigation. An MOU has been signed in this regard between WAPDA and Axiom Bank (import/export) of China.