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".

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Can Pakistan Say No to US Aid?

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Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

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110 comments:

Mayraj said...

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-welcome-bridge-pakistan-220003474.html


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....

Regards

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/world/asia/chinas-president-heads-to-pakistan-with-billions-in-infrastructure-aid.html?_r=0

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.


http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/us-vietnam-shifting-alliances-asia/

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 (
FM
), in which Pakistan has a 9.51% slice.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/frontier-markets-pakistan-investments-cm466838#ixzz3Xs9RHQfn

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.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/04/21/what-china-and-pakistans-special-friendship-means/

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%.


http://blogs.barrons.com/emergingmarketsdaily/2015/04/21/how-to-play-pakistan-as-china-invests-billions/

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32400091

Riaz Haq said...

Sellout Husain Haqqani dislikes his home country #Pakistan just as Gordon Chang and Mixin Pei abhor #China http://on.wsj.com/1d0b2A8 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.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/lowering-expectations-for-chinas-pakistan-push-1429718222

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.

http://nation.com.pk/columns/24-Apr-2015/understanding-chinese-investment

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 http://www.zoneasia-pk.com/dissecting-husain-haqqanis-lowering-expectations-for-chinas-pakistan-push/

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.

http://blogs.wsj.com/frontiers/2015/04/29/forty-years-after-fall-of-saigon-entrepreneurs-return-to-vietnam/

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.

http://www.worldtribune.com/2015/04/29/how-the-u-s-special-relationship-with-pakistan-lost-out-to-chinas-strategic-silk-road/

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.

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47161638.cms

Riaz Haq said...

BY HUSSAIN NADIM


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.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/13/australias-new-equation-for-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

BBC - #China navy to focus on 'open seas', paper says. Challenge to #America's naval power? #Obama's pivot to #Asia? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-32880477 …

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-32880477

Riaz Haq said...

#China #CPEC priorities: #Karakoram Highway, #Gwadar Expressway, #Karachi-#Lahore Motorway, Gawadar Intl Airport http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/06-Jun-2015/support-for-pak-is-sincere-down-to-earth-and-mutually-beneficial …
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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

http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-army-chief-visits-russia-to-forge-new-ties/2825903.html …

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? http://onforb.es/1BsnpQD

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.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2015/06/19/todays-india-pakistan-armed-tensions-will-new-u-s-military-and-nuclear-aid-to-modi-inflame-them/

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.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/06/us-china-russia-pakistan-india-idUSKCN0PG09120150706

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia, #Australia, #NewZealand oppose #India's bid for sanctions against #Pakistan The Economic Times http://ecoti.ms/40o0yZ


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 ..

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47952231.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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.

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistan-india-hail-new-eurasian-economic-axis-russia-putin/27121657.html

Riaz Haq said...

As #China Awakens, #America -- And #Pakistan -- Should Take Note http://huff.to/1IvsiJN 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 http://bloom.bg/1gNasI4 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
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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 http://on.wsj.com/1J7dd0f 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.

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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.
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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 http://sputniknews.com/business/20150825/1026161580.html … 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: http://sputniknews.com/business/20150825/1026161580.html#ixzz3jtT2rD25

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia-#Pakistan Mi-35 Contract Could be Expanded For More Helicopters/ Sputnik International http://sputniknews.com/business/20150825/1026161580.html … 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: http://sputniknews.com/business/20150825/1026161580.html#ixzz3jtT2rD25

Riaz Haq said...

#US DoD awards #Pakistan gives contract for 15 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to Bell Helicopter Co- IHS Jane's 360 http://www.janes.com/article/53825/dod-awards-pakistan-ah-1z-contract#.Vd3bDTSqOpk.twitter …

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 http://www.dawn.com/news/1206088

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 http://bloom.bg/1LHS0wL 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!


http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/10/u-s-trying-make-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

#American, #Indian troops struggle to understand each others' accents in US-#India military exercise in #Washington http://theweek.com/articles/580711/why-america-cozying-indian-army …

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.
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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 http://nyti.ms/1QV9RQq

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.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/on-nawaz-sharifs-visit-to-united-states-and-pakistanus-ties/article7802948.ece

Riaz Haq said...

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

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/960904.shtml#.VoKzAasXjJs.twitter …


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 http://toi.in/b67Q1Z

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.


http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/engage-the-dragon-on-balochistan/

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 http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/russia-to-spend-billions-on-gas-pipeline-in-pakistan/3193228.html …


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 http://www.geo.tv/latest/101416-Kerry-defends-F-16-deal-lauds-Pakistan-Armys-efforts-in-terror-war#sthash.woif5TEA.uxfs … 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: http://www.geo.tv/latest/101416-Kerry-defends-F-16-deal-lauds-Pakistan-Armys-efforts-in-terror-war#sthash.woif5TEA.dpuf

Riaz Haq said...

#China to build its first overseas naval base at #Djibouti. #India #Pakistan #Africa #CPEC #Gwadar http://reut.rs/1UHH5b7 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.

INDIAN ALARM

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 http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-rejects-us-calls-for-curbing-tactical-nuke-weapons/3256025.html …

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. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/shows-of-strength-china-aids-pakistan-against-india-could-curtail-indian-shipping-in-south-china-sea/ …

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
http://www.thehindu.com/news/article8261843.ece …

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 http://ecoti.in/P0zksb

"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

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/15800/US__India_Finalize_Mini_UAVs__Other_Defense_Projects#.Vw5vbW8rj-k.twitter …

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.


http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/whats-behind-russias-rapprochement-with-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan army chief’s #Beijing visit heightens #US, #India jitters - http://FT.com #China #CPEC http://on.ft.com/1sv1iGc 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

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/us/politics/narendra-modi-us-india.html?_r=0

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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.”

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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

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/legislations-seeking-aid-cut-to-pakistan-defeated-in-us-house/articleshow/52807141.cms

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:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52807141.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan not isolated. #Delhi is to #Washington what #Islamabad is to #Beijing. #US still quietly supports Pakistan
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1145063/pakistan-not-isolated/

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 https://www.ft.com/content/d97ccbe8-527e-11e6-9664-e0bdc13c3bef …

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

http://www.dawn.com/news/1273334

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

http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2016/08/28/china-and-pakistan-beware-this-week-india-and-us-sign-major-war-pact/#4b479b8364e1

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

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=8585&China/Warns/India:/Hands/Off/Balochistan

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 http://sputniknews.com/military/20160905/1044975853/pakistan-russia-ambassador-su35.html … 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."

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160905/1044975853/pakistan-russia-ambassador-su35.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Interested in #Russian Air Defense Systems, Tanks. #DefenceDay https://sputniknews.com/asia/20160906/1045009123/pakistan-russia-army-defense.html … 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.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/asia/20160906/1045009123/pakistan-russia-army-defense.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #Russia Negotiating Deal on #Russian Su-35, Su-37 Fighter Jets. #PAF https://sputniknews.com/military/20160908/1045073021/pakistan-russia-negotiating-fightersu-jets.html … 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.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/military/20160908/1045073021/pakistan-russia-negotiating-fightersu-jets.html
"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.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/military/20160908/1045073021/pakistan-russia-negotiating-fightersu-jets.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan & #Russia military to hold first ever joint drills this year. #China #India #America #Asia http://toi.in/sXUTqb 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'

http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-to-stay-with-pakistan-long-into-the-future-116091300165_1.html

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

https://www.rt.com/news/360384-russia-pakistan-joint-exercise/


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

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/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 http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/web-edits/brics-summit-why-china-and-russia-did-not-name-pakistan-on-terrorism-3087651/ … 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.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #Russia Is Getting Closer To #Pakistan And Abandoning #India? #US #China #BRICS #CPEC http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/10/russia-pakistan-india-relations/ … via @ValueWalk

Russia and India have been friends for nearly 70 years. Moscow and New Delhi have supported one another on the international diplomatic sphere; they signed lucrative military deals and deepened economic ties…

But Russia-Indian relations came crashing down in 2016. Why?

So why on Earth would Russia lose interest in its seemingly perfect, long-time ally? Why all of a sudden Russia has warmed up to Pakistan, its Cold War rival and the biggest historical enemy of India?

Global relations are the answer. While many may argue, Russia has been very smart about global relations in terms of strategical and long-term planning.


----

By having both Russia and China as its allies, Pakistan wins a lot. Islamabad had been friends with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for years, but it now realized that neither Washington nor Riyadh really care about its interests.

Pakistan now sees that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been sending all those funds in order to prevent the country from becoming an intimidating force in South Asia and becoming financially independent.

Russia and China, meanwhile, are offering that independence as well as the prospect of becoming the most powerful country in the region (thus, signing military deals and holding military drills).

It also adds to the fact that both America and Saudi Arabia have played a huge role in spreading sectarianism and terrorism in Pakistan. So naturally Islamabad has doubts about their good intentions.

During the BRICS summit earlier this month, China protected Pakistan from India’s accusations. And by not standing up for India this time, Russia showed on whose side it’s on.

Riaz Haq said...

#China, #Russia, #Pakistan #Superpower Triangle Becoming Reality http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/11/china-russia-pakistan-super-power/ … via @ValueWalk

The Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle is becoming a reality. Moscow has just announced it will hold trilateral Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks next month.

As theories around the Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle continue to build up, Moscow has just expressed its interest in strengthening ties with Islamabad and Beijing. The agenda of next month’s talks will be establishing a wider regional partnership on Afghanistan.

Zamir Kabulov, Russian Foreign Ministry’s director of the Second Asian Department, announced on Monday that the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani consultations will be held in Moscow in December.

“We are discussing this with the Chinese, the Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis. There is work on specifics,” Kabulov said, adding that it’s in the regional nations’ “natural” interests to guard themselves from terrorist threats in the region.


The news comes amid rising war tensions between India and Pakistan. Although Russia remains India’s key weapons supplier, there is a number of reasons why the Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle is becoming a reality.

Russia has been actively strengthening its military, economic and diplomatic ties with both China and Pakistan. Even though Pakistan is Russia’s Cold War rival, Moscow is understandably keen on forming an alliance with Islamabad and Beijing. China and Pakistan have been traditional allies for decades. Beijing has always provided its military and diplomatic support to Islamabad against its historical enemy, India.

Forming the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani superpower triangle would not only allow them to impose efficient measures to counter the spread of terrorism and radicalism in the region but also stand up to America’s growing influence in the region. In fact, given that Russia, China and Pakistan are all nuclear powers, their alliance also makes them an intimidating nuclear force to be reckoned with.

Russia, China and Pakistan have about 7,620 nuclear warheads (according to the official figures provided by the SIPRI) combined. That’s a serious advantage in a potential military confrontation against any enemy of such a superpower triangle, whether it’s India or the United States.


Interestingly, Russia announced the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks a few days after India, Pakistan’s traditional nemesis, signed a historical nuclear deal with Japan. In fact, it was the first-ever nuclear deal signed by Japan, which is the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, with a non-NPT nation.

India, like Pakistan, never signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Seeing that India is strengthening ties with its regional allies, Russia and China decided to ramp up their support for Pakistan. The Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks in December will mark yet another indication of Russia and China’s growing interest toward Pakistan.

------

China has repeatedly pledged to help Pakistan in case of any foreign aggression. It also adds to the fact that China supplies Pakistan with more weapons than any other country in the world. For Russia, meanwhile, Pakistan is a potentially lucrative buyer of its advanced weapons.

Aside from strengthening military and diplomatic ties with Islamabad, Beijing is also actively building nuclear reactors in Pakistan. So basically, the superpower triangle between China, Russia and Pakistan can become an intimidating force in the region.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese naval ships in #Pakistan's #Gwadar port challenge #India's regional policy. #Russia #Iran http://scroll.in/article/822619/chinese-naval-ships-in-pakistans-gwadar-port-call-for-a-rethink-of-indias-regional-policy … via @scroll_in

The transformation of Gwadar port on the Pakistan coast as a base for Chinese Navy ships was long expected, but when media reports actually appeared on Friday to that effect, it was startling news. The reports quoted Pakistani officials saying that China proposes to deploy its naval ships in coordination with the Pakistan Navy to safeguard Gwadar port, which is the gateway to the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

India would have had some intelligence tip-off, which probably explains the mysterious episode on November 14 of an Indian submarine lurking in the vicinity of Pakistani territorial waters. It was brusquely shooed away by the Pakistani Navy. Of course, the corridor was operationalised a fortnight ago with Chinese ships docking at Gwadar to carry the first containers brought by a Chinese trade convoy from Xinjiang for despatch to the world market.

Viewed from many perspectives, the month of November becomes a defining moment in the geopolitics of our region. But the strangest bit of news would be that earlier this month, Gwadar also received Russia’s Federal Security Services chief Alexander Bogdanov. It was a hush-hush inspection tour aimed at assessing the efficacy of Russian ships using the port during their long voyages, to assert Moscow’s return to the global stage.

Equally, this is the first visit by a Russian spy chief to Pakistan in over two decades and it took place just as America elected a new president, Donald Trump. Maybe the timing is coincidental, but more likely, it is not. The Russian diplomacy invariably moves in lockstep. Bogdanov’s visit was scheduled just a few weeks before the planned trilateral strategic dialogue between Russia, China and Pakistan, ostensibly regarding the Afghan situation, in Moscow next month. Bogdanov reportedly sought a formal Russian-Pakistani collaborative tie-up over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Moscow wouldn’t have made such a move without coordinating with China first. At a meeting in Moscow with his Chinese counterpart, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying that China-Russia military cooperation is “at an all-time high and it will contribute to peace and stability on the Eurasian continent and beyond”.

