Sunday, April 19, 2015

Post Cold War Line-Up: Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-US-Japan in South Asia?

“America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Henry Kissinger

Rapidly unfolding events confirm shifting post-cold-war alliances in South Asia. Chinese President Xi Jinping is starting his first state visit to Pakistan to commit investment of over $45 billion in Pakistan, representing the single largest Chinese investment in a foreign country to date.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Plane Escorted By Pakistan's JF-17s in Pakistan Airspace

This investment is part of China's “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is a global project in character and scope representing China’s inexorable rise on the world stage as a superpower. The Pakistan part of it is variously described as Pakistan-China "economic corridor", "industrial corridor", "trade corridor" and "strategic corridor".

Pak-China Industrial Corridor Source: Wall Street Journal

Chinese and Pakistani naval forces have also agreed to boost maritime security cooperation in the Indian ocean with the sale of eight diesel-electric AIP-equipped submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This cooperation is aimed at defending against any threats to shipping lanes in and out of Pakistani ports serving the planned Pak-China Corridor.

Russia, too, has lifted arms sales embargo on Pakistan and agreed to sell weapons and make energy infrastructure investments.  Plans are in place for first-ever Pakistan-Russia military exercises.

These development come on the heels of US President Barack Obama's second visit to India and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent tour of Western capitals with the signing of deals confirming Modi's India's status as the West's latest darling.

How strategic are China-Pakistan ties? I am reproducing the following post I published about two years ago:

China's new Prime Minister Mr. Li KeQiang has just ended a two-day visit to Pakistan. Speaking to the Senate, Li declared that "the development of China cannot be separated from the friendship with Pakistan". To make it more concrete, the Chinese Premier brought with him a 5-points proposal which emphasizes "strategic and long-term planning", "connectivity and maritime sectors" and "China-Pakistan economic corridor project".

Source: China Daily

From L to R: Premier Lee, President Zardari and Prime Minister Khoso
Here's a recent report by  China's State-owned Xinhua News Agency that can help put the Chinese premier's speech in context:

“As a global economic power, China has a tremendous number of economic sea lanes to protect. China is justified to develop its military capabilities to safeguard its sovereignty and protect its vast interests around the world."

The Xinhua report has for the first time shed light on China's growing concerns with US pivot to Asia which could threaten China's international trade and its economic lifeline of energy and other natural resources it needs to sustain and grow its economy. This concern has been further reinforced by the following:

1. Frequent US statements to "check" China's rise.  For example, former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a 2011 address to the Naval Postgraduate School in California: "We try everything we can to cooperate with these rising powers and to work with them, but to make sure at the same time that they do not threaten stability in the world, to be able to project our power, to be able to say to the world that we continue to be a force to be reckoned with." He added that "we continue to confront rising powers in the world - China, India, Brazil, Russia, countries that we need to cooperate with. We need to hopefully work with. But in the end, we also need to make sure do not threaten the stability of the world."

Source: The Guardian

2. Chinese strategists see a long chain of islands from Japan in the north, all the way down to Australia, all United States allies, all potential controlling chokepoints that could  block Chinese sea lanes and cripple its economy, business and industry.

Karakoram Highway-World's Highest Paved International Road at 15000 ft.

Chinese Premier's emphasis on "connectivity and maritime sectors" and "China-Pakistan economic corridor project" is mainly driven by their paranoia about the US intentions to "check China's rise" It is intended to establish greater maritime presence at Gwadar, located close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and  to build land routes (motorways, rail links, pipelines)  from the Persian Gulf through Pakistan to Western China. This is China's insurance to continue trade with West Asia and the Middle East in case of hostilities with the United States and its allies in Asia.

Pakistan's Gawadar Port- located 400 Km from the Strait of Hormuz

As to the benefits for Pakistanis, the Chinese investment in "connectivity and maritime sectors" and "China-Pakistan economic corridor project" will help build infrastructure, stimulate Pakistan's economy and create millions of badly needed jobs.

Clearly, China-Pakistan ties have now become much more strategic than the US-Pakistan ties, particularly since 2011 because, as American Journalist Mark Mazzetti of New York Times put it, the  Obama administration's heavy handed policies "turned Pakistan against the United States". A similar view is offered by a former State Department official Vali Nasr in his book "The Dispensable Nation".

Related Links:

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Haier Pakistan to Expand Production From Home Appliances to Cellphones, Laptops

Pakistan Bolsters 2nd Strike Capability With AIP Subs

3G, 4G Rollout in Pakistan

Pakistan Starts Manufacturing Tablets and Notebooks

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

US-Pakistan Ties and New Silk Route

Can Pakistan Say No to US Aid?

Obama's Pakistan Connections

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

China's Investment and Trade in South Asia

China Signs Power Plant Deals with Pakistan

Soaring Imports from China Worry India

China's Checkbook Diplomacy

Yuan to Replace Dollar in World Trade?


Mayraj said...

China's Welcome Bridge to Pakistan

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Sorry to rain on your parade but remember what happened last time. Pakiland sided with the winner in the last Cold War, Indians with the losers. The loser state (USSR) collapsed but after the Amerikkkans won, they promptly dumped Pakiland and befriended the Indians.

You see what you could end up with....


Riaz Haq said...

NY Times:

The route from Gwadar to Kashgar, in Xinjiang — a project officially called the Economic Corridor — also serves as a shortcut for the shipment of goods from Europe to China, avoiding the Strait of Malacca farther east.

“The Chinese are stepping in, in a much, much bigger way than the United States ever contemplated,” said Jahangir Tareen, a Pakistani businessman, and the secretary general of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. “The assistance is far, far more than the United States government offered under the United States Agency for International Development.”

In advance of his trip, Mr. Xi wrote in a column distributed to the Pakistani news media over the weekend: “We need to form a ‘1+4’ cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the center and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.”

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Most striking about the visit is the scale of Mr. Xi’s aid announcement compared with the American effort from 2009 to 2012 spearheaded in Congress by John Kerry, then a senator, and pressed in Pakistan by Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state. The program designated $7.5 billion for development projects over five years.

That effort was a “dramatic failure” because the resources were scattered too thinly, and had no practical or strategic impact, said David S. Sedney, a former senior official at the Pentagon responsible for Pakistan during that period.

The Chinese appear to have learned from the American program, including the notion that the American plan was designed to deliver a strategic result — deterring terrorism — but failed to do so, Mr. Sedney said.

To do better than the United States, the Chinese have come up with “a much larger financial commitment — and it is focused on a specific area, it has a signature infrastructure focus and it is a decades-long commitment,” he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the projects in Pakistan would be the first initiatives of the $40 billion Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road plans, an ambitious network of roads, rails and ports designed to link China to Europe through Central Asia and Russia, and announced with considerable fanfare by Mr. Xi in November.

China’s assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, declined to say how much of the Silk Road funds would go to the Pakistani projects, or how much the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would lend. “It needs huge financing. China stands ready to provide financing,” Mr. Liu said.

Mr. Xi embarks on his visit to Pakistan after the Finance Ministry announced last week that 57 countries had signed to join the new development bank.

Perhaps just as important as China’s economic assistance is a major military deal that is unlikely to be publicized during the Chinese leader’s visit, Pakistani analysts said.

Pakistan has agreed to buy eight Chinese submarines to counter India’s naval dominance in the Indian Ocean, a $6 billion purchase approved by a parliamentary committee in Islamabad this month. The new submarines were “very quiet, capable and lethal,” and a step up from previous Chinese arms sales to Pakistan, said Lyle J. Goldstein, associate professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Tuan said...

The budding alliance between Russia and China may be redrawing old battles. The Soviet Union has long since collapsed, China has jettisoned much of its communist ideology, and the Soviet–Sino split has been relegated to another chapter of the Cold War. Certainly the frequency of Russia–China summit meetings suggests that these two countries have grown to become more than cordial neighbors.


Last week, the two presidents met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) regional summit, which also included leaders from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The meeting between the two leaders at the summit follows after bilateral talks held earlier.

At the SCO, Russia and China affirmed ongoing cooperation in important fields such as oil and gas, with the China–Russia East Route used as an example of such cooperation. Construction on the joint-venture pipeline began on September 1 after the $400 billion agreement was signed in May, and is expected to pump 38 billion cubic meters of gas every year starting in 2018.

Despite sanctions, Europe continues to consume and rely on Russian energy; however, deteriorating relations between Russia and Europe has forced Moscow to look elsewhere. China, with its growing energy demands, was ready and waiting.

There is little the US can do to deter or impede Russian–Chinese relations. There is no Soviet–Sino split to exploit. Circumstances have since changed since President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972.

With the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorizing Iraq and the Iraqi people, and President Obama’s recent address to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIL, to say nothing of the ongoing and bloody civil strife in Syria, America’s attention will remain in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

US–Vietnam Partnership

However, Moscow and Beijing’s warming relationship is not merely a concern for the US but also regional countries, particularly Vietnam. For Hanoi, which has historically viewed China as a threat and Russia (then-Soviet Union during the Cold War) as a counterweight, any outcome where Russia and China are allies is undesirable.

A potential alliance between Russia and China is a concern for Vietnam, which has relied on the former for armaments. Through Russia, Vietnam has acquired six Kilo-class submarines and six light frigates, as well as a shipment of modern SU-30 fighter jets to bolster Vietnam’s aging air force. Suffice it to say, without Russian technology, Vietnam’s military would have long since fallen into obsolescence.

While Moscow and Beijing have in the past butted heads over Russia’s interests in the South China Sea, it is not inconceivable that the two governments will find some way to resolve their differences given their shared interests in opposing US advances in their respective backyards.

Consequently, ties between Russia and Vietnam, at least with respect to the sale of weapons technologies, may cool at the behest of China. Russia, of course, must walk a fine line between respecting China’s concerns while advancing Russian interests, for Moscow maintains positive relations with many countries in Southeast Asia, some of whom who do not feel the same with China. Russia may not, if ever, abandon Vietnam, but there can be no doubt that any potential future conflict between Vietnam and China will force Moscow to react accordingly.

In an effort to diversify, Hanoi has looked to the US to balance against China and may ultimately encourage an American presence in the region to counter its northern neighbor. Although the US maintains an embargo on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam, recent comments by Senator John McCain and the US nominee for ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, suggest that an easing of restrictions may be on the horizon.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan first beneficiary of Asia Infrastructure Bank spearheaded by China:

One of the earliest recipients of money from the international bank spearheaded by China appears to be Pakistan. In his weekly roundup of news from the Frontier Markets, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Keeler writes, “Pakistan received some welcome news this week with the revelation that China plans to invest as much as $46 billion there as a core part of its efforts to open new trade and transport routes across Asia. China’s newly-established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its Silk Road Fund could be used to help finance the spending plans, a senior Chinese official said.”

Additionally, Chinese Premier Xi Jingping said in an article for the Pakistani press that, “This will be my first trip to Pakistan but I feel as if I am going to visit the house of my own brother.”

Both China and Russia have begun an all-out charm offensive to move the Pakistani government in their direction. China certainly sees an opening in that part of Asia with the departure of the US military from Afghanistan; while Russia seizes on a much-needed market by committing $3 billion to build an LNG pipeline from Karachi to Lahore.

The Pakistan economy appears to be the biggest benefactor here, as reflected in the benchmark index of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE100), up more than 20% in one year. US investors can gain exposure there only by investing in the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (
), in which Pakistan has a 9.51% slice.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

From China's CCTTV:

‪#‎Pakistan‬ plans to establish a special security division for ‪#‎Chinese‬ workers attached to the 45-million-USD ‪#‎China‬-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in the country.

The project refers to a planned 3000-kilometer network of roads, railways, and energy projects to link the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan's port of Gwadar. Once completed, it’ll serve as a primary gateway for trade between China, the Middle East, and Africa.

Pakistani officials said that the military will train personnel who will be inducted into the division. The trained members would also provide security to major projects being completed throughout the country, they added.

Reportedly, over 8,000 security officials are already providing security to nearly 9000 Chinese workers in Pakistan.

Experts say that the formation of this special force is a reassuring gesture that shows that the security of Chinese workers is Pakistan’s top priority.

"We already have a fairly large number of Chinese workers who are working very safely. The special security force will also augment our present security institutions to provide extra measures for the security of Chinese workers and staff working in Pakistan,” says Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, National Reforms & Development.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of Washington Post on Chinese President's visit to Pakistan:

It (China-Pak Corridor) is an impressive proposal, on a scale that we've come to now associate with China's overseas footprint — more usually in corners of Africa. According to the BBC, the Chinese state and its banks would lend to Chinese companies to carry out the work, thereby making it a commercial venture with direct impact on China's slackening economy.

The project is also a key cog in China's own grand-historic vision of itself as a global power and the font of new sea and land "Silk Roads." The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would link up a major land route in Central Asia to what China imagines will be a key maritime hub at Gwadar.

Sure, there remain real reasons to be skeptical. Much of the new construction would be done in the vast, restive Pakistani province of Baluchistan, where the army is still grappling with an entrenched separatist insurgency. Moreover, as Pakistani journalist and columnist Cyril Almeida points out, the proposed Chinese numbers stretch credulity, especially when set against the meager sums currently being invested from the outside into Pakistan's economy. The proof, in this case, will be in the building.

China, Small suggests, "is finally easing into its role as a great power." And, indeed, it's using Pakistan as a corridor.

Riaz Haq said...

How To Play Pakistan As China Invests Billions

China signed 51 agreements with Pakistan in a ceremony in Islamabad Monday that could ultimately lead to $48 billion in infrastructure projects.
For now, $28 billion in spending is planned. China President Xi Jinping made his first state visit to Pakistan to unveil the development program known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; it will include railway upgrades and power plant construction. China and Pakistan share a “mutual antagonism toward India, but their economic ties had lagged behind,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif highlighted five projects, including a $1.4 billion dam that will deliver 720 megawatts of electricity, and a $1.5 billion solar power park that will add 900 megawatts of power to the grid.----------

Renaissance Capital analysts Daniel Salter, Charles Robertson, Seki Mutukwa and Omair Ansari write that Pakistan is “an undervalued reform story” and add:

“The government is delivering on privatisations with the Habib Bank stake sale, and initial shipments of LNG [liquefied natural gas] have started to arrive (an important first step in rebalancing the country’s energy mix). On the negative side, the government again delayed the anticipated gas tariff hike until July. … If there has been one theme that has worked well in EM of late it is reform. Pakistan ticks many of the boxes here, yet trades on a far lower valuation (8.4x 12-month forward P/E) than other emerging markets and frontier market reform stories such as Vietnam (13.5x), India (16.8x), Philippines (20.0x), Bangladesh (21.4x) or Sri Lanka (13.4x). We believe Pakistan should be of interest not only to frontier funds, but also to mainstream emerging market investors able to look outside of their benchmark index. We like cement, consumer and, to an extent, banks top-down. Our top picks from our bottom-up coverage are: Lucky Cement (LUCK.Pakistan), DG Khan Cement (DGKC.Pakistan) and Packages (PKGS. Pakistan).”

