Saturday, May 28, 2016

Comparing Iran's Chabahar and Pakistan's Gwadar Ports

Chabahar port in Iran is only about 100 miles from Gwadar port in Pakistan. Both are natural deep sea ports in the Arabian sea.

Gwadar Extends into Deep Sea with East & West Bays

Eastern Half of Gwadar Port 

Gwadar port's planned capacity when it is completed will be 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually.  It is comparable to the capacity of all of India's ports combined annual capacity of 500 million tons of cargo today.   It is far larger than the 10-12 million tons cargo handling capacity planned for Chabahar.

Completed Gwadar Berths & Cranes

To put Gwadar's scale in perspective, let's compare it with the largest US port of Long Beach which handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar will handle upon completion of the project. Gawadar port will be capable of handling the world's largest container ships and massive oil tankers.

Gawadar port is being built in Pakistan by the Chinese as part of the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will eventually serve as Hong Kong West for  growing Chinese trade with the Middle East and Europe.  CPEC will also enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan to trade with Central Asia through China across China's borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Gwadar Port Authority Building

Chabahar is ostensibly an Indian effort to build a port in Iran to bypass Pakistan for India's trade with landlocked Afghanistan and other Central Asian states.  Prime Minister Modi has committed $500 million investment in Chabahar, a tiny fraction of the Chinese commitment for Gwadar. A trilateral agreement was recently signed in Tehran by Indian Prime Minister Modi, Iranian President Rouhani and Afghan President Ghani.

Trade with Afghanistan through Afghan-Iran border in the West will probably remain a pipe dream given that 1) most of Afghan population lives in east and south close to the border with Pakistan and 2) Afghanistan has very poor infrastructure making it very difficult to move cargo across land from west to east and south of the country.

Big Chinese Ship Docked at Gwadar

Pakistan suspects that India's real objective in Iran is to locate its intelligence agents under the cover of Chabahar port construction workers to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and support Baloch insurgency to destabilize Pakistan. These suspicions were strengthened when Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, operating under the fake name Husain Mubarak Patel, was arrested in Balochistan in March this year. Yadav confessed he was operating as an undercover RAW agent from his base in Chabahar, Iran.

If Iran does nothing to stop Indian covert activities from its soil against Pakistan, Iran-Pakistan relations could suffer irreparable harm. Efforts to sabotage CPEC will not please China either, and the Chinese are far more important to Iran as trading partners than India. This should give pause to hardline anti-Pakistan sectarian elements in Tehran.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Saleem Safi of GeoTV on Gwadar

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC


Raju said...

On top of that Gwadar has backing of China and they are very good in execution of any projects overseas where as India does not have the credibility of executing multiple projects in time line. I can see that there is a potential that China or Japan may get involved in Chabar to complete the project. I am highly doubtful about completion of Chabar project with India only.

19640909rk said...

Chabar port will allow Afghanistan to start trading with the world. Right now, Afghanistan is landlocked and at mercy of Pakistan. Afghanistan is a very small nation and Chabar port will serve its need excellently. It will be able to sell its dry fruits to India and the whole world. Chabar will cement India's friendship with Afghanistan further and will further alienate Pakistan.

Also the world has realised how dangerous Pakistani ports can be. US army found that out to its horror that arms containers go missing in Pakistan. When Karachi port cannot be run decently, how can Gwadar port be run. Add Baluch insugency, it will be a big flop show.

Coming to Gwadar, the huge capacity being built is of no use. If China wants to transfer crude oil by road via Pakistan and all across China, it will be a huge financial disaster. The cost of oile will go up multifold.

Anonymous said...

Indians often forget Shia-Iran is rival to sunni Arabs states, they really think the would send and receive any cargo from Chabahar or heck if needed would cause hurdles for the ships going through, its not just iran or pak navy that patrol those regions.Besides most of the transport work is run and owned by sunni pusthun that are no fan of shia iran either, running for decades on tracks between south Afghanistan and karachi port, they already have decades of head start by having institutionalized network that would take decades for india to establish in a wartorn Afghanistan run by corrupt and incompetent governance, what's to stop them from sacking cargo frights coming and going to India?
Besides China has always played the long game, the land of Sun Tzu and Confucius, they supported the mujahedin against the USSR and supported Taliban against the northern alliance, they know its smart to bet with majority sunni then the dvindiling shia (iran has lowest fertility rate in that region), have fun wasteling time and money on a lam duck project India.

Samlee said...


I Love It When You Indians Daydream

Riaz Haq said...