Meanwhile, Chinese regional diplomacy, too, is moving in tandem. The Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wangquan (who is also vice-chairman of China’s Military Commission, which is headed by President Xi Jinping) paid a three-day visit to Iran last week. Chang’s visit held considerable geopolitical significance for the region and he described his meetings as signifying a turning point in the China-Iran strategic partnership. It is useful to recall that during Xi’s visit to Iran in January, the two countries had signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement that included a call for much closer defence and intelligence ties.

Riaz Haq said...

#American engineers find #India's home-made first aircraft carrier is a dud. Need another 10 years to make it work http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/11/30/u-s-effort-to-help-india-build-up-navy-hits-snag/?mod=e2fb When top American naval engineers recently inspected India’s first locally made aircraft carrier they expected to find a near battle-ready ship set to help counter China’s growing sway in the Indian Ocean.

Instead, they discovered the carrier wouldn’t be operational for up to a decade and other shortcomings: no small missile system to defend itself, a limited ability to launch sorties and no defined strategy for how to use the ship in combat. The findings alarmed U.S. officials hoping to enlist India as a bulwark against China, people close to the meeting said.

“China’s navy will be the biggest in the world soon, and they’re definitely eyeing the Indian Ocean with ports planned in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” said retired Admiral Arun Prakash, the former commander of India’s navy. “The Indian navy is concerned about this.”

The February carrier inspection, in the port of Kochi, formed part of U.S. plans to share aircraft carrier technology with India. Indian naval officials followed up with a tour of an American shipbuilding yard in Virginia and strategy briefings at the Pentagon in September, the people close to the meetings said.

The U.S. and India are drawing closer politically and militarily. The two have participated in joint naval exercises with Japan. The U.S. has agreed to sell New Delhi everything from attack helicopters to artillery. Washington has approved proposals by Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co. to make advanced jet fighters in India. And in August, the two countries signed a military logistics-sharing accord.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia and #Pakistan slowly move towards an embrace. #India #China #CPEC #Gwadar @AJEnglish
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/12/russia-pakistan-slowly-move-embrace-161203083811644.html

Or, how Russia got a warm-water port without firing a shot.

Ahmed Rashid is a journalist and the author of five books on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. His latest book is 'Pakistan on the Brink, the future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West'.

After decades of hostility, Russia and Pakistan are gingerly trying to improve relations. Russia is cautiously wooing Pakistan in a bid to temper Islamabad's support for the Afghan Taliban and to end the civil war in Afghanistan, which is threatening Central Asia - the soft underbelly of Russian influence in the former Soviet Union territories.

Pakistan faces increasing isolation in the region - spurned by India, Afghanistan and Iran, and criticised by the US and NATO countries - because of its continued harbouring of the Afghan Taliban. At present, it is solely dependent on Chinese economic and political support.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Pakistan is desperately keen to rebuild relations with Russia. Islamabad would like to use warmer ties with Moscow to counter US and western pressure and be able to boast of more than one ally in the region.

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Pakistan offered Russia the use of Gwadar, its new Chinese-built port on the Gulf, which is close to Iran and opposite Oman. From Tsarist times, Russia has always wanted a port in the ''warm waters'' of the Gulf. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan was convinced that the Russian dream was to have a base on Pakistan's Gulf coastline. Ironically, Pakistan is now offering the same facility.

However, Gwadar port is yet to become fully operational and it is surrounded by insurgencies in Afghanistan and Balochistan province. Its capacity is being enhanced by a Chinese-built network of roads that will eventually connect to the Chinese border in northern Pakistan.

Use of the port by foreign ships is still some way off, and Pakistan has not made it clear if it would allow Russian warships to dock there. The Chinese navy has already been granted landing rights at the port.

Russia has also agreed to sell helicopters to Pakistan, lifting its decades-old arms embargo against Islamabad, while India is now looking for arms from Western nations such as the US and France.


Riaz Haq said...

#Russia rejects #Indian, #Afghan criticism on #Pakistan. #HeartofAsia #Modi #India https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/169900-Russia-rejects-Indian-Afghan-criticism-on-Pakistan …

Says Heart of Asia Conference shouldn’t be used for point scoring; if Russia doesn’t complain about India-US cooperation, then why complain about Pak-Russia cooperation

AMRITSAR: Russia on Sunday lauded Pakistan's stance at the Heart of Asia conference and said the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked.

Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar on Sunday, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan criticism on Pakistan and said that Sartaj Aziz's speech at the conference was friendly and constructive. He said it is wrong to criticise Pakistan.

The Russian envoy said that Afghanistan is the pivot of Heart of Asia conference and the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked. He said being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together.He said all parties involved in the war-torn country's reconstruction must work together and that the Heart of Asia was not the platform for India and Pakistan to score brownie points.

Downplaying Russia's military exercise with Pakistan held two months ago, Zamir Kabulov, who overseas Russia's engagement in Afghanistan, referred to India's increasing cooperation with the US.

“The HoA should not be used by India and Pakistan for scoring points,” he told reporters. He said bilateral issues should not cloud forums like the Heart of Asia.

Kabulov represented Russia in the Heart of Asia conference where he articulated Moscow's position on Afghanistan's transition. He said all the major players must extend all possible support to Afghanistan in its transition.

“India has close cooperation with the US, does Moscow complain? Then why complain about much lower level of cooperation with Pakistan,” he asked when referred to the Russia-Pakistan military exercise.

India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing projects worth $2 billion to help rebuild the country's infrastructure. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia throws its weight behind #CPEC, #China-#Pakistan corridor, keeps #India on tenterhooks http://toi.in/eJCcoa via @timesofindia

Russia's nebulous public position on its growing ties with Pakistan continues to give sleepless nights to Indian policymakers who have sought to isolate Islamabad on the issue of terrorism.
After it officially denied reports that it had shown any interest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Moscow has not just declared strong support for the China-funded project but also announced its intention to link its own Eurasian Economic Union project with CPEC.
CPEC, which will link Gwadar in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province to Xinjiang in China, remains a major bugbear for Indian foreign policy as it passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Pok) claimed by India. Beijing has shown scant regard for India's concerns despite PM Narendra Modi himself having taken up the issue of Chinese involvement in the disputed territory with President Xi Jinping.
Moscow last month emphatically denied Pakistan media reports that it was looking to involve itself in CPEC by acquiring access to the port built by China at Gwadar. Russia's ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y Dedov has now been quoted as saying that Russia and Pakistan have held discussions to merge Moscow's Eurasian Economic Union project with the CPEC.
Dedov said Russia "strongly" supported CPEC as it was important for Pakistan's economy and also regional connectivity.
The mixed signals emanating from Moscow, as strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney said, are injecting uncertainty in the direction of the Russia-India relationship whose trajectory long epitomized constancy and stability.

"It is as if Moscow no longer sees India as a reliable friend or partner. Indeed, by seeking common cause with India's regional adversaries — including by supporting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through internationally disputed territory and engaging with the Pakistan-backed Taliban — Russia is challenging India's core interests," said Chellaney.

India continues to officially maintain that it doesn't see any "downward trend" in relations with Russia even as it works behind the scenes to convince Moscow that Pakistan remained the fountainhead of terrorism in the region. For India though, Russia further queered the situation in Afghanistan by declaring that it regarded Afghan Taliban as a national military-political movement. Russia is looking to engage the Taliban apparently to defeat IS but, as the MEA spokesperson warned last week, India wants any engagement with Taliban to respect the internationally recognized red lines, including giving up violence and severing ties with al-Qaida.
The comments made by Dedov are only the latest in a series of Russian doublespeak on Pakistan this year. As it officially conveyed to Moscow, India was disturbed by Russia's decision to hold its first ever joint military exercise with Pakistan days after Uri terror strike which left 19 Indian soldiers dead. The Russians justified it by saying that the exercise was meant to help Pakistan deal with terrorism

At the Brics Goa summit in October, Russia chose not to help India publicly name Pakistan based terrorist outfits like Lashkar and Jaish in the official declaration in the face of Chinese resistance.
Russia continues to insist that its ties with Pakistan will not come at India's cost. Asked about the Russia-Pakistan military exercise though, at the recent Heart of Asia conference, Russia's presidential envoy to Pakistan Zamir Kabulov said Moscow didn't complain about India's close cooperation with the US and so India also shouldn't complain about "much low level" of cooperation between Russia and Pakistan. India may or may not complain, but it's certainly watching with eyes wide open.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia Publicly Favors #Pakistan Over #India. #Modi #BJP http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/12/russia-publicly-favors-pakistan-vs-india/ … via @ValueWalk

When Russia rejected India’s efforts in November to isolate Pakistan politically, tensions between Moscow and New Delhi reached their peak. While concerns are rising within the Indian government, Russia continues to warm up to Pakistan and has recently shown interest in Pakistan’s joint project with China, the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Earlier this month, Alexey Dedov, the Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, declared Russia’s strong support for the upcoming lucrative project. He also announced that Russia wants to link the Eurasian Economic Union project with the CPEC, a move that would further deteriorate relations between Moscow and New Delhi.

The CPEC is a sensitive issue for India because the project passes through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region in Kashmir. By backing the project, Russia automatically declares its support for Pakistan’s position in the long-standing Kashmir issue, a major development in Russian-Indian relations that could end their seven-decade friendship once and for all.

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India is worried that its nearly 70-year friendship with Russia is about to end. Russia is warming up to India’s biggest historical enemy, Pakistan, which inevitably has led to tensions between New Delhi and Moscow. So even though India and Russia were very close for nearly seven decades, Russia-Indian relations have come crashing down over the last two years.

Geopolitics is the reason the relationship between the two countries is deteriorating. Moscow and New Delhi have backed one another on the international diplomatic sphere for decades. But when Russia refused to support India’s bid to turn Pakistan into a pariah state this year, Moscow took a major step away from its friendship with New Delhi.

Russia and India may have signed large-scale military deals over the past seven decades, but when Moscow held its first-ever joint military drills this year with Pakistan – India’s biggest adversary – it was a sign that Russia is trying to send a message.

Last week, Moscow and Islamabad held their first-ever foreign office consultations, leaving India understandably worried that Russia is further deepening its ties to Pakistan. During those consultations in Islamabad, Russian and Pakistani officials discussed a wide variety of regional issues and pointed out some areas of mutual interest, including economic cooperation.

According to the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistani and Russian officials “exchanged views on important global and regional developments.” The ministry added in the statement that “it was also decided that the next round of consultations will be convened in Moscow in 2017.”

Just last year, nobody in their right mind would believe that Russia could make friends with its Cold War rival Pakistan. But by selling four Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan in 2015, Russia mutely announced huge changes in its geopolitical strategies. Then in October 2015, Russia and Pakistan held their first-ever joint military exercises labeled “Druzhba” (friendship), which sent India into frenzy. However, India remained mute about the drills for the most part because it still has a number of pending military deals with Russia it doesn’t want to lose over its resentment.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #Russia & #China to hold trilateral meeting on regional issues including #Afghanistan in #Moscow. #India

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/pakistan-to-attend-trilateral-meet-with-russia-and-china-4440521/

Pakistan Thursday said its foreign secretary will travel to Russia to participate in a trilateral meeting with Russia and China next week which will discuss key regional issues including peace process in Afghanistan.
“The Foreign Secretary will lead the Pakistani delegation in this meeting. This is an existing forum for undertaking informal discussions on issues of regional peace and stability, including situation in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly press briefing here.
The trilateral meeting will be held on December 27 and peace in Afghanistan will be on the top of the agenda due to increasing threat of ISIS to Central Asia, which is considered as Russian backyard.
There are also reports of contacts between Taliban and Russian officials as the latter recognise the importance of Taliban in checking the threat of ISIS. Zakaria said peace and stability in Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the entire region.
“In this spirit, we remain committed and extend all cooperation to the efforts towards bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan has played a very positive role in bringing warring factions to the negotiating table. Whenever we are approached to help bring the warring factions to the negotiating table, we will assist,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#China, #Pakistan, #Russia to Meet on #Afghanistan, Angering #Kabul Leaders. #Taliban #ISIS #India #Washington

http://www.voanews.com/a/china-pakistan-russia-to-meet-on-afghanistan-angering-kabul-leaders/3651066.html

Top Foreign Ministry officials from China, Pakistan and Russia will meet in Moscow on Tuesday to review what they perceive as a "gradually growing" threat to their frontiers posed by Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan.

"This is an existing forum for undertaking informal discussions on issues of regional peace and stability, including the situation in Afghanistan," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told VOA.

Pakistan's foreign secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, will lead Islamabad's delegation, he added. Officials say future meetings could include Iran.

Chinese, Pakistani and Russian officials say they were driven to joint action by the efforts of IS affiliates to establish a foothold in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national unity government has reportedly questioned the motives of the trilateral dialogue, which will take place without Kabul being represented.

Russian officials maintain the "working group on Afghanistan" is one of several initiatives Moscow has undertaken with regional countries, including Afghanistan, to develop a "wider partnership" for containing IS influence.

Beijing, Islamabad and Moscow say the three-way talks will also explore ways to bring the Taliban to the table for peace talks with the Afghan government. All three governments maintain overt contacts with the insurgent group.

Russia and officials in Pakistan argue that military operations by the U.S.-led international forces and their Afghan partners have not weakened the Taliban but instead created ungoverned areas where terrorist groups like IS, also known as Daesh, can establish a foothold.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told the U.N. Security Council last week that the deteriorating security situation has encouraged IS militants fleeing Syria and Iraq to look at Afghanistan for shelter. He said they will eventually pose a threat to Russia through neighboring central Asian states.