In February and March, the MSCI Pakistan Index fell by over 20% in dollar terms, and the 13% drop in March was the largest in five years, Renaissance Capital reports. But the MSCI Pakistan Index started to rebound this month, up roughly 9%. So far in April, the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (FM) is up 4%, the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) is down 1.5%, and the iShares MSCI India ETF (INDA) has tumbled 2.6%.

Riaz Haq said...

A former diplomat, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, said in a TV debate that the Pakistani army has decided to raise a special force to safeguard this 3,000km corridor.
Many are sceptical because the army previously failed to ensure a trouble-free supply to Nato troops in Afghanistan.
But some believe the military is likely to treat the Chinese corridor differently because the economic benefits accruing from it could help isolate Baloch insurgents.
Why is China doing this?
Pakistanis have long described their "friendship" with China as higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans, and as information minister Pervez Rashid put it more recently, sweeter than honey. But behind these lofty words lie some hard-core interests.

China has been a more reliable and less meddlesome supplier of military hardware to Pakistan than the US, and is therefore seen by Pakistanis as a silent ally against arch-rival India.
Friendly exchanges with China also help Pakistan show to its "more volatile" allies in the west, notably the US, that it has other powerful friends as well.
For the Chinese, the relationship has a geo-strategic significance.
The corridor through Gwadar gives them their shortest access to the Middle East and Africa, where thousands of Chinese firms, employing tens of thousands of Chinese workers, are involved in development work.
The corridor also promises to open up remote, landlocked Xinjiang, and create incentives for both state and private enterprises to expand economic activity and create jobs in this under-developed region.

China could also be trying to find alternative trade routes to by-pass the Malacca straits, presently the only maritime route China can use to access the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Apart from being long, it can be blockaded in times of war.
This may be the reason China is also pursuing an eastern corridor to the Bay of Bengal, expected to pass through parts of Myanmar, Bangladesh and possibly India.
Experts say much of Chinese activity is geared towards boosting domestic income and consumption as its previous policy of encouraging cheap exports is no longer enough to sustain growth. On the external front, it is investing in a number of ports in Asia in an apparent attempt to access sources of energy and increase its influence over maritime routes.

Riaz Haq said...

Sellout Husain Haqqani dislikes his home country #Pakistan just as Gordon Chang and Mixin Pei abhor #China via @WSJ

Hussain Haqqani, in the same category as sellouts like Gordon Chang, Minxin Pei, Karim Sadjadpour, Fawad Ajami, etc, has a problem with China-Pakistan alliance. Here's his Op Ed in Wall Street Journal:

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Islamabad this week with promises of $46 billion in investment for Pakistani infrastructure. If all envisaged projects materialize, Pakistan would get a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines linking Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to China’s westernmost Xinjiang region. China would also build Pakistan’s half of a long-delayed natural-gas pipeline from Iran. This would be a shot in the arm for Pakistan’s faltering economy and consolidate a decades-old strategic partnership.

The Obama administration would also like China to induce Pakistan to abandon its role as a terrorist safe haven. China has been concerned by Pakistan-based jihadists operating in Xinjiang and U.S. officials hope Beijing can be successful in persuading Pakistan to clamp down on the various Islamist groups operating from its soil. But China’s economic reassurances could also reinforce Islamabad’s miscalculations about its regional clout and dangerous ambitions of keeping India strategically off-balance through subconventional means, including terrorism.

Just as Pakistan turned to the U.S. soon after independence in 1947 to seek weapons and economic assistance against India, Pakistan’s leaders today see China as a supporter in their bid to be India’s regional rival. The U.S. disappointed Islamabad by refusing to back its military confrontations with India even while selling Pakistan U.S. weapons (intended for other purposes). Now it might be China’s turn to be the object of unrealistic Pakistani expectations.

Unlike the U.S., China has refrained from lecturing Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders, creating an impression of consistency lacking in U.S.-Pakistan ties. China has been a major supplier of military equipment to Pakistan and was particularly helpful in Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons.

By supporting Pakistan militarily, China has ensured that a large part of India’s military remains tied down in South Asia and is unable to challenge China in the rest of Asia. But India remains the larger market and China’s willingness to use Pakistan as a secondary deterrent against India hasn’t meant abandoning ties with New Delhi. Chinese trade with India in 2013 was $65 billion, six times its trade with Pakistan. In Pakistan’s 1965 and 1971 wars with India, China disappointed Pakistan by not opening a second front against India.


China’s investment in Pakistan, and indeed investment from other sources, would materialize more easily if Pakistan put its house in order. Instead of exhausting itself in competing with an Indian neighbor six times its size, Pakistan needs to confront religious extremism, eliminate terrorism and pursue economic reforms that they talk about but do not implement. Pakistan’s elite needs to start paying taxes to overcome one of the worst tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. Defense spending needs to be rationalized and critical investments made in education to overcome a paucity of skilled manpower.

More likely, the promise of Chinese money will lead Pakistan’s leaders to think China will become their economic and military patron. Mr. Xi would do well not to let that happen, and instead to emphasize reform. He shouldn’t forget that money does not always buy Pakistan’s favor or encourage change in Pakistan’s policies. China may actually lose popularity in Pakistan once its companies arrive and demand primacy of economic considerations. Then China might find itself where Pakistan’s previous benefactor, the U.S., is today. After having provided $40 billion in aid to Pakistan since 1950, the U.S. is now viewed favorably by only 14% of Pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

The Nation Op Ed explaining Chinese investment:

For example, the Karot hydropower project in Jhelum, which was finalized among other energy projects this week, has a debt-equity ratio of 80:20 where equity is roughly USD 285 million and debt is roughly USD 1140 million.
This debt has to be cleared with Chinese banks that are offering us a loan on Libor plus 4.
75 percent (while the project is under construction).
The investment horizon of the project is 50 years; which means we hope to benefit from this deal over the next five decades; which means we cannot afford gaps in commitment and transparency; which means we cannot afford variations in our energy policy, which is typically contingent on changing governments.
In other words, the real fruit of Chinese investment in Pakistan is in the gradual and painstaking implementation of the envisioned projects, not in the immediate signing of any deal.

A healthy dose of skepticism is thus needed to help keep the grand vision of infrastructural development on track.
Take an example from this week alone: the government inaugurated the first ever green parliament in Islamabad and then, in the same breath, declared all future wind and solar energy projects unfeasible to make room for the USD 22 billion LNG deal with Qatar.
Why is the government thinking of energy as a zero-sum-game? In the wake of all this investment, do they have any plans to reach off-grid communities? As Pakistanis, do we have a unified vision on how to deal with the energy crisis; a vision that can support various long-term commitments with other nations? These are just some of the questions that have disappeared under the avalanche of an unprecedented, historical investment – from any one country – into Pakistan.

While healthy skepticism keeps the government on its toes, and unhindered praise for China fills the sentimental vacuum the two countries probably otherwise feel between each other, it’s important to encourage new business opportunities that will benefit from the development of an enhanced port in Gwadar and a trade corridor connecting Western China to the Gulf countries via Pakistan.

Gwadar, rightly dubbed the ‘doorstep of the Middle East’, has the potential of earning freight and cargo services from goods leaving Western China, the land locked Caspian region and the Gulf countries.
As the crow flies, Gwadar is roughly 600kms from Muscat, 1800kms from Dubai, and 4000kms from Doha – routes Pakistan will benefit from as soon as we connect the north and south with a secure thoroughfare.

How this thoroughfare can enable new services and industries is what Pakistan should vociferously debate on talk shows now and leave petty politics aside.
For instance, this week in parliament, when the Chinese premier attended a joint session, Nawaz Sharif asked the speaker (albeit in Urdu) to introduce Imran Khan to Xi Jinping as the ‘Khan who delayed his visit by four months’.
Maybe it was his sense of humor, an inside joke with the speaker, maybe it was accrued venom.
Regardless of how Nawaz meant it, it was unnecessary.

If Pakistan’s journey to absolute financial and energy independence was merely a few months away, I might have empathized with Nawaz.
But we are talking about decades here – a time neither Nawaz nor Imran will live to see.
Pakistan needs an uplift that transcends generations but every time we assign more weight to interparty-politics, we rob Pakistan from our collective input – the only thing that can help us find our way out of the dark.

Salim Bokhari said...

I read a very biased anti Paksitan-China cooperation by none other than the infamous traitor Husain Haqqani, title “Lowering Expectations for China's Pakistan Push” but what I like was how quickly someone had responded to that article by publishing a rebuttal titled "Dissecting Husain Haqqani’s (Lowering Expectations for China's Pakistan Push”). Do read this rebuttal if you get an opportunity, link is

Riaz Haq said...

Forty Years After Fall of Saigon, Entrepreneurs Return to Vietnam

Henry Nguyen was a toddler when his family fled Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon 40 years ago.

Now he’s back, part of an influx of Vietnamese-born entrepreneurs returning to the country to reap the benefits of its shift to a more market-oriented economy.

Since his return in the early 2000s, Mr. Nguyen has become one of the best-known business figures in the Vietnam. He is head of Vietnam operations for Boston-based fund manager IDG Ventures, and he recently introduced the Big Mac to the country as McDonald’s Corp.MCD +0.20%’s first franchisee here.

In another sign of the changing times, Mr. Nguyen, the son of a civil engineer who worked with the old South Vietnamese government, is married to the daughter of Vietnam’s communist prime minister. The couple and their twin daughters live in Ho Chi Minh City, the name by which Saigon is now known.

“It’s something I never planned on or anticipated,” said Mr. Nguyen, a fresh-faced 41-year-old American with thick-rimmed glasses and spiky hair. “But looking forward, this is where my life is.”

The fact that Mr. Nguyen has gotten so far highlights how much Vietnam has changed since the South capitulated to Communist forces on April 30, 1975. It also points to the important role the country’s diaspora has played in expanding the scope and scale of what could be one of the world’s next great economic success stories.

As Vietnam’s Communist Party began to loosen its hold of the economy in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Viet Kieu, or overseas Vietnamese helped lead the march of foreign investment into the country.

Seattle-raised entrepreneur David Thai helped blaze the trail when he moved to Hanoi in the 1990s. He became the first overseas Vietnamese to register a private company and open a chain of coffee shops under the name Highlands Coffee. Since then, officials say other expatriate Vietnamese have invested more than $20 billion here, mostly in and around Ho Chi Minh City, still in many ways the country’s economic engine.

Intel Corp. appointed U.S. national Than Trang Phuc to launch a $2 billion chip factory in Ho Chi Minh City in the early 2000s, while other Vietnamese returned from America, France and elsewhere to set up private businesses.

The potential payoff is significant. Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC HSBA.LN -0.25% views Vietnam as the best example of a frontier economy benefiting from rising costs in China. Thanks to multibillion-dollar investments from companies such as Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE +1.39% and Intel INTC -0.41%, exports of smartphones and other electronics now have eclipsed old standbys such as textiles and footwear, leaving the country comfortably higher up the value ladder than cheaper locales such as Cambodia or Bangladesh.

Riaz Haq said...

How the U.S. special relationship with Pakistan lost out to China’s strategic ‘silk road’ by Harlan Ullman

That Islamabad has turned east not surprising. When George W. Bush famously declared Pakistan as a U.S. non-NATO major ally, Pakistan expected far more than it got from its American partner in assisting in the global war on terror. That relationship always suffered from mutual misperceptions and expectations generating inherent flaws and cracks that would come apart over time and under stress.
That unhappy history is too well known. After the attacks of September 11th, President and Gen. Pervez Musharraf was encouraged or bullied to join America in destroying Al Qaida then headquartered in and protected by Taliban-run Afghanistan.
Afghanistan had always been of great strategic importance to Islamabad in part because it provided “strategic depth” in the event of hostilities with India and in part because Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, enjoyed influence over parts of the Taliban organization.
It was naïve to think that Pakistan would alter those strategic interests for unlimited support of the U.S. war on terror. Until last year, Pakistan distinguished between “good (i.e. Afghan) and “bad (i.e. Pakistani)” Taliban by aiding the former while taking on the latter. Further, while the U.S. believed it was financially generous with coalition support funding for the Pakistan military in battling Al Qaida and later with the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act that provided $1.5 billion a year for five years in assistance, Islamabad saw that aid as miserly coming from an economic superpower.
Politically, because President Obama did not hold President Zardari in high regard, Army Chief of Staff Ashraf Pervez Kayani was treated as the de facto head of government bypassing civilian authority. Then, the case of CIA contractor Raymond Davis who shot and killed two Pakistanis and finally was freed with “blood money” paid to the victims’ families brought the relationship to its nadir.
That nadir was eclipsed with Seal Team Six’s raid in Islamabad that killed Osama bin Laden conducted without informing the Pakistani government in advance. Exacerbated by drone strikes, positive Pakistani perceptions of America were measured in single digits. And the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan leaving that country close to civil war was not calming to Islamabad.
Along came China.
From Beijing’s perspective, Pakistan had been a long-term friend and potential strategic ally against India. More importantly, China understood that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Pakistan had been a thriving economy and could become one again based in part by opening a new silk road connecting east and west and bringing China closer to the Middle East and Africa where its economic interests were rapidly expanding. Developing the Pakistani seaport of Gwadar bordering on the Persian Gulf would be the logistical springboard for this link up.
Additionally, China is providing Pakistan with eight submarines. Reports of transferring stealthy jet fighters and other military technologies to Pakistan may or may not be accurate. But China certainly recognizes the geoeconomic and geopolitical importance of a strategic relationship with Pakistan.
Some in the U.S. will view China as usurping U.S. influence. Others may argue for closer ties with India to compensate for this new Sino-Pak relationship. While both views are understandable, each is flawed.
Stability in the region is dependent on a prosperous and stable Pakistan, a condition that is very much in doubt given current circumstances. Despite its efforts, the U.S. could not deliver on that promise.
If China can, the region will be better off. Perhaps the wisdom of Sun Tzu can meet the vision of Pakistan’s chief founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah without alienating India. The U.S. should be very supportive of that prospect. That it will is very much in doubt.

Riaz Haq said...

From India's Economic Times:

NEW DELHI: India will push ahead this week with plans to build a port in southeast Iran, two sources said, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keen to develop trade ties with Central Asia and prepared to fend off US pressure not to rush into any deals with Iran.

India and Iran agreed in 2003 to develop a port at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran's border with Pakistan, but the venture has made little progress because of Western sanctions on Iran.

Now, spurred on by Chinese President Xi Jinping's signing of energy and infrastructure agreements with Pakistan worth $46 billion, Modi wants to swiftly sign trade deals with Iran and other Gulf countries.

"Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will travel on a day-long tour to Iran to sign a memorandum of understanding for development of Chabahar port," a shipping ministry source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The deal will be signed on Wednesday, he said.

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Riaz Haq said...


For one, looking at geopolitical and economic dynamics, Australia and Pakistan share a similar environment. Australia, like Pakistan, maintains a very balanced relationship between China and the United States. Both Pakistan and Australia are economically integrated with China, but in terms of security and defense, share close ties with the United States.

In what many are suggesting as the rise of a bipolar world, countries like Pakistan and Australia may hold the key to international peace and stability in a divided yet interdependent world — a third wheel between the two superpowers. Pakistan already played a similar role in 1970 when it facilitated Kissinger’s secret visit to China, changing the dynamics of the Cold War.

