Riaz Haq writes this data-driven blog to provide information, express his opinions and make comments on many topics. Subjects include personal activities, education, South Asia, South Asian community, regional and international affairs and US politics to financial markets. For investors interested in South Asia, Riaz has another blog called South Asia Investor at http://www.southasiainvestor.com and a YouTube video channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrIDyFbC9N9evXYb9cA_gQ
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Pakistani Arms Enabled Lanka Defeat of LTTE
President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka celebrated victory Tuesday after defeating the LTTE's 25-year long and bloody insurgency against the Lankan government. LTTE terrorists' main contribution to the world of terror is their invention of the dreaded explosives belt that unleashed the scourge of world-wide suicide bombings.
Initially trained and supported by Raw, the Indian intelligence agency, in the 1980s, the Tamil Tigers met their bloody end at the hands of Lankan military using arms manufactured and supplied by Pakistan.
Alarmed by reports of Pakistani arms supplies to Sri Lanka in 2008, India said it wanted Sri Lanka to treat Tamils with dignity and also voiced concern that Colombo’s arms purchases may upset New Delhi’s “pre-eminent position” in South Asia. “We are facing a situation where the ceasefire (in Sri Lanka) could collapse. This could lead to a flashpoint,” National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said while delivering the 25th Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal memorial lecture.
India refused to supply what it considered "offensive weapons" to Sri Lanka and opposed any military solution of the "ethnic conflict" while urging Colombo to devolve autonomy to the minorities.
According the News quoting reliable sources in Pakistan, military cooperation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has grown significantly in recent years as Islamabad, unlike New Delhi, has had no problems supplying Sri Lanka's army state-of-the-art weaponry to accelerate its counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE which finally ended with the killing of the most wanted Tamil guerrilla fighter Vellupillai Prabhakaran. The sources say it was exactly a year ago in the first week of May 2008 that Sri Lankan Army Chief General Fonseka came to Pakistan with his shopping list of high tech arms for the Lankan armed forces, who were engaged in an intense battle with the Tamil Tiger rebels at the time.
After Fonseca's visit, Pakistan sold 22 Al-Khalid tanks to Sri Lanka in a deal worth over US$100 million. Sri Lanka also purchased Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS), cluster bombs, deep penetration bombs and rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Pakistan, according to various reports. In fact, Sri Lanka, along with some Middle Eastern nations, has now become one of the largest buyers of Pakistani arms in the last few years.
In a July 2008 interview with Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Major General Mohammad Farooq, Director General of the Defense Export Promotion Organization, indicated that collaboration with the United States had increased in manufacturing armored personnel carriers "with transfer of technology". There have been unconfirmed reports that Pakistan is manufacturing Humvees for the US military in Afghanistan. General Farooq also claimed that Pakistan's defense exports have tripled to around $300 million because of the quality of its ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. He said exports to South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries had increased significantly.
On Jan 19, 2009, in a meeting between Pakistani Defense Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali and his visiting Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the brother of Sri Lankan president, in Rawalpindi, an agreement was reached to enhance cooperation in military training, exercises and intelligence sharing regarding terrorism. The agreement came amidst Sri Lankan media reports that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilots had participated in several successful air strikes against LTTE military bases in August 2008. These reports further claimed that a highly trained group of the Pakistani armed forces officers is posted in Colombo to guide the Sri Lankan security forces in their counter-insurgency operations against the Tamil Tigers.
Back in 2000, when LTTE offensive code-named "Operation Ceaseless Waves" overran Sri Lankan military positions in the north and captured the Elephant Pass Base and entered Jaffna, the Sri Lankans received Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other high tech weaponry from Pakistan on short notice.
The MBRLS and weapons and ammunition, including artillery shells and multi-barrel rocket launchers, were airlifted in an emergency operation from Karachi to Colombo in May 2000. Later, in 2006, the Sri Lankan authorities had again sought Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other advanced weapons from Pakistan when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in March 2006 along with an 80-member delegation that included some high ranking military officials. During his talks with the Pakistani leaders, the Sri Lankan President had sought military help from Islamabad to effectively put an end to the LTTE separatist movement.
Indian analyst and former RAW chief B. Raman recently summed up India's geopolitical stance toward Sri Lamka in the following words: "India's interest in the island is partly emotional and partly strategic.The emotional interest arises from the fact that India has a large Tamil population in Tamil Nadu, a southern province, who have ethnically and linguistically much in common with the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Any policies of the Government of Sri Lanka, which affect the Sri Lankan Tamils, have an echo in Tamil Nadu. Hence, the close Indian interest in the problems and the well-being of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Strategically, the Sri Lankan Government has been cultivating China and Pakistan to keep India in check. It has good political and economic relations with China. It has invited China to construct a modern port in Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. It has invited the Chinese to help it in gas exploration in areas which are close to India. Similarly, there is a growing military-military relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which worries India."
What has happened in Sri Lanka this week is India's moment of truth, as B.Raman puts it. Sri Lanka has triumphed over LTTE terrorists in spite of India, not because of it. Pakistan, along with China, has clearly played a key role as Sri Lanka's main arms supplier and trainer in ensuring LTTE's defeat, and India is clearly not happy with how the events played out leading to Sri Lanka's win. This new reality highlights the importance of Pakistan as a regional player in South Asia and upsets what India's national security adviser called New Delhi's "pre-eminent Position" in the region.
How Sri Lanka's Rebels Build a Suicide Bomber
India Worried By Sri Lanka's Arms Buying
Pakistan's Defense Industry
War's End in Sri Lanka
Pakistan's Crucial Role in Death of Tamil Tigers
"Loose NBCs" in Pakistan
America's Defense Focus on Counter-insurgency
Sri Lanka: India's Moment of Truth
Labels: Arms Exports, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers
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Hmmm.... Its okay if Pakistan wants to claim a bit of the credit for the defeat of LTTE. If LTTE hadnt killed our former PM Rajiv Gandhi, today there would have been an Elam as wanted by LTTE. Its because of India's internal coalition politics that India cudnt supply arms and ammo to SL against LTTE and SL had to look to others for them. Now that LTTE has been wiped out India will make sure Pakistan and China influence is forever rooted out of Sri Lanka and I can assure u its only a matter of time.