Using another acronym for IS, he said, "There is also information about the presence in Afghanistan of ISIL camps and safe harbors where people from central Asian states and northern Caucasus republics are being trained and where 700 terrorist families from Syria have already arrived."

Churkin again rejected Afghan and U.S. concerns that Moscow's overt ties to the Taliban are meant to undermine international efforts aimed at establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

"Our contacts with representatives of Taliban are limited to the task of providing for the security of Russian nationals in Afghanistan and also aimed at moving the Taliban towards joining with the process of national reconciliation," he said.

Pakistani officials say Russia is eager to include Iran in future meetings of the tripartite "working group" and that the issue will be taken up at Tuesday's meeting. Iran borders both Afghanistan and Iraq, where IS is present, and is fighting Islamist insurgents among other anti-regime forces in Syria.

While U.S. counterterrorism forces in partnership with Afghan forces have conducted major operations against IS fighters, the Taliban have also engaged in clashes with the rival group to deny it space in Afghanistan. Russian officials say they are developing ties with the Taliban to prevent IS influence from spreading into Afghan border provinces.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia, #Pakistan, #China warn of increased #ISIS (#Daesh) threat in #Afghanistan. #India #Taliban http://reut.rs/2i3xLkN via @Reuters

Russia, China and Pakistan warned on Tuesday that the influence of Islamic State (IS) was growing in Afghanistan and that the security situation there was deteriorating.

Representatives from the three countries, meeting in Moscow, also agreed to invite the Afghan government to such talks in the future, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"(The three countries) expressed particular concern about the rising activity in the country of extremist groups including the Afghan branch of IS," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters after the meeting.

The United States, which still has nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan more than 15 years after the Islamist Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, was not invited to the Moscow talks.

The gathering, the third in a series of consultations between Russia, China and Pakistan that has so far excluded Kabul, is likely to deepen worries in Washington that it is being sidelined in negotiations over Afghanistan's future.

Officials in Kabul and Washington have said that Russia is deepening its ties with Taliban militants fighting the government, though Moscow has denied providing aid to the insurgents.

Zakharova said Russia, China and Pakistan had "noted the deterioration of the security situation (in Afghanistan)".

The three countries agreed a "flexible approach to remove certain figures from sanctions lists as part of efforts to foster a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement," she added.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month asked the United Nations to add the Taliban's new leader to its sanctions list, further undermining a stalled peace process.

Earlier on Tuesday, Afghan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said Kabul had not been properly briefed about the Moscow meeting.

"Discussion about the situation in Afghanistan, even if well-intentioned, in the absence of Afghans cannot help the real situation and also raises serious questions about the purpose of such meetings," he said.

A number of Afghan provincial capitals have come under pressure from the Taliban this year while Afghan forces have been suffering high casualty rates, with more than 5,500 killed in the first eight months of 2016.

An offshoot of Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the last year.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia, #China support taking #Afghan #Taliban off #UN sanctions list. #India #Pakistan #Terrorism

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1277084/russia-china-favour-taking-taliban-off-un-sanctions-list/

Russia and China, being permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have decided to work towards delisting the Afghan Taliban from the world body’s sanctions list in a move, they said, is aimed at launching peaceful dialogue between Afghanistan’s government and insurgent groups.

The announcement came in a joint statement issued after the trilateral meeting involving senior officials from Pakistan, Russia and China. The three-way talks that discussed the current situation of Afghanistan were held in Moscow on Tuesday.

Interestingly, Afghanistan was not part of the discussions, causing concerns in Kabul. The joint communique, however, said all the three countries agreed to proceed with consultations in an expanded format and would welcome the participation of Afghanistan.

The most significant takeaway of the Moscow meeting was Russia and China’s announcement to show a ‘flexible approach’ to delisting Afghan individuals from the UN sanctions lists as their contribution to the efforts aimed at launching peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban.

The participants agreed to continue their efforts towards further facilitating the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan according to the known principles of reintegration of the armed opposition into peaceful life, the joint statement reads.

It was not immediately clear how Afghanistan’s government and the United States would react to the move by Beijing and Moscow to remove some Afghan Taliban commanders from the UN sanctions list.

The development, nevertheless, is an indication that both Russia and China are now flexing their muscles to play a more proactive role in the Afghan peace process that could not make any headway due to the current hiccup in ties between Kabul and Islamabad.

The Ghani administration has accused Pakistan of providing sanctuaries to the Afghan Taliban leadership and the Haqqani network. It also asked Islamabad to use force against these groups since Taliban refused to enter into the negotiations.

Pakistan, however, made it clear that it does not harbour any Taliban on its soil and insisted that all-inclusive peace process is the only way forward to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Observers believe that the outcome of trilateral meeting in Moscow is a major diplomatic success for Pakistan since two big powers—Russia and China—vindicated its stance by supporting the Afghan peace process. More importantly, this also showed increased cooperation between Pakistan and Russia, which during the cold-war era were in opposite camps mainly due to the Afghan conflict.

The trilateral meeting in Moscow also means that Pakistan, Russia and China have now convergence of opinion on how to deal with the long running conflict in Afghanistan, where the Da’ish is also trying to establish a foothold.

Kabul slams tripartite meeting in Moscow

The three-way talks in Moscow minced no words in expressing concerns over what they called the ‘deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan’.

They particularly voiced concern regarding the increased activities of extremist groups, including Da’ish-affiliates in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

#India may matter less in the world during #Trump presidency. #Pakistan, #China #Russia #Asia

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/why-india-may-matter-less-in-world-politics-during-a-trump-presidency/story-ipGieaebsZNTaW8JJGOIrJ.html


The diplomatic cover afforded by the Obama administration allowed the Modi government to focus its energies on isolating Pakistan internationally and get away with a heavy-handed policy in Kashmir – both policies that served to bolster the BJP domestically. Russia and China were relatively marginal to India’s diplomatic considerations, even though Delhi valued Moscow as a source of weapons and energy while the enhanced trade with China created a measure of interdependence that managed tensions. Delhi could choose not to participate in China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructural initiative because the US, Western powers and Japan were envisaged as the primary sources of security, legitimacy and resources for India.


This entire calculus now stands upended. Trump is keen on dismantling the pillars of US foreign policy in a manner that makes the US’ political and bureaucratic machinery deeply uncomfortable. He wants to scale back American commitments abroad, he’d like to focus on an ‘America first’ policy and is expected to be explicitly transactional in his dealings with other countries. He has chosen a pro-Russian figure in Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State and picked China hawk Peter Navarro to head the National Trade Council, leading many to anticipate serious tensions with China on trade issues.

Some in Delhi may believe that an aggressive US that counters an assertive China works for India. But policymakers will know that it is one thing to play geopolitical chess in peace time, i.e. strengthen regional partnerships to counter a rising power, and quite another being on the cusp of a US-China conflict in Asia and having to choose sides. It’s not clear if such developments will materialise soon, but the scene of global politics will move to great power dynamics between US, Russia and China. India will be peripheral to the concerns of all three for different reasons.

As far as the US is concerned, it is not clear how much attention Trump will devote to India while he is preoccupied with the inevitable domestic turbulence his presidency will generate and the resetting of ties with Russia and China. India’s leverage abroad now appears to depend on the Washington security establishment’s ability to normalise Trump and make him aware of Delhi’s utility to American strategy in Asia. But that establishment itself will take time recovering and coping with the changes he wants and India as a priority could slip in the process. Trump did not mention India in his foreign policy speech on April 27, 2016 and it is not clear if he has any definite ideas as to what to do with the relationship.

Riaz Haq said...

The “Crises of Room”—Robert Kaplan
January 2, 2017 | Filed under: Security and tagged with: Afghanistan, bombs falling on Gaza, Indian Ocean, social media, West Bank

While the Americans and Europeans focus on globalization, the appeal of nationalism and military power is growing in Eurasia. Missile and bomb tests, biological warfare programs, and the development of chemical weapons are “the products of a prosperous, liberalizing Asia,” Bracken notes. What the West has “failed to recognize” is that the technologies of war and wealth creation have always been closely connected: from Asia’s economic rise has come its military rise. In the early Cold War years, Asian military forces were primarily lumbering, World War II–type armies whose primary purpose, though never stated, was national consolidation.........


But as national wealth accumulated and the computer revolution took hold, Asian militaries from the oil-rich Middle East to the tiger economies of the Pacific developed full-fledged, military-civilian post-industrial complexes, with missiles and fiber optics and cellular phones. ..........

An unbroken belt of countries from Israel to North Korea (including Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, and China) has assembled either nuclear or chemical arsenals and is developing ballistic missiles. A multipolar balance of terror stretches over a 6,000-mile arc, cutting across military and political theaters and regional studies departments into which the West divides up Asia. The “death of distance” is upon us, Bracken warns. Take Japan, which ever since North Korea in 1998 fired a missile across it, landing in the Pacific Ocean, is no longer a zone of sanctuary, but an integral part of mainland Asia military space, despite its archipelagic geography.....

China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and other countries are developing disruptive technologies. In an age of former Third World countries acquiring tactical nuclear weapons, large forward bases like the kind the U.S. military maintained in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prior to the two Gulf wars may henceforth be vulnerable to enemy attack. Such a development promises to hinder America’s projection of power around the Eurasian rimland, and thus pave the way toward a more unstable, multipolar power arrangement......

Bracken warns that nationalism is “dangerously underrated” by Western observers, who see it as part of a retrograde past that economic and social progress moves us beyond. “The most important issue of the twenty-first century is understanding how nationalism combines with the newly destructive technologies appearing in Asia.” As I’ve said, the new nuclear powers, like Pakistan, India, and China, will have poor and lower-middle-class populations, and this will abet a resentful, hot-blooded nationalism in an age when the new military symbols are not armies but missiles and nuclear weapons—the latest totemic objects of the crowd....


Understanding the map of the twenty-first century means accepting grave contradictions. For while some states become militarily stronger, armed with weapons of mass destruction, others, especially in the Greater Middle East, weaken: they spawn substate armies, tied to specific geographies with all of the cultural and religious tradition which that entails, thus they fight better than state armies on the same territory ever could. Southern Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the former Tamil Tigers of northern Sri Lanka, the Maoist Naxalites in eastern and central India, the various pro-Taliban and other Pushtun tribal groupings in northwestern Pakistan, the Taliban itself in Afghanistan, and the plethora of militias in Iraq, especially during the civil war of 2006–2007, are examples of this trend of terrain-specific substate land forces.

Riaz Haq said...

#China makes worldwide ports' investments as great maritime power. #CPEC #Gwadar #Pakistan https://ig.ft.com/sites/china-ports … … via @F

Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is perched on the world’s energy jugular. Sea lanes nearby carry most of China’s oil imports; any disruption could choke the world’s second-largest economy.

Owned, financed and built by China, Gwadar occupies a strategic location. Yet Islamabad and Beijing for years denied any military plans for the harbour, insisting it was a purely commercial project to boost trade. Now the mask is slipping.

“As Gwadar becomes more active as a port, Chinese traffic both commercial and naval will grow to this region,” says a senior foreign ministry official in Islamabad. “There are no plans for a permanent Chinese naval base. But the relationship is stretching out to the sea.”

Gwadar is part of a much bigger ambition, driven by President Xi Jinping, for China to become a maritime superpower. An FT investigation reveals how far Beijing has already come in achieving that objective over the past six years.

Investments into a vast network of harbours across the globe have made Chinese port operators the world leaders. Its shipping companies carry more cargo than those of any other nation — five of the top 10 container ports in the world are in mainland China with another in Hong Kong. Its coastguard has the globe’s largest maritime law enforcement fleet, its navy is the world’s fastest growing among major powers and its fishing armada numbers some 200,000 seagoing vessels.

The emergence of China as a maritime superpower is set to challenge a US command of the seas that has underwritten a crucial element of Pax Americana, the relative period of peace enjoyed in the west since the second world war. As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take power, strategic tensions between China and the US are already evident in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pledged to enforce its claim to disputed islands and atolls. Rex Tillerson, the Trump nominee for US secretary of state, said on Wednesday that Washington should block Beijing’s access to the islands. Relations were also dented over Mr Trump’s warm overtures toward Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province.

China understands maritime influence in the same way as Alfred Thayer Mahan, the 19th century American strategist. “Control of the sea,” Mr Mahan wrote, “by maritime commerce and naval supremacy, means predominant influence in the world; because, however great the wealth of the land, nothing facilitates the necessary exchanges as does the sea.”

Drummed into military service

The Gwadar template, where Beijing used its commercial know-how and financial muscle to secure ownership over a strategic trading base, only to enlist it later into military service, has been replicated in other key locations.

In Sri Lanka, Greece and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, Chinese investment in civilian ports has been followed by deployments or visits of People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels and in some cases announcements of longer term military contingencies.

“There is an inherent duality in the facilities that China is establishing in foreign ports, which are ostensibly commercial but quickly upgradeable to carry out essential military missions,” says Abhijit Singh, senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “They are great for the soft projection of hard power.”

Data compiled or commissioned by the Financial Times from third-party sources show the extent of China’s dominance in most maritime domains.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Is Drifting Away From Japan
Ties thrived in the early post-war period, but lately Japan-Pakistan relations have stalled out.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/01/pakistan-is-drifting-away-from-japan/

Pakistan’s relations with Japan have drifted away in the past decade. In the past six years, there have been no high-level visits between the two countries. The last such exchange came in February 2011, when President Asif Ali Zardari paid a visit to Tokyo. Before that, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro visited Islamabad in April 2005.

For reasons unknown, the incumbent government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not tried to revive diplomatic momentum with Japan. In general, the government has not shown interest in its own ”Vision East Asia” policy, supposed to target outreach toward East Asian countries.