Second, with China investing over $46 billion in Pakistan’s economy and international investors following suit, Australia with its edge in the mining industry has the opportunity to bandwagon on the Chinese investment and develop strong links with Pakistan — one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world — to make the most out of the economic opportunity in the region.

Third, given Australia’s aging population issues, investing in relations with Pakistan at the moment can allow Australia to recruit top professionals from Pakistan to become a driver of economic growth in Australia. Pakistan has a massive and impressively-educated youth bulge that is fluent in English and possesses technical skills that can energize Australia’s work force and inject needed money into its economy.

Finally, and most importantly, is the India pivot. While Australia has excellent ties with India, especially with the 2014 nuclear deal between the two countries, the fact remains that India’s foreign policy is based on traditional power players, looking more towards Russia or the United States to contain China.

At this point, Pakistan, who is also close to both China and the United States, can be a good regional partner for Australia. The two countries share an extensive history of security partnerships and cooperation in agriculture, education, and health. This history was renewed with Bishop’s meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, and several ministers including the Minister of Planning, Development & Reforms.

The bilateral talks covered all major areas including trade and investment, security and defense, education, agriculture, and energy. In fact, Bishop also announced a $24 million aid package for rehabilitation in conflict-affected areas — a token to demonstrate Australia’s growing interest and seriousness in Pakistan.

The content of the meeting with Ahsan Iqbal, the minister of Planning, Development & Reforms, is most crucial because of the significance of the issues discussed that included education and research, civil services reform and governance, and energy sectors — areas that are top on the priority list of Pakistan as it struggles to recover its economic stability.

But more than just words, it is important that the two countries take practical steps to develop people-to-people links — something pointed out by Bishop in a meeting with her Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz.

At a time when Pakistan appears to be on the verge of transformation, it’s pragmatic for Australia to invest and build a partnership in a long-term strategic relation that can go beyond security and defense. As it’s famously said: “Follow the money.” Perhaps Australia should simply follow the Chinese as they venture into Pakistan. With two senior level Australian visits to Pakistan, the understanding, it appears, may already be prevalent in the foreign policy circles of Australia.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC - #China navy to focus on 'open seas', paper says. Challenge to #America's naval power? #Obama's pivot to #Asia? …

China is to focus on projecting its military presence beyond its borders at sea, according to a strategy document.
The navy will shift its focus to "open seas protection", rather than "offshore waters defence" alone.
It will also speed up developing its cyber force to tackle "grave security threats", the State Council said.
China has been accused of aggressively pursuing territorial claims in the South China Sea which has sparked concern in Washington.
The strategy document highlighted four areas of critical importance - the ocean, outer space, nuclear force and cyber space. Its recent naval policy has prompted the most controversy.
In recent years, China has focused on building up its navy. It has launched an aircraft carrier and invested heavily in submarines and other warships.
It has also exercised its claims over islands in the South China Sea which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei variously dispute.
In one disputed area, the Spratly Islands, US officials say China has created about 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of dry land since 2014 that could be used as airstrips.
The strategy document warns of threats to China's maritime rights and interests.
It says China "will not attack unless [it is] attacked, but will counterattack" and mentions the "provocative actions of certain offshore neighbours" and "outside parties involving themselves in South China Sea affairs".
On the same day that the strategy document was released, state news agency Xinhua reported two 50-metre high lighthouses were to be built on a reefs in the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.
At a news conference to release the document, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said: "Looking from the angle of sovereignty, China's development of construction on its islands is no different at all from all the other types of construction going on around the country."
He said island building was "beneficial to the whole of international society" because it aided China's search and rescue, and environmental protection work.
China criticised Washington after a US spy plane flew over areas near the Spratly Islands last week, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.
The strategy document also says China's air force will shift its focus from territorial air defence to both offence and defence, and building airspace defences with stronger military capabilities.

Riaz Haq said...

#China #CPEC priorities: #Karakoram Highway, #Gwadar Expressway, #Karachi-#Lahore Motorway, Gawadar Intl Airport …
Ambassador Weidong said that the outcome in terms of MoUs signed during this visit is encouraging, but the more important part is to implement these agreements and deliver results. Action speaks louder than words, he said, adding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a historical opportunity for bilateral cooperation and future development. He said there is a lot of potential to further develop bilateral relations and opportunities always belong to those with vision and action.

He said the Chinese government would continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Pakistan in support of Pakistan’s economic and social development. China’s support for Pakistan is sincere, down-to-earth and mutually beneficial. Recalling that the year 2015 is the Year of China-Pakistan Friendly Exchanges, he said both the countries will arrange various activities to promote broad exchanges in culture, education, local administration, youth, think tanks and media.

The ambassador said that China has set up a cultural centre in Islamabad to encourage mutual learning and exchanges in the fields of culture and art. In next five years, he added, China will provide 2,000 training opportunities for Pakistan and train 1,000 Chinese language teachers for Pakistan, to support Pakistan in strengthening human resource development and language teaching.

The two countries, he emphasised, should continue with youth and media exchange visits. “We will translate and publish more quality publications from each other. We will hold a photo exhibition on China-Pakistan friendship history. We will also organise receptions for Pakistani friends from all circles in order to reunite with old friends while making new friends,” he added.

Weidong said that President Xi’s recent visit has been quite fruitful with regard to CPEC. It will cover all the provinces of Pakistan, benefit all Pakistani people, create new job opportunities and help upgrade the overall economic strength of Pakistan. China, he further said, has decided to provide free assistance to support FATA reconstruction and related livelihood projects. He said that China would also provide assistance to promote Gwadar community welfare. These measures will effectively promote economic development in the mid-western part of Pakistan and improve people’s livelihood. It is hoped that a good use would be made of the Chinese assistance so as to produce positive results as soon as possible, he added.

During President Xi’s visit, he said, both sides agreed to formulate the 1+4 cooperation structure ie to take CPEC at the centre and take Gwadar Port, energy, transport infrastructure and industrial cooperation as the four keys. Both sides agreed to increase the bilateral trade volume to $20 billion within the next 3 years, he added. The Silk Road Fund will collaborate with a Chinese company to invest in the clean energy projects such as Karot Hydropower Station. This is the first investment project of the Silk Road Fund since its establishment.

That ambassador said that China also announced to provide assistance for reconstruction activities and well-being projects in FATA so as to improve the people’s livelihood. Both countries have also decided to establish China-Pakistan Joint Research Centre for Small Hydropower, Joint Cotton Bio-Tech Laboratory and Joint Marine Research Centre. CCTV News and documentary channels will be broadcast in Pakistan soon, he said. Three pairs of cities between the two countries have established sister-city relations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif Visits #Russia to Forge New Ties …

This recent thaw between the cold war rivals is a “natural outflow of Russia’s concern about what is going to happen to Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the U.S.,” explained Nandan Unnikrishnan, who has served as Press Trust of India’s bureau chief in Moscow for several years.

If Afghanistan becomes unstable, the spread of militancy and Islamist radicalism is expected to spread to the weak states around it.

“The weak states are not China and Iran,” explains Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Michael Kofman, who focuses on Russia and has worked on Pakistan.

Most of the Central Asian states around Afghanistan have porous borders, weak governments, and varying degrees of autocracies which makes them prone to instability or ethnic conflict. Militants from some of these states are already present in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Frankly Tajikistan, Turkemenistan, Kyrgyzstan, these are all great targets, and Uzbekistan too,” Kofman said.

This is Russia’s backyard. Russia has a military presence in several of these countries and a large military base in Tajikistan.

Furthermore, there is a sizeable Muslim population inside Russia. So far the country has not faced issues of radicalization and militancy but it is not immune from them, particularly if the neighboring states fall victim to them.

Another reason for Russian overtures toward Pakistan may be to gain leverage with the Afghan Taliban via Islamabad in case the elected Afghan government falls.

“In the minds of Russian security services there is little doubt that Pakistani intelligence services and Pakistani establishment have very strong links with some of the Afghan Taliban,” according to Indian journalist Nandan Unnikrishnan.

Russia’s attempt at redefining its relationship with Pakistan comes at the risk of upsetting India, its traditional ally and largest defense sector customer.

However, Russia has justified this by pointing out that India has also looked to its rival, the United States, for its purchases. In the last few years, the U.S. has surpassed Russia to become India’s largest arms supplier.

Russia may also be looking to Pakistan as an untapped market. Pakistan’s direct defense trade with Russia has been limited, $22 million a few years ago compared to billions of dollars of trade with India.

Pakistan has usually received Russian equipment through China, which is not known for making aircraft engines and often uses Russian engines in its planes.

One of the benefits for Pakistan in trading with Russia will be “to cut out China as the middle man and save a lot of money,” according to Kofman of CSIS, who pointed out that Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder aircraft, jointly developed with China, and recently in the news for receiving its first foreign order, uses Russian engines.

He also explained that the extent of this defense cooperation will depend on how much money Pakistan can spend.

“Russia, at the end of the day, is not in a position like the United States to subsidize defense deals,’ he said.

However, in a post Ukraine world of increased hostilities between Russia and the West, it is in Russia's interest to show that it is not isolated and has partners willing to do business with it.

Meanwhile, the United States has long encouraged countries in the region to take a greater interest in the stability of Afghanistan and has strongly supported China’s efforts in facilitating peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.

Many analysts think that at this point the United States is happy to have any actor that can contribute towards stability in Afghanistan, including rivals Russia and China.

Riaz Haq said...

Today's #India-#Pakistan Armed Tensions - Will New U.S. Military and Nuclear Aid to #Modi Inflame Them?

The Obama Administration cooperates with India in large measure from hope for collaboration with India to contain China’s military buildup and aggressive moves. Punit Saurabh just published a persuasive report, India and U.S. Grow Closer Against a Backdrop of An Expansionist China. President Obama has gone twice to India, and forged a strong tie with Modi. Those ties expand at the level of the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, and further down at the level of the procurement undersecretary, Frank Kendall.

But that does not mean Pakistan will look on the India-U.S. cooperation as benign. On the contrary, something of an opposing set of alliances is shaping up. A little-mentioned aspect of this has been what Saurabh calls “China’s overt and covert support to the Pakistani defense buildup, aimed at India through supply of submarines, JF-17 fighters, and strategic inroads in sensitive parts of Kashmir. In other words, China is helping Pakistani on sea, air, and land, just as the U.S. helps India.

So, what is the U.S. providing for the Indian military that may add to these tensions? The single most interesting item: the Pentagon has publicly set up a collaboration group to help India build its next aircraft carrier, implementing it this month. India has kept open the option that this could be a nuclear-propelled aircraft carrier.

India is said to be particularly interested in the Pentagon’s method of launching planes, from these carriers Specifically, the next generation “Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System” (EMALS) will be used on the new Ford-class U.S. carriers. India wants that and may get it. And, it wants to build the aircraft carrier itself, at least in part. In light of the U.S. sharing advanced technology, the other part might get built in the Newport News Shipbuilding yard. That would mean a lot of lucrative business for Huntington Ingalls, already a major beneficiary of defense appropriations, and very well connected — the kind of step that tilts advanced U.S. arms making and selling toward India.

As for nuclear, India seeks, and is getting, cooperation on building nuclear reactors for civilian energy generation. That would mean a lot of lucrative business for Westinghouse and General Electric.

Of course, the United States has strong ties with Pakistan, too. In fact, today there is some extra good will, as the United States fights the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan has taken up arms vigorously against the Pakistani Taliban. The U.S. tries its best not to seem to be tilting toward India in the subcontinent powers’ tense rivalry.

Still, the cooperation agreements between Obama and Modi pledged to come together “to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed . . .and the Haqqani Network.” Of course, those entities work with Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, ISI. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was behind the Mumbai terror attack. The Haqqani Network is one of our major enemies in Afghanistan. A joint list like that by Obama and Modi aligns them against Pakistani support for violent Islamic terror groups.

None of this is to say that the United States can stop working with India against China. That must go ahead. But it has the potential to antagonize Pakistan. And that agitates the potentially scariest confrontation in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India will start the process of joining a security bloc led by China and Russia at a summit in Russia later this week, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, the first time the grouping has expanded since it was set up in 2001.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) groups China, Russia and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers.

"As the influence of the SCO's development has expanded, more and more countries in the region have brought up joining the SCO," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a news briefing."...India and Pakistan's admission to the SCO will play an important role in the SCO's development it will play a constructive role in pushing for the improvement of their bilateral relations."

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over the divided Muslim-majority region of Kashmir which they both claim in full but rule in part. Pakistan also believes India is supporting separatists in resource-rich Baluchistan province, as well as militants fighting the state.

The SCO was originally formed to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

Cheng said that the summit, to be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, would also discuss security in Afghanistan.

Beijing says separatist groups in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, are seeking to form their own state called East Turkestan and have links with militants in Central Asia as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

China says that Uighur militants, operating at the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), has also been working with Islamic State.

"It can be said that ETIM certainly has links with the Islamic State, and has participated in relevant terrorist activities. China is paying close attention to this, and will have security cooperation with relevant countries," Cheng said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia, #Australia, #NewZealand oppose #India's bid for sanctions against #Pakistan The Economic Times

There is unease in Delhi over recent stand that old ally Russia took at a recent anti-terror financing meet organised at Brisbane by opposing move by India to demand censure against Pakistan for its inaction against JuD & LeT.

While New Zealand and Australia also opposed the move, India is surprised with Russia's position which in the past has been very supportive of India's stand on Kashmir to the extent of vetoing resolutions in UN Security Council.

Official sources in ..

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Riaz Haq said...

India and Pakistan, the newest prospective members of a growing economic club formed by Russia and China in the Eurasian region, have hailed the emergence of an economic axis not centered around the West.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Russian city of Ufa that the expanded group, which with the addition of India and Pakistan would represent half the world's population, will serve as a "springboard" to make Eurasia's economy one of the most dynamic in the world.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's "efforts will enhance the political and economic scope of the Eurasian belt."

Modi used the occasion of the summit to schedule a state visit to Pakistan next year, in a sign the two nuclear-armed rivals may see the economic group as a rare forum for mutual cooperation and an easing of tensions.

"We have everything we need to succeed," Modi said. "The time has come to reach out across the region."

Putin showed his pleasure at attracting some of the world's biggest emerging economies, and said that the new entrants would enhance the economic clout and reach of the organization.

"These are powerful nations with strategic prospects, the future leaders of the world and the global economy," he said.

"We will actively develop our relations with those who want to work with us," he said, in a pointed reference to the unwillingness of the West to do new business with Russia after imposing sanctions last year when Russia seized Crimea and backed a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

"It has become clear that economics are being used as a political weapon.... But we should not close ourselves off with some kind of wall," he said. "We will use all the tools of collaboration with all countries -- the United States, Europe, and Asia."

Putin used the Shanghai summit and a previous one involving the world's largest emerging economies to show that Russia is not isolated in the global economy, despite bickering with the West over Ukraine.

Analysts said India and Pakistan likely wanted to join the Eurasian group to develop relations with major energy producers like Russia and Kazakhstan.

The group also includes other Central Asian former Soviet republics Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

"Membership could better position India to benefit from Central Asia's gas riches," said Michael Kugelman, an associate at the Wilson Center in Washington.