China To Invest $8.5 Billion To Upgrade Pakistan's Rail Network, Build Gas Pipeline: Report

China will invest about USD 8.5 billion to upgrade Pakistan's rail network and to build a key gas pipeline with Iran to meet the country's energy needs, a media report said today.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP), a Pakistan body to authorise major projects, yesterday approved USD 10 billion worth two projects. China will provide loans equivalent to 85 per cent (USD 8.5 billion) of the cost of each project.

The cost of upgrading of Pakistan Railways existing Mainline (ML-I) and establishment of a dry port near Havelian is USD 8.2 billion, which the Chinese government will finance with a USD 7 billion concessionary loan, The Express Tribune reported.

This project is part of USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) package and is covered under the CPEC Framework Agreement, signed during the April 2015 visit of Chinese president to Pakistan.

The estimated cost of Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal & Pipeline project, also cleared in principle, is USD 2 billion including USD 1.4 billion Chinese loan. This project is strategically important for Pakistan as it will eventually link the country's gas network with Iranian system.

"The exact costs of both the projects will be firmed up after finalising financing arrangements," CDWP Chairman and Minister for Planning, Ahsan Iqbal, said.

"After finalisation of the financing arrangements, both the projects will be taken to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) with firmed up cost for final approval," he said.

At present, Pakistan Railways is picking up less than 4 per cent of the traffic volume of the country, which the government intends to increase to at least 20 per cent by 2025.

The project is planned to be completed in two phases in five years by 2021 on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode. Phase-I will be completed by December 2017 and Phase-II by the year 2021.

The CDWP also cleared Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal and Pipeline Project at an estimated cost of roughly USD 2 billion or Rs. 206.6 billion.

The Chinese Exim bank will provide 85 per cent of the financing under government-to-government mode. The EPC contract will be given to a Chinese company. The pipeline project will be included in the CPEC framework.

The key objective of this project is to overcome gas shortages by importing LNG and its transportation through Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline.

In phase-I, the pipeline will follow the coastal pipeline corridor, which was formally established for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. In phase-II, a 90-kilometer patch will be constructed from Gwadar to Pakistan-Iran border to tie the national network with Iranian system.

Riaz Haq said...

Wiki Loves Earth shortlists top 10 photos in #Pakistan round

You may remember the international photography competition Wiki Loves Earth from last year, in which a Pakistani photographer's capture of Shangrila Lake won the best international picture in 2015.

Wikimedia Foundation, the California-based non-profit organisation which runs Wikipedia, has organised the global photography competition again this year, and the best pictures from Pakistan to go onto compete at the international stage have been selected.

The competition, aimed at documenting the world’s natural heritage under the free license of Creative Commons, recently concluded in Pakistan after receiving an overwhelming response.

Over 1,200 contestants in Pakistan sent in over 8,000 photographs making it the country with the third-largest number of submissions and the greatest number of participants.

Wiki Loves Earth 2016 has seen more than 7,000 participants from 26 countries, with over 75,000 photographs submitted throughout the month of May.

The best thing about the competition is that all the photos have a free license and can be re-used for any purpose, as long as the user attributes the photographer.

The contest was first run in Ukraine in 2013 and has since spread globally.

It is described as the 'sister competition' to Wiki Loves Monuments, which is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest photography competition in the world.

Pakistan became a part of the competition for the first time last year and achieved the first position amongst 28 participating nations.

The international winners of Wiki Loves Earth 2016 are yet to be announced, but the top 10 pictures to represent Pakistan as decided by Pakistan’s jury are below...

Riaz Haq said...

#Asia's new Great Game. #Modi #Afghanistan #India, #Pakistan #Iran #China #US #Chabahar #CPEC #CentralAsia

By Munir Akram

With a population of only around 50 million, Central Asia will not become a huge market for manufactured goods. It will be twice as expensive for India to send goods to Central Asia through Chabahar than it would be overland across Pakistan. Indian goods are thus unlikely to be competitive against Chinese products shipped overland.

Also read: Lessons from Chabahar

The strategic advantages for India are also questionable. Its influence in Afghanistan will be more dependent on Iran. Pakistan’s cooperation will continue to be essential to restoring peace in Afghanistan. Indian shipping lanes to Chabahar will be vulnerable to disruption. India’s limited influence in Central Asia will not dent that of Russia and China.

The new Great Game will increasingly revolve around China’s One Belt, One Road vision of land and sea connections between Asia, Europe and beyond. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the first component of this ambitious project.