On the contrary, Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi has deepened India’s ties with a number of East Asian countries, from Mongolia to Fiji. Pakistan’s foreign policy, however, remained inactive with East Asia, even though an active ”Go East” policy is the need of the hour in line with India’s ”Act East” policy. Pakistan’s foreign policy community has not broadened their focus beyond the country’s fundamental issues with India, Afghanistan, and the United States.

In the region of Southeast Asia, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made only one visit, to Thailand in 2013. Other than China, East Asian countries are not on the diplomatic radar of the Sharif government, which is seemingly unaware that Japan, ASEAN, and South Korea are all important diplomatic and economic points for carving out a strong foreign policy in the region.

In the long run, Pakistan might pay a heavy price for neglecting East Asia. The Asia-Pacific is a highly crucial region in today’s international politics. Pakistani diplomats are not fully equipped to respond to increasing challenges in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific in general, even though the region is of vital importance to China, a close friend of Pakistan.

Japan used to be an important pillar of Pakistani diplomacy and economics. There was cordial diplomacy between Pakistan and Japan, starting right after Pakistan’s independence. Japan was a source of aspiration as Pakistan constructed it industry and economy in the 1950s and 1960s. Meanwhile, it was Pakistan that pleaded the case for postwar Japan, including early restoration of its sovereignty and economy. In one sense, Japanese post-war diplomacy in Asia began with Pakistan when they exchanged high-level visits in 1957.

Despite this rich history, at present, Japan’s economic activities in Pakistan are quite limited. Unlike China, Japan is not offering or participating in any national mega projects in Pakistan. Maybe for Japan, the situation is “not ripe” for business and investment in Pakistan “at the moment” — at least, these have been Japanese traditional pretexts for not doing business and investing in Pakistan.

It is true that Pakistan’s domestic situation, including apathy from government departments and terrorism, forced Japan to stay at bay for a long time. However, the situation has much improved now, including drastic changes in Pakistan’s economic fundamentals.

Today, the main issue might be the way China is welcomed in Pakistan, given Japan’s own tensions with its East Asian neighbor. Japan has historical differences with China and Pakistan has historically friendly ties with China. In the maritime dispute between China and Japan, Pakistan leans toward China; Japanese diplomats often grumble about this in private.

For Japan, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a source of irritation; Japanese analysts argue that Chinese mega projects will not produce tangible results for Pakistan. There has been no official response from Japan on CPEC as of yet; the Japanese government is reluctant to give its opinion because of the growing enmity with China. CPEC offers huge investment and collaborative opportunities, but Japanese companies are disinclined to join in.

Riaz Haq said...

Stratfor recommends #America use divide-and-conquer strategy in the #MidEast #Iran #SaudiArabia #Sunni #Shia #ISIS https://geopoliticalfutures.com/us-strategies-in-the-middle-east/ …

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/us-strategies-in-the-middle-east/


From the beginning of American history, the U.S. has used the divisions in the world to achieve its ends. The American Revolution prevailed by using the ongoing tension between Britain and France to convince the French to intervene. In World War II, facing Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union, the United States won the war by supplying the Soviets with the wherewithal to bleed the German army dry, opening the door to American invasion and, with Britain, the occupation of Europe.
Unless you have decisive and overwhelming power, your only options are to decline combat, vastly increase your military force at staggering cost and time, or use divergent interests to recruit a coalition that shares your strategic goal. Morally, the third option is always a painful strategy. The United States asking monarchists for help in isolating the British at Yorktown was in a way a deal with the devil. The United States allying with a murderous and oppressive Soviet Union to defeat another murderous and oppressive regime was also a deal with the devil. George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt both gladly made these deals, each knowing a truth about strategy: What comes after the war comes after the war. For now, the goal is to reach the end of the war victorious.

In the case of the Middle East, I would argue that the United States lacks the forces or even a conceivable strategy to crush either the Sunni rising or Iran. Iran is a country of about 80 million defended to the west by rugged mountains and to the east by harsh deserts. This is the point where someone inevitably will say that the U.S. should use air power. This is the point where I will say that whenever Americans want to win a war without paying the price, they fantasize about air power because it is low-cost and irresistible. Air power is an adjunct to war on the ground. It has never proven to be an effective alternative.
The idea that the United States will simultaneously wage wars in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and emerge victorious is fantasy. What is not fantasy is the fact that the Islamic world, both strategically and tactically, is profoundly divided. The United States must decide who is the enemy. “Everybody” is an emotionally satisfying answer to some, but it will lead to defeat. The United States cannot fight everyone from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush. It can indefinitely carry out raids and other operations, but it can’t win.
To craft an effective strategy, the United States must go back to the strategic foundations of the republic: a willingness to ally with one enemy to defeat another. The goal should be to ally with the weaker enemy, or the enemy with other interests, so that one war does not immediately lead to another. At this moment, the Sunnis are weaker than the Iranians. But there are far more Sunnis, they cover a vast swath of ground and they are far more energized than Iran. Currently, Iran is more powerful, but I would argue the Sunnis are more dangerous. Therefore, I am suggesting an alignment with the Iranians, not because they are any more likable (and neither were Stalin or Louis XVI), but because they are the convenient option.
The Iranians hate and fear the Sunnis. Any opportunity to crush the Sunnis will appeal. The Iranians are also as cynical as George Washington was. But in point of fact, an alliance with the Sunnis against the Shiites could also work. The Sunnis despise the Iranians, and given the hope of crushing them, the Sunnis could be induced to abandon terrorism. There are arguments to be made on either side, as there is in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Response to Hybrid War on CPEC?
The over 100 Pakistani martyrs who were killed over the past week as part of the joint US-Indian Hybrid War on CPEC don’t need to have their sacrifices be in vain.

By Andrew Korybko - February 17, 2017


http://regionalrapport.com/2017/02/17/pakistans-response-hybrid-war-cpec/

Pakistan was attacked by terrorists over the past five days when eight separate blasts ripped through the country and reminded the world that Islamabad is on the front-lines in the War on Terror. Unlike after the end of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, this time it wasn’t just ‘wayward freedom fighters’ boomeranging back to their home base and setting off a chain reaction of blowback, but dyed-in-the-wool terrorists hell-bent on wreaking as much havoc as possible in order to offset China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Old Tactics for New Reasons

This major contextual difference is attributable to the redefined geostrategic significance of South Asia across the past couple of years. The CPEC has become the driver of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity and the poster project for the emerging Multipolar World Order, thus making Pakistan the “Zipper of Pan-Eurasian Integration” at the “Convergence of Civilizations”.

The US and its unipolar allies such as India have a completely different conception for how the future should look, and are dead-set opposed to CPEC for the simple reason that it would undermine their hegemonic ambitions. Instead of joining the project and contributing to a win-win solution for all of Eurasia, Washington and New Delhi have decided to sabotage CPEC out of the pursuit of their own subjectively defined self-interests.

Pursuant to this goal, both actors utilize Afghan-based terrorists in order to destabilize Pakistan, understanding that this can in turn reduce the attractiveness of CPEC to international investors and partners. The thinking goes that if high-profile terrorist attacks capture the global media’s attention, they’ll inevitably succeed in leading the worldwide audience to once more inaccurately conflating Pakistan with instability, which in turn feeds speculation and thus creates a dire risk for the business vitality of CPEC.

Riaz Haq said...

It seems that only small European or island nations like Britain, Spain and Portugal focussed on building navies for "exploration" and "trade" that later led to colonization of America, Asia and Europe.

Henry Kissinger in his book "On China" explains why China failed to rule the world in spite of having a long coast and a large fleet in 1400s.

Kissinger traces this failure to the decision under a Ming ruler to disband its massive Navy in 1433 that was built by a Muslim Chinese Admiral Zeng He.

Here's an excerpt of "On China" by Henry Kissinger:

"Zeng He was a singular figure in the age of exploration: a Chinese Muslim eunuch conscripted into imperial service as a child, he fits no obvious historical precedent. At each stop on his journey, he formally proclaimed the magnificence of China's new Emperor, bestowed lavish gifts on the rulers he encountered, and invited them to travel in person or send envoys to China. There, they were to acknowledge their place in the Sinocentric world order by performing the ritual "kpwtow" to acknowledge the the Emperor's superiority. Yet beyond China's greatness and issuing invitations to portentous ritual, Zeng He displayed no territorial ambition. .....Zeng He's expeditions abruptly stopped in 1433, coincident with the recurrence of threats along China's northern frontier. The next Emperor ordered the fleet dismantled and the records of Zeng He's voyages destroyed.

The expeditions were never repeated. Though Chinese traders continued to ply the routes Zeng He sailed, China's naval abilities faded---so much so that the Ming rulers' response to subsequent menace of piracy off China's southeast was to attempt forced migration of the coastal population ten miles inland."


https://books.google.com/books?id=4pFfYliTIMkC&pg=PT19&dq=chinese+admiral+zheng+he+kissinger+on+china&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0pP3W6KbSAhUFMGMKHYj4CjAQ6wEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=chinese%20admiral%20zheng%20he%20kissinger%20on%20china&f=true

Riaz Haq said...

President #Trump: Replace The US $ With #Gold As The Global Currency To Make #America Great Again via @forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2017/02/25/president-trump-replace-the-dollar-with-gold-as-the-global-currency-to-make-america-great-again/#5936ed0a4d54

Inside President Trump’s otherwise “standard Trump stump speech” at CPAC was nestled what might be a most intriguing observation:

Global cooperation, dealing with other countries, getting along with other countries is good, it’s very important. But there is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency or a global flag. This is the United States of America that I’m representing.

There's a keen insight in there that could, just maybe, transform our lives, America, and the world. No "global currency?" Was this, with the poetic observation that “there is no such thing as a global anthem…or a global flag,” just a trope? Or could it contain a political portent with potential high impact on world financial markets? Let’s drill down.

As it happens, there is a global currency.

It’s called the "U.S. dollar.”

Most international trade is priced in dollars. The Bretton Woods international monetary system invested the dollar, which then was defined as and (internationally) was legally convertible to gold at $35/oz, with global currency status. France’s then-finance minister, later its president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, called the “reserve currency” status of the dollar -- its status, along with gold, as global currency -- an “exorbitant privilege.”

By this d'Estaing was alluding to the fact, as summarized at Wikipedia, that "As American economist Barry Eichengreen summarized: 'It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries had to pony up $100 of actual goods in order to obtain one.'" That privilege, which made great sense during the period immediately after World War II, became a curse.

In 1971 President Nixon, under the influence of his Svengali-like Treasury Secretary John Connally, "suspend[ed] temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold." That closure proved durable instead of temporary. The dollar became, and remains, the world's global currency.

What had been an “exorbitant privilege” devolved into an exorbitant liability. As my former professional colleague John D. Mueller, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, formerly Rep. Jack Kemp's chief economist, writing in the Wall Street Journal in Trump's Real Trade Problem Is Money recently and astutely observed:

a monetary system based on a reserve currency is unsustainable, since foreign official dollar reserves (for example) are acquired and must be repaid in goods. In other words, the increase in official dollar reserves equals the net exports of the rest of the world, which means it must also equal U.S. international payments deficits—an unsustainable situation.

In other words, if President Trump wishes to address America’s merchandise trade deficit (balanced to perfection, of course, by a capital accounts surplus) he will find that allowing the dollar to be used as the global currency is the real snake in the economic woodpile. The dollar’s burden as the international reserve currency, not currency manipulation by our trading partners or bad treaties, is the true villain in the ongoing melodrama of crummy job creation.

Riaz Haq said...

#India must join #China #Pakistan One Belt, One Road #CPEC initiative to stay in the game via @htTweets

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/india-must-involve-itself-in-the-china-pakistan-one-belt-one-road-initiative-to-stay-in-the-game/story-uTtxhRzcn8iCnUHsB91haJ.html

The recently held strategic dialogue between India and China provides a useful reality check on the state of the play. Over the past year, the relationship had reached an impasse owing to China’s unwillingness to support India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and to allow Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed to be placed on the United Nations Security Council’s terror list.

In both cases India had insisted that these were litmus tests of its ties with China. New Delhi’s stance stemmed from an under-estimation of the growing importance of Pakistan to China and from an over-estimation of its own clout. If the former underscored the inability of the government to get the measure of China-Pakistan convergence, the latter flowed from the curious belief that international influence was mostly about talking ourselves up.

-------------

The prospect of a trade war sparked off by Trump’s imposition of tariffs is surely a major cause for concern to the Chinese leadership. But they also know that United States does not hold all the chips. For one thing, China can retaliate against American exports on a range of things from aircraft to soya bean. More importantly, American tariffs will undercut global value chains and the accompanying deep integration of regulatory systems — commercial laws, taxation, intellectual property rights — fostered assiduously by the US in the past.

While this will hurt China in the short run, it also provided Beijing an opening to reorient economic integration in Asia under its leadership and on more congenial terms.

The collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the rolling out of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative have already provided Beijing the perfect setting in which to pursue a more ambitious agenda of Asian connectivity and integration. Chinese economists have also mooted ideas to channel a greater portion of Asian savings into investments in Asia — instead of persisting with the current pattern of effectively sending those savings to the US and allowing American banks and financial institutions to reinvest them in Asia. All this will take time and enormous effort, but the Chinese are well poised.

Politically, too, Beijing will stand to gain from Trump’s attitude towards longstanding partners in Asia. If an ally like Australia — which stood by the US even during the Vietnam War — came in for rough treatment, what are the odds that others are going to have smooth relationship with the Trump administration? To be sure, many of these countries will continue to be concerned about China but the emergence of countervailing coalitions may become difficult.