But while the addition of India and Pakistan beefs up the group's economic gravitas, "India and Pakistan wouldn't be dominant powers" within the organization, he said. "China and Russia would retain that title."

The Shanghai group did not invite Iran to join, although it has long sought membership. The group says Iran can join only after reaching a deal with big powers on its nuclear program.

With the addition of Iran, the group would control around one-fifth of the world's oil and represent nearly half of the global population. The BRICS account for one-fifth of the world's economic output and 40 percent of its population.

Riaz Haq said...

As #China Awakens, #America -- And #Pakistan -- Should Take Note via @theworldpost

With Pakistan's good relations with both China and the U.S., it is ideally placed to help bring the two powers together, as it did in the past. It is sometimes forgotten that Pakistan facilitated President Nixon's historic visit to China.

The current global geopolitical alignment for the first time in history has both the U.S. and China maintaining good relations with both India and Pakistan. While noting the unmistakable affection for Pakistan in China, I saw no overt signs of hostility towards India. On the contrary, Chinese scholars talked with optimism of the new relationship between China and India. They pointed to President Xi's visit to India and Prime Minister Modi's visit to China, which were conducted in an atmosphere of cordiality and resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals. But reality warns us that India and Pakistan are so conditioned by their hateful rivalry that they will turn any event to their favor and against their opponent. Perhaps the vast economic and political benefits that are possible in China's initiatives will influence them in this case. In spite of the numerous naysayers, those of us who dream of a peaceful South Asia taking its place on the world stage as a cultural and economic powerhouse see a ray of hope in today's situation.

Perhaps the greatest lesson that emerged in the recent U.S.-China dialogue that I attended was the importance of face-to-face meetings with open minds and hearts and at convivial meals. Free from files and official agendas, people of different backgrounds see each other with empathy as fellow human beings.

We are still left with Napoleon's enigmatic comment ( "When China wakes, she will shake the world"). The answer to the inherent question contained in it may be tied to Xi Jinping's vision of the future of China. In either case, it is time to watch the awakening of China with interest.

Riaz Haq said...

With #Iran’s Help, #India Eludes #China and Bypasses #Pakistan in Race for Gas Riches via @business

With U.S. sanctions easing, India is racing to build a port in Iran that will get around the fact that its land access to energy-rich former Soviet republics in Central Asia has been blocked by China and its ally Pakistan.
“We’re seeing the latest manifestation of the Great Game in Central Asia, and India is the new player,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “It’s had its eyes on Central Asia for a long time.”
While the world focuses on what Iran’s opening means for Israel and Arab nations, the ramifications are also critical for Asia. Closer Iran-India ties would allow New Delhi’s leaders to secure cheaper energy imports to bolster economic growth and reduce the influence of both China and Pakistan in the region.
The six nations that make up Central Asia hold at least 11 percent of the world’s proven natural gas reserves, as well as substantial deposits of oil and coal, according to data compiled by BP Plc. Afghanistan says its mineral wealth is valued at $1 trillion to $3 trillion.
“Iran can offer us an alternative route to Central Asia,” Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said in Singapore on July 20. “The resolution of the nuclear dispute and lifting of sanctions will allow our agenda of energy and connectivity cooperation to unfold seriously.”
‘Alternative Route’
India can be the first country to benefit from the deal in Asia, an Iranian diplomat told reporters in New Delhi this week. Iran was seeking billions of dollars in investment from India for ports, railways and airports, the diplomat said, asking not to be identified due to government rules.
Even before the deal to end sanctions was clinched, India reached an agreement to upgrade the Iranian port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea. Two Indian state-run companies -- Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust -- have plans to invest $85 million to upgrade two berths.
On a five-nation Central Asian tour last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed an ambitious transit route through Iran that would effectively connect Europe to India by a series of sea, rail and road links. Currently, cargo from India has to go by air or take a detour through the Suez Canal.
Pathway to Europe

China Dominance
China is the biggest economic player in Central Asia. It’s the top commercial partner for every nation except Afghanistan, with its $48 billion in trade to the region dwarfing that of India, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Turkmenistan pipes almost 80 percent of its gas to China.
China has welcomed the nuclear deal, noting in a statement that Iran once played a pivotal role in the ancient Silk Road trade route linking Europe and the Far East.
Pakistan is also important. The only Muslim-majority country with a nuclear bomb has refused to allow Indian trucks to pass through to Central Asia, and plans to build overland gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan had long stalled.
“Pakistan has essentially had a stranglehold over India’s policy in the region,” said Harsh V. Pant, a professor of international relations at King’s College London. “India wanted to break that. Now, that constraint has been removed.”
Even so, Pakistan doesn’t see much of a threat, according to Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan. China is investing $45 billion in an economic corridor through Pakistan stretching from China’s western border to the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is also seeking a free-trade agreement with Iran.

“The scale of Chinese investment in Pakistan and in the corridor really dwarfs anything Indian is attempting in Iran,” Khan said in an interview in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan warms up to #Russia with helicopter deal, gas pipeline investment via @WSJ Russia has agreed to sell military helicopters to Pakistan and is poised to build a $2 billion natural-gas pipeline in the South Asian country—its biggest investment there in decades—as Islamabad turns toward a former adversary and away from the U.S., its longtime ally.

Islamabad has been weighing its strategic options amid rising tension with Washington, which views Pakistan as an unreliable ally in combating Islamist militants in the region, including neighboring Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistan said it would buy four Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters for an undisclosed price, after a spate of high-level visits between the two countries.

In the Russian city of Ufa last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared that he wanted a “multidimensional relationship” encompassing defense, commerce and energy. That represents a major shift for both countries, in response to a changing geopolitical dynamic. Pakistan worked alongside the U.S. to defeat Soviet forces that occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, while Russia built close ties with India, Pakistan’s estranged neighbor and rival.

Now, the U.S. is increasingly embracing India as a counterweight to a rising China, which it views as a strategic competitor. That has encouraged erstwhile enemies Russia and Pakistan to mend fences.

“Pakistan has decided it is no longer an American client state,” said Zafar Hilaly, a former senior Pakistani diplomat. “Pakistan has decided that although America will remain important, it must have other alternatives.”

The biggest marker of this new relationship is a proposed 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) pipeline, to be built by Russian state-owned industrial conglomerate Rostec. The two countries are expected to sign an agreement to move ahead within the next month, officials from both sides said.

The pipeline would carry imported natural gas from the port city of Karachi to Lahore in the east, helping the country deal with crippling energy shortages. Rostec, run by a close friend of Mr. Putin’s, would finance, own and operate the pipeline for 25 years.

“It’s very important for Russia from a geopolitical point of view. Russia is trying to enter this market and compete with China and the U.S.,” said Vladimir Sotnikov, senior research associate at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Eastern Studies.

Despite Islamabad’s outreach to Russia, experts said it is likely to seek continued close ties to the U.S., which is Pakistan’s biggest supplier of military aid and equipment. Since 2002, the U.S. has provided Pakistan with $31 billion in civilian and military aid and reimbursements, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Pakistan recently signed a nearly $1 billion deal to purchase 15 American AH-1Z Viper helicopters, as well as 1,000 Hellfire missiles and other equipment.

Both Russia and China are concerned about protecting their southern underbellies against the export of extremism and instability from Pakistan and Afghanistan, by investing there to promote economic development.

The Russian pipeline would represent Moscow’s first major project in Pakistan since the early 1970s, when the Soviet Union helped build a steel mill in Karachi during a brief warming of relations that followed the election of a left-leaning leader in Islamabad. The two countries are now discussing ways that Russia can upgrade the mill, Pakistani officials said.
Rostec said it would raise the funds needed for the project. The U.S. imposed financial sanctions on Rostec after Russia’s interventions in Ukraine, effectively cutting it off from U.S.-dollar financing.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia-#Pakistan Mi-35 Contract Could be Expanded For More Helicopters/ Sputnik International … via @SputnikInt

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The contract on the delivery of four Russian Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan could be expanded, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov said Tuesday.
"It all depends on money. Pakistan has stated that it has the financial means for 10-12 helicopters of this type, but negotiations are ongoing," Kabulov told RIA Novosti.
Moscow and Islamabad are discussing possible supplies of Russian defensive weapons to Pakistan, Kabulov added.
"Pakistan has an interest in other Russian weapon systems. Negotiations are underway. We are talking about defensive systems," Kabulov told RIA Novosti.
In March, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain announced Islamabad's intention to expand military-technical commerce with Russia with the purchase of Mi-35 gunships.
In August, a contract for four Mi-35M transport and attack helicopters was signed by Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Pakistan's Ministry of Defense, according to a spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Islamabad.
The Mi-35M (NATO Designation Hind-E) is an upgraded export version of the Mi-24V multipurpose assault helicopter, developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Russia-#Pakistan Mi-35 Contract Could be Expanded For More Helicopters/ Sputnik International … via @SputnikInt

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The contract on the delivery of four Russian Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan could be expanded, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov said Tuesday.
"It all depends on money. Pakistan has stated that it has the financial means for 10-12 helicopters of this type, but negotiations are ongoing," Kabulov told RIA Novosti.
Moscow and Islamabad are discussing possible supplies of Russian defensive weapons to Pakistan, Kabulov added.
"Pakistan has an interest in other Russian weapon systems. Negotiations are underway. We are talking about defensive systems," Kabulov told RIA Novosti.
In March, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain announced Islamabad's intention to expand military-technical commerce with Russia with the purchase of Mi-35 gunships.
In August, a contract for four Mi-35M transport and attack helicopters was signed by Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Pakistan's Ministry of Defense, according to a spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Islamabad.
The Mi-35M (NATO Designation Hind-E) is an upgraded export version of the Mi-24V multipurpose assault helicopter, developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

#US DoD awards #Pakistan gives contract for 15 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to Bell Helicopter Co- IHS Jane's 360 …

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Bell Helicopter a USD581 million contract that includes the delivery of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to Pakistan.

The contract, which was announced by the DoD on 26 August but awarded the day before, covers the manufacture and delivery of 15 Lot 12 UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters, 19 Lot 12 AH-1Zs, one Lot 13 UH-1Y, and 21 auxiliary fuel kits for the US Marine Corps (USMC) and government of Pakistan.

Pakistan requested the sale of 15 AH-1Z helicopters in April, and this announcement is the first official confirmation that a deal has been signed. While the notification does not say how many of the 15 helicopters have been signed for at this stage, it states that 10% (USD57.9 million) of the overall contract value covers the sale to the government of Pakistan. This suggests that this is an initial deal for the first two helicopters only, with contracts for the remaining 13 (plus spares and support) to follow.

According to the DoD, these initial helicopters will be delivered by the end of August 2018. The original US Defense Security Co-operation Agency notification of Pakistan's request included 1,000 AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles for "a precision-strike, enhanced-survivability aircraft that can operate at high altitudes. By acquiring this [AH-1Z and Hellfire II] capability, Pakistan will enhance its ability to conduct operations in North Waziristan Agency [NWA], the Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATAs], and other remote and mountainous areas in all-weather, day and night environments".

The contract notification is the latest development in Pakistan's ongoing efforts to bolster its rotary-winged attack capabilities. As well as procuring the 15 AH-1Zs to bolster and eventually replace its existing 32 AH-1F Cobra platforms, Pakistan has also evaluated the Chinese CHAIG WZ-10 attack helicopters, which has included flying them operationally on counter-terrorism missions, and is rumoured to be interested in the Russian-built Mil Mi-28NE 'Havoc' as well. On 19 August it was announced that Pakistan and Russia had signed a formal agreement for the procurement of four Mi-35 'Hind' attack helicopters, with more likely to follow.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan-#Russia talks on delivery of Su-35, Mi-35s underway: Russian Deputy FM

NIZHYNY TAGIL: Pakistan and Russia are in talks about the delivery of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and previously agreed upon delivery of Mi-35M helicopters, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister (FM) Sergei Ryabkov said, Sputnik reported.

Earlier this year, a draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M 'Hind E' combat helicopters was sent to Pakistan from Russia, a source in the Russian military and technical cooperation was quoted by the Russian news agency TASS.

Increasing military cooperation between Islamabad and Moscow would not negatively impact Russia's ties with India, Ryabkov said, adding that Pak-Russia ties were improving in other sectors as well ─ including energy.

The Russian Deputy FM Ryabkov referred to Pakistan as Russia's closest partner and said, "I do not think that the contacts under discussion will cause jealousy on the part of any of the two sides."

The twin-engine Su-35 is a fourth generation multi-role combat aircraft which also incorporates technology from fifth generation jets, according to details available on the Sukhoi company's website. It is also said to be more agile as compared to previous models.

Read: Pakistan, Russia sign landmark defence cooperation agreement

Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations in November last year. The deal had to be followed by another ‘technical cooperation agreement’ to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Surges to Second-Biggest U.S. Weapons Buyer After #SaudiArabia #Modi #China #Pakistan via @business

As China rises as a military power in Asia, India is buying more and more U.S. weapons.

Monday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights the converging strategic interests between the nations, which had strained relations during the Cold War. India was the second-biggest buyer of U.S. arms last year behind Saudi Arabia, up from almost nothing five years ago.
The latest purchase came last week, when India’s cabinet approved a $3 billion deal for Boeing Co. military helicopters. The 22 Apache attack choppers and 15 Chinook cargo choppers comprised the biggest defense contract since Modi came to power.

The stronger military ties represent a shift for India’s leaders as they look to reduce dependence on Russia for weapons and counter growing Chinese naval capabilities in the Indian Ocean. Modi is looking to access the technology needed to build up India’s local defense manufacturing as he spends $150 billion to modernize its military by 2027.
"India wants more sophistication and has the money to get that wherever that technology is available, whether it’s Israel, France, the U.S. or elsewhere," Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific defense-industry analyst for IHS Jane’s, said by phone from Bangkok. "Countries are falling over themselves to transfer technology to India."

Riaz Haq said...

Is U.S. Trying To Make Up To Pakistan?

A little too late?
Although US has agreed to provide Pakistan precision strike capabilities in the near future, one has to question if it’s a really desperate move from Washington to patch things up with a country that is slowly slipping away from its influence?

American policymakers do realize that they have to change their mindset toward Pakistan but on the same hand, they need to realize that the Pakistani authorities would definitely have a trick up their sleeves and will use USA’s efforts as a great chance to fill the gaps it has in its defensive and offensive capabilities while also making sure that a major chunk of assistance is taken from Moscow and Beijing.

U.S trying to retain an ally?
Since its early days, Pakistan has been always an important ally for Pentagon, thanks to its geographical location. And in the coming years, Pakistan’s importance to US cannot be ignored. However, broken promises and duality has really started costing US and it is high time for Washington to wake up before the damage it has done is irrevocable.

Currently US shuffling across the board and doing all it can in a bid to stop the Chinese armada that has already become so influential in Pakistani policy and they are unsuccessful in doing it. With the growing economic corporation with Beijing and rapidly growing bilateral ties with Moscow, has forced Washington to offer Pakistan gifts that China and Russia cannot. And although this is going to help Pakistan from a defensive point of view, it is basically US making attempts to keep a bird in its cage like it has for years.