Pakistan might have sold weapons fro srilanka. Still if india would have provided logistics to ltte, LTTE could never be overrun.
It is the sonia gandhi regime [ rajeev widow ] who had tighten the noose around ltte. If you go back to the history of 1971 war when pakistan was forced to leave bangaladesh it was logistic cut which lead to the defeat. In fact if you look at the taliban way they are also trying to attack the logistic support rather than the defence fort.
This is the most ridiculous heading ever!
"Sophisticated" arms were provided by Israel like Kfir jet fighters,night vision,UAV,Drova-III attack crafts,commando training etc.Jungle warfare were imparted by India."Heavy artillary and ammunition" were provided by Pakistan(period) and China.The crucial aerial intelligence gathering,littoral combat/patrol vessels,army officer training,engineering split with Colonel Karuna faction,naval blockade to choke LTTE logistics and supplies,radars etc were provided by India.
China provided lots no-strings-attached funds,investments,F-7 fighters etc.Along with this, all the diaspora funds and smuggling networks were frozen or seized by Western countries and accomplices arrested. So it was LTTE vs The World Battle..where defeat was a foregone conclusion after Rajapaksa took over.
And plzzzzz...u r somehow under the impression that Pak is somehow an expert on UAVs..
That title goes to Israelis..!
(Americans,French,and even Russians(recently)..all
use Israeli UAVs..)
All UAVS of SLAF are of Israeli origin..Israeli Aircraft Industries(RQ-2,Searcher-II,Scout)
Indian analyst and former RAW chief B. Raman recently summed up India's geopolitical stance toward Sri Lamka in the following words: "India's interest in the island is partly emotional and partly strategic.The emotional interest arises from the fact that India has a large Tamil population in Tamil Nadu, a southern province, who have ethnically and linguistically much in common with the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Any policies of the Government of Sri Lanka, which affect the Sri Lankan Tamils, have an echo in Tamil Nadu. Hence, the close Indian interest in the problems and the well-being of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Strategically, the Sri Lankan Government has been cultivating China and Pakistan to keep India in check.It has good political and economic relations with China. It has invited China to construct a modern port in Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. It has invited the Chinese to help it in gas exploration in areas which are close to India. Similarly, there is a growing military-military relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which worries India."
I was pointing out that almost all major international players were involved in helping SriLanka defeat LTTE.India took a U-turn about LTTE two decades ago.Finishing off LTTE is more important to India coz LTTE lately began to function as a ,mercenary force like guns-for-hire in the region. It was involved with training Al-Qaeda for attacks on USS Cole(sea-borne suicide bombing),training Maoists,ULFA in IED techniques,ties with Hizbul-Mujahideen & Lashkar-e-Toiba(gun-running,smuggling ties), taking money from ISI to assassinate Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh(foiled by Indian IB) etc. So, We needed this Frankenstein dead more than SriLanka.
This might be trouble for india. Now Tamils know their brahmin dominated government does not care about minorities. There might be a Tamil Republic in few years on subcontinent.
Brahmins are spent force in india. They are fighting for their survival. MK is a non brahmin and an anti-brahmin.
FAct of the case is that they have marriage of convenience in state and center. He is interested in getting minster berth for his kids that is all nothing else.
best of luck. An organized but with conviction ltte could not get tamil republic. We have corrup to the core mk and jaya who are holding the power till now.
They will never look at any revolution.
This article is a big joke.
Even if pakistan has supplied some wepons to SL.But still it cant compare it self with India,which has always supported SL gov. on the tiger issue.Here Pakistan is just a arm dealer not a stratigic partner.
Do you think Sri Lanka government officials are joking when they acknowledge Pak help and support in defeating LTTE?
Here's an excerpt of the relevant news:
ISLAMABAD, 01 June, 2009 (Balochistan Times) -- The Sri-Lankan High Commissioner, Air chief Marshal in the SL air force Jayalath Weerakkedy has expressed his governments extreme gratitude over full technical and other services rendered by PAF to suppress Sri-Lankan Tamil insurgency. During a press briefing on Monday at the Sri-Lankan High Commission on Monday evening, he thanked technical and logistics support, especially regarding training and technical support for Chinese F-7 jet fighters and C-130 aircraft, around 2006. He said that both Pakistan and Sri-Lanka faced similar circumstances, while only background and circumstances differed; offering, that Sri-Lanka was willing to share experiences. He also informed that due to a long and protracted civil war Sri-Lanka faced massive number of displaced persons, amounting to more than 200,000 affectees, scattered across the length and breadth of Sri-Lanka. He informed that Tamil Tigers Tamil Tigers
or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Guerrilla organization seeking to establish an independent Tamil state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. had delivered massive damage to Sri Lanka since their insurgency in 1975, with external support which also included Indian Tamil community. He thanked the Pakistani military training support, especially in countering terrorism, since Sri Lankan military operation against Tamils had become inevitable in face of sheer stalemate in dialogue process.
Mr. Riaz Hag
you didn't answered Jaydev's last comment. I agree that Pakistan have helped them a lot in the war against LTTE but India also wanted LTTE's end. India played a neutral role in the war.
It is true that Indian RAW trained LTTE initially but from last 2 decades Indian government is not giving any support to LTTE. They also assassinated Rajiv Gandhi. & India was the only country to send Peace Keeping force in Srilanka.
If Pakistan's weapon are so gr8 then why haven't they won any war against India. In almost all the war India's victory was very swift. & one more thing India is never been an aggressive country but Pakistan always tried to attack India & I am sure they will be planning some attacks....But I assure you the results will b the same as before.
After going through your post it seems like you have no hope towards India & your Pakistan is still better than India. If this makes you feel good then good for you I don't mind But I am sorry to say that you will get over with this illusions in years to come.
one sher for you:-
"Dil ko khush rakhne k liye 'galib' khayal acha hai"
Pakistan got a great sucess in Sri lanka to defeat Tamil tigers.Now india is making lame excuses that we were not behind tigers and we did'nt trained tamil tigers. All these excuses by the india is to hide his shame for defeat in srilanka . But Pakistan proved a great Muslim nation with the true spirit of Islam and I assured you Pakistan will over come India soon.I am not joking,we will prove it . INSHAALLAH
Here's India Today on Pakistan helping Sri Lanka build its first nuclear power plant:
Pakistan is all set to begin consultations with Sri Lanka to help set up a nuclear power plant in Trincomallee's Sampur, it is believed.