Unlike Beijing, New Delhi does not have many cards to play. Despite repeated expressions of interest, India’s record in fostering economic integration even in the subcontinent is underwhelming. Further, New Delhi has firmly refused to sign up to the Chinese OBOR initiative. The two sides did, however, discuss the possibility of cooperating on developmental activities in Afghanistan. Again, while this is welcome, New Delhi should recognise that Beijing does not really need to work with it in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#China’s Economic Deals May Buy It Influence in #Pakistan That Eluded US #America. #CPEC

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/06/chinas-economic-deals-may-buy-it-pakistani-influence-us-long-sought/

US Military Aid on the Decline, Ties Seen Waning
by Jason Ditz, March 06, 2017
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Large-scale military aid has been seen by a number of US Administrations as the sure-fire, one-size-fits-all solution for buying allies, and seeing value in cozying up to Pakistan during the occupation of Afghanistan, the US started throwing billions upon billions at Pakistan’s military.

It bought limited support, as US drone strikes and other regional policies were fueling anti-US sentiment at least as fast as the government to sign checks to try to keep the government placated. In recent years, the US is backing away from even trying.

China, however, sees Pakistan as a potentially valuable economic partner, and in the course of setting up massive economic deals is also offering substantial support for Pakistan’s infrastructure. Unlike the US military aid, which was always seen as cynical attempts to buy politicians, China’s aid seems to be embraced more broadly, with hopes that Pakistan’s struggling economy can get a rub from China’s massive growth.

In a nation with a long history of military coups, the US may have miscalculated in thinking they could buy Pakistan’s support with military aid, and China may go farther with efforts aimed primarily at helping state-run Chinese companies operating in Pakistan than that aid ever did.

Riaz Haq said...

#China Set to Lead the World in Intellectual Property by Surpassing #US, #Japan #Patent Filings in 2017

http://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/03/16/2017/china-set-lead-world-intellectual-property

ALEX FREW MCMILLAN

Who says nothing original comes out of China?

Within two years, my adopted home nation is set to surpass the United States in terms of the number of patents its citizens seek, according to newly released data. Already, two Chinese companies lead the world in seeking to protect their intellectual property.

Telecommunications- and networking-equipment maker ZTE (ZTCOY) , based in Shenzhen just across the mainland border from me here in Hong Kong, last year zoomed past its crosstown rival, the telecommunications- and networking-equipment maker Huawei Technologies, as the biggest filer of international patents in the world.

Yes, as a nation the United States took top spot for the 39th straight year running, making up 24.3% of the 233,000 patent applications filed in 2016 under the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2016.

Japan was next in line, accounting for 19.4% of the filings, and China came in third with 18.5% of the total. For corporate filers, Qualcomm (QCOM) ranked next after the Shenzhen telecom suppliers, with Mitsubishi Electric (MIELY) and LG Electronics (LPL) after that. As a result, Asia accounts for just under half, 47%, of all patent filings around the world.

Digital communications and computer technology are the leading fields for patent protection, with total patent requests for all industries up 7.3% over the previous year. All the figures are coming courtesy the World Intellectual Property Organization. The group just released 2016 stats on patents, trademarks and industrial designs.

On a nation-by-nation basis, it's China -- so often a source of counterfeiting and fakes -- that is driving the growth. The Middle Kingdom's filings rose 44% in 2016 and it has posted double-digit growth in patents every year since 2002. It's a dramatic shift for a nation that wasn't invited to trade pacts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as much because it couldn't abide by its intellectual-property protections as any political considerations.

"China-based filers are behind much of the growth in international patent and trademark filings, making great strides in internationalizing their businesses as the country continues its journey from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China'," the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Francis Gurry, said in announcing the results.

No doubt about it, China has a long history of imitation that verges on forgery. Its artists were encouraged to copy the works of the masters for years before attempting anything so daring as a creation of their own. Confucian society prizes traditional values and deference to elders. And under the Communist Party, it's best to toe the party line rather than get too many upstart ideas about various freedoms.

But China is changing at a pace that is unheralded in modern society. After Deng Xiaoping creaked the door to its walled-off economy open in 1979, promising "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," the country hasn't missed a beat. It has leaped from an agricultural economy of peasants right through an industrial revolution that lasted decades, not centuries, and on into a post-industrial world, at least on the east coast.

Capitalism with Chinese characteristics is more like it. China is communist in party only, and its leaders would frankly prefer if everyone stuck to the business of making money rather than thinking too closely about who they would like to see in charge.

Riaz Haq said...

#UN Security Council Endorses #CPEC (#Pakistan) and #China's #OBOR projects. #India unhappy. # via @htTweets

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/un-security-council-resolution-includes-china-s-bri-india-s-pok-claims-in-jeopardy/story-k6isroFAMdnlA6NtX4nPKN.html


A UN Security Council resolution has for the first time incorporated China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a multi-billion inter-continental connectivity mission that has a flagship project passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The resolution, which extends an ongoing UN assistance mission to Afghanistan, says international efforts should be strengthened to implement the BRI, President Xi Jinping’s legacy project about which he first spoke in 2013.

Beijing claims it has rounded up at least 100 countries in BRI’s support, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

India is yet to sign up for the initiative. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar spelt it out to the Chinese government in February that India has a “sovereignty” issue with the BRI because its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through PoK. According to diplomats, India endorsing the BRI would mean giving up its claims on PoK.

The UN endorsing the BRI could complicate the situation as far as India’s claims are concerned.

The resolution in question renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for one year. In it, the 15-nation UN body urged to promote security and stability in Afghanistan and the region “to create a community of shared future for mankind”.

“Also included in the newly adopted council resolution was China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes,” official news agency Xinhua reported.

The resolution “welcomes and urges further efforts to strengthen the process of regional economic cooperation, including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and transit, including through regional development initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) Initiative”.

The council resolution urged “further international efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and implement the Belt and Road Initiative”.

Besides the BRI, the resolution also mentions other projects like “regional development projects, such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project, the Chabahar port project agreed between Afghanistan, India and the Islamic Republic of lran”.

China has taken the inclusion of BRI in a UN resolution as a diplomatic victory of sorts.

Riaz Haq said...

TRUMP PREPARES TO PASS THE WORLD LEADERSHIP BATON TO CHINA
Posted by Fareed Zakaria on March 17, 2017 ·

https://fareedzakaria.com/2017/03/17/trump-prepares-to-pass-the-world-leadership-baton-to-china/


We do not yet have the official agenda for next month’s meeting in Florida between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But after 75 years of U.S. leadership on the world stage, the Mar-a-Lago summit might mark the beginning of a handover of power from the United States to China. Trump has embraced a policy of retreat from the world, opening a space that will be eagerly filled by the Communist Party of China.
Trump railed against China on the campaign trail, bellowing that it was “raping” the United States. He vowed to label it a currency manipulator on his first day in office. But in his first interaction with Beijing, he caved. Weeks after his election, Trump speculated that he might upgrade relations with Taiwan. In response, Xi froze all contacts between Beijing and Washington on all issues, demanding that Trump reverse himself — which is exactly what happened. (Perhaps just coincidentally, a few weeks later, the Chinese government granted the Trump Organization dozens of trademark rights in China, with a speed and on a scale that surprised many experts.)
The Trump administration’s vision for disengagement from the world is a godsend for China. Look at Trump’s proposed budget, which would cut spending on “soft power” — diplomacy, foreign aid, international organizations — by 28 percent. Beijing, by contrast, has quadrupled the budget of its foreign ministry in the past decade. And that doesn’t include its massive spending on aid and development across Asia and Africa. Just tallying some of Beijing’s key development commitments, George Washington University’s David Shambaugh estimates the total at $1.4 trillion, compared with the Marshall Plan, which in today’s dollars would cost about $100 billion.
China’s growing diplomatic strength matters. An Asian head of government recently told me that at every regional conference, “Washington sends a couple of diplomats, whereas Beijing sends dozens. The Chinese are there at every committee meeting, and you are not.” The result, he said, is that Beijing is increasingly setting the Asian agenda.
The Trump administration wants to skimp on U.S. funding for the United Nations. This is music to Chinese ears. Beijing has been trying to gain influence in the global body for years. It has increased its funding for the U.N. across the board and would likely be delighted to pick up the slack as the United States withdraws. As Foreign Policy magazine’s Colum Lynch observes, China has already become the second-largest funder of U.N. peacekeeping and has more peacekeepers than the other four permanent Security Council members combined. Of course, in return for this, China will gain increased influence, from key appointments to shifts in policy throughout the U.N. system.
The first major act of the Trump administration was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty that would have opened up long-closed economies such as Japan and Vietnam, but also would have created a bloc that could stand up to China’s increasing domination of trade in Asia. The TPP was, in Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words, “a litmus test” of U.S. credibility in Asia. With Washington’s withdrawal, even staunchly pro-American allies such as Australia are hedging their bets. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has raised the possibility of China joining the TPP, essentially turning a group that was meant to be a deterrent against China into one more arm of Chinese influence.

Riaz Haq said...

#China to spend $300 billion to boost #hightech industries for self-sufficiency. Western tech firms worried.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/business/china-trade-manufacturing-miao-wei.html?_r=0

Made in China 2025, is designed to juice economic development in emerging industries by providing $300 billion in low-cost loans, research funds and other government aid.

But big companies in the rest of the world worry that the program gives an unfair advantage to homegrown players, with the stated goal of Chinese companies’ owning as much as 80 percent of specific domestic markets in eight years.

China’s minister of industry and information technology, Miao Wei, said the new policy was not meant to wall off the country’s companies from outside competition. Yet he also conceded, without offering specifics, that the plan might need changes.

“We never thought about closing ourselves and doing it only at home, but I think we need some adjustments,” he said on the second day of the China Development Forum, a three-day gathering of senior Chinese economic policy makers with corporate leaders and top economists from around the world.

And while China may want more local suppliers in some sectors, Mr. Miao said, in most industries “we still open up and welcome foreign companies to China.”

The Chinese program plays into the increasing sensitivities over global trade.

While President Xi Jinping of China has trumpeted the merits of globalization, his country has also been criticized for protectionist policies that favor Chinese companies. Adding to the frictions, President Trump has espoused an America First strategy, specifically calling out China on trade and currency.

Western companies fear that the Made in China policy could be used to justify government demands to hand over their latest technology as the price of staying in the Chinese market. They also worry that government-backed investment funds and other resources could be used to acquire many Western companies with key technologies while subsidizing their Chinese rivals.

One of the most contentious parts of the plan is how the country wants to meet Chinese demand with Chinese products. The two main approaches — requiring that a large part of a product’s value be created in China or setting a specific market share for domestic players — are strictly prohibited by the World Trade Organization.


Riaz Haq said...

#China ramped up its #research spending at an avg of 19.5 percent annually from 2003-2013. #tech http://www.computerworld.com/article/3182792/it-industry/5-reasons-why-china-will-rule-tech-2017-edition.html … via @computerworld

1. China’s big science ambitions include a moon base

In the 1950s, the U.S. considered establishing a 12-man Army base on the moon by 1965. The idea was too ambitious for the time and was dropped. Meanwhile, China has set its sights on a permanent lunar base.

2. China wants to win in high-performance computing

U.S. scientists -- including those at the National Security Agency -- believe China will soon lead the world in supercomputing.

“National security requires the best computing available, and loss of leadership in high performance computing (HPC) will severely compromise our national security,” wrote NSA and Energy Department scientists in a recent report.

3. China is attacking U.S. semiconductor dominance

For all its investment and advances, China is at least one and a half generations behind state-of-the-art semiconductors, according to a White House report released in January by President Barack Obama, just days before Trump took office. It was written with industry cooperation.

The report provides insights into criticisms that Trump leveled at China over trade practices. In its push to be first, China isn’t playing fair, the report states.

4. China plans to exceed the U.S. in R&D

China’s investment in R&D is rising so rapidly that the country is expected to surpass the U.S. in overall spending by 2020. This doesn’t necessarily mean that China is doing a better job at innovation. Other measures, such as patents registered in multiple countries, continue to point to the U.S. as the innovation leader.

5. China’s leadership is focused on science

During the campaign, Trump said he supported investment in science, but his proposed 2018 budget cuts science spending.

The cuts are so deep they “threaten our nation’s ability to advance cures for disease, maintain our technological leadership, ensure a more prosperous energy future, and train the next generation of scientists and innovators to address the complex challenges we face today and in the future,” said Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Riaz Haq said...

India shouldn’t drag China into dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir: Expert

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/india-shouldn-t-drag-china-into-dispute-with-pakistan-over-kashmir-expert/story-r03UI9SKyLs4nBIwfbjXEL.html

China needs to have access to ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to move its huge shipments of cargo to other parts of the world, said Wang Zhan, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament, and president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

“I know India has lot of disagreements with the CPEC to Gwadar port. But if you are Chinese, considering (the situation in) Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, you would be looking for alternative passageways. We have so much cargo, we surely need the ports. We have to pass by the Indian Ocean to reach Europe,” he said.

Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the just-concluded NPC session, Wang said: “I know India and Pakistan have a dispute over (Kashmir.) If we go through the Kashmir area, which belongs to India, its a problem of sovereignty (for India) but now Pakistan has the right of administration (over PoK). So, it’s a problem between India and Pakistan and doesn’t relate to China.”

Wang, who is also managing director of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said China wasn’t the first country to bring up the Silk Road plan to connect regions and continents.

“Japan brought up the Silk Road in 1990s, an American Harvard professor brought it up in 2005, and Hillary Clinton brought it up in 2011. They all brought up the Silk Road concept earlier than China,” he said, adding some proposals were north to south and China’s east to west.