The growing power of eastern block is alarming for Washington, as not only economically but also militarily, they are getting strong and forming alliances that will help challenge America’s global presence and influence. This alliance can shift the economic hub and can tilt the balance of power towards the east. Though it is not simple as it sounds but the reality is that it is happening, albeit at a slow pace.

Now, it is up to US policymakers how they want to change all that. Changing the tone towards Pakistan might be a good start indeed!

Riaz Haq said...

#American, #Indian troops struggle to understand each others' accents in US-#India military exercise in #Washington …

Gunfire rang out violently. Indian and American troops stormed a compound in Leschi Town, a mock city soldiers use for urban combat training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The soldiers hauled ladders to scale the walls while a machine-gun team laid down suppressing fire from a nearby ridge.

The soldiers hurriedly scurried over the wall shouting instructions at each other. The American and Indian troops occasionally struggled to understand each others' accents — and vocabularies. The Indian troops' English had different words for tactics and formations.

But the soldiers ultimately figured out how to communicate fairly quickly — often through gestures — as they worked together to take the facility. Mixed teams worked together to breach doorways and clear out buildings.

It's part of Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2015, the 11th iteration of an annual exercise between the U.S. and Indian militaries. The two militaries trained together for two weeks in September while also breaking for social functions like going to the beach and tailgating at a Mariners game.
In recent years, U.S. President Barack Obama has put renewed military focus on Asia as part of the "Pacific Pivot." The U.S. has strengthened ties with Cold War allies Japan and the Philippines — and even former enemies such as Vietnam — many of whom are suspicious of China's growing military strength and increasingly bold moves in the South Pacific.

JBLM is home to the U.S. Army's I Corps, which oversees Army units based on the American West Coast, most of which operate in Asia and the Pacific. While Indian troops trained at JBLM, I Corps also hosted Japanese troops just across the Cascade Mountains as they trained at the Yakima Training Center.

India, in many ways, shares concerns about its large and powerful neighbor. Lately, trade relations between the two giants have heavily favored China. There have also been continued tension along the border. In September 2014, Indian authorities accused the Chinese military of crossing the border into India's Chumar sector.

"India is a major regional power, at present, in Asia with a long standing border dispute with China with no foreseeable solution," said Gopalan Balachandran, a researcher at India's Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses. "It is a border dispute over which the two countries had gone to war, of a sort, in the past and where Chinese actions in recent past have raised tensions between the two countries."

"Many of the East and South East Asian countries have felt, and expressed in many open fora, that India should play a more active role in future Asian security architecture," Balachandran added.

Cohen said that New Delhi is definitely wary of Beijing's growing military strength and the security along the two nations' borders. But he added that preparing for natural disasters, "broken down governments," and quelling insurgencies are in many ways more pressing in the eyes of many Indian officials than fear of potential Chinese expansionism, which Cohen called a "hypothetical threat."

Tragedies such as the massive 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the destructive earthquake in nearby Nepal have made New Delhi concerned about disaster readiness. In the immediate aftermath of such huge cataclysms, the military's logistical capabilities are often needed to deliver aid and conduct search and rescue operations.

Riaz Haq said...

White House: US Set to Sell 8 New F-16 Fighter Jets to #Pakistan in Bid to Bolster Partnership. #Obama #NawazSharif

The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, senior American officials said, an overture intended to bolster a tenuous partnership despite persistent concerns about Islamabad’s ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal.

The decision comes ahead of President Obama’s meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which is to be dominated by the president’s decision to extend the American troop presence in Afghanistan and a quiet effort to get Mr. Sharif to halt the deployment of a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons.

But Mr. Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, is trying to balance pressure on Pakistan with signs that Washington still considers it a vital ally. Congress was notified just days ago about the proposed sale of the additional fighters, although it is not clear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft during the visit.

The Federation of American Scientists, a leading American group that monitors the spread of nuclear weapons, published a report on Wednesday that shows that Pakistan has expanded its arsenal to 110 to 130 warheads, up from a range of 90 to 110 four years ago.

While those figures show a steady but expected increase, the group estimated that by 2025 the figure would rise to 220 to 250 warheads. That would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power, behind the United States, Russia, China and France, but ahead of Britain, which is shrinking its arsenal.

It is the nature, not the size, of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal that tops Mr. Obama’s agenda. Over the past two weeks, officials in Washington have said they are exploring whether a deal might be possible to halt the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons that American experts fear are vulnerable to being launched without authorization, or stolen, on the battlefield. Until earlier this week Pakistani officials had said nothing about the program, although the foreign secretary, Aizaz Chadhary, told reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday that the country had built “low-yield nuclear weapons” to counter India, according to the Dawn, a major daily newspaper in Pakistan.

It is unlikely that either side will talk publicly about nuclear weapons on Thursday, but Mr. Obama plans to raise the issue at length, according to administration officials. Selling Pakistan more arms, however, is an issue that is often discussed more publicly to signal that Pakistan is acting in its role as a “major non-NATO ally,” a designation Mr. Bush bestowed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The new aircraft, whose sale could be blocked by Congress, would add to Pakistan’s already sizable force of fighter jets — it has more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft. But perhaps of equal importance to supporters and critics alike is the symbolic value of the sale to an ally whose relationship with the United States has been marked by long stretches of acrimony in recent years.

Much of the tension has arisen from Pakistan’s ties to elements of the Taliban, especially the Haqqani Network, which is linked to Al Qaeda and is seen by American commanders as the most deadly faction of the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan. In recent years, numerous American officials have publicly and privately complained about the support to the Haqqanis provided by Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence.

Riaz Haq said...

The Hindu Op Ed on Nawaz Sharif visit to Washington:

The visit and its stated outcomes undermine an increasingly fashionable strategic theory that an emerging polarisation is giving shape to two axes in South Asia – Pakistan and China on the one side and the U.S. and India on the other. As a U.S. official who briefed the Indian media put it candidly, the U.S. has global intentions that will not allow it to choose between Pakistan and India, or tilt towards either of them. He went on to clarify that relations with Pakistan and India stand on their individual merits. India should not misread the energy and intensity in its relationship with the U.S., demonstrated most recently during the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama last month, as U.S. willingness to jettison Pakistan. Pakistan continues to leverage its strategic location at the frontier of Afghanistan and China, and to a lesser extent, India. The U.S. appears clear that its South Asia policy involves a composite approach involving India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in its search for stability and peace, as well as of the fact that Pakistan is an important partner in the fight against global terrorism. The joint statement and the anticipated decisions – which will possibly include the sale of new F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan and the continuation of the Coalition Support Fund beyond 2016 – make it clear that the U.S. cannot afford to, and will not, overlook Pakistan’s significance as a regional strategic player. It will be unwise and ill-advised for India to assume it would be so.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan is "the only all-weather strategic partner" of #China - Global Times. #CPEC …

In April when President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan, China and Pakistan elevated the bilateral relations to "all-weather strategic cooperation partners." China has established partnerships with a lot of countries in the world, but Pakistan is the only one that is called an "all-weather strategic cooperation partner."

For countries with different social systems and ideologies that want to collaborate with each other, the China-Pakistan relationship has become a model to follow. This type of relationship is not based on common values and systems, but on same or similar strategic and security interests. Today common security concerns still exist, and some new concerns like global terrorism and maritime security have arisen for both sides in recent years.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the basis of China-Pakistan cooperation has expanded. The "One Belt, One Road" initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has enlarged bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership to a more comprehensive framework.

Before, the basis of the all-weather partnership mainly included political, strategic and security cooperation, now the closer economic ties have become a part of this basis, which makes two countries form a "community of shared destiny." The two sides not only have common economic interest and common security concerns, but also share the dream of national peace, stability, and prosperity. "Shared destiny" is the solid foundation for our cooperation in international affairs.

China-Pakistan international cooperation has some key features as follows: First, China and Pakistan respect principles, value friendship, and "share weal and woe." When dealing with international affairs, both sides take the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the basic principle; when facing international affairs, both sides advocate justice and fairness, protect the common interests of developing countries, and have the courage to speak up.

In addition, China-Pakistan cooperation is always based on close communication and coordination, deep understanding of the other side's situation and interest, and full consideration of the other side's feeling. Pakistan always gives China full support on the Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and South China Sea issues. China is also a strong supporter of the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national dignity of Pakistan.

In 1972, the People's Republic of China used its veto power for the first time to support Pakistan at the UN Security Council by refusing to admit Bangladesh, the former East Pakistan, to the UN. After 1989, every time when China was blamed by the US and other Western countries at the UN Commission on Human Rights, Pakistan was always the first one to stand up and speak for China.

China and Pakistan conform to trends of the times, expand scope of cooperation, and jointly resolve challenges. After the Cold War, especially in the 21st century, the world has seen a trend toward peace, development, and cooperation.

Apart from traditional security issues, more and more non-traditional challenges arise. As a result, China-Pakistan cooperation has expanded from political and security fields to economy and trade, climate change, food and energy security. China takes the interests of Pakistan and other developing countries into careful consideration when it negotiates with Western countries.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese prefer #Pakistan, want to move away #India as neighbour: #China Global Times Survey #CPEC

Majority of Chinese would like to move India away along with Japan and a host of other neighbouring countries with whom Beijing has territorial disputes and would prefer Pakistan and Nepal as neighbours, if given a chance to 'play God' to redraw China's map.
A total of 13,196 people wanted to "move away" Japan, the highest number of votes polled in a survey seeking their views to select neighbours, if they can 'play God' and rearrange the countries at China's borders.
More than 200,000 internet users took part in the survey conducted by the Chinese edition of the state-run tabloid Global Times known for its nationalistic postures.
Other countries that were "moved away" include the Philippines (11,671), Vietnam (11,620), North Korea (11,024), India (10,416), Afghanistan (8,506), and Indonesia (8,167), the results published in the daily on Friday said.

While historical disputes including the second world war atrocities by Japanese forces may have weighed in Chinese people's minds to move Japan away, the border dispute and "protection" to Dalai Lama and his associates whom China regards as separatists led to adverse view of India, Chinese analysts said.
"China and India have disputes over 120,000 square kms of land and the two have not signed treaty to settle the border disputes," Sun Lizhou, deputy director of the Academy of the World and China Agendas, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.
India-China have a disputed border stretching up to 3448km. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet. The recent initiatives by India and China to improve relations had little effect on Chinese perceptions.
Unsurprisingly majority wants Pakistan often referred as all-weather ally by Chinese leaders and media to remain as a neighbour.
"Net users used their votes to show the bond shared by China and Pakistan, with 11,831 people wanting the country to 'stay as a neighbour'," the report said.
Considering the fast developing ties with Nepal, the Chinese wants it too to remain as a neighbour.
The news paper gave 36 countries to choose from as options for "new neighbours".
Sweden earned 9,776 votes, accounting for 5.8 per cent.

Riaz Haq said...

Times of India Editorial:

A year or so before Ajit Doval became national security adviser, he famously warned Pakistan that a repeat of the Mumbai 26/11attack could lead to Pakistan losing Balochistan. The Doval Doctrine – as it has now come to be known – involves what he calls a “defensive-offensive” strategy where India’s security establishment acquires a sub-conventional secondstrike capability, to be wielded as and when needed.
The Pakistan military establishment is aware that Balochistan is a natural weakness India could exploit with telling impact. In May last year, the Pakistan army’s media machinery all but accused India of fermenting secessionism there.
But here lies the twist. China – as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – sees the Balochistan port of Gwadar as an integral part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Indeed, as former foreign secretary Shyam Saran recently wrote, Gwadar is significant precisely because it is where China’s Maritime Silk Route (“the Road”) meets its Eurasian landbased connectivity project (“the Belt”).
The geopolitical significance of Gwadar to China makes any Indian subconventional response in Balochistan exceedingly complicated. The reality is that the same Balochi rebels who want to secede from Pakistan have also opposed Chinese activities.
This was evident last March when Balochi rebels set fire to five oil tankers servicing a Chinese company. However, it is likely that unrest in that region, organic or manipulated, that hurts Chinese interests could be viewed by Beijing (or could be sold to them), as Indian provocation.
It is also inconceivable that China would sit idle if the separatists, allegedly backed by India, move from being a mere nuisance and acquire the potential to seriously jeopardise their prize – Gwadar – of the $46 billion CPEC investment. China could initiate and enhance its support for militants in the Indian northeast, or worse, encourage and abet Pakistan’s proxy warriors.
Meanwhile, an assertive US AsiaPacific re-balance in the region – in response to China’s naval activism in the South China Sea – is likely to ensure greater US control of the Malacca Strait in order to deter the Chinese from revising marine territorial borders.
China, therefore, seeks alternative routes for its energy supply and goods, which would connect the Strait of Hormuz to a port in the Arabian Sea, along with better land connectivity through the Eurasian landmass.
Even as these new realities reshape multiple arrangements in the region, the challenge for India is to ensure that Balochistan does not transform from being Pakistan’s quagmire to another thorn in the Sino-Indian relationship. India must wean China away from the Gwadar port, and CPEC in general, by offering credible alternatives.
India could fast track its commitment to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor and invite the Chinese to set up a land connectivity corridor from Kolkata to Gandhinagar, passing through Mumbai. It should also offer to partner with the Chinese to refurbish the NH-6 linking Kolkata to Mumbai.
Finally, it should get the Chinese on-board the Sagarmala initiative, and allow the Chinese to co-develop a port off the coast of Gujarat, which would link up with the Indian-Chinese land connectivity corridor running roughly parallel to the Tropic of Cancer. The financial model for this land initiative could be along the lines of what has been proposed for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in collaboration with Japan, and implemented through the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in which India is the second-largest shareholder.

I think Pakistan currently has the upper hand in both corridor diplomacy and proxy wars in the region, particularly since 2014 when Pakistan Army started acting forcefully against India's proxies, the TTP and the Baloch insurgents.

I expect India to continue to counter Pakistan in both more forcefully as CPEC nears reality.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia to Spend Billions on #Gas Pipeline in #Pakistan. #Putin …

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Pakistan in the next few months to begin a gas pipeline project.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked Putin to visit.

Mobin Saulat heads Inter State Gas Systems, the Pakistani company that would build the pipeline. He says Putin may visit Pakistan before June.

He says Russia is interested in the project because 200 million people live in Pakistan, and investing in the country could help Russia gain influence in other South Asian nations.

When Pakistani officials and energy experts visited Moscow recently, they met with the heads of three large Russian energy companies for the first time in more than 20 years. He says that shows Russia’s interest in Pakistani energy issues.

Saulat says he believes the pipeline is the first of many investments Russia will make in Pakistan.

Experts say both countries may have strategic and political reasons to work together on the gas pipeline project.

Pakistan has tried to form new partnerships to reduce its dependence on the United States and China.

Russia will spend about two to $2.5 billion dollars on the project. That is almost 85 percent of the cost.

The 1,100-kilometer-long pipeline will be able to transport 34 million cubic meters of gas per day throughout Pakistan from Karachi to Lahore. The first part of the project is expected to be finished in two years. The last two parts are set to be completed in 2019.

Riaz Haq said...