The development is being viewed with concern in New Delhi since the Indian embassy in Colombo reported the development to South Block.
The strategy is part of Pakistan's grand design of increasing influence in the island nation by Pakistan, actively backed by China.
Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok Kantha was in New Delhi last week and is believed to have briefed senior officials on Pakistan's recent advances in Lanka. Islamabad also wants to expand defence trade with Colombo.
Even as the Congress-led UPA government comes under intense pressure from its allies in Tamil Nadu on its defence relationship with Lanka at the expense of India, Pakistan is quietly making inroads.
The assessment also suggested that Pakistan is believed to have discussed upgradation and rebuilding of T-55 tank engines, incorporation of rubberised tracks on tanks besides modernisation of the fire and tank gun control systems.
Pakistan made inroads into the defence sector in Lanka when the government was pushed back by its Chennai allies not to provide any defence aid or hardware to Colombo. Under pressure, it also put a defence cooperation agreement on hold.
The recent vote against Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council has also created a wedge between the two countries.
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pak-help-to-lanka-for-n--plant-alarms-india/1/209895.html
Here's a report from Sri Lanka about President Rajapaksa acknowledging Pak help against LTTE terror:
President Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that Pakistan extended unflinching support to Sri Lanka during the three decade internal conflict and immensely helped in the elimination of the menace of terrorism from Sri Lankan soil.
He said Sri Lanka would not have eliminated the scourge of terrorism without the help and support of Pakistan. He said Pakistan has proved to be a true friend of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan government as well as public have deep affection for Pakistan.
President Rajapaksa was speaking when a Pakistani Parliamentary delegation led by Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Chairperson of National Commission for Human Development Dr Nafisa Shah paid a courtesy call on him at Temple Trees in Colombo.
Other members of the delegation included the Speaker of Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan and Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Seema Ilahi Baloch also accompanied the Pakistani delegation.
Dr Nafisa Shah conveyed appreciation of the Pakistani government,Parliament and people to the President for the hospitality extended by people and the Government of Sri Lanka towards the Pakistani delegation.
She also commended the arrangements made by the Sri Lankan government for organizing the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in an impressive manner.
She said Pakistan and Sri Lanka are historically bonded in a relationship of trust, mutual respect and deep friendship which is manifested at all the phases of their histories.
The two sides agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and stressed upon the need to work closely in the regional and global context.
The 22 member Pakistani Parliamentary delegation is currently visiting Sri Lanka to participate in the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Colombo.
Hindustan Times: Rajapaksa blames RAW for situation in SL, Pak
In his first comments after losing power in early January, Sri Lanka’s former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has pinned the blame on India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for the situation in his country as well as in Pakistan. Rajapaksa was speaking to a journalist from the Pakistani daily, Dawn.
When the reporter told him that many Sri Lankans had mentioned how Pakistan helped in quelling the Tamil insurgency, and asked how this was the case, Rajapaksa said, “See the US, Europe, the west, they are not our friends. Pakistan helped us, especially Musharraf. What happened in my country and the insurgency in your country, RAW is behind it.”
Rajapaksa’s charge comes in the wake of a Reuters report in mid January, which said that a RAW official had been asked by the then Rajapaksa government to leave the country before the polls. This was in response to the perception of the old government that RAW had helped cobble up the opposition alliance, which eventually ousted Rajapaksa. The Ministry of External Affairs had rubbished the report, and said no movement of diplomatic personnel had taken place from the Indian embassy in Colombo before their scheduled tenure was over.
MEA did not respond to Rajapaksa’s charge immediately. But a serving intelligence official, speaking to HT, said, “Did we spawn terror in Pakistan? Did we alienate Tamils and Muslims and the Sinhalese opposition? It is easy to blame external actors when you are responsible for the internal mess.” He called it ‘cheap nationalist stunts’.
#SriLanka President's #Pakistan visit: Editorial "What a friend we have in #Pakistan" http://www.sundaytimes.lk/?p=143553
Sri Lankan newspaper editorial on Sri Lankan;s new president's visit to Pakistan titled "What a friend we have in Pakistan": "There were times when the Pakistan Army was even asked to release armaments from its own stocks due to exigencies that had arisen in the armed conflict in this country. Mid-level officers were trained in Pakistan’s Defence Academies from the nascent stages of the separatist insurgency till its extinction.
Pakistan would have had its strategic interests in offering that help, which country doesn’t, but one could affirm without fear of contradiction that the saying ‘a friend in need – is a friend indeed’ goes for it." http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150405/editorial/what-a-friend-we-have-in-pakistan-143553.html
BBC News - #India opposes #Nepal's new constitution http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34313280 …
Nepal's adoption of a new federal constitution has led to a souring of ties with its giant neighbour India.
The document defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.
Although Delhi was one of the major backers of the process over the past decade, it believes the new constitution is not broad-based and is concerned that it could spur violence which could spill over into its own territory.
India's reaction in the past few days to events in Nepal has been quite remarkable.
On Friday, just a couple of days before the constitution was formally adopted (but after it had been passed by the Constituent Assembly) India's top diplomat was sent to Kathmandu at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held discussions with Nepal's president and prime minister and leaders of all the major political parties including those who had opposed the constitution in its current form.
He is believed to have pressed the Nepalese government to delay the adoption of the constitution and hold discussions with political groups opposed to it.
Reports in the Indian media say that India's ambassador in Kathmandu spoke to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala hours before Sunday's constitution ceremony to express Delhi's disappointment at the process going through.
Opinion: After #Pakistan, #India's #Modi Isolates Another Neighbour: #Nepal http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/after-pakistan-modi-isolates-another-neighbour-1223237 … via @ndtv
Modi's propaganda machine, never far behind Goebbels', swung into action when Modi visited Nepal in August 2014, proclaiming that Modi had visited neighbouring Nepal within weeks of becoming PM whereas Dr. Manmohan Singh had failed in ten years to go to Nepal even once.
