China and Pakistan deepened their strategic alliance on June 20 with a $4.8 billion agreement to construct a 1,200-megawatt nuclear power plant, the Chashma-V, in Pakistan’s Mianwali district.
The deal signifies increasing economic cooperation between the two nations, particularly given Pakistan’s current financial strain.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, presided over the contract signing and emphasized the importance of the project, assuring that it would commence without further delay.
Criticizing the previous administration for stalling this crucial initiative, Sharif expressed gratitude for China’s substantial investment amidst Pakistan’s fiscal challenges. He hailed the agreement as evidence of continued trust and confidence by Chinese investors in Pakistan’s potential.
Sharif also highlighted special concessions granted by Chinese companies for the project, which will save Pakistan billions of rupees. He voiced optimism that the country would overcome its economic hurdles with China’s assistance and that of other friendly nations.
Sharif confirmed ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to finalize the 9th Review, stating that all prerequisite conditions stipulated by the global lender have been met.
In his statement, Sharif extended his profound gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership for their substantial aid to Pakistan. He likewise acknowledged financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Pakistan’s Chashma power plants, including the new 1,200-megawatt addition, are critical to the country’s affordable nuclear power production. The current four plants have a combined capacity of 1,330 megawatts, according to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. An additional 2,290 megawatts is supplied by two operational Karachi Nuclear Power Plants.
Pakistan’s economy, weighed down by massive debt and rampant inflation, has been struggling for years, with the IMF’s $6 billion aid package from 2019 yet to be fully dispensed due to unfulfilled conditions. In these circumstances, China’s consistent support provides a lifeline for Pakistan’s teetering economy.