NEW DELHI: China announced its plans to set up a steel factory in Gwadar city as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Zhao Lijian confirmed the news at a conference organised by an Islamabad based think-tank and attended by top diplomats, academicians and mediapersons.

"The steel factory will be three times bigger than the free economic zone being set up in the Gwadar city, and an agreement in this regard between China and Pakistan will be signed soon," said Zhao, as quoted by Pakistan's Nation.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a multi-billion dollar undertaking to lay out an overland route which will facilitate trade and communication between the two nations through the construction of highways, railways, and pipelines. A number of infrastructure development projects are being carried out under the umbrella of the CPEC.

At the conference, Zhao went on to say that the steel factory would be instrumental in furthering the region's growth and development as part of the CPEC project.

The Chinese ambassador also discussed some other socio-economic ventures in Gwadar. These include energy projects, a new international airport, a highway and a hospital to resolve Pakistan's crippling power-supply shortfalls, and to establish a nationwide network of logistical infrastructure.

Zhao said that "industrial cooperation was the fourth pillar of the CPEC initiative" and both the countries would discuss it at the next meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee, which is the principal decision-making body behind the project.

The progress in CPEC, which will link southern Pakistan to western China, is being warily monitored by India as the route passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

With an investment of $51 billion, the bulk of which has been supplied by China, CPEC is a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road projects, that seek to deepen China's economic cooperation with a number of Asian and European countries.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com