Saner voices tried to explain that this was because Nepal was engaged in a delicate Constitution-building exercise and an Indian PM wandering the hills and plains of its tiny neighbour would be misunderstood and mischievously portrayed as India seeking to interfere in that country's tangled, seven-year-long Constitution-making process. But saner voices are always drowned out in the cacophony of crowing hype. And the fact that little Nepalese children (the cutest in the world) waved back at Modi as the 56-inch giant strolled barrel-chested down their roads was played up as a huge diplomatic success.
The truth took another three months to hit home. On his way to Kathmandu for the SAARC summit in November 2014, Modi sought to make a stop-over at Janakpur in the Madhesi plains to address a huge public gathering there as if he were on Indian, not Nepali, soil. The principal Constitutional gridlock was over the plains people seeking proportional representation in the proposed Nepal parliament and the hill people's demand for equitable not equal representation. Modi, by stopping-over and speaking at Janakpur, was trying to tilt the balance in favour of the Madhesis. A more blatant interference in Nepal's internal affairs could not be imagined. The Nepalese shrewdly saw through the game. And refused Modi permission to hold a public meeting in Janakpur. This was covered up in polite noises about security issues - but was an unambiguous signal from the self-respecting and sovereign Nepalese that while friendly advice might be welcomed, there could be no stepping on sensitive, sovereign corns.
Modi passed up Janakpur but remained determined to remain the final arbiter in Nepal's constitutional processes. Why this unwarranted interest in Nepal's internal affairs? Two reasons - one, ideological; two, electoral.
Instead of partisan (indeed, let's face it, racial) bickering with the Nepalese, Modi needs to recognize that there are not just two or three communities in Nepal with ethnic ties to India, such as the Madhesis, Tharus, Janjatis and Muslims: Nepal is trying to strike a just balance between 125 identified communities stretching from remote, sparsely habited mountain outposts to the teeming plains. It is doing so through a combination of 240 first-past-the-post directly elected seats and 335 proportionately elected seats; special provisions for ethnically cohesive provinces for the plains' people; 33 percent reservations for women; and other such progressive provisions that India ought to be applauding, not sulking over.
Alas, good grace is not one of Modi's virtues. The best the rest of us could do is to apologize to the Nepalese for the atrocious behaviour of our establishment and wish them all the best for a stable future. Otherwise, Nepal, like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will keep meandering for a Constitution with which it can live.
#Pakistan Assists #Nigeria with Ammunition, Aircraft Maintenance in War Against #BokoHaram | THISDAY LIVE: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/pakistan-assists-nigeria-with-ammunition-aircraft-maintenance-in-war-against-insurgency/228137/#.VnGSOqpCUoM.twitter …
The Pakistani government has disclosed that they have been assisting Nigeria’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists, in the area of ammunition supplies and maintenance of military aircraft.
This disclosure was made on Tuesday in Abuja by the Pakistani Ambassador to Nigeria, Agha Umar Farook, during his meeting with the Minister of Defence, Mr. Dan-Ali,
Farook said that both countries with shared history have sustained their defence ties for over five decades.
He noted that the relationship in the area of security is further strengthened in the equally shared experience of terrorism and insurgency.
He said: “The two nations have certain similar challenges and opportunities that we share. Over the decades, we have built some tangible cooperation not only in defence, but also in agriculture and science and technology, as well as education.
“But the cooperation with the ministry of defence has been in the area of training, and capacity building among our military, the intervention has been tangible and we will sustain it over the years.”
“I am sure you are aware that Pakistan not only supports the entire anti-terrorism efforts anywhere in the world but most recently in Nigeria and we have been doing a good job in terms of the ammunition supply and maintenance of aircraft and operational worthiness of platforms.
“I am very much aware of the efforts being put in place for defence cooperation. A high level military delegation has been visiting Pakistan and vice-versa,” he added.
Farook, also stated that “Pakistan is willing to cooperate with the Nigeria military in fighting Boko Haram, and also because of Nigeria’s position in the African Union (AU).”
According to him, Pakistan is not only willing to cooperate in building security but also in the power and education sectors.
In the same vein, Dan-Ali said the cooperation between Nigeria and Pakistan has lasted more than four decades, adding that “a lot of things are common to all of us. We also know that we have very common thing especially with insurgency, you have long experience of fighting insurgency in your country, and we look for assistance in that direction.”
The minister revealed that a security team from Nigeria had visited Pakistan to access how Nigeria can train its personnel in fighting insurgency in the country.
“We need to borrow things like the border monitoring and intelligence gathering that you have, with guards looking after the borders. We share a common determination and we share common problems
“On the defence industry, we are working towards bringing you to come and access and assist us in that direction,” he said.
#SriLanka thanks #Pakistan for help in wiping out #LTTE #terror. #India http://tribune.com.pk/story/1022644/sri-lanka-thanks-pakistan-for-help-in-wiping-out-terror/ …
The Sri Lankan president thanked Pakistan on Tuesday for helping the island nation root out terrorism from its soil, saying the government and its people were thankful to Pakistan for its assistance.
Sri Lanka is said to be the only country in the world to have defeated terrorism. Pakistan was a key supplier of weapons and aircraft for Sri Lanka’s military in its decades-long, bloody war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam that ended in May 2009.
Pakistan seeks closer military ties with Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit and met President Maithripala Srisena to discuss bilateral issues and trade cooperation. The two leaders also interacted with the media after leading their respective delegations for the signing of bilateral accords at the President’s Secretariat.
President Maithripala appreciated Pakistan’s cooperation in carrying out development projects in Sri Lanka. He said he would visit Pakistan to attend next the Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad. The two leaders agreed to reinvigorate ties between the two friendly countries with a focus on enhanced cooperation in trade, science and technology, defence production and tourism.
They stressed the need of exploiting the countries’ friendship for the development and prosperity of their people.
PM Nawaz mentioned the two sides agreed on pursuing multi-faceted interactions.
He said Sri Lanka had been a strong and steadfast friend of Pakistan and stood by it in difficult times. The island state enjoys the exceptional position for being the first country Pakistan entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
PM Nawaz said the current volume of bilateral trade did not reflect the true potential between the two countries and called for steps to achieve the target of $1 billion by the end of 2016.
Pakistan, Sri Lanka to sign MoUs for trade and training
Eight accords signed
Earlier, Pakistani and Sri Lankan officials signed eight bilateral agreements in the fields of business, finance, science and technology and healthcare.