#Kerry defends #F16 deal, lauds #Pakistan Army’s efforts in #terror war. #India #US #TTP #Taliban … via ShareThis

Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday defended United States plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan saying the latter is an ally and its military has been deeply engaged in the fight against terrorism.

Responding to criticism by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Senator Bob Corker, Kerry said the issue was complicated and Pakistan has been an ally.

“I understand your reservations about it but their military has been deeply engaged in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

Corker had sharply questioned the F-16 deal to Pakistan, describing Pakistani actions as threatening US troops as they try to stabilize Afghanistan.

“They continue to support the Taliban, the Haqqani network and give safe haven to al Qaeda,” the Republican senator said to the secretary of state, who was testifying to the committee about the State Department’s annual budget request.

The US government said on Feb 12 it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, radar and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.

Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale and Corker has made clear he has doubts about it– Reuters

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#China to build its first overseas naval base at #Djibouti. #India #Pakistan #Africa #CPEC #Gwadar via @Reuters

China has launched an unusual charm offensive to explain its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, seeking to assuage global concerns about military expansionism by portraying the move as Beijing's contribution to regional security and development.

The message is in stark contrast to Beijing's more bellicose stance on the South China Sea, where its claims on a vital trade waterway have raised hackles across Asia and the United States.

China has repeatedly said it does not seek a U.S.-style "hegemony" by extending its military reach, including through bases abroad.

Now that it appears it may be doing precisely that, the government has been quietly briefing on its rationale for the Djibouti base and using state media to address fears of China's aims.

"China is explaining it as part of the 'one road, one belt' strategy, to help link Ethiopia to the sea," said one Western diplomat who has been briefed by Chinese officials on the Djibouti base, referring to China's New Silk Road strategy.

That involves opening trade corridors across continents that will help bolster the Chinese economy and connect it with the rest of the world.

A $4 billion railway will connect Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti's new Chinese-invested port, where a military facility will be located, according to Chinese media.

A second diplomat, also been briefed by China on the plans, said it was an "unusual" move by the normally secretive Chinese government to try and bring a degree of transparency to its plans.

"China does not want to be seen as a threat," the diplomat said.


In a lengthy statement to Reuters, China's Defence Ministry confirmed it had communicated its intentions about Djibouti to "relevant countries and international organizations", reiterating the facility was mostly for resupply purposes for anti-piracy, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

"What needs to be stressed is that China upholds a path of peaceful development ... and has never engaged in an arms race or military expansion. This will never change."

Djibouti, which already hosts military facilities for the United States and France, has echoed Beijing's line that the base will be used for refueling and other logistical support to fight piracy and protect trade routes.

But it also says the West should not be worried if China seeks "military outposts", given that Western nations have had them for years around the world.

Construction began in February in the country of fewer than a million people, striving to be an international shipping hub.

Djibouti's location on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worries in India that it will become another of China's "string of pearls" of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Indian military officials told Reuters that China's naval presence in Djibouti would add another dimension to India's military contingency planning, so far confined to land and air operations stemming from a decades-old border dispute with China across the Himalayas.

Together with China's involvement in Pakistan's Gwadar port, another potential military base, the role of China's navy would be greatly enhanced and posed a threat to the Indian navy, Indian army brigadier Mandip Singh said in a paper for the government-funded Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

"Djibouti also enables China to base its long-range naval air assets there. And these are capable of maintaining surveillance over the Arabian Sea as well as India's island territories off the Western coast," he wrote.

The Western diplomat briefed on the Chinese plans added: "If I were Indian I would be very worried about what China is up to in Djibouti."

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Rejects #US Calls for Curbing Tactical #Nuke Weapons …

Pakistan’s top nuclear security advisor has rejected growing U.S. pressure and safety concerns about its production and deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons.

“We are not apologetic about the development of the TNWs [tactical nuclear weapons] and they are here to stay,” said Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, an advisor to the so-called National Command Authority (NCA) and a longtime custodian of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The institutions responsible for planning storage and operational deployments do make sure that “it is so balanced on ground in time and space that it is ready to react at the point where it must react and at the same time it is not sucked into the battle too early and remains safe," Kidwai told a seminar at Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies.

Response to US

He was apparently responding to last week’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, where she praised the “excellent” steps Pakistan has undertaken to secure its nuclear arsenal, but said Washington is troubled by the development of battlefield nuclear weapons.

She insisted that battlefield nuclear weapons, by their very nature, pose security threats because their security cannot be guaranteed when they are taken to the field.

“So, we are really quite concerned about this and we have made our concerns known and we will continue to press them about what we consider to be the destabilizing aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons program,” Gottemoeller said.

Nuclear Security Summit

The tensions come ahead of next week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (March 31 - April 1), where President Barack Obama and other global leaders will discuss terrorism threats related to radiological weapons and review proposed safety measures. Leaders of Pakistan and its nuclear-armed archival India will also attend.

Islamabad’s tactical nuclear weapons have been straining its traditionally rollercoaster ties with Washington since 2011, when Pakistan first tested and began producing its nuclear-capable "Nasr" ballistic missile, which has a range of 60 kilometers (36 miles).


Kidwai insisted that the punitive actions might have caused political and diplomatic setbacks to his country but said it has not impacted its efforts to defend the country against another Indian aggression.

“Pakistan would not cap or curb its nuclear weapons program or accept any restrictions. All attempts in this regard… are bound to end up nowhere,” he added.

The Pakistani advisor particularly criticized the American media for being "completely negative, hostile and biased" towards Islamabad's nuclear program, accusing it of publishing misleading reports and claims that Pakistan possesses the world's fastest growing nuclear program.

"I think it is politically-motivated because the developments that are taking place in Pakistan are of a very modest level, very much in line with the concept of credible minimum deterrence, and they are always a reaction to an action that takes place in India. So, Pakistan does not have the fastest growing nuclear program," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#India rejects #American proposal for joint navy patrols in South #China Sea ahead of Ashton Carter visit to #Delhi. …

India’s firm rejection of a proposal to jointly patrol the South China Sea with the US Navy has averted, at least for the time being, a risky entanglement. But the simmering tensions over control of the contested waterway are intensifying and could result in a clash that would affect India’s oil exploration and navigation through the area.
The impending decision by the UN Arbitral Tribunal over China’s expansive territorial claims sets the stage for Beijing to intensify its efforts to establish control over all reefs and features. As a part of that manoeuvre this week China inaugurated a light house on submerged Subi Reef near the Philippines. Anticipating such stepped up Chinese control and militarisation, the US has increased Freedom of Navigation operations and flights, making South China Sea the arena for trial of strength between the traditional power and the challenger.
What is astounding is that China has built up its military control over most of South China Sea in less than three years, and that too right before the eyes of its neighbours and the US Navy. It has constructed artificial islands and then covered them with airfields and military installations, setting up missile batteries and over-the-horizon radar coverage designed to give it dominance over the entire body of water.
Countries disputing Chinese claims have turned to the US for help, while the Philippines has even sought legal injunction through the UN Tribunal, which is expected to hand down a decision in coming months. Although China has already rejected the tribunal’s authority, the US suspects China is hurrying up fortifying its presence in contested islands. The US has warned about China’s ongoing construction activity going further east but seems unable to do much about it other than urging it to stop militarisation. What all of Asia once accepted as disputed territory has now become a de facto Chinese lake.
While the US has declined to take a position on the legality of competing territorial claims, it cannot overlook the Chinese advances. While its ports and airfields, constructed on seven artificial islands, provide the power projection capability needed to cow wary neighbours, the establishment of an Air Defense Zone will give Beijing control over the skies. The US and Japan may refuse to accept this – and get away with it – but most nations will play it safe and comply, giving China de facto control over the South China Sea’s waters and airspace.
To date, China has not sought to prevent passage by any vessel (barring one occasion when an Indian navy ship was given radio warning while sailing out of Vietnam), but its overwhelming military presence on artificial islands could allow it to eventually require that others seek Beijing’s permission to sail through the South China Sea.


If India joins the US in a joint patrol of the South China Sea, it should be prepared to see a joint Sino-Pakistani naval patrol along its western seaboard, knowing full well that such tit-for-tat escalations seldom produce a positive outcome. That said, Indian leaders need to be prepared to establish some red lines, particularly if Beijing’s muscle-flexing imperils New Delhi’s freedom of navigation in and above the South China Sea.

Riaz Haq said...

#American Defense Sec to visit #Delhi to sign security, logistics and intelligence cooperation deals with #India …

Ashton Carter's impending visit comes as focused efforts are on to make progress in concluding the 3 outstanding defence pacts between the two countries.

U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter will be visiting India in April and focused efforts are under way to make progress in concluding the three outstanding defence agreements between the two countries, sources have told The Hindu.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said during his visit to Washington in December 2015 that India was “in principle” agreeable to these pacts but some more clarity was required from the U.S. side. Both Indian and American officials had then said that progress could be expected in 2016.

Will follow Modi’s visit

Mr. Carter will be travelling to India within weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. on March 31 and April 1, to attend the nuclear security summit.

Mr. Carter’s visit to India will take place against the backdrop of continuing tensions in the South China Sea. India and the U.S. had in January 2015 announced a joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. U.S. continues to accuse China of “militarising” the region.

Needling by North Korea

The recent North Korean nuclear adventurism has prompted U.S. allies such as South Korea and Japan to seek higher U.S. presence in the region. The U.S. had repeatedly said in recent weeks that it would not hesitate to intervene to ensure the security of its Asian partners and now China has accused the U.S of militarising the region.

America has not specified what it expects India to do in East Asia, pointed out Richard M. Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S. India Policy Studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. “The recent rumor of a joint patrol in the South China Sea certainly raised interest among the strategic community, though realistically it seems unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future,” he said.

‘Foundational agreements’

Termed ‘foundational agreements,’ the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial intelligence have been pending for at least a decade now and will be the focus during Mr. Carter’s visit.

The U.S. has signed these agreements with most of its strategic partners. Dominant sections within the political and strategic community in India have argued that signing of these agreements will lock the country in an irreversible embrace with the U.S. India and the U.S. have already signed one foundational agreement -- General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

Time to move forward on pacts

Indian sources told The Hindu that there is increasing acceptance within the military and strategic community that it is time to move forward on these agreements. “For India-U.S. defence cooperation to be effective and optimal, these agreements can be of great help,” one said.

“The political resistance from the Left that stopped these agreements in 2006 is not relevant now. Also arguments against these agreements have weakened as India-U.S. defence cooperation has grown by leaps and bounds in the last ten years. The time is just ripe to move forward,” Mr. Rossow said.

‘Parrikar deflects it to MEA’

Mr. Rossow, however, feels that Mr. Parrikar has not sufficiently pulled his weight in favour of the foundational agreements and cooperation with the U.S. in general according. “For the most part, when the strategic community tries to do something, he tends to deflect it to the MEA” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#US has much bigger global agenda with #India than #Pakistan: Says US Def Sec Ashton Carter - The Economic Times

"With respect to Pakistan, that also is an important security partner. A whole lot of issues of which counter-terrorism looms largest. And we work with the Pakistanis all the time on that," he said.

"We are long past the point in US policy-making where we look at the India-Pakistan dyad as the whole story for either one of them. We have much more to do with India today than has to do with Pakistan," Carter said.

"The days are gone when we only deal with India as the other side of the Pakistan coin, or Pakistan as the other side of the India coin. I know that there are those in India and Pakistan who are still glued to that way of thinking. But the US put that behind us some time ago," Carter said yesterday in response to a question on impact of India-US relationship on Pakistan at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank.

Riaz Haq said...

#US, #India Agree On Small UAVs, High Powered Lasers And Target Detection Technology, Other Joint #Defense Projects …

India and US have finalized four government-to-government projects that include small UAVs, high powered lasers and target detection technology.

“US Secretary for Defense Ashton Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parriakr have welcomed finalization of four government-to-government project agreements in the area of science and technology cooperation. Atmospheric sciences for high energy lasers, cognitive tools for Target Detection, Small intelligent UAVs and blast and blunt traumatic brain injury,” the Indo-US joint statement said Tuesday.

Riaz Haq said...

Russia remains one of the major contenders for a tendering procedure for building India’s fourth aircraft carrier; however, Indian defense officials have already grown concerned about Russia’s ethics after INS Vikramaditya’s three-fold cost increase and a five-year delay. Moreover, Moscow agreed to participate in India’s “Make in India” national program, but this has only further revealed its inability to live up to many of New Delhi’s expectations. In particular, difficulties are coming to light during the Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter jet multibillion-dollar program, with Russia currently failing to fulfill most of India’s indigenous production goals.

New Delhi’s growing dissatisfaction with the mutual partnership and the country’s quest for diversification are perpetuating the shift. India needs improvements and is keen on trying other suppliers; however, Moscow sees these moves as impinging on its current stance.

The Kremlin wants to slow down the impending downward trend, as well as leverage its influence over New Delhi, by skillfully utilizing the “Pakistan card.” By engaging with Pakistan, Russia leaves New Delhi with a hard choice: to honor its strategic commitment to Russia and make concessions or to observe Russian-Pakistani rapprochement, which could potentially erode India’s military advantage.

This maneuver comes in line with the Kremlin’s realpolitik strategy, which has become traditional over the recent years. In 2010, Vladimir Putin famously said that “Russia is not maintaining military cooperation with Pakistan as it takes into account the concerns of Indian partners.” Moscow was sensitive to the India-Pakistan rivalry before; however, altering geopolitical realities goaded Russian foreign policy into exploring new horizons.

Russian-Pakistani relations were far from harmonious during the previous decades. The Kremlin supplied Pakistan with weapons in 1960s but both countries eventually faced a major split, as Moscow selected New Delhi to be its strategic regional partner. Furthermore, Moscow and Islamabad had a proxy conflict during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, with Pakistan openly supporting the mujahideen. The geopolitical vector did not change after the USSR’s collapse. It is only now, after a quarter of a century, that Moscow is looking to rekindle bilateral relations.

The Kremlin has chosen its moment wisely. Islamabad has grown cautious lately about its alliance with the United States, as it perceives a lack of reliability from the White House. In particular, the recent U.S. refusal to subsidize Pakistan’s purchase of F-16 fighter jets may have pushed both countries farther away from each other, with Russia potentially emerging as an alternative supplier.

Interestingly, though, Moscow is not ready to move full-speed ahead and is keen on maintaining its distance while portraying other reasons for its recent engagements with Islamabad.

It is not a secret that Russia is extremely alarmed by the growth of ISIS and a possible collapse of Afghanistan, to the extent that it is even ready to engage with the Taliban. By actively coordinating with Pakistan, Moscow should be able to halt the radical jihadists’ future spillover to Central Asia. Therefore, Russia is trying to portray its own security concerns as the raison d’être behind the rapprochement.

Russia will not become a major Pakistani partner any time soon, and will remain closely connected to India. Still, the Kremlin’s move delivers a strong message to the Modi administration. In effect, New Delhi acknowledges Moscow’s security concerns but also understands that the Russia-Pakistani partnership would continue to evolve proportionally to India’s cooperation with the West.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan army chief’s #Beijing visit heightens #US, #India jitters - #China #CPEC via @FT

The arrival of General Raheel Sharif in the Chinese capital on Monday — a day after India successfully tested an interceptor missile designed to destroy incoming nuclear capable missiles — follows a report by the Pentagon warning that China is seeking to establish a naval base in Pakistan.

