Chapter 19 Pakistan and the BRI: is there a shift from euphoria to pragmatism?
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Growing Chinese influence driven by Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has evoked multiple responses worldwide. The hegemon considers it a challenge to the US-led world order. Major powers, which benefitted immensely from post-cold war unchallenged American leadership, are toeing a cautious line on China. And the absolute or relatively dissatisfied countries grouped under "middle" and "small" category have enthusiastically welcomed the rise of China. However, as the BRI unfolds, this enthusiasm among middle powers may now be shifting into pragmatism due to many factors including Elite discords. This chapter seeks to dissect trajectory of Pakistan's elite responses on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is argued that CPEC has created frictions within Pakistani elite, which historically has been more aligned to the US. Using Elite theory, the chapter attempts to ascertain why an influential segment of the country's ruling class opposes unchecked ingress of Beijing in strategic, economic and cultural spheres of the country. Apparently, Pakistan's polity seems euphoric on the rise of China but a deeply entrenched colonial legacy and a long history of association with the US still holds sway in Pakistan's governing and non-governing elite, which could possibly hinder Chinese ambitions in Pakistan.

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