An agreement on cooperation in the field of health was signed between the Pakistani government and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine.
PM Nawaz also called for closer military cooperation with Sri Lanka. “I conveyed our desire for more frequent port calls, participation in military exercises and defence seminars and training of military personnel,” he stated in a statement issued following the official welcoming ceremony.
He also reiterated Pakistan’s offer to setup cement and sugar plants in Sri Lanka on mutually agreeable terms for the long-term benefit of the Sri Lankan economy.
Speaking at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies in Colombo, Nawaz said he envisioned South Asia as a dispute-free zone where all the nations jointly fought against their common enemies of illiteracy, poverty and malnutrition.
“South Asia needs strategic stability,” he said while delivering a lecture. “We should build convergences and need dialogue for the better of region.”
Modi urges Pakistan to take ‘immediate action’ after base attack
Addressing a gathering of intellectuals, parliamentarians and diplomats on the topic “Pakistan-Sri Lanka Relations”, he said it was time for South Asian countries to focus their energies on better preparing themselves to handle global challenges.
He said he was also deeply touched by Narendra Modi’s decision to fly to Lahore last month on his way back from Afghanistan and in the next few days, the foreign secretaries of two countries would meet in Islamabad.
He added Pakistan had consistently been supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned government and was ready to support the resumption of peace dialogues between Kabul and Taliban.
#Asia's sweetheart: Why the region's giants are wooing #SriLanka? #China #India #Japan #US
Situated almost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is no escaping Sri Lanka's centrality.
The country lies just a few nautical miles away from the super-busy east-west shipping route, through which an estimated 60,000 ships pass every year, carrying two-thirds of the world's oil and half of all container shipments.
Now, with Asia's economic rise, experts say Sri Lanka's location has become even more alluring. Not only are three Asian powers - China, Japan and India - playing dominant roles in the global economy at the same time for the first time, there are also increasingly attractive markets and trade opportunities in Asia.
"Sri Lanka is the pivotal point for a global grand strategy," R. Hariharan, a retired Indian army colonel and specialist in South Asian geopolitics, told CNBC. "Sri Lanka's geography gives it an advantage disproportionate to its size."
The small island nation with a population of 22 million has been rediscovering its strategic location for the past few years as it comes out of a 26-year civil war that depleted government resources and held back development. As Sri Lanka looks for assistance to reboot its economy, a largely two-way tussle for influence in the country and, in turn, the region is on.
#Pakistan sends 30-bed field hospital to #SriLanka, 17 doctors coming to help flood victims- The Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article8633155.ece …
Hospital has operation theaters, and x-ray laboratories, two special cargo aircraft carrying relief items also expected.
Even as relief and rescue operations continued in Sri Lanka, the government of Pakistan sent a 30 bed fully-equipped field hospital and relief materials.
A release of the Pakistan High Commission here stated that the field hospital had operation theaters and x-ray laboratories. Two special cargo aircraft, carrying relief items, were also expected to reach Colombo shortly. Besides, 17 Pakistani doctors would be arriving in Sri Lanka for providing health care assistance.
Oz announces contribution
The Australian government said it would contribute $5,00,000 to UNICEF for humanitarian assistance, including the provision of clean water and sanitation for children in shelters.
On Sunday afternoon, the number of deaths in the country went up to 84 with the recovery of 11 more bodies. Toll in Aranayaka, the site of last week’s landslip, stood at 32 and the district of Kegalle accounted for 50 deaths. As of now, 2.37 lakh persons were kept at relief camps. President Maithripala Sirisena visited Wellampitiya, Meethotamulla and Kolonnawa, all located in Colombo district, and met the flood-affected people.
3.4 lakh people affected
Of about 3.4 lakh affected people in the country, the Western Province accounted for around 2.43 lakh persons. There were about 94,151 persons hit by the floods in the Kolonnawa division and 24,824 – Kaduwela, both in the district of Colombo. In the neighbouring Gampaha district, Wattala had 35,407 affected persons; Biyagama – 21,302 and Kelaniya – 16,202, according to a report of the government’s Disaster Management Centre.
Vanguard News: #Nigeria military buying #aircraft, #helicopters from #Pakistan #Russia
Concerned about global politics surrounding procurement of sophisticated arms from western countries, Nigerian Airforce (NAF) is expecting arrival of war-planes and helicopters from Pakistan and Russia to boost its fleets. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar made the disclosure at a breakfast briefing with Editors of Online Media in Abuja at the weekend.
Air Marshal Abubakar said : “I want to say that we have been enjoying support from other countries. (Sometimes arm procurement) is shrouded in a lot of politics. Unfortunately, I’m not a politician, so I cannot be able to say much on that. But what I can tell you is that right now as I speak to you, we are expecting the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff in Nigeria soon. Pakistan has accepted to sell ten trainer airplanes. And that is why the Pakistan Chief of Air Staff is coming for the induction ceremony which is going to take place in Kaduna. “We are really getting support from many countries. Similarly, we have trained so many people in Pakistan, China. In the US, we have pilots that are training right now. We have other pilots that have just finished training from the United Kingdom. We have additional pilots that are training in South Africa. We have more pilots that are training in the Egyptian Air Force and so many other places including Russia…We are really getting support”, he said. On the competence of Nigerian fighter pilots, Abubakar said “In the last 18 months, we have flown almost 3000 hours with no incident. In terms of competence I can tell you that the Nigerian Air Force pilots are amongst the most competent. Because the training curriculum is very clear. And that is why now in the Air Force you look at the wings, pilots wear wings. We have categorized the wings according to their skill levels. We also organize simulation training for our pilots, we organize evaluation visits where pilots are evaluated without any notice. We have also sent over 700 personnel of the NAF to different parts of the world to train and acquire the skills required for them to be effective. The Chief of Air Staff said the air force is currently assisting the Nigerian Army and Navy in the North and South in countering criminal activities of terrorists and militants through operational strategy, air interdictions strategy and soft-core strategy. He explained that the main objective of is to create an enabling environment for the ground and surface forces, to be able to operate with little or no hindrance. He continued: “Another substrategy under this is the reactivation of airplanes. We have embarked on the reactivation of airplanes and today as I speak to you we are on the thirteenth aircraft. What I mean by reactivation is that aircrafts that were not in involved in any fight before the coming of the present federal government; they were parked before but are today part of the fight. “The thirteenth aircraft as I speak to you is being worked upon in Yola and we are hoping that before the end of this month that airplane will be flying. When you train, you must reactivate the platform to be used in flying.” The Air force boss also denied a recent rumour of helicopter crash in Makurdi. Explaining the incident involving Agusta AW 101 helicopter handed over to NAF by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said: “What happened in Makurdi was not a crash. Immediately we received the aircraft from the Presidency, we took one of them to Kaduna to paint it into desert camouflage. They removed the seal of the President and painted it into a combat machine.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/nigerian-airforce-expects-aircrafts-helicopters-pakistan-russia/
Pakistan’s Super Mushshak Grabbing World Trainer Aircraft Market Share
Pakistan’s Super Mushshak basic trainer aircraft appears to be grabbing market share for basic trainers both in the military and civil aircraft training sphere.