The report, published last week, said China would “most likely seek to establish additional naval logistics hubs in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan.”
Chinese companies have helped Pakistan build the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, the centrepiece of the $46bn pledged by Beijing for infrastructure spending linking China to Pakistan, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Many observers believe that China will ultimately seek to use the port as a naval base.
However, both Pakistani and Chinese officials said their understanding of the economic corridor is that it is limited to economic co-operation and has no security component.
Andrew Small, an expert on China Pakistan relations at the German Marshall Fund, said it was reasonable to expect some sort of basing arrangement “Having crossed the threshold with the Djibouti [in the Horn of Africa] deal, Pakistan would be a very obvious choice, and it appears that the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) views it that way.”
Such a step would be sure to anger India, and raise questions in Washington. Xu Jin, a professor of international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that the Chinese-Pakistani friendship is “the closest thing China has to an alliance.”
While in Beijing, Gen Sharif met Chinese premier Li Keqiang and held talks with Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, which oversees the country’s military.
Pakistan has long viewed China has a counterweight to its historic enemy, India. There are concerns in Islamabad that this week’s interceptor missile test may tip the balance of power between the two nuclear armed neighbours in India’s favour.
“In times of difficulty, Pakistan has always turned to its close friend China for help. I am certain the Indian test came up for detailed discussions between General Raheel Sharif and the Chinese,” a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official said.
Gen Sharif’s visit to China follows a recent squabble between Pakistan and Washington over congressional objections to US funding for eight new F-16 fighter jets meant for sale to Islamabad.
Following the spat, Pakistani officials said they were considering alternatives such as the Chinese J-10 for future purchases. Pakistan is already by far China’s main client for arms exports.
“The timing of this visit is very significant,” said Masood Khan, Pakistan’s former ambassador to China and now head of the Islamabad Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI). “There’s a long history of China’s co-operation with Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi Bolsters #India’s Ties With #America as #Trump's Vows to Limit immigration Worry Indian officials. #Obama #H1B

Another reason Washington and New Delhi have grown so close is the increasingly testy relationship between the United States and Pakistan, India’s longtime rival. Although Pakistan is formally an ally of the United States, American officials have made clear that India has displaced Pakistan in American interests and hearts.


“We have much more to do with India today than has to do with Pakistan,” Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said in April. “There is important business with respect to Pakistan, but we have much more, a whole global agenda with India, agenda that covers all kinds of issues.”


The two sides also announced that they intended to complete a deal in which India will buy six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse by June 2017, fulfilling an agreement struck in 2005 by President George W. Bush. The price is still under discussion, but more difficult issues like liability have been resolved.

“We continue to discuss a wide range of areas where we can cooperate more effectively in order to promote jobs, promote investment, promote trade and promote greater opportunities for our people, particularly young people, in both of our countries,” President Obama said in the Oval Office during the meeting.

“The United States is well aware of the talent that India has,” Mr. Modi said in Hindi. “We and the United States can work together to bring forward this talent, and use it for the benefit of mankind and use it for the benefit of innovations and use it to achieve new progress.”

Mr. Modi has made clear that he intends to set aside decades of standoffishness — rooted in India’s colonial experience — to cement closer ties with Washington, in part because the next American leader may not share President Obama’s enthusiasm for India.

The news media in India has extensively chronicled comments by Mr. Trump that critics have said were racist, his “America First” views and his unorthodox campaign. While Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has said little about India, his vows to tighten immigration policies worry Indian officials.

“Modi wants to get as much as he can out of Obama’s last months in office,” said Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Trump has vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement if elected, something Mr. Obama is eager to prevent. Once the accord enters into legal force, no nation can legally withdraw for four years.

“If the Paris agreement achieves ratification before Inauguration Day, it would be impossible for the Trump administration to renegotiate or even drop out during the first presidential term,” said Robert N. Stavins, the director of the environmental economics program at Harvard.

The two sides also announced joint efforts for the United States to invest in India’s renewable energy development, including the creation of a $20 million finance initiative.


The two countries finalized a deal that allows their forces to help each other with crucial supplies, and the United States formally recognized India as a major defense partner, which should allow India to buy some of the most sophisticated equipment in the United States arsenal.

India’s increasing willingness to form military partnerships with the United States is, in part, a result of its deepening worries about China. Recent patrols by Chinese submarines in the Bay of Bengal have unnerved New Delhi, and a 2014 visit to India by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, did nothing to soothe Indian sensibilities, as Chinese troops made an incursion into border territory that India claims as its own.

China’s refusal in the months since to resolve the territorial claims at the heart of the standoff has quietly infuriated Indian officials.

Riaz Haq said...

Pro-#India legislators seeking aid cut to #Pakistan defeated in #US House - The Economic Times

Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of Coalition Support Fund said it remained a critical tool to enable Pakistan to effectively deal with future challenges emerging from the US drawdown.

"It also remains a cost-effective tool for the US to remain engaged in the region and with Pakistan. We shouldn't be abandoning Pakistan, because we might actually have something even worse than what the gentleman describes if we turn our back on Pakistan," he said.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan not isolated. #Delhi is to #Washington what #Islamabad is to #Beijing. #US still quietly supports Pakistan

Some recent events and statements originating in Washington, Warsaw (NATO summit) and Kabul, seemed to have created a triumphant, though largely misplaced impression that both India and Afghanistan have managed to encircle Pakistan. An appended perception was that of Islamabad’s international isolation. But these noises beg some reflection. Is Pakistan really isolated? Let us look around for an answer.

China has stuck its neck out for a mutually beneficial multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Russia too, is embarking on a new phase of relations with Pakistan, particularly after the latter’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The World Bank has loaned some $5.5 billion to the country in the last three years, which wouldn’t be possible without a nod by Washington, which holds majority shares in the Bank.

And what about power brokers in Washington DC itself?

Well, one finds a lot of cockcrows, trying to belittle Pakistan; among them, Balochistan-fame congressmen like Dana Rohrabachar, or the Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad; although he has served as the US ambassador in Afghanistan, but in Washington he sounds more like the Afghan ambassador. During the July 12 proceedings of a sub-panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Khalilzad and Bill Roggio, senior editor of the publication Long War Journal, accused the Pakistan military of maintaining ties with the Taliban and Haqqani militants.

This is the time to increase the pressure by suspending all assistance to Pakistan — military and civilian — and move towards isolating Pakistan internationally, including not supporting IMF renewal of financial support, Khalilzad argued in his testimony, which was vociferously shared with the media by Indian and Afghan officials in Washington.

Unlike these noises by presumably directly or otherwise paid lobbyists, remarks by Senator John McCain and other members of a bipartisan congressional delegation to Pakistan and Afghanistan after their Islamabad visit, offered an interesting read — contrary to the demands of isolating Pakistan.

“They have cleared out that part of Pakistan… they are looking at securing the Pakistan border in a more substantial way… I would acknowledge it a step in the right direction”, Senator Lindsey Graham said in Kabul, according to a Voice of America report. Graham also spoke of “a new attitude [under General Sharif] that is beginning to show some progress.

“The COAS says I hope you leave your troops here — he told us that — because if you withdraw too quickly the place is going to fall apart and it will hurt us,” Graham recalled during a press talk.

Senator McCain, too, acknowledged the progress made in Waziristan and underscored the importance of good relation among US, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but spoke of the Haqqani network as the “major impediment” in relations that required serious action.

True that the Haqqani Network represents a major hurdle in the trilateral relations and that nearly 40 per cent of the US security assistance is now tied to action against this entity, but this certainly doesn’t indicate a break or a tool to isolation, something acknowledged by spokespersons of the State Department and the Pentagon.

Both Mark Toner and the Pentagon Press Secretary, Peter Cook, for instance, made it clear that the that TTP terrorist Umar Khalifa Mansoor (responsible for the murder of over 130 children at APS, Peshawar) and “four other enemy combatants” were killed in a July 9 strike in view of “the specific relevance… and the common security interests shared by all three nations.”

In an obvious reference to the Zarb-e-Azb operation, the Senators as well as the spokespersons acknowledged “the progress in shutting down terrorist safe havens”, and restoration of government control in many parts of Fata and elsewhere Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

US Senator John McCain: "#America ignores #Pakistan at its peril". #Afghanistan #Terrorism #FATA #India …

First, the US mission in Afghanistan is the same today as it was in 2001: to disrupt and defeat terrorist networks that seek to attack its interests and homeland and to deny them safe haven. That mission remains urgent, and it is unfortunately not over yet.

Second, the US mission in Afghanistan is immeasurably more difficult without Pakistan’s co-operation in taking on terrorists that operate across the Afghan-Pakistani border at will. That is why enhanced co-operation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essential. Likewise, the strategic imperative for improved relations between the US and Pakistan is clear — for the safety
of American troops and the success of their mission in Afghanistan, for the stability of the region and for the national security of both Pakistan and the US.

But recently, the US-Pakistan relationship has been strained. Among other things, limitations on US assistance to Pakistan and congressional reluctance to approve subsidies for the sale of defence articles have added to tensions between the two governments.

Despite this and other recent difficulties, US and Pakistani leaders cannot allow ambivalence and suspicion to fester. Common interests in counterterrorism, nuclear security and regional stability are too important and too urgent.

For too long, the US has viewed the bilateral relationship only through the prism of Afghanistan. To achieve real progress, the US must make clear its enduring commitment to Pakistan’s stability and economic growth.

For its part, Pakistan must take on and eliminate havens for terrorist groups such as the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that operate within its borders, attack its neighbours and kill US forces. Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief of staff General Raheel Sharif, have made recent commitments to do just that. Following through on these is critical.

This will be difficult for Pakistan. It will require political will and entail costly sacrifice in blood and treasure. That is why there will be sceptics in the country opposed to decisive efforts to defeat extremism.

But Mr Sharif and Gen Sharif have heard such pleas for restraint before. There were those who said it would be too hard to take on the Pakistani Taliban after it attacked a school in Peshawar and killed more than 130 children in 2014. Fortunately, Mr Sharif and Gen Sharif recognised the threat that these militants posed to Pakistan and took action. Thanks to these efforts, the perpetrator of the Peshawar school attack is no longer a threat to Pakistan or any other country.

In 2014, Pakistan launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, a tribal area along the Afghan-Pakistani border where militants had operated with impunity for decades. During my visit to Miram Shah in North Waziristan, I saw the city’s bazaar that once housed bomb-making factories, arms dealers and office fronts for terrorist groups.

Riaz Haq said...

#Washington to expand multidimensional ties with #Pakistan, #American Sec of State Kerry assures Advisor Aziz

US Secretary of State John Kerry assured Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz that United States is ready to improve and expand its multidimensional partnership with Pakistan.

Aziz and Kerry met on the sidelines the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting being held in Laos, where both the dignitaries also exchanged views on the regional situation with special reference to Afghanistan.

According to a communiqué issued in Islamabad, Aziz and Kerry agreed on the importance of promoting the Afghan-led reconciliation process.

Editorial: Slipping Pak-US ties

US Secretary Kerry appreciated Pakistan's determined efforts to eliminate terrorist groups in Pakistan's tribal belt with considerable success.

“I would like to visit Pakistan in the near future to review bilateral cooperation and discuss regional issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ARF Ministerial Meeting, which was attended by 10 ASEAN members and 17 dialogue partners, concluded today.

Britain’s PM calls Nawaz to assure cooperation
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Pakistan is its dependable ally and assured Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that both the countries will work together in the post-Brexit era and there will be “no adverse effects on the bilateral relations after Great Britain exits the EU”.

May, who telephoned Nawaz on Tuesday, said Pakistan and the United Kingdom will work together as bilateral partners.

She assured that Great Britain is committed to work with Pakistan in security related matters and strengthening democracy.

Nawaz expressed his confidence that under her leadership and vision, Britain will become ever stronger and continue playing important role in world affairs.

Riaz Haq said...

#China And #Pakistan Beware -- This Week, #India's #Modi And #USA's #Obama Sign Major War Pact via @forbes

President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India in June. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

Around August 30, in Washington, India and the U.S. will sign a major war pact that makes them logistical allies against, among others, the superpower China currently making a bold power grab in the South China Sea.

Specifically, Indian Defense Mister Manohar Parrikar will sign the deal during a two-day visit in Washington. The deal is the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), a foundational agreement for India and the U.S.. In this instance, the agreement provides for each to use the other globally for supplies, spare parts, services and refueling. Effectively, U.S. armed forces can operate out of Indian bases, and vice versa, on a simple basis.

For the U.S., this is part of the “pivot” to Asia intended by President Obama to meet a rising China. The U.S. Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities.

For Prime Minister Modi, it is a major step for India away from its Cold War alliance with Russia, toward a new alliance with the U.S. (and Japan and Australia) to protect the Indian Ocean and the seas off Southeast Asia, especially from China. India remains on hostile terms with China from border disputes dating back to a war in the 1960s. And, the gigantic engines of their economies are, for the most part, rivals.

For both the U.S. and India, LEMOA responds to the powerful challenge of Xi Jinping’s artificial islands – with air bases — in the South China Sea. It may also matter against the common enemy of the U.S. and India in radical jihadists.


There are prior deals and policies here. The U.S. recognized India as a Major Defense Partner. It brought India into the Missile Technology Control Regime. Among other aspects, the various deals expedite India obtaining the keys to the kingdom, namely, licenses for top U.S. defense technology. In other words, U.S. contractors are getting, through LEMOA as through prior deals, a much better launching pad from which to sell many billions of dollars of top-of-the-line armament to India. Conversely, India often requires a degree of coproduction domestically, so LEMOA and other deals will help India grow as a gigantic weapons dealer itself, selling to the rest of the world.

All these arms matter in many friction points. Take the nasty Islamist terrorist organization, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM). Pakistan’s powerful and dangerous intelligence arm, ISI, uses JEM against India, but it is also among a group of organizations backed by ISI that the U.S. considers a U.S. enemy, too. JEM’s chief is Masood Azhar. India tried unsuccessfully to tag Azhar at the United Nations as a terrorist. Who blocked it? China. So while the South China Sea may seem far off from India, China is breathing down India’s neck, up close and personal

The U.S. did not make the bellicose move in the South China Sea. Xi Jinping did. There are many downsides to an arms races. But if we do not move, we lose. We have little choice but to play catchup.

Riaz Haq said...

#China Warns #India: Hands Off #Balochistan. #CPEC #Pakistan

Beijing has broken its silence over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on Balochistan with an influential think tank maintaining that “China will have to get involved if India intervenes in Balochistan.”

This sharp response given through an interview to IANS has already elicited a statement from the Congress party that has urged PM Modi to officially ask China what this involvement means.

In an interview to India’s IANS, Hu Shisheng, the director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), said that India’s growing ties with the United States, and its new position on the South China Sea were ringing alarm bells in Beijing.

“The latest concern for China is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort in which he referred to the issues like Kashmir (occupied by Pakistan) and Balochistan,” Hu said.

“It could be regarded as a watershed moment in India’s policy towards Pakistan. ” he added.