“If all the projects in these plans could be realised, the countries touched in the plans would definitely develop, and the economic development would decrease the element of war and chaos,” he added.

Wang said China’s increasing investments in infrastructure, such as ports, in South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka is purely for economic reasons.

“For sure it’s for economic reasons. You can know the answer by the map. India is a peninsula, the trade between Europe and China have to pass by the sea near India and Sri Lanka. It’s decided by geography. We can’t go by Antarctica. If you think from China’s view, you will do the same,” he said.

Referring to China’s objections to India drilling for oil in the South China Sea, Wang blamed Vietnam for the confusion.

“In the 1970s, the Vietnamese had completely agreed that South China Sea belongs to China. Later, they occupied 29 islands and built infrastructure. India drilled for oil in the same area, so we protested. The South China Sea is China’s lifeline. It’s not necessary for India to get involved in the South China Sea disputes,” Wang said.

Riaz Haq said...

#China now produces 8 million #University graduates a year, twice as many as the #USA. #education

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/04/higher-education-in-china-has-boomed-in-the-last-decade

A record-breaking 8m students will graduate from Chinese universities in 2017. This figure is nearly ten times higher than it was in 1997 and is more than double the number of students who will graduate this year in the US.

Just two decades ago, higher education in China was a rare privilege enjoyed by a small, urban elite. But everything changed in 1999, when the government launched a program to massively expand university attendance. In that year alone university admissions increased by nearly 50% and this average annual growth rate persisted for the next 15 years, creating the largest influx of university educated workers into the labour market in history.

Annual enrolment of new students in higher education institutions.Author provided

Growth in the number of engineering students has been particularly explosive as part of the government’s push to develop a technical workforce which can drive innovation. But overall student numbers have increased in all subjects – even in the humanities and social sciences. New universities have sprung up and student enrolment numbers have rocketed. The second most popular subject major is in fact literature – and the fastest growing is law.

Underemployment

In 2013, Chinese citizens started blogging about the “hardest job hunting season in history” – and each year it seems to get harder for Chinese graduates. In 2017 there will be 1m more new graduates than there were in 2013. And yet, the graduate unemployment rate has remained relatively stable – according to MyCOS Research Institute, only 8% of students who graduated in 2015 were unemployed six months after graduating.

But if you delve a little deeper it’s clear that unemployment rates mask the more subtle issue of “underemployment”. While most graduates eventually find work, too many end up in part-time, low-paid jobs.

Six months after graduating, one in four Chinese university students have a salary that is below the average salary of a migrant worker, according to MyCOS data. History, law and literature have some of the lowest starting salaries, and also the lowest employment rates.

And for students who choose arts and humanities subjects in high school, the average starting salary after university is lower than that of their classmates who didn’t go to university, according to survey data. Of the 50 most common graduate occupations, 30% are low-skilled and don’t require a degree. For these students, low starting salaries and limited career progression call into question the value of their degree.

The high cost of living, particularly in big cities, has also forced millions of graduates into “ant tribes” of urban workers living in squalid conditions – often in basements – working long hours in low-paid jobs.

The big divide

But for a different group of graduates, the contrast is striking. Engineering, economics and science majors in China all enjoy high starting salaries and the top employment rates. These graduates fill the highest-paid entry positions in the most attractive employment sectors of IT, operations, real estate and finance. Chinese tech graduates do particularly well. In 2015 the top five highest paying graduate jobs were all IT related.

Riaz Haq said...

#China’s new world order. #US #India #Pakistan #CPEC #OBOR

by Zahid Hussain

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333603

CHINA recently hosted 29 heads of state and government at the Belt and Road Forum, reinforcing the country’s claim to leadership of an emerging geopolitical and economic world order. The summit conference that also attracted representatives of more than 40 other countries and multilateral financial agencies was the clearest expression yet of China breaking out of its old foreign policy mould that had restrained it from attempting a global role.

China’s multibillion-dollar One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure development project linking the old Silk Road with Europe, is a manifestation of China’s growing geopolitical ambitions. A brainchild of President Xi Jinping, perhaps, the most powerful Chinese leader after Mao Zedong, OBOR has now been under development for four years, spanning 68 countries and accounting for up to 40 per cent of global GDP.

President Xi’s ambition of propelling China to centre stage of the global power game represents a sharp departure from the approach of previous Chinese leaders who strictly adhered to Deng Xiaoping’s tenet to “hide our capabilities and bide our time, never try to take the lead”. Thus over the past two decades, China has avoided being drawn into global conflicts and has completely focused its energies on development that helped it to become an economic superpower.

China’s push to take the world leadership has come at a time when a strong anti-globalisation wave is sweeping the Western world that is showing a growing tendency of returning to more protectionist regimes. The United States under the Trump administration with its inward-looking approach has virtually abandoned the mantle of globalisation thus ceding greater space to Beijing’s assertion.

--------------------------

Although Beijing downplays geostrategic motivations, CPEC represents an international extension of China’s effort to deliver security through economic development. Notwithstanding their growing strategic cooperation, terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan have remained a major source of worry for the Chinese government. China’s security concerns, especially those that arise from its restive region of Xinjiang, and the Islamist militancy threatening Pakistan’s stability have also been a strong factor in Beijing’s new approach to achieving security through economic development.

This growing Pakistan-China strategic alliance has also exposed the regional geopolitical fault lines. Predictably, India boycotted the Beijing forum citing serious reservations about the project, particularly regarding China-funded development in Gilgit-Baltistan that is linked to the Kashmir dispute. Yet another excuse given by the Indian authorities was that a trans-regional project of this magnitude required wider consultation.

Explore: Is India trying to convince the world China’s OBOR plan is secretly colonial?

Despite their geopolitical rivalry and long-standing border dispute, trade between India and China has grown significantly crossing $100bn. But there have been some visible signs of tension between the two most populous nations in the past few years with the strengthening of ties between Washington and New Delhi. India has openly sided with the US and Japan against China over the South China Sea issue.

Indeed, the success of the summit has provoked a strong reaction from Delhi. So much so that some leading commentators have called for tougher action to obstruct the OBOR project. “Far from this, CPEC (the life and soul of OBOR) threatens India’s territorial integrity in a manner unseen since 1962,” Samir Saran, a leading Indian commentator wrote in an op-ed piece.

Notwithstanding the scepticism, OBOR is a new geo-economic reality representing an emerging world order. The process cannot be reversed.

Riaz Haq said...

U.S. #Pentagon says #China likely to build more mil overseas bases, maybe in #Pakistan after #Djibouti http://reut.rs/2rSapDG via @Reuters

A Pentagon report released on Tuesday singled out Pakistan as a possible location for a future Chinese military base, as it forecast that Beijing would likely build more bases overseas after establishing a facility in the African nation of Djibouti.

The prediction came in a 97-page annual report to Congress that saw advances throughout the Chinese military in 2016, funded by robust defense spending that the Pentagon estimated exceeded $180 billion.

That is higher than China's official defense budget figure of 954.35 billion yuan ($140.4 billion). Chinese leaders, the U.S. report said, appeared committed to defense spending hikes for the "foreseeable future," even as economic growth slows.

The report repeatedly cited China's construction of its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, which is already home to a key U.S. military base and is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

"China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan," the report said.

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

The report did not address India's potential reaction to a Chinese base in Pakistan.

But Pakistan, the U.S. report noted, was already the primary market in the Asian-Pacific region for Chinese arms exports. That region accounted for $9 billion of the more than $20 billion in Chinese arms exports from 2011 to 2015.

Last year, China signed an agreement with Pakistan for the sale of eight submarines.

QUANTUM SATELLITE, CYBER HACKS

The Pentagon report flagged Chinese military advances, including in space and at sea.

It cited China's 2016 launch of the first experimental quantum communications satellite, acknowledging that it represented a "notable advance in cryptography research."

As in past years, the Pentagon renewed its concerns about cyber spying, saying U.S. government-owned computers were again targeted by China-based intrusions through 2016.

"These and past intrusions focused on accessing networks and extracting information," the report said.

"China uses its cyber capabilities to support intelligence collection against U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors."

In a section discussing China's Navy, the report predicted that China's first domestically designed and produced aircraft carrier would likely reach initial operating capability in 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

#India & #Pakistan in 8-member #SCO a boon for regional stability, development. #China #Russia #SCOsummit @XHNews http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/08/c_136349784.htm …

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will witness its first-ever expansion at the upcoming Kazakhstan summit.
The inclusion of India and Pakistan, both major countries in the region, demonstrates the organization's growing appeal.
Once New Delhi and Islamabad officially in, the eight-member bloc will then cover nearly half of the world's population and three-fifths of the Eurasian continent. Its role in promoting regional stability and prosperity would thus be greatly boosted.
Since its founding in 2001, the SCO has encountered numerous naysayers and critics who have questioned its motives, principles and development.
Yet the organization's steadfast commitments to peace and growth in some of the world's most volatile nations have remained unshaken over the years.
That's because the SCO countries have shared great needs to maintain peace and security in the region, and even greater needs to foster faster economic development. These common interests outweigh their differences in political systems, cultures, social textures and levels of economic development.
After India and Pakistan are admitted to the SCO, they will enjoy broader anti-terrorism intelligence sharing with other partners within the bloc.
A mature multilateral mechanism such as the SCO will also help the two countries strengthen their trust-building process and enable them to work together to combat their common enemy -- terrorism.
Moreover, the SCO could also serve as a platform to better promote their shared economic and trade development, especially cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
"The SCO has never been just a security group from the beginning. The Belt and Road Initiative offers a timely and convenient framework for the SCO members to facilitate connectivity and ultimately, achieve free flows of goods, capital, service and technology," said Sheng Shiliang, a researcher at the Xinhua Center for World Affairs Studies.
Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary-general of the SCO Research Center affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said "comprehensive cooperation at all levels as part of the regional integration process is unstoppable. India cannot keep itself from this general trend for too long, it will come and join in like this time, sooner or later."
The impressive performance of the SCO in the past 16 years deserves greater global confidence in its ability to dispel doubts and divergences.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping and other heads of state gather in Astana for the SCO summit on Thursday and Friday, the world can expect that the organization, by absorbing two major regional countries, can help promote regional unity in the quest for a more secure and prosperous future.

Riaz Haq said...

The Thucydides trap

https://www.dawn.com/news/1272772


THE ancient Greek historian Thucydides theorised that when an established power encountered a rising power, a conflict between them was inevitable. Today, the US, the current global hegemon, and China, the rising power, appear to be hurtling towards the Thucydides trap.

As the former Chinese foreign policy czar, Dai Bingguo, recalled at a US-China conference, in a little over 40 years China-US relations have “produced tremendous and extraordinary outcomes”: in bilateral trade and investment, restraining threats to peace and security and addressing global problems.

However, the US now clearly perceives China’s rise as a threat to its global pre-eminence. President Obama announced a US ‘pivot’ to Asia three years ago. The pivot is now firmly under way.

Two-thirds of US naval power is being deployed to the Pacific. The US is building a ring of alliances with countries around China’s periphery: from South Korea to Afghanistan. It has interposed itself in China’s maritime disputes; accused China of unfair trade, cyber attacks and espionage and human rights violations; excluded China from the US-sponsored Transpacific Trade Partnership and boycotted the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

-------------------


In response to growing Indo-US military cooperation, China could ‘activate’ the northern disputed border, extend its naval operations into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, further enhance its strategic partnership with Pakistan and intensify efforts to build greater influence in Afghanistan and other South Asian states.

The escalating Sino-US rivalry will compel Pakistan to align itself even more closely with China. Consequently, Pakistan will face even greater US pressure and coercion, including on Afghanistan, terrorism, nuclear and missile issues.

The impact of a Sino-US confrontation would be global. Sino-Russian defence cooperation would intensify. The One Belt, One Road project will link China with Europe through Russia, reducing American influence. In the Middle East, China could align with anti-US states. Africa could divide between Western and Chinese blocs. In Latin America, Mexico, Brazil and some other states may be open to closer relations with China to challenge American domination. The Sino-US economic relationship, including cross-border investment and their trillion dollar trade, would decline sharply, slowing growth in both countries and the world economy and possibly igniting another global economic crisis.

Of the 15 historical cases reviewed by Dr Kissinger of established powers encountering rising rivals, 10 resulted in conflict. The US and China could yet back away from the Thucydides trap. The onus for doing so rests with Washington. Unfortunately, the anti-China populism reflected in the current US presidential campaign does not augur well for the triumph of restraint and reason.

Riaz Haq said...

Rising dragon, wounded eagle

https://www.dawn.com/news/1327278

WHEN China’s former vice premier, Qian Qichen, was asked 20 years ago about the future of Sino-US relations, he reportedly responded: “They [Sino-US relations] will never be as good as they should be; and never be as bad as they can be.” This prognosis holds true today for the world’s “most important bilateral relationship”.

The largest and second-largest economies are now deeply intertwined and interdependent through trade, supply chains and finance. But the fortunes of the Chinese dragon have been rising; the power of the American eagle has been dented by long wars and economic profligacy. The Greek historian, Thucydides, postulated that when an established power faces a rising one, a clash is almost inevitable.

-----

The fortunes of the Chinese dragon have been rising; the power of the American eagle has been dented.
Since then, the Trump administration has walked back, slowly, from its most extreme positions. US Defence Secretary Mattis assured that the South China Sea disputes would have to be resolved through negotiations. In a carefully choreographed call with the Chinese president, Trump affirmed continued US adherence to the One China policy.

The recent Trump-Xi summit in Mar-a-Lago was expected to determine the direction of US-China relations. Although the summit was overshadowed by the US missile strikes against Syria, there was no acrimony, and agreement was reached on a high-level security dialogue and a 100-day plan to address trade.