So far, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa have the aircraft in service, Iran has 25 and Oman has 8. South Africa has 5 civilian variant of the aircraft. Iraq has ordered 20 in 2014, Nigeria bought 10 early this year and Qatar has signed a contract to buy an undisclosed number of Super Mushaks in June this year.
In addition, Turkey has finalized a deal with Pakistan to buy Super Mushak trainers and will be signed soon.
The Super Mushshak is an advanced variant of the Mushshak basic trainer, and is produced at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).
PAC showcased static and aerial display of Super Mushshak aircraft, at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, AAD 2016, held at Waterkloof Air Force Base at Pretoria South Africa from September 14.
The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h. Range of the aircraft is reported at 814 kilometres.
The Super Mushshak has emerged as a viable alternative for nations which cannot afford basic trainer aircraft made by European and US manufacturers.
#Iraq Ambassador: #Pakistan provided #Iraq with intelligence, training, arms, ammunition to defeat #ISIS in #Mosul https://www.dawn.com/news/1345432
Pakistan quietly helped Iraq in its fight against the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which reached a major milestone this week with the liberation of Mosul from the terrorist group’s control after three years of occupation.
Pakistan was among a number of countries that supported Iraq in fighting the IS, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, said Ambassador of Iraq Ali Yasin Muhammad Karim at a press conference at the embassy. The presser was held to brief Pakistani media about the eviction of the IS from Mosul.
Pakistan’s contribution to the fight against the IS in Iraq has never been mentioned earlier either by Pakistani officials or Iraqis.
Ancient Assyrian town Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city and was used by the IS during years of occupation as the seat of its proclaimed caliphate, was freed after a gruelling nine-month-long military campaign by Iraqi security forces that was backed by several countries.
Talking about Pakistan’s help, the ambassador said Iraq, besides getting intelligence on terrorists, also received arms and ammunition and military medical assistance from the country. He recalled some of the Iraqi pilots, who took part in action against the IS, had been trained in Pakistan.
The ambassador said the continuing intelligence cooperation between Iraq and Pakistan could help the latter deal with the expanding footprint of the IS in the region.
Underscoring the IS threat, he said, the outfit was the most dangerous terrorist group and likened its threat to “time bombs” and “booby traps”.
“We share the same enemy,” Mr Karim said.
While responding to a question, the envoy played down involvement of Pakistanis with IS activities in Iraq, saying that “the bad guys” represented a very small proportion of the population of Pakistan. People of over 100 nationalities, he added, were part of IS ranks.
The people of Pakistan were generally very supportive of Iraq in its war against the IS, he remarked.
He praised Pakistan’s policy of neutrality towards the Middle East.
After Mosul, Ambassador Karim said, Iraq was about to make a final push against the IS from its territory.
Mosul’s liberation has, however, come at a huge cost.
The city after remaining under the IS occupation for three years during the fight for its liberation is in complete ruins and almost a million of its population has been displaced. The same is the case with other areas that Iraq has succeeded in liberating from the IS. Reports from Mosul warn of an emerging humanitarian crisis.
The Iraqi ambassador called for support for reconstruction and restoration of services in the cities devastated by the war.
“We need help for rebuilding infrastructure, which is the next important task,” he said.
Big Power for Little #SriLanka in the #India-#China Rivalry. #Bhutan #Nepal #Doklam #HambantotaPort #Pakistan #CPEC
When it comes to this periphery, one particular concern for New Delhi is Sri Lanka's Hambantota deep sea port project. This new port and others at Gwadar in Pakistan, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Djibouti constitute the Indian Ocean leg of China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. And ever since construction began in Hambantota in 2008, China has taken on an increasingly prominent role in the project, which includes not only the $1.4 billion port but also an airport, numerous highways and an as-yet-unbuilt 15,000-acre industrial zone. Initially, Sri Lanka intended to build the project with massive Chinese loans and operate the port on its own, but it has confronted the difficulty of making the port profitable. Thus, in late 2016, Colombo announced a potential deal to trade an 85 percent stake in the project, which would include a 99-year lease on land there, to China Merchants Port Holdings in exchange for $1.1 billion in debt relief. Sri Lanka is $8 billion in debt to China, and over one-third of its government revenue goes to servicing that debt.
Domestic tensions over India's involvement in Trincomalee will only continue. And ultimately, the revised deal with China over Hambantota will not end competition over Sri Lanka and its ports. After the tumultuous conclusion of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, the country was left internationally isolated and at odds with India. New Delhi notably did not offer Colombo substantial assistance in defeating the Tamil Tigers, and Sri Lanka instead relied on Chinese, Pakistani and Iranian involvement. In the wake of these events, restoring a balance between patronage from India and other nations does not mean Colombo will be making a full tilt toward New Delhi. Moreover, India simply does not have the economic heft or state control of businesses needed to assist Sri Lanka in the way that China does.
On a broader scale, the regional rivalry between China and India grows ever stronger, as the two nations push for dominance over their shared border and India's various neighbors. But direct military confrontation between Beijing and New Delhi is extremely unlikely, and the tensions will instead play out in nearby countries. Bhutan, for example, has already been caught up in this rivalry with the ongoing Doklam Plateau crisis. East Africa, too, has become the target of an early stage Indo-Japanese attempt to counterbalance China's infrastructure initiatives. For its part, Sri Lanka appears to have used its political savvy to square the circle for now, but the country will no doubt remain involved in the affairs of India and China in the future. And while being sandwiched between two great powers can be a precarious position for a small nation like Sri Lanka, the country has proved itself adept at playing these powers off one another for its own benefit.