In comparison to the Chabahar route, the strategic and economic implications of CPEC are enormous. It will transform China from a one- to a two-ocean power; enable a part of its $4000 billion annual trade to circumvent the Malacca straits and other potential choke points in the Indian Ocean and shorten China’s supply lines to the Gulf, West Asia and Africa. For these reasons, if no other, China has a vital stake in Pakistan’s strategic stability and socioeconomic development. The Chinese commitment of $46bn for CPEC projects is but the first instalment of the massive capital which China is prepared to deploy in Pakistan.

Instead of being distracted by the moves of its adversaries, Pakistan must remain focused on the implementation of CPEC. This strategic enterprise should not be allowed to be stalled or delayed by external pressure or internal politics, inefficiency or corruption. It would be wise to create a separate and independent CPEC Authority which can be a ‘one-stop-shop’ entrusted with achieving CPEC’s enormous potential for Pakistan’s development. CPEC projects must go beyond infrastructure development to encompass manufacture, consumer goods, housing, health, textiles, finance and other sectors. To this end, the interaction between Pakistani and Chinese private- and public-sector companies must be actively expanded and intensified. Some of the externally imposed limitations on CPEC investment projects, such as restrictions on ‘sovereign guarantees’ for debt finance, need to be removed expeditiously.

CPEC faces threats from Pakistan and China’s adversaries. These will have to be met forcefully.

India’s opposition has been announced openly. New Delhi will continue to utilise Afghanistan as a base to destabilise Pakistan and undermine CPEC. The recent spate of attacks on Chinese workers in Pakistan is no accident. Pakistan will have to further enhance security for them and consider direct action to remove the Afghan-based threat from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Iran has assured that Chabahar is not designed to compete with Gwadar or CPEC. Pakistan and Iran can cooperate for mutual benefit: to end terrorism in Balochistan, expand trade, and construct the Iranian gas pipeline and a Gwadar-Chabahar economic corridor. However, Tehran often wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. Some recent events have sent disturbing signals which Pakistan cannot ignore.

To balance the growing Indo-Iranian relationship, Pakistan must maintain and reinforce its relationship with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It would be in Pakistan’s interest to help in giving substance and form to the ‘Islamic coalition’ hastily formed by Riyadh. It should also convince the GCC states of the benefits of CPEC as a path to their closer connection with China.

America is and will remain a major player in the new Asian Great Game. ...

Riaz Haq said...

$46 billion #CPEC: Projects worth $30b already under way, says Minister Ahsan Iqbal. #Gwadar #Pakistan

Projects worth $30 billion out of a total portfolio of $46 billion have been initiated in the last one year, said Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, adding that there was no bureaucratic hurdle in the implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) schemes.

The financing arrangements for $30 billion CPEC projects are either finalised or are at various stages of approval, said Iqbal while addressing a press conference a day after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

The minister said that most of the $30 billion active portfolio is in the private sector while financing agreements of road infrastructure projects of the public sector have also been signed.

Iqbal said that making $30 billion CPEC portfolio active in a limited period of one year was a big success for the country and it shows that there were no bureaucratic hurdles in the way of swift implementation.

Govt accused of not sharing details of CPEC projects

Iqbal’s comments came amid pressure to set up a CPEC authority for swift implementation of the projects that started under Chinese president’s strategic initiative, One-Belt One-Road.

The purpose of the proposed CPEC authority is said to fast-track approvals and monitoring of these schemes. However, the federal government has already turned down the request on the ground that it would add another bureaucratic layer.

Iqbal said that Gwadar port projects including New Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway have been forwarded to the Chinese side for financial approval. He hoped that this process would be completed in the next three months and work would begin soon.

According to Iqbal, the government has allocated Rs125 billion ($1.2 billion) for carrying out work on CPEC schemes during the new fiscal year 2016-17. “However, the allocations remain far less than the actual requirements.

“An amount of Rs60 billion has also been allocated for two LNG-fired power plants being set up in Punjab,” Iqbal added, hoping that these two projects would be completed by May next year.

He said in the last three years, 610 projects costing Rs747 billion have been completed. The minister said that the 1,320MW Port Qasim power project would be completed by September next year while the Thar Coal mining projects would be operational by 2018.

To a question whether Chahbahar Port of Iran was a threat to Gwadar port, the Minister said that Pakistan does not feel threatened by any project.

PSDP review

For the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government had allocated Rs700 billion for PSDP spending while the four provinces allocated Rs814 billion, bringing the total outlay to Rs1.514 trillion. However, the Planning Commission on Monday informed the NEC that the spending would remain close to Rs1.401 trillion.