Hu said China fears India may use “anti-government” elements in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan where Beijing is building the $46 billion CPEC -- a key to the success of its ambitious One Road One Belt project.

“There is concern that India may take the same approach, which is believed by the Indian side Pakistan is taking, asymmetrically using anti-government factors in Pakistan,” Hu said according to IANS.

“If this kind of plot causes damage to the CPEC, China will have to get involved,” he said, referring to the alleged involvement of India in backing separatists in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

PM Modi’s decision to put the spotlights on Balochistan, with India now openly embracing what was earlier at best a covert program, was expected to elicit a China response by foreign policy experts here. More so as the CPEC is a prestigious program for China, connecting Xinjiang with the Gwadar port in Balochistan. This corridor passes through PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. India has consistently refused to join or support China’s One Belt, One Road program from the outset.

Hu told IANS, “This will not help Pakistan to become a normal country. And it will also further disturb India-China relations.”

Hu in fact spelt out the Chinese position on India’s relations with the US saying earlier they were not so concerned but the growing relations under PM Modi were sending an “alarming signal to China. It is a concern for China.”

He said it was imperative for India to resist the pressure being exerted by the US and Japan to counter China several issues said that earlier China was not particularly worried about growing India-US relations but now was concerned” Hu pointed out. He said this specifically on the increase in defence, technology and trade ties, referring alo to the Logistics Agreement being signed by India and the US.

“We also know that the US and Japan, as well as Australia, are very keen on getting India in their camp. They are also exerting pressure”he added.“They are also luring India by giving high-technology deals and advanced military weapons. It is up to India whether India can resist this kind of temptation.”

On India’s stand on the South China Sea, Hu added.“In the past, India’s stand on the South China Sea was impartial. Indian is getting more and more involved. This attitude is another concern for China.”

“Our problem is with the US. We can see India is becoming more vocal in issuing joint statements with the US and Japan on the South China Sea,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

President Obama set the ball rolling when in a major speech he referred to Pakistan as an ‘abysmally dysfunctional country’. This need not have been taken seriously because President Obama had also stated that Raymond Davis was a diplomat. In fact earlier Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Clinton had all made statements that turned out to be, well, not true. President Obama’s statement was followed by a hearing of the Joint Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs “Pakistan, Friend or Foe”. While concluding the hearing the Chairman, Mr Matt Salmon said: “For the record, I personally believe that we should completely cut off all funding to Pakistan. I think that would be the right first step. And then, a State Sponsor of Terrorism declaration. … Right now we have the worst policy that we could possibly have; all we are doing is rewarding thugs.” The panel of ‘experts’ that the Sub Committee had lined up were led by, not unsurprisingly, Mr Zalmay Khalilzad a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan who gave his expert opinion that ‘One may conclude now that Pakistan is a State Sponsor of Terror”.
These developments galvanized all those in and out of the woodwork whose livelihood and status depends on ‘analyzing’ Pakistan and concluding that it is the ‘epicenter of terror’ and that it’s military and intelligence assets are behind every act of terror committed across its borders. In their wisdom no one talked of the US role and past association with the Taliban against the former USSR. There was no mention of the policy failures that have led to the debacle in Afghanistan, the rise of the Islamic State, the spread of Al Qaeda and the complete mess in the Middle East with horrendous sufferings being inflicted on the people — little Aylan Kurdi and Onan being the proof of these atrocities. Nor did anyone ‘analyze’ the price paid by Pakistan in lives, in treasure and in the destruction of its social fabric from the fallout from Afghanistan– and of course no one explained why Pakistan would persist in a policy that would lead to its own destruction and why it was not rolling over and playing dead with all the criticism and punishment being heaped upon it. Finally no one has asked what would happen if Pakistan were to actually become what it is being accused of and what would happen to the region as a consequence of that.
Perhaps there are sane and rational minds that do not forget that Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state and that it is central to the resolution of Afghanistan and peace in the region. They probably also understand the regional animosities that spur hawks in Afghanistan and India and other places to pursue their own interests regardless of the consequences. India treats China and Pakistan as a single threat and this becomes a justification for it to do everything — overt and covert — that it is doing, including isolating and destabilizing Pakistan and displacing the US in Afghanistan. Afghanistan besieged by the Taliban and at the mercy of the US blames Pakistan for all its woes and seeks to exploit the India-Pakistan divide and India’s ambitions. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become the target and there is a convergence of interests in the efforts to derail it. There is also perhaps some understanding of the realities in Pakistan; that it has democracy and that this democracy is being supported by the military, that Pakistan is moving towards changing its internal environment in its own interest and that this change will sideline the elements that threaten it, that Pakistan has to move at a pace and with such deliberation that it does not allow exploitation from outside to destabilize it, that it has to focus on internal security and the economy to sustain the efforts it is making without being distracted by external pressures. Pakistan has to keep in mind the endgame and the end state in Afghanistan.

http://www.spearheadresearch.o rg/

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan in Talks With #Russia to Purchase Su-35 fighter Jets for #PAF … via @SputnikInt

Pakistan Air Force Chief of Staff had fruitful talks in Moscow in July on purchasing of Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force Sohail Aman had "fruitful talks" in Moscow in July on purchasing of Russian Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) fighter jets, Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah told Sputnik. "Chief of Air Staff Marshal Sohail Aman had fruitful talks with the Russian partners on this issue in July," Khalilullah said answering a question on whether Islamabad could purchase the Su-35 aircraft. According to the official, the Pakistani Air Force "is considering different options of deepening cooperation with Russia."

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Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Interested in #Russian Air Defense Systems, Tanks. #DefenceDay … via @SputnikInt

KUBINKA (Moscow region) (Sputnik) – The Pakistani armed forces are interested in Russian arms, including air defense systems and tanks, Maj. Gen. Naveed Ahmed, the director general of defense procurement for the country, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"Our army services are [showing] keen interest in different Russian products. We are looking for the air platform, for any sorts of helicopters; for the army we are looking for tanks, we are looking for anti-tanks weapon system and more importantly we are looking for the air defense system," Ahmed, who is leading the Pakistani delegation to the Army-2016 military expo, said. The military forum, which is taking place on September 6-11 in Kubinka, a western suburb of Moscow, brings together representatives from the Russian defense industry, research institutes, universities, as well as foreign companies. Over 800 Russian and foreign participants will mount some 7,000 exhibitions throughout the week. The forum's participants and guests will attend a number of conferences and round-table discussions to discuss the future development of military technology. On Monday, Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah told that Minister of Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain would visit the forum. According to the ambassador, Pakistan is interested in expanding its military and technical cooperation with Russia.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #Russia Negotiating Deal on #Russian Su-35, Su-37 Fighter Jets. #PAF … via @SputnikInt

Islamabad and Moscow are negotiating a deal on Su-35 and Su-37 jets, Shahab Qadir Khan, deputy director of export promotion services in the Pakistani Defense Export Promotion Organization, told Sputnik.

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"Pakistan is involved in negotiations with Russia on a deal for Su-35 and Su-37. We are in initial stage now," Qadir Khan said.

According to Qadir Khan, the Pakistani Defense Ministry's delegation which came to the Army-2016 expo includes technical experts, who assess capabilities of the jets as well as look for Russian helicopters. "We already have Russian transport helicopters Mi-17, but we are looking for other helicraft, and we are looking at assessment of Mi-35 to buy in the near future," Qadir Khan added. The Army-2016 expo, organized by the Russian Defense Ministry, kicked off on Tuesday and is due to last through Sunday. The forum is held in the military-themed Patriot Park in Kubinka near Moscow and in a number of locations in Russia's military districts. The event brings together representatives from the Russian defense industry, research institutes, universities, as well as foreign companies. Over 800 Russian and foreign participants are expected to be involved in some 7,000 exhibitions throughout the week. The forum's participants and guests are attending a number of conferences and roundtables to discuss the future development of military technology.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan & #Russia military to hold first ever joint drills this year. #China #India #America #Asia via @TOIWorld

Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first-ever joint military exercises later this year, media reported today, reflecting increased military cooperation between the two former Cold War rivals.
Around 200 military personnel from the two sides would take part in the joint military exercises, The Express Tribune quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying.
The move comes amidst increasing defence ties between Moscow and Islamabad as the latter was also thinking to buy advanced Russian warplanes.
Pakistan's ambassador to Moscow Qazi Khalilullah told the newspaper that this is the first time that military personnel from the two countries would be taking part in joint military drills called 'Friendship-2016'.
He, however, did not divulge further details about the nature of the exercises or dates.
The development, Khalilullah said, reflected increased cooperation between the two countries.
"This obviously indicates a desire on both sides to broaden defence and military-technical cooperation," he told a Russian news agency last week.
The joint military drill is seen as another step in growing military-to-military cooperation, indicating a steady growth in bilateral relationship between the two countries, whose ties had been marred by Cold War rivalry for decades, the paper said.
Islamabad decided to broaden its foreign policy options after its relations with the US deteriorated after secret CIA raid in Abbottabad killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Pakistan's relations with the US were soured recently when US lawmakers blocked funds for the sale of eight Lockheed Martin Corporation's F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
Pakistan decided to look at alternative sources to purchase the aircraft including from Jordan.
Over the last 15 months, the chiefs of Pakistan's Army, Navy and Air Force travelled to Russia. The flurry of high-level exchanges between the two nations resulted in the signing of a deal for the sale of four MI-35 attack helicopters to Islamabad.
The formal agreement, which was signed in Moscow in August 2015, was considered a major policy shift on part of Russia in the wake of growing strategic partnership between the US and India.

Riaz Haq said...

US State Dept: #US to stay with #Pakistan 'long into the future'

The US would continue to stay engaged with Pakistan and provide it economic assistance "long into the future", said a State Department spokesperson.

In a statement shared with Dawn online, the State Department on Monday also emphasised the need for Pakistan to take immediate steps to stop cross-border terrorist attacks into Afghanistan.

"We have urged the government of Pakistan to redouble its standing commitment to closer counter terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan against all groups that pose a long-term security threat to both countries," the official said.

The State Department pointed out that "robust civilian and security assistance" to Pakistan allowed the US to jointly work on issues important to both countries, such as energy, economic growth, security, education and health.

"The US has a joint interest with Pakistan in the development of Pakis­tan's civilian institutions and its economic growth. Our diplomatic and assistance engagement will continue long into the future," Dawn online reported citing the statement.

The State Department spokesperson, while explaining the rationale for staying engaged with Pakistan, noted that the country had suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists and violent extremists.

"The US stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and all who fight the menace of terrorism, and we are grateful for the sacrifices the Pakistani military has made in shutting down terrorist safe havens, most recently in the North Waziristan operation," the official said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russian troops arrive in #Pakistan for 1st-ever joint drill

Russian troops have arrived in Pakistan on Friday to take part in two-week military exercise, a first in the two countries’ modern history. Moscow and Islamabad were on opposite sides during the Cold War.
Around 70 Russian soldiers and officers along with some 130 Pakistani counterparts are taking part in the war games called Friendship 2016, which kick-start on Saturday. The name is a symbolical reference to the old Cold War tensions between Moscow and Islamabad, which the two capitals are now trying to overcome.

On Friday, an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane delivered the troops to Pakistan from their home base in southern Russia.

The exercise is to take place in a mountainous area in the eastern Punjab province. Both countries have long experience of counterinsurgency operations in this difficult terrain, which they want to share with each other.

The exercise was first announced in January and is a signal that “Moscow and Islamabad are interested in deepening military-to-military relations,” Pakistan's ambassador to Moscow Qazi Khalilullah told TASS.

“This obviously indicates a desire on both sides to broaden defense and military-technical cooperation,” he said.

The Friendship 2016 drill is going ahead despite speculation that they may be canceled, which surfaced after tensions between Pakistan and India escalated in the wake of the September 18 attack on Indian troops stationed in Uri, a town in the disputed province of Kashmir.

Moscow informed New Delhi of the scheduled joint exercise with Pakistan and is certain that they should not concern India, considering that they are conducted far from the disputed territories, Zamir Kabulov, the chief or Russian Foreign Ministry's Middle East department told RIA Novosti.

Russian military cooperation with Pakistan has been gaining pace over the past few years, making a turn from the past, when Islamabad was a key supporter of the Taliban insurgency in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.

In 2014, Moscow lifted a longstanding ban on sale of arms to Pakistan. Last year the two countries signed a deal on four Russian Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters, which are meant to replace Pakistan's aging US-made AH-1 Cobras.

Riaz Haq said...

#India wary of growing #Russia-#Pakistan military ties

India has expressed concern over Russia's fledgling but growing defence relationship with Pakistan, ahead of a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a world summit in India.

Mr Putin has, in recent years, moved to establish defence ties with Pakistan as India began diversifying beyond Russia for its defence equipment and deepening ties with the US.

Russia and Pakistan have held discussions over the sale of military hardware and signed an agreement last year for the sale of four attack helicopters to Islamabad. In a sign of their growing defence engagement, the two countries held their first joint military exercise, "Friendship 2016", that ended on Monday, much to New Delhi's unease.

"We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan, which is a state that sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of state policy, is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems," India's Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran was quoted as saying to Russian news agency Ria Novosti last Friday.

Russia and India are fond of calling each other "time-tested friends" and are Cold War allies with a diplomatic relationship dating back to 1947.

For years, India depended on Russia for all its military supply. While the two countries remain major defence partners, India is now increasingly sourcing weapons from other countries such as the US and France. Moscow has lost out on major jet and helicopter deals to other countries. Bilateral trade between India and Russia is below US$10 billion (S$13.8 billion), partly due to poor transport links. India's trade with the US is now more than US$100 billion.

Officials said Russia would remain an important country for India but experts noted that ties between Pakistan and Russia would remain an irritant for India.

"We have always seen Russia as a close ally. Russia will remain important but the Modi government is clearly annoyed with Russia over Pakistan and it is making that clear," said former Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh.

Riaz Haq said...

#BRICSSummit: #India's & #Modi's Failure. #China. #Russia refused to name #Pakistan on #terrorism … via @IndianExpress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just been delivered an unhappy lesson at the just-concluded BRICS summit in Goa: though nine-tenths of geopolitics is about bluff, the critical one-tenth is about knowing when to fold.
The Prime Minister proclaimed, in his closing statement at the summit, that BRICS member-states were “agreed that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such forces of violence and terror are as much a threat to us as the terrorists themselves”. The BRICS 109 paragraph summit declaration, however, doesn’t have a single sentence reflecting this purported consensus—not even the words “nurture”, “shelter” or “sponsor”.
Worse, from India’s optic, the summit declaration calls for action against all United Nations-designated terrorist organisations which include the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad but names only the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s proxy, Jabhat al-Nusra—both threats to China and Russia but not to India.

China’s President Xi Jinping, said success against terrorism made it imperative to “addresses both symptoms and root causes”—a stock-phrase Islamabad often uses to refer to the conflict over Kashmir. Russian President Vladimir Putin made no mention of terrorism emanating from Pakistan at all.
Add to this, the United States’ studied refusal to be drawn into harsh action against Pakistan and there’s a simple lesson to be drawn: less than a month after it began, the Prime Minister’s campaign to isolate Pakistan is not gaining momentum.