#India's idea is to break #Nepal; #CPEC, #Pakistan and #China’s hold in SA. "Pretexts are in abundance for example, why (is Nepal) inching closer to China?
This is perhaps a crime in the eyes of the Indian establishment. So be it." http://telegraphnepal.com/idea-is-to-break-nepal-cpec-and-chinas-hold-in-sa/
While the nation (Nepal) is already in a dangerously polarized state over the “concerns” of Dr. Govinda KC, Nepal’s Southern neighbor has as usual tried to fish in the troubled waters. India does so quite often as and when she has to coerce Nepal in one pretext or the other. Indian marionettes galore. (Dr. Govind KC and the government have come to an agreements and the fast unto death has already been broken by the ailing Doctor: Ed).
Pretexts are in abundance for example, why inching closer to China?
This is perhaps a crime in the eyes of the Indian establishment. So be it.
Exploiting the volatile politics, India is hell bent on inundating Nepali lands in an uninterrupted manner and the hard hit village this time is the same Mahali Sagar Dam area.
Now about our own region: Adding insult to injury, Pakistan is soon to gift a Landing Craft to the Maldives as part of strengthening the naval capability of the archipelago.
This announcement was made just the other day at a meeting between the visiting Chief of the naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and the Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Garoom in Male.
And here is the famous cricketer from Pakistan, Imran Khan, who is very likely to sworn in soon as new Pakistan Prime Minister after the just concluded polls.
This news has some meaning for New Delhi because Maldives has recently discarded the friendship with India only to be replaced by China. Pakistan just enters the Maldivian scene apart from Sri Lanka.
The CPEC matters for the Pakistani people: The Diplomat dated July 24, 2018, writes very freshly that “Aiming to develop a “growth axis and development belt” between China and Pakistan, CPEC could involve investments of some $60 billion. The corridor connects Gwadar, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, to China’s Xinjiang region via a 2,700 kilometer route through the mountainous terrain of Gilgit-Baltistan in northernmost Pakistan.
The Diplomat further writes that for China’s and Pakistan’s foreign policies, the potential payoffs are clear. CPEC is a flagship project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a geopolitical ambition to develop trade and infrastructure with over 60 economies across Eurasia, Africa, and beyond. For Islamabad, CPEC brings the hope of not only economic dividends but also potentially a geopolitical reconfiguration.
With Imran Khan being elected as Pakistan Prime Minister, it will be interesting to observe as to how the two arch rivals, Pakistan and India, deal with each other in the days ahead.
India had preferred Nawaj Sharif for obvious reasons. Nawaj Miyan has landed in Jail now.
With this new development, a positive one, in Pakistan, China will continue to increase its presence in South Asia thus lessening the Indian dominance in this part of the world. Imran Khan is not liked by the Indian media but the latter should digest this fact that Mr. Khan has been elected by his domestic population and so Mr. Khan needs no certification either from India or from its Modified media. The new Pakistani Prime Minister is on record to have said that Pakistan and China friendship shall continue for all time to come which means that China is here to stay for quite a long time much to the discomfiture of poor India. Congratulations.
#India Scrambles For Ground In #SriLanka After Pro-#China Leader Named PM. Mahinda Rajapaksas return to power has drawn concern in New #Delhi that China would tighten its grip on the island that lies along busy shipping lanes. #Pakistan #Modi https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-scrambles-to-claw-back-ground-in-lanka-as-pro-china-leader-named-pm-1939667 via @ndtv
India, caught flatfooted by the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka's premier, has opened urgent diplomatic and political contacts with the strongman who drew close to China during his previous tenure as president, officials said.
The tear-shaped island, located off the southern tip of India, has become an arena of tussle between New Delhi and Beijing, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of its Belt and Road Initiative of trade and transport links across Asia.
Rajapaksa had opened up Sri Lanka's main port to Chinese naval submarines when he was president, which stoked anger in India. His return to power in a surprise move by current President Maithripala Sirisena has drawn concern in New Delhi that China would tighten its grip on the island that lies along busy shipping lanes.
"It is advantage China at the moment," said Srikanth Kondappali, a specialist on India-China ties at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who closely tracks the regional rivalry between the Asian giants.
He said Beijing had invested in Rajapaksa and in his political constituency of Hambantota in the south of Sri Lanka where it has built a $1.5 billion deep water port, an airport and also planned an industrial zone.
China's ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, was among the first diplomats to meet Rajapaksa soon after he was sworn in as prime minister and he presented a congratulatory message from Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
Wickremesinghe, who was seen as pro-India, said his sacking was illegal and he has maintained that he is still prime minister and had majority support in parliament.
Sri Lanka is one of a chain of countries where the India-China rivalry is playing out, stretching from Bangladesh, Nepal to the Maldives, where a pro-China leader was voted out in a surprise election result last month that was welcomed by India, the United States and the European Union.
Indian diplomats were in contact with Rajapaksa's camp, officials in New Delhi said, adding they were ready to do business with the new leader so long as his appointment was in line with the country's constitution.
"India will continue to extend our developmental assistance to the people of Sri Lanka," an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.
Separately, leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's governing Hindu nationalist-led alliance, have reached out to Rajapaksa to promote ties, party sources said.
#SriLanka #Muslim leaders had warned #SriLankan government about activities of radical group #India based National Thowheed Jamath (#NTJ) alleged to have carried out #EasterAttackLK. #SriLankaTerrorAttack #ColomboTerrorAttack https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-22/sri-lanka-searches-for-answers-after-easter-blasts-kill-hundreds
For members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, it’s no surprise that local jihadist group National Thowheed Jamath is being blamed for deadly bombings that killed nearly 300 people on Easter Sunday.
Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said he warned military intelligence officials about the group and its leaders about three years ago. On Monday afternoon, Sri Lanka’s government said National Thowheed Jamath was responsible for six suicide bombings at Christian churches and luxury hotels.
“Targeting the non-Muslim community is something they encourage -- they say you have to kill them in the name of religion,” Ahamed said in a phone interview from Colombo on Monday. “I personally have gone and handed over all the documents three years ago, giving names and details of all these people. They have sat on it. That’s the tragedy.”