Iqbal insisted that the Rs114 billion lesser spending than approved budget was not actually a cut but a result of administrative weaknesses, legal issues and capacity constraints. Contrary to this claim, the International Monetary Fund had reported about a year ago that the federal PSDP spending would remain lower than the Rs700 billion allocation.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #China discuss increased collaboration in #vocational #training & #education #CPEC

Pakistan and China have agreed to increase collaboration in the field of vocational education and teacher training programmes.

The agreement came during a meeting between a delegation from China’s Tianjin University of Technology and Education (TUTE) and National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) Executive Director Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema here on Monday.

Cheema briefed the delegation about the working of NAVTTC and its recent initiatives such as establishment of job placement centres for its graduates.

He said the under-construction China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would open new vistas of prosperity and development and would create employment opportunities in Pakistan.

Cheema said the two countries should enhance their collaboration to reboot the TVET system in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

I hear a lot of big container ships sail back empty out of US ports.

One of the fastest-growing U.S. exports right now is air.

Shipments of empty containers out of the U.S. are surging this year, highlighting the impact the economic slowdown in China is having on U.S. exporters. The U.S. imports more from China than it sends back, but certain American industries—including those that supply scrap metal and wastepaper—feed China’s industrial production.

Those exporters have suffered this year as China’s economy has cooled. In September, the Port of Long Beach, Calif., part of the country’s busiest ocean-shipping gateway, handled 197,076 outbound empty boxes. They accounted for nearly a third of all containers that moved through the port last month. September was the eighth straight month in which empty containers leaving Long Beach outnumbered those loaded with exports.

The empties are shipping out at a faster rate at many U.S. ports, particularly those closely tied to trade with China, while shipments of containers loaded with goods are declining as exporters find it tougher to make foreign sales. That’s at least partly because the strong dollar makes American goods more expensive.

Normally, after containers filled with consumer goods are delivered to the U.S. and unloaded, they return to export hubs. There, they typically are stuffed with American agricultural products, certain high-end consumer goods and large volumes of the heavy, bulk refuse that is recycled through China’s factories into products or packaging.

Last month, however, Long Beach and the Port of Oakland both reported double-digit gains in exports of empty containers. So far this year, empties at the two ports are up more than 20% from a year earlier.

Long Beach’s containerized exports were down 8.2% this year through September, while Oakland’s volume of outbound loaded containers fell 12.7% from a year earlier in the January-September period.

“This is a thermometer,” said Jock O’Connell, an international-trade economist at Beacon Economics. “The thing to worry about is if the trade imbalance starts to widen.”

Trade figures released Tuesday in Beijing underscored China’s faltering demand. China’s imports fell 20.4% year-over-year in September following a 13.8% decline in August.

As of June, U.S. exports of scrap materials were down 36% from their peak of $32.6 billion in 2011.

The diminished demand for the industrial material reflects economic weakness that goes beyond China, said Paul Bingham, an economist with the Economic Development Research Group Inc. It also suggests slowing consumer demand in Europe, he said.

The U.S. trade gap has expanded sharply in recent months as exports have slipped, growing 15.6% in August to a seasonally adjusted $48.3 billion, according to the Commerce Department. U.S. exports fell 2% in the month to their lowest level since October 2012.

Outbound empties have mounted this year at other big gateways, too. In August, the Port of Los Angeles, the country’s largest single container port, handled more than 225,000 empty outbound containers, counted in twenty-foot equivalent units, a standard maritime industry measure. That was 21% more than a year earlier. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expanded its empty-container exports nearly 31.5% in the first eight months of this year, and empties outnumbered loaded container exports over that time.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, China ink agreements worth $4.2b

As per the contracts, China would provide a concessionary loan of $1.3 billion for the 120-kilometre long Thakot-Havelian section of Karakoram Highyway-II (KKH-II) and $2.9 billion for the 392-kilometre Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi motorway.


Since China is providing concessionary loans for both projects, the contracts have been awarded on a government-to-government basis, waiving the condition of international competitive bidding.

Out of the $46 billion CPEC investment package, roughly $11.5 billion is reserved for the road and railways infrastructure. China has promised to give concessionary loans for four infrastructure projects. Two of these projects will get interest-free loans.

From Business Recorder:

China would extend assistance to Pakistan at 1.6 percent interest rate for infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it is learnt. Member, Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity of Planning Commission Malik Ahmad Khan confirmed that China would extend assistance to Pakistan at 1.6 percent interest for infrastructure projects under CPEC. "We wanted China to reduce this rate from 1.6 percent to 1 percent. And the Finance Division is making efforts in this regard," he added.