However, uncertainty persists due to Trump’s unpredictability. He will not declare China a “currency manipulator”. But Trump has now linked the trade talks to China’s help on North Korea.

In his tweets, President Trump has repeatedly urged China to resolve the threat from North Korea “or the US will”. The US deployment of a US carrier group towards the Korean Peninsula has escalated tensions. But the US is unlikely to conduct a pre-emptive or punitive strike against North Korea (à la Syria) given Pyongyang’s capacity for a devastating response. And, the ‘window’ for such a strike is likely to close shortly if, as expected, the left-wing candidate wins the South Korean presidency and rules out the use of force.\

------------

Such cooperation on infrastructure may open the door to US participation in China’s path-breaking One Belt, One Road initiative which its media has dubbed as ‘Globalisation 2.0’. China has invited US participation in the project. It could be extremely lucrative for US corporations and industry.

A first step in this direction may be active US participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor endeavour. The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are already financing some CPEC-related projects in Pakistan. American companies are also involved as equipment suppliers for power plants and financial, technical and legal consultants in various projects.

Ever since it arranged Henry Kissinger’s clandestine trip to China in 1971, Pakistan has had a significant stake in the preservation of positive Sino-US relations. Today, if a great power consensus can be achieved on a strategy for stability in Afghanistan and counterterrorism, Pakistan can become the geographical locus for economic and strategic cooperation between the world’s two primary powers.

Riaz Haq said...

INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM ALLISON INTERNATIONAL
Trump’s biggest challenge is to avoid war with China, says Graham Allison
Varghese K George

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/interview-with-graham-allison-trumps-biggest-challenge-is-to-avoid-war-with-china/article17893640.ece

‘S. Korea or Japan, not India or Pakistan, could drag America into war with China’

Graham Allison is Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In his forthcoming book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, he argues that confrontations between the two powers are inevitable. He answered questions from The Hindu by email.

In your view, is it possible for Trump to cut a deal with China on trade and leave China's desired sphere of influence in Asia unchallenged?

I do not want to speculate about any specific details of any potential deals, but I do think that a negotiated long peace between China and the United States is one possible outcome. In my book, I note that there is ample precedent for an agreement between the US and China to take a hiatus that imposes considerable constraints in some areas of their competition. This would leave both parties free to pursue advantage elsewhere. From the Thirty Years’ Peace that Athens signed with the Spartans to the US-Soviet détente in the 1970s, rivals throughout history have found ways to accept intolerable (but temporally unchangeable) circumstances in order to focus on more urgent priorities.

In the current stage of the Chinese-American rivalry, both governments face overwhelming demands at home. Given China’s view that progress advances in decades and centuries rather than days and months, it has historically shown a capacity to set problems aside for long periods, as it did in reaching the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972, which effectively set aside the issue of Taiwan, or in 1978 when Deng Xiaoping proposed to Japan that disputes over islands in the East China Sea be shelved for a generation.

Americans tend to be less patient. Yet the menu of potential agreements is long and fruitful: a pact to freeze disputes in the South and East China Seas, to affirm freedom of navigation for all ships in all international waters, to limit cyber attacks to agreed domains and exclude others (for instance, critical infrastructure), or to forbid specific forms of interference in each other’s domestic politics.

How do you think Asian countries will try to balance the US - China rivalry?

----

Besides Korea, the prime candidate for this is probably not India or Pakistan but Japan, a country with a post–World War II history of pacifism, but whose politics have become increasingly militaristic in recent years. Disputes between Japan and China over islands in the East China Sea thus present special risks. If the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe succeeds in revising Japan’s pacifist constitution and strengthening its military capabilities, including amphibious landings to seize disputed islands, China will do more than take note.

Riaz Haq said...

#China media warns of 'Catastrophic Results' Of #India-#US 'Cozying Up' to Counter #China's Rise #ModiInUS http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/catastrophic-results-possible-from-india-us-cozying-up-chinese-media-1717561 … via @ndtv

"Washington and New Delhi share anxieties about China's rise. In recent years, to ratchet up geopolitical pressure on China, the US has cozied up to India," said an article in China's state-run newspaper, the Global Times.

Underlining that India is not a US ally like Japan or Australia, it said, "To assume a role as an outpost country in the US' strategy to contain China is not in line with India's interests. It could even lead to catastrophic results."

The newspaper said that if India becomes a "pawn" for the US in countering China, new geopolitical friction will be triggered in South Asia.

After their meeting at the White House last night, PM Modi and Mr Trump, who bear-hugged, agreed that a close partnership between the United States and India is central to peace and stability in the region.

With an eye on China and its growing military ambitions in the Asia-Pacific area, both sides called for freedom of navigation and resolving of territorial and maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, a reference to Beijing's aggression in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

President Trump also endorsed India's objections to the new economic corridor that China is building through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as part of its gigantic initiative to unlock new land and sea routes to Central Asia. India says the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, being developed at a cost of at least $54 billion, violates its territorial sovereignty.

Thought President Trump has sought to curb China's regional clout, in part by questioning the "One China" policy employed by the US for decades, he has been courting China to persuade it to do more to rein in North Korea.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump ponders crackdown on #Pakistan over alleged #terror ties despite experts' warnings #India #Afghanistan #China

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/27/trump-pakistan-terror-afghanistan-china-russia

As US mulls strategy over country’s support for terrorist groups in Afghanistan, experts say tougher stance could drive Pakistan toward China and Russia

The Trump administration is considering taking a harder stance against Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan, but experts warn that pressure alone will not bring peace.

Similar tactics have failed in the past, and analysts warn that the US can only influence the south Asian country by coupling force with diplomacy, which Donald Trump seems to shun.

And attempts to strong-arm Islamabad could push it deeper into a growing alliance with China and Russia, and lead to more instability.

China in particular offers Pakistan an opportunity to counter the strengthened union between the US and India, whose presence in Afghanistan the Pakistani military considers an existential threat.

Among the tools considered by the Trump administration, according to Reuters, are expanding drone strikes, withholding aid and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally.

But attempts to bully Pakistan into submission will only drive Islamabad further toward China, said Ayesha Siddiqa, author and research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

“It also means that in Afghanistan, there will be more violence. Pakistan sees Afghanistan as an American-Indian project against Pakistani interests,” she said.

Pakistan is widely believed to harbour and support Taliban militants, and has been regarded as a spoiler in peace talks.

US policy on Afghanistan is evolving at a time when the defence department is particularly powerful in policy-making, after Trump delegated authority to his defence secretary, James Mattis, to set troop deployment levels there.

Meanwhile the state department is weakened by a continuing outflow of veteran diplomats and a notable lack of urgency in replacing them on the part of the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who has backed plans to cut the departmental budget by a third.

On Friday, the acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), Laurel Miller, left the post along with her deputy, leaving doubts over the future of the position, which was created in 2009 by Barack Obama. A state department statement said that Tillerson “has not made a decision” on the issue.

---------------

Afghans have lived under a geopolitical tug-of-war since Russia’s and Britain’s 19th century Great Game. Now it seems more countries than ever are willing to expend political and economic capital to maintain a foothold.

“Unless there is an agreement about Afghanistan between Iran, Russia, China, Pakistan, India and the US, Afghanistan will be unstable,” Rubin said. “And if the idea is that Afghanistan is defended and secured by becoming an American base, there won’t be an agreement.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan pivots to #China amid fresh concerns over #US ties with #India. #ModiInUS #Trump

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-pivots-to-china-amid-fresh-concerns-over-us-ties-with-india/2017/06/29/63e377d2-5cc9-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html?utm_term=.b453ecd1e6f9

Islamabad – The words from Pakistan’s top foreign policy adviser could not have been clearer. At a news conference welcoming China’s foreign minister to the Pakistani capital this week, Sartaj Aziz declared, “Pakistan’s relations with China are the cornerstone of our foreign policy.”

It was a blunt signal of change by a country that has long been a key ally and aid recipient of the United States, from their Cold War alliance against Soviet meddling in Afghanistan to a more recent, uneasy partnership in the fight against Islamist terrorism in the region. Today, Pakistan continues to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. annual support.

But Islamabad’s political pivot from Washington to Beijing, already its dominant investor and increasingly important global interlocutor, is hardly surprising, experts said.

Pakistani officials have been worried for months that the Trump administration will put heavy pressure on their government, possibly by cutting aid or even declaring it a “state sponsor of terrorism” – a giant black mark -- due to complaints by Afghan officials, U.S. military officials and members of Congress that Pakistan continues to harbor anti-Afghan insurgents.

At the same time, Islamabad has been concerned about Washington’s emerging friendship with India, Pakistan’s much larger, nuclear-armed rival and immediate neighbor. This week’s upbeat state visit to Washington by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was received enthusiastically by President Trump, raised new alarm bells here.

On Thursday, Pakistani newspapers featured a photo of Trump and Modi hugging goodbye, along with anxious headlines and a testy statement from the Pakistan foreign ministry that called a joint statement by the two leaders “singularly unhelpful” in achieving stability and peace in South Asia, and said it “aggravates an already tense situation.” The ministry also said that China had endorsed Pakistan’s view.

Pakistan was especially upset that Modi and Trump spoke about the importance of reining in regional terrorism – referring indirectly to Pakistan’s alleged support for anti-Afghan insurgents -- but ignored Pakistan’s denunciations of human rights abuses by Indian forces against protesters in the contested border region of Kashmir, as well as its charges of Indian support for anti-Pakistan militants.

Riaz Haq said...

#US #Navy carrier group leads biggest yet drills with #India, #Japan off #Malabar #China #Pakistan http://reut.rs/2u48FYX via @Reuters

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group began naval exercises with India and Japan on Monday that the U.S. navy said would help the three countries tackle maritime threats in the Asia-Pacific region.

The annual exercises named Malabar are being held off India. They are the largest since India and the United States launched the exercise in 1992. Japan was later included.

"Malabar 2017 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific," the U.S. Pacific command said.

Military officials say the drills involving the U.S. carrier USS Nimitz, India's lone carrier Vikramaditya and Japan's biggest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo, are aimed at helping to maintain a balance of power in the Asia-Pacific against the rising weight of China.

The three countries have been concerned about China's claims to almost all of the waters of the South China Sea, and more broadly, its expanding military presence across the region.

Chinese submarines, for example, recently docked in Sri Lanka, an island just off the southern tip of India that it has long seen as squarely in its back yard.

The maritime drills are taking place as India and China are locked in a standoff on their land border in the Himalayas.

The U.S. Pacific command said in a statement the exercises would help the three countries operate together and it was learning how to integrate with the Indian navy.

India and the United States were for decades on opposite sides of a Cold War divide but have in recent years become major defense partners.

China has in the past criticized the exercises as destabilizing to the region.

India this year turned down an Australian request to join the exercises for now, for fear that would antagonize China further.

The Indian navy said the exercises would focus on aircraft carrier operations and ways to hunt submarines.

The navy has spotted more than a dozen Chinese military vessels including submarines in the Indian Ocean over the past two months, media reported days ahead of Malabar.

"Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomizes the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies," India's defense ministry said in a statement.

The border stand-off on a plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim, which borders China, has ratcheted up tension between the neighboring giants, who share a 3,500 km (2,175 miles) frontier, large parts of which are disputed.

Riaz Haq said...

#American #Military trains with #Japan and #India, while #China courts #Pakistan

http://www.newsweek.com/us-military-trains-japan-india-pakistan-china-634364

The U.S. has begun a series of what has been described as the most complex war games with Asian allies India and Japan. All three are engaged in regional power struggles with rival nations.

The maritime drills, known this year as "Malabar 2017," kicked off Monday in India's Chennai and the Bay of Bengal, and mark the first time the three forces have deployed carriers to participate in regional military maneuvers. In addition to focusing on anti-submarine warfare, the U.S., India and Japan will engage in training on land involving "professional and expert exchanges" in various types of warfare and special operations. This is the second year that Japan officially joins the annual exercises, which come amid growing tensions between India and China, the latter of which has also challenged the interests of the U.S. and Japan in the Asia-Pacific and grown closer to India's greatest foe, Pakistan, an estranged U.S. ally. The Navy said the trilateral drills would strengthen naval bonds between the U.S., India and Japan.

"Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. Each iteration of this exercise helps to advance the level of understanding between our Sailors, and we hope to be able to continue this process over time," the Navy said in a statement.

"As members of Indo-Asia-Pacific nations, our maritime forces are natural partners, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our bonds and personal relationships."

-------------


In the past week, Pakistan tested an advanced version of its nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Nasr missile and China held live-fire drills near the area where it accuses India of committing a historic breach of sovereignty. Pakistan, once a staunch ally of the U.S., has found itself drifting closer to China, which provides it with arms and has agreed to make it a key part of Beijing's ongoing efforts to revitalize historic trade routes across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Riaz Haq said...

Deutsche Welle interview with US South Asia analyst Michael Kugelman:

http://www.dw.com/en/trump-administration-has-zero-patience-for-pakistans-terror-policy/a-39719898


DW: Is the US government finally taking a hard line against Pakistan?


Michael Kugelman: A tougher policy is certainly a strong possibility. If there is one US administration likely to take a hard line against Pakistan, it's the Trump administration. Trump projects himself as tough on terror and takes a very principled and strident approach to terror - it needs to be wiped out, wherever it is and in whatever form. It would seem that Trump would have zero patience for Pakistan's policy of going after some terrorists while letting others be.

There has been speculation that the US could expand the drone war and cut Pakistan funds. The harshest critics of Pakistan believe that the US government should revoke Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally or even declare it as a state sponsor of terror. These extremely tough policies may well be in the policy tool-kit, though my sense is that the aid cuts and drone strikes would be more likely.

