The next major step towards the formal introduction of the CPEC in 2013 was in 2006, when two major developments took place. The first was the signing of a framework agreement on energy cooperation, in which the Chinese government is committed to supporting the development of Pakistan`s oil and gas sector. The second development took place during Chinese President Hu Jintao`s visit to Pakistan in November. During the visit, the two countries signed a free trade agreement and a five-year economic and economic cooperation plan, as well as an agreement for China to financially support the modernization of transport infrastructure, including the Karakorum Highway. The signing of the agreement between the China Gezhouba Group, an investor in the project, and the Pakistani side was observed on Monday by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, China`s ambassador to Pakistan, ministers and representatives of the project partners. While the agreements explicitly mention improving Afghan connectivity with the world as an advantage of Indian investment in the region, Afghanistan`s political instability may limit the potential benefits of transit corridors to population centres near Kabul or Kandahar, as these routes cross southern and eastern Afghanistan, where the Taliban are most active.  The Chabahar Plan is based on links to the Afghan ring road.  In August 2016, it was reported that the Taliban were seizing large areas of Helmand province and threatening to conquer the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah located on the part of the Afghan ring road linking Chabahar to Kandahar and Kabul. Subsequently, parts of the Afghan ring road were closed due to the activities of Taliban insurgents.
 Also in August 2016, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that claimed the lives of 12 foreign tourists while travelling on an alternative route to the Afghan ring road between Kabul and Herat.  In September 2016, during a meeting with Nawaz Sharif, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed interest in joining the CPEC.  The Minister also indicated that many other soft steps on the sidelines of the Belt and Road forum will be signed in various sectors, including defence. The idea of the CPEC was a combined plan of the then president, Asif Ali Zardari, and China. It is a collection of infrastructure projects under construction throughout the Netherlands since 2013.  Initially estimated at $47 billion, the value of CPEC projects from 2020 will be more than $70 billion.  The CPEC must quickly upgrade Pakistan`s necessary infrastructure and strengthen its economy by building modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects and special economic zones.    On 13 November 2016, the CPEC was partially operational when Chinese cargoes were transported by land to Gwadar Port for transport to Africa and West Asia, while some major energy projects were commissioned in late 2017.    Under the CPEC, the two countries signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement and the commitment to the China-Pakistan Joint Cotton Bio-Tech Laboratory The two countries also committed to: Pakistan and China also expressed readiness to cooperate in the field of research under the CPEC agreement.  The term “Eastern Alignment of CPEC” refers to road projects in Sindh and Punjab provinces – some of which were first planned in 1991.
 As part of the eastern axis, a 1,152 km highway will connect Pakistan`s two largest cities, Karachi and Lahore, with a 6-lane controlled access road designed for speeds of up to 120 km/h.  The entire project will cost about $6.6 billion, with most of the funding being distributed by various Chinese state banks.  The Thar Block-I funding agreement between ICBC, SSRL.