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Projects (CPEC), China has promised to invest around $11.8 billion in infrastructure projects and $33.8 billion in various energy projects which will be completed by 2017 at the latest. According to sources, the corridor is a 2,700-kilometre highway that would stretch from Kashghar to Gwadar through Khunjrab. The CPEC will integrate the economies of the two friendly countries; it envisages several economic zones.

Riaz Haq said...

#China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor on track, says #Chinese envoy. #CPEC

In the energy sector, 16 projects have been sorted out to be implemented first, which can generate 10.4 million kw of electricity in total, Sun said, adding that half of the projects have been under construction, and will help Pakistan ease its power shortages.

A solar power plant in Punjab province's Bahawalpur city, built by the Chinese company ZTE Energy, has recently installed a 300-megawatt generator unit, which can produce 480 million kWh annually, enough to satisfy the daily power consumption of at least 200,000 Pakistani families, Sun said.

Regarding transportation, the ambassador said, phase II of the Karakoram highway, the Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi highway, and the Pakistan portion of a cross-border optical cable project are already underway.

As the largest transportation project under the CPEC, the 392 km-long Multan-Sukkur stretch is expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs at the peak of its construction, the ambassador added.

According to incomplete statistics, the CPEC projects under construction have employed more than 6,000 Pakistani workers by the end of March, besides the employment indirectly created and driven by the projects, Sun said.

Furthermore, Chinese companies participating in CPEC helped residents in remote areas of Pakistan gain access to clean water, electricity and better transportation.

China's Three Gorges Corporation and Tebian Electric Apparatus have provided generators, solar lights and water purification units to residents in remote regions while China Road and Bridge Corporation has repeatedly helped locals build makeshift bridges and water ducts and taken part in rescue and relief operations.

The China Development Bank, Huawei, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, as well as other Chinese entities, have also sponsored Pakistanis to receive further education in China, donated school buses to Gwadar and set up education funds, which have received wide praise from the local population.

The CPEC, which highlights energy, transport, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation at the current stage and will seek to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation, and urban planning.

"The CPEC is a mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation, which will contribute to the prosperity and development of China, Pakistan and the region and the building of a community of shared destiny between the two countries," Sun said.

"We will fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of China and Pakistan, and push forward the construction of CPEC to benefit the Chinese and Pakistani peoples," Sun added.

Chinese firms are to invest $46 billion in the project over six years, including $33.8 billion in energy projects and $11.8 billion in infrastructure, as part of an agreement inked by the two sides during a visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China in 2014.

The CPEC is part of China's transnational 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) initiative, which includes the land-based New Silk Road and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

China's access to Gwadar, close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping lane, could open up an energy and trade corridor from the Gulf across Pakistan to western China.

The CPEC when completed will also give China land access to the Indian Ocean, cutting the nearly 13,000 km sea voyage from Tianjin to the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Malacca and around India, to a mere 2,000 km road journey from Kashgar to Gwadar.

Riaz Haq said...

#China-Led #Infrastructure Bank AIIB Starts With $509M in Loans 4 Projects: #Bangladesh #Indonesia, #Pakistan #CPEC

BEIJING — A new Chinese-led international development bank announced its first four loans on Saturday, pledging to lend $509 million for projects to spread electric power in rural Bangladesh, upgrade living conditions in slums in Indonesia, and improve roads in Pakistan and Tajikistan.

At the first of the annual general meetings of the institution, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, said the projects were financially sound and environmentally friendly and had been accepted by the people in the project areas.

The projects of the 57-member bank, founded last year as an effort by China to both challenge lending institutions and cooperate with them, are relatively modest.

The road in Tajikistan is just three miles long, but it will help clear traffic congestion on an important trading route near the capital, Dushanbe. A $100 million loan to Pakistan is for 40 miles of highway in Punjab Province that would complete the last section of a national artery, the M-4, the bank said.

Three of the projects are being financed with other institutions — the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — an approach that allowed the new bank to begin the projects quickly. The bank’s $165 million loan to expand electricity in rural areas of Bangladesh is its only stand-alone project.

By financing projects with long-established institutions, the Beijing-based bank was able to move quickly because work on meeting environmental standards and procurement policies had been completed, staff members at the bank said.

Although the new bank was China’s idea, it is intended to operate as an international bank dedicated to improving the basic structures and facilities needed to stimulate development across Asia, Mr. Jin said at a news conference on Saturday. Unlike the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank places less emphasis on the reduction of poverty, he said.

The bank “was born with the birthmark of China, but its upbringing is international,” Mr. Jin said. Referring to the three other institutions that will finance the projects, he said, “We can work wonderfully together.”

Riaz Haq said...