The National Thowheed Jamath has broken up into various groups as individual leaders pursued separate funding sources, Ahamed said. Although not all members of the group were radicalized, the group is "extremist in their thinking," he added.
Sri Lanka Says Local Jihadist Group Behind Easter Sunday Blasts
As Sri Lanka continues to treat the wounded, questions are being raised -- including by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- about why Sri Lanka didn’t act more promptly on warnings ahead of the Easter attacks. The government is now investigating possible links to international terrorist organizations as well.
Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Monday called on the inspector general of police to resign.
"The intelligence services had done the work, but it was not acted on at higher levels," he told reporters in Colombo.
Harin Fernando, a cabinet minister, circulated an internal security memo dated earlier this month that warned the group was "getting ready for suicide attacks on popular Catholic churches and the Indian High Commission." It also said the group’s members were "inciting hatred" among online followers.
“Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored,” Fernando said.
National police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera did not respond to several phone calls on Monday.
Sri Lanka only recently recovered from a brutal 26-year civil war between the predominately Buddhist Sinhalese majority and mostly Hindu Tamil minority. The long-running conflict killed more than 100,000 people before former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa launched a final assault on the group in 2009.
Since the war ended, Buddhist extremists have occasionally led attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka. The most recent flare up was in March 2018 in Kandy and was widely viewed as fueled by Facebook posts that urged deadly violence against Muslims.
One possibility is that Sri Lanka’s authorities, long used to dealing with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatists, did not take seriously the idea that an Islamic extremist group was capable of coordinating such a well-planned and deadly attack, said Sameer Patil, director of the Centre for International Security at Mumbai’s Gateway House think-tank.
"Even though their activity was picked up and the community reported this, the Sri Lankan security agencies still go on their long experience with the bloody insurgency," Patil said. "Their mindset is still attuned to any future terrorist attack coming from Tamil Tiger extremists."
#Pakistan’s belt and road offer to #SriLanka stokes #India’s worries. Indian strategists say #Colombo using #Gwadar could be problematic for India’s security, as about 70% of the goods that Sri Lanka’s ports now handle are transhipped to and from India https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3123851/pakistans-belt-and-road-offer-sri-lanka-stokes-indias-china?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=share_widget&utm_campaign=3123851
Pakistani leader Imran Khan has urged Colombo to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
‘Most worrying’ aspect for New Delhi is proposal for Colombo to use Gwadar port, which analysts say could threaten India’s trade and security
Pakistan’s offer to Sri Lanka to join its multibillion-dollar trade and infrastructure scheme with China under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has raised concerns in Indian policy circles, as New Delhi seeks to secure its influence in a region where China’s presence is growing.
On a two-day visit to Colombo last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged Colombo to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which comprises railways, power plants and the deepwater Indian Ocean port of Gwadar. The CPEC is aimed at offering China a major overland route from its western frontiers to the world but critics have accused it of being a debt trap for Islamabad.
India has kept a close watch on the visit but has not commented on it.
“My visit is aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship [with Sri Lanka], especially trade and economic ties through enhanced connectivity,” Khan said, adding that the CPEC could offer Sri Lanka better connectivity with the rest of Central Asia, through the Gwadar port.
Indian strategic affairs observers said a proposal for Colombo to use Gwadar could be problematic for India’s security, as about 70 per cent of the goods that Sri Lanka’s ports now handle are transhipped to and from India, according to data from the independent Indian think-tank Observer Research Foundation. In 2014 Sri Lanka had allowed a Chinese submarine and warship to dock at the Colombo harbour, raising serious objections from India.
Former Indian diplomat Rajiv Bhatia, who was ambassador to Myanmar and also looked after New Delhi’s ties with South Asian countries, described it as the “most worrying aspect” of the visit, which comes as Islamabad tries to expand its influence in a region traditionally dominated by India.
Bhatia, now a distinguished fellow at the Mumbai-based think-tank Gateway House, said: “The facet to explore is whether Pakistan and Sri Lanka are planning to enhance maritime or naval connectivity under Chinese inspiration. If so, this should worry New Delhi.”
#China mulls package to ease #SriLanka's #economic #crisis. China's ambassador to Sri Lanka says it is considering a request for $2.5 billion in assistance to help the island nation through its worst #debt & #forex crisis in memory- ABC News - https://abcn.ws/3ulunFw via @ABC
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka said Monday it is considering a request for $2.5 billion in assistance to help the island nation through a debt and foreign currency crisis.
Qi Zhenhong told reporters that Beijing is studying the Sri Lankan government’s appeal for a $1 billion loan and $1.5 billion credit line.
Sri Lanka needs to make nearly $7 billion in payments on foreign loans this year, but Qi was non-committal about a request to restructure China’s loans to Sri Lanka.
“Our ultimate goal is to solve the problem, but there may be different ways to do so,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are dwindling at a time when it faces huge debt obligations. The country’s struggle to pay for imports has caused shortages of medicine, fuel, milk powder, cooking gas and other essentials, with people waiting in long queues to get fuel.
Residents are enduring daily power cuts due to a shortage of fuel to operate the generating plants and dry weather has sapped hydropower capacity.
The Central Bank allowed the local currency to free float earlier this month, causing a sharp increase in prices.
Sri Lanka’s economy depends heavily on tourism and trade and the pandemic has been disastrous, with the government estimating a loss of $14 billion over the last two years. The economy is estimated to have contracted by 1.5 % in July- September 2021, according to the central bank.
Sri Lanka's foreign reserves are shrinking partly because of construction projects built with Chinese loans that are not making money. China loaned the country money to build a seaport and airport in the southern Hambantota district and a wide network of roads.
Central Bank figures show that current Chinese loans to Sri Lanka total around $3.38 billion, not including loans to state-owned businesses, which are accounted for separately and thought to be substantial.
Qi said that since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, China has provided $2.8b in financial help to Sri Lanka.
“Our aim is to help Sri Lanka to overcome the current difficulties,” he said.
Last week, neighboring India extended a $1 billion credit line to Sri Lanka to be used for importing food, medicines and other essentials from India.
The two Asian giants are vying for influence in the Indian Ocean and consider Sri Lanka strategically important.
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