Do you think the Trump administration could force Pakistan to act against the Haqqani Network and other Islamist organizations Washington considers a threat to its interests?
I'm not sure they could. In fact, the Pakistani security establishment may respond to more sticks and less carrots from the US by doubling down and tightening its embrace of militants like the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
If the US revoked Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO partner state in the war against terror, how would it affect the situation in Afghanistan?
This would actually be quite devastating for the Pakistani military, because it would probably translate into major reductions in military assistance and arms sales. Pakistan can depend on the largesse of other countries like China and Saudi Arabia, but Islamabad really values the military support it has received from Washington over the years. Revoking Pakistan's status as a non-NATO partner would put this support in doubt and worry quite a few people within the Pakistani security establishment.

The question, however, is if the US would actually go through with such a drastic policy shift. Frankly, I think it's unlikely, at least in the immediate to mid term. The US continues to have troops in Afghanistan, and in fact the Trump administration is poised to send more. So long as the US has troops in Afghanistan, it will need to depend on Pakistan to provide supply routes for US troops. Taking a harder line against Pakistan would likely prompt Islamabad to shut down these supply routes, obliging America to use more circuitous and expensive routes. This could make the US war effort in Afghanistan even more difficult than it already is.
Pakistan is important because of its geographic location and its geopolitical relationship, there's no doubt about that. There's no way that the US will consider Pakistan unimportant, given that it borders Afghanistan, where Americans are fighting their longest ever war, and given that it has deep ties to the world's next superpower (China) and growing ties with one of the world's most dangerous revisionist powers (Russia).

If cornered by the Trump administration, can Pakistan tilt more toward China and Russia?
Certainly a harder US line would send Pakistan deeper into the embrace of China and Russia. But I don't think we should overstate this risk. For one thing, Pakistan is already moving closer to Russia, and especially China. For another thing, the interests and objectives of Russia, and especially China in Afghanistan, are actually closer to those of the US than to those of Pakistan. China and Russia both want a stable Afghanistan and have no interest in Taliban rule. Pakistan, of course, has major ties to the Taliban and arguably benefits from an unstable Afghanistan in that it complicates efforts by India to have a deep presence there.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's $100B deal with China: What does it amount to?
By Nadia Naviwala

https://www.devex.com/news/pakistan-s-100b-deal-with-china-what-does-it-amount-to-90872

Early last year, the Pakistani government sent USAID officials in Islamabad a mystifying letter via snail mail: please stop doing feasibility studies for Diamer Basha Dam

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When USAID got the letter in 2016, they suspected that Pakistan had found funding with the Chinese. They were right.

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In May 2017 Pakistan and China signed a $50 billion agreement that included full funding for Diamer Basha and four other dams.

Although enormous, the new agreement hardly merited coverage in Pakistan. China already captured headlines and public imagination in 2013 when the two countries signed memorandums of understanding worth $46 billion to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. CPEC has since quietly grown to a $62 billion investment.

The latest $50 billion in memorandums now brings Chinese loans and investments in Pakistan to well over $100 billion. A senior member of the CPEC team at Pakistan’s Ministry for Planning, Development, and Reform predicts that figure will ultimately grow to $150 billion. If the dams face cost overruns — which are 96 percent on average — then that will be a conservative estimate.

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roads and rail are actually a small part of Chinese money in Pakistan — less than $11 billion of the original $46 billion agreement. It’s small because, contrary to popular perceptions, much of the CPEC route is actually financed by Pakistan.

“Much of the roads being built are being built by our money,” says Miftah Ismail, who was Pakistan’s minister for investment until late last month, when the cabinet was dissolved because the Supreme Court voted to remove the prime minister on grounds of corruption.

What Ismail estimates Pakistan will take on in Chinese projects this year — $4 billion in loans and investments — equals what the Pakistani federal and provincial governments have allocated for roads and highways in their own annual budgets.

China is also financing the expansion and improvement of Pakistan’s neglected railway system, doubling its speed from 60 to 120 kilometers per hour.

CPEC roads will connect landlocked Xinjiang province in western China through a new port city that it is building on Pakistan’s coast, Gwadar. China needs these roads to transport goods out, but it is hard to think of what will go in the other direction. China’s exports to Pakistan account for two-thirds of Pakistan’s trade deficit.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army Aviation Receives 4 Mi-35M Advanced Attack #Helicopters From #Russia. @Diplomat_APAC

http://thediplomat.com/2017/08/pakistan-receives-4-advanced-attack-helicopters-from-russia/

The Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAAC) took delivery of four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters, Pakistan’s Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) confirmed in a statement issued at this year’s International Military-Technical Forum (Army 2017), which took place August 22-27 in Moscow, according to local media reports.

“The contract was signed, we received all four cars [Mi-35Ms] and now we get new equipment,” DEPOs Brigadier General Waheed Mumtaz told reporters in Moscow. PAAC are now getting acquainted with the new equipment. Based on the gunships’ performance a follow-up order for additional helicopters is under consideration, Mumtaz said. The general also noted that other Pakistani orders of Russian military equipment might take place depending on the Pakistani military’s experience with the helicopters.

Russia officially lifted an arms embargo against Pakistan, in place since the Soviet-Afghan War, in June 2014.

Pakistan and Russia agreed to the $153 million helicopter deal during then-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Russia in June 2016. A preliminary contract was concluded at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in August 2015. Pakistan military sources indicate that PAAC could purchase a total of 20 Mi-35 helicopters in the coming years. “Given the cost of building the necessary Mi-35M logistics and maintenance infrastructure, expanding the fleet beyond four aircraft would financially be a sound decision for the Pakistani military,” I explained in December 2016. The Mi-25M is a formidable weapons platform, as I noted elsewhere (See: “Confirmed: Pakistan Is Buying New Attack Helicopters From Russia”):

The Mi-35M attack helicopter, the export version of the Mi-24 gunship, was developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and has been produced in Russia since 2005. Next to serving in the Russian military, the aircraft has been exported to Azerbaijan, Brazil, Iraq, and Venezuela.

The company website of Russian Helicopters notes that the Mi-35 is particularly suited for mountainous terrain and can be deployed “round the clock” in adverse weather conditions. The website notes that the helicopter offers “combat use of guided and unguided weapons in regular and challenging climate conditions” and is “operational for attack flights at altitudes of 10-25 m daytime and 50 m at night over land or water.”

The helicopter can be deployed for a host of different missions, including transporting up to eight paratroopers and carrying military supplies weighing up to 1,500 kg internally and 2,400 kg externally.

It is unknown in what configuration the helicopters were delivered. The gunship is fitted with a mounted twin-barrel GSh-23V 23 millimeter cannon, and can also carry 80 and 120 millimeter rockets, as well as anti-tank guided missiles. The Pakistan Army is specifically looking to enhance its close-air support capability for counter-insurgency operations as well as anti-tank warfare.

Riaz Haq said...

Why India-Japan’s Knock-Off Of Pakistan-China’s CPEC Is Doomed To Fail

https://www.valuewalk.com/2017/08/india-japan-pakistan-china-cpec-fail/

India-Japan joint efforts to copy the idea of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be derailed due to economic impotence.

As India and Japan join hands to develop their own vision of a connectivity initiative – the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), dubbed as ‘India’s New Silk Road’ – New Delhi and Tokyo look over their shoulder to copy rivals Pakistan and China’s ambitious CPEC.

The announcement of AAGC was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May and came amid the active phase of CPEC implementation. While India and Japan insist their knock-off of CPEC is designed to integrate the economies of South, Southeast, and East Asia with Oceania and Africa, experts says the intentions behind the AAGC are to counter China and serve as a counterbalance to its ambitious joint project with Pakistan.

India-Japan Making Their Own, Cheaper Version of CPEC

The development of AAGC comes amid a series of seemingly anti-China deals by Japan and India, the most prominent enemies of Beijing looking to counter its growing expansionism in the region. In late July, The Economic Times reported that India-Japan would sign a landmark maritime security pact during Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s visit in September, something that will allow the two nations to contain China’s alleged expansionism appetites.

A few weeks ago, The Economic Times reported that a historic Indo-Japanese civil nuclear deal – signed in November last year – came into force, enabling Japan to export nuclear power plant technology from India as well as sponsor nuclear power plants in the nuclear-armed nation. The two nuclear-equipped countries signing the landmark deal prompted a furious response from Beijing.

The news comes as Indian and Chinese troops remain locked in the Sino-Indian standoff at the disputed Doklam plateau. With many experts warning that the standoff could spiral into a military confrontation between the two historic rivals, the growing India-Japan strategic partnership comes amid their shared fears of Beijing attempting to change the status quo along the Indo-Bhutan-China trijunction and maritime boundary in East China Sea in Japan’s territory.

But could the development of India-Japan strategic projects under the banner of AAGC help New Delhi and Tokyo counter China’s steadily expanding economic and political outreach in the region?

Why India and Japan’s AAGC Is Doomed to Fail

While India and Japan insist that the idea of AAGC is to create “a free and open Indo-Pacific region” by rediscovering older sea-routes and creating new sea corridors, China is concerned that the initiative is nothing but a cheap knock-off project designed to counterbalance or even disrupt its game-changer Belt and Road initiative.

True, India-Japan’s AAGC is a cheaper alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative or even CPEC, but experts still doubt whether New Delhi and Tokyo could pull if off.

India and Japan’s ambitions to become the world’s prominent epicenters of economic growth could be derailed and doomed to fail due to India’s chronic economic slowdown, with “the makers of India’s monetary policy cutting interest rates” recently and “rates of job shedding,” according to The Economic Times.

Japan – the seeming driving force behind the AAGC initiative due to being the world’s third-largest economy – could expect a substantial slowdown in economic momentum due to the mounting political crisis in the nation. CNBC reported late last month that anti-government protests are on the rise in Japan, with PM Abe – who drowns in school scandals – having his lowest approval rating ever, under 30%.

Riaz Haq said...

Geopolitical revolution as #Pakistan strengthens ties with #China. #CPEC #India #Trump #USA

https://youtu.be/YjRL0JkoSiA via @YouTube

A geopolitical revolution is currently underway in south Asia. With diplomatic relations between the US and Pakistan souring in recent months, Islamabad is inching closer to Beijing. Ties between the two neighbours are set to become even stronger if the multibillion-euro "China Pakistan Economic Corridor" goes ahead as planned. But who stands to benefit the most? Our correspondents in Pakistan report.

Riaz Haq said...


#Pakistan: A slice of #China in #Islamabad. Growing Chinese footprint. #CPEC @AJEnglish

Restaurants, guesthouses and supermarkets are opening to cater for the influx of Chinese fuelled by the CPEC.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/08/pakistan-slice-china-islamabad-170830081303813.html

"This year is, as we call it, the year of early harvest," says Lijian Zhao, China's deputy ambassador to Pakistan. "The ultimate goal is to help Pakistan to develop the economy … to help to accelerate the industrialisation process."

The 43 projects that directly fall under the CPEC banner have seen a tripling of the number of Chinese nationals resident in Pakistan to more than 30,000, according to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad. In addition, Reuters reported, that more than 71,000 Chinese nationals visited on short-term visas last year.

As more Chinese engineers, managers and workers flood into the country, Pakistan has seen a mushrooming of supermarkets, guesthouses and other businesses catering specifically to Chinese needs.

Zhao, the Chinese deputy ambassador, says he's a regular visitor to the new Chinese grocery stores, stocking up on traditional ingredients that are just not available anywhere else in the South Asian country.

"I go for those markets. [Even the embassy] cannot bring everything from China," he says.

The aptly named Firstop (a portmanteau of 'First Stop') is one of the largest such stores in Islamabad. The supermarket's shelves are lined with products manufactured in China: everything from noodles to hardhat construction helmets, sea kelp to stationery, spice mixes to industrial meat grinders.

As a Chinese migrant moving to Islamabad, whether you are looking for a quick meal or to procure the equipment and supplies to set up your own restaurant, it looks like Firstop has got you covered. Most of the demand, though, seems to be for food - both ready-made and ingredients - that are not available in typical Pakistani grocery stores, says Zhang Song, a store manager.

"Mostly the food and other seasonings are imported from China," says Song, in broken English. "Only [the cooking] oil is from Pakistan. Others all from China."

Song, a 29-year-old originally from He Bei province in China, says he moved to Pakistan two years ago to take advantage of the boom in businesses aimed at Chinese citizens.

"Most customers are Chinese people," he says.

Pakistanis, he says, seem to be fond of making Chinese food, but the South Asian version of Chinese food - heavy on garlic, ginger and tomatoes - does not necessarily fit the bill of actual Chinese fare.

"[Traditional] Chinese food is too much different from Pakistani food," he says, smiling.

At the Ni Hao Cash & Carry, a few kilometres away, the scene is much the same. The small store is crammed with row upon row of products labelled in Chinese, with an array of spices arranged in open containers near the back wall.

"A lot of [Pakistanis] walk in and are shocked … they see everything in Chinese here, and wonder perhaps if they've arrived in Beijing," says Rizwan Hassan, a manager at the store.

Hassan and business partner Eraj Raza have been working with Chinese nationals on infrastructure projects for the last seven years, and set up this store about six months ago.

"We built the store because we saw CPEC, and all the companies coming in," says Raza. "Lots of investors are coming in. People are opening restaurants, guesthouses, or other services."

About 90 percent of their customers, says Raza, are Chinese, with the rest made up mostly of Koreans, Thais and other East Asian visitors. Ni Hao also operates another store in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and commercial capital, as well as smaller outlets at more than half a dozen CPEC project sites.