Is the Chabahar Port agreement failing India?

the Indian Ministry of Finance had demanded a certain assured return of investment of the project, but later decided to go ahead as Gwadar Port and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had intimidated India. However, now the ministry is proceeding with utmost caution. Moreover, Chabahar’s success depends upon the commercial strategy that it pursues for its business model. Chabahar has less potential as compared to Gwadar. Gwadar is the only port in the region to accept 200,000 tonnes of supertankers whereas Chabahar can only accept 20,000 tonnes. Therefore Chabahar, as a successful economic project, cannot outflank Gwadar.

Another factor worth acknowledging is that Afghanistan itself is a part of problem, not the solution. Instability in Afghanistan may not help realise India’s dream of increasing its influence in the Caucasus region. The National Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs) has not been developed; it is still a pipe dream. Given the turmoil in the Middle East, Iran is more concerned about securing its border with Afghanistan which could hamper India’s aims of moving into Afghanistan the way it wants to.

Iran does not serve Indian interest in Afghanistan. It also doesn’t stand with India when it opposes any attempt at reaching out to the Taliban. The biggest problem India faces in Afghanistan is the absence of any regional strategic partner in Afghanistan. So, the trilateral agreement may reflect cooperation between Iran, India and Afghanistan but it may not translate effectively into political cooperation, let alone geo-strategic partnership.

What further instigates tension is the fact that Iran and India have many diverging interests. Chabahar is made out to be a means of increasing ‘connectivity’ and ensuring ‘security’ but Iran may not be able to align itself with India on its larger geo-strategic and economic goals. In the past, Iran never opposed the Pak-China Gwadar Port and, in sync with its past policies, claimed Gwadar and Chabahar as sister ports. India expressed its interest in developing a major oil field in Iran but Iran refused to give India its gas marketing rights. So, to say, too many expectations on India’s part are bound for disappointment.

India’s interests also diverge from those of Iran. It is not in a position to make Iran its geo-strategic partner and use Chabahar for its larger geo-strategic aims. India has to remain equidistant amidst the Riyadh-Tehran rivalry in Middle East. It also has its interests on stake because of the Iran-Israel divide. New Delhi, in all these sets of relationships, is in no position to take sides, which makes it harder to utilise Chabahar as a geo-strategic port. India means business when it comes to Iran. The game India wants to play in the West and Central Asia needs patience and finesse, for which Pakistan has a befitting reply.

What must also be acknowledged is that China is crucial to Iran’s interests. This can be used by Pakistan, in fact, to outflank India’s Chabahar. Pakistan should adopt the approach: seize the Chinese moment, play the Chinese card. A post-sanctions Iran is looking for economic opportunities opened up by China’s ‘one-belt, one-road’ initiative; Chabahar is only one of such avenues that are being explored by them.

At this point, Pakistan needs to enhance its trade with Iran and develop the western route for CPEC. Pakistan has no reason to fear Chabahar. We should work diligently to connect to Central Asia. In today’s interdependent world, no state (especially a less influential one) can convince other states to refrain from forming economic relations with other countries. It can, nevertheless, engage economically in such a way to become influen

Riaz Haq said...

#China Grants $260m for #Gwadar International Airport in #Pakistan #CPEC …

China is granting Pakistan some $260 million for the construction of the Gwadar International Airport on the Arabian Sea, national media reported Tuesday.
Government officials shared this information with the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in a recent meeting at Islamabad, the daily Express Tribune said. The entire amount of $ 260 million is a grant from the Chinese government, the parliamentarians were informed. (
Gwadar, also being developed as a deep-sea port, is the culmination of the CPEC – the first initiative under China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) trade connectivity plans – that will connect Kashgar in west Chinese province of Xinjiang through a nearly 3000 km route.
Gwadar is located in the ethnic Baloch part of the southwestern Balochistan province, where a low-intensity Baloch nationalist movement has been stoking unrest.
This airport would be able to handle the largest of passenger planes including the A380 Air Bus and Boeing 747-400.
Additionally, the Chinese government has given another grant of $10 million for the construction of the Pakistan-China Vocational and Technical Training Institute to help locals acquire skills.
These grants are part of $ 46 billion infrastructure investment and communications’ development plan under the CPEC. It includes construction of highways, industrial zones, and energy projects across Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan saw 23% growth in airline passengers in 2015; #Gwadar airport growth fastest at 73% #CPEC … via @annaaero

Pakistan’s commercial airports have seen major growth in capacity in the past 12 months, as S15 seat capacity is showing a rise of 23%. Of all the airports in Pakistan, the one that is recording the greatest growth in capacity is Gwadar (13th largest in S15), which is showing an increase in capacity of 73%. A total of eight airports are recording a growth rate over the past 12 months that is greater than 60%, with four of these airports being in the top 12 (highlighted in light green). Only one airport is showing a decline in capacity when compared with S14, Skardu. The 14th largest airport in 2015 was the 11th biggest last year. However, the facility has witnessed a decline in seat capacity of 14% according to OAG Schedules Analyser. In the top 12, the airport order pretty much remains constant, with Multan (+64%), Quetta (+62%) and Faisalabad (+61%) all climbing one place as a result of all of them seeing a growth of over 60%. Turbat is a new airport to the top 12 (13th in S14) as a result of Skardu’s capacity decrease.

After seeing a rise in capacity of nearly 26%, the domestic market is the largest in Pakistan. The country market that is recording the best growth in the top 12 is Sri Lanka. The country pair is served by two routes to Colombo from Karachi and Lahore, with the latter only being launched in November last year with a twice-weekly service operated by Mihin Lanka. Services to Karachi have seen an increase in capacity of 11%, a sector flown by SriLankan Airlines. Of the country markets in the top 12, the only one to show a decline in capacity is Kuwait. In total there are three connections between Kuwait City and Pakistan for S15 (same as in S14), Lahore (-6%), Islamabad (+1%) and Sialkot (-23%). Surprisingly Karachi, the largest airport in Pakistan relating to seat capacity, does not have a direct service to Kuwait.

Over the past 12 months, Turkish Airlines has grown seat capacity out of Pakistan by 38%, beating the MEB3 carriers of Emirates (+13%), Qatar Airways (+28%) and Etihad Airways (+18%). What should also be noted is that Emirates’ sister airline, flydubai (highlighted in light green), has now overtaken Etihad Airways in relation to the monthly seat capacity on offer by both airlines in S15, helped by the carrier reporting a growth in capacity of 66%, and climbing from 12th spot in 2014 to eighth in 2015 in relation to Pakistan’s top 12 airlines. This has been helped in part by the airline recently launching services from Dubai to Faisalabad. Nonetheless the number one out of Pakistan remains the country’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The airline has reported a growth in capacity when compared to the same time period of last year of 25%. None of the airlines in the top 12 are reporting seat capacity reductions in S15. However, Air Indus is showing a consistent pattern with 0% growth and offering the same amount of seats as S14, but growth from Airblue means that the airline drops to fifth in S15 from fourth in last year.

Riaz Haq said...

A 2009 Dawn report on Gwadar International Airport:

The government has decided to provide Rs6.18 billion for construction of an international airport in Gwadar. — File Photo
ISLAMABAD The government has decided to provide Rs6.18 billion for construction of an international airport in Gwadar, despite an earlier decision that the airport would be built by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from its own resources.
The total cost of the project is Rs7.5 billion. The government of Oman will provide a grant of $17.5 million.

Under the earlier decision taken at the beginning of the last fiscal year the CAA was to build the airport on the pattern of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad.

The PC-1 of the project approved in July 2008 stated that CAA would use its own funds in addition to the Omani grant.

While an amount of Rs750 million was allocated in the development budget of the current fiscal for schemes forwarded by the defence ministry, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved local financing of Rs6.18 billion for the airport.

A senior member of the Planning Commission said the decision had been taken under the government's Balochistan development policy.

The CAA has acquired 4,300 acres. It estimates that the airport will be operational by 2020 and it will be able to handle large passenger and cargo aircraft.

The second phase of the airport is scheduled to be completed by 2030 and the final phase by 2050 when it will have the capacity to handle more than one million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo a year.

The existing airport built in 1970 handles small aircraft flights to Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara, Karachi and Muscat.

Riaz Haq said...

#China urges #Pakistan to let #Pak army, with its decades of infrastructure dev experience, lead #CPEC work

Frustrated with the slow progress on a sprawling, $46bn infrastructure project stretching from China to south Asia, Beijing is seeking to give Pakistan’s army a lead role.

Its desire to enlist Pakistan’s military is a sign of the challenges facing a crucial plank of President Xi Jinping’s signature One Road One Belt initiative. It was designed to increase China’s influence along the Silk Road and help the country export some of its excess industrial capacity.

Mr Xi made Pakistan an early stop on that road last year with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $46bn bundle of road, railway, electricity, oil and gas projects that marked the largest foreign investment in the nuclear-armed south Asian state.

But progress has stalled as the two sides work out how to turn the proposals into concrete projects, said Victor Gao, a former Chinese foreign ministry official, with some blaming Pakistan’s competing ministries.

“On the Pakistan side there is uncertainty about which entity wants to take leadership or ownership of the corridor projects,” he said. “There is a big debate internally [in Pakistan] over whether the government should take ownership or the military should take ownership. This is what is holding the whole thing up.”

The Pakistan military, which has detachments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, has had decades of experience with large infrastructure projects and analysts say the army is well placed to supervise the corridor.

But some politicians warn that military involvement will expand the army’s footprint on civilian matters and give the armed forces an even greater say in policymaking.

Security along the route, which traverses many volatile regions, is also a factor. “Because this project runs from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar, the CPEC’s route is very long and high-risk,” said Huang Rihan at the Center for China and Globalisation.

A 15,000-strong army-led security force has already been deployed to protect Chinese personnel assigned to the project.

Ultimately the new Silk Road will connect China’s western region, including the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province, to the Chinese-funded Pakistani port city of Gwadar and significantly reduce the travel time between China and the Middle East.

“Pakistani politicians have squabbled over the route for the CPEC and this may have made people nervous in Beijing,” said a Pakistan government official. “Pakistan is a noisy place politically while the Chinese are not used to harsh disagreements, especially over such a vital project.”

Others attributed the hold-up to the long-term nature of the CPEC. “These projects will take many years to be completed, beyond the tenure of any one government,” said a foreign ministry official in Islamabad. “China wants to make certain that these projects will be completed as per plan”.

China is focused on securing a route to the Indian Ocean that would reduce dependence on the choke point of the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Zaffar Hilaly, a former senior Pakistani diplomat and now commentator on national and security affairs, said: “The Chinese consider the Pakistan army a central player [for the country]. They see the army’s involvement with this project as a guarantee of its success.”

Pakistan’s armed forces have established close ties with Beijing as primary customers of China’s defence hardware, raising concerns in Delhi and Washington over a Sino-Pakistani military axis.

Riaz Haq said...

Modernising #Pakistan through #China. #CPEC by Farhan Bokhari

Reality check long overdue

While Pakistan’s civil institutions responsible for public work increasingly show a dismal performance, the Pakistan army continues to remain responsible for a variety of construction-related mega projects in otherwise inaccessible areas.

This follows more than five decades of experience by the army in undertaking challenging assignments including the Karakorum Highway or KKH, the road built with Chinese assistance, which links China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan province and onwards to the country’s plains. At the outset with the CPEC too, the army’s promise to provide a full security cover for Chinese workers in Pakistan, marked the critical element that buttoned up this project.

In the long term, Pakistan’s ruling politicians may have a valid point in seeking to lead the CPEC initiative. And yet, that ambition needs to be built with a long overdue reality check. The country’s civilian authorities need to embark on an internal reform plan first rather than seek to block the army from assuming a lead role in the execution of the CPEC.

Such a plan must be built upon three equally vital aspects. First, there needs to be a complete political consensus over the geographic layout of the CPEC and its associated projects. Signs of infighting between different political groups have in fact harmed the view of Pakistani politicians, reinforcing their image as a short-sighted warring bunch rather than a mature and politically responsible community.

Second, it’s vital to put safeguards in place for a radical improvement in the performance of key civil institutions, enabling them to take greater responsibility for the execution and eventual management of CPEC related projects. The total work cut out under this initiative will likely continue till the end of the next decade if not beyond. This creates a sufficient time frame for the army to first take charge of this valuable initiative and hand over responsibilities for its eventual management to Pakistan’s civilian infrastructure following a set of robust reforms.

Finally, it’s important for Pakistan’s ruling politicians to consider different types of fallouts from antagonising the armed forces, all in the name of promoting democracy. In the case of the CPEC, some politicians have eagerly pushed for exclusive civilian control on this project as a step towards strengthening Pakistan’s democratic evolution. Yet their initiative will only be an exercise in futility until such time that they reconcile themselves with Pakistan’s fundamental realities.

For now, General Raheel Sharif and the Pakistan army exclusively remain the main guarantors for the success of what is set to transform Pakistan as never before.

Riaz Haq said...

What explains #Modi government kicking up a row over #China #Pakistan Economic Corridor (#CPEC) now? … via @scroll_in

By MK Bhadrakumar

The big question is: How do the Chinese assess the Modi government’s proclivity to count the trees instead of seeing the woods? Do they sense this might be a matter of conscious choice?

What rankles most in the Indian mind is China’s relations with Pakistan. The Modi government demands that China should suspend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on the plea that Gilgit, Baltistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir are Indian territories.

In reality, though, we have a classic situation where it is entirely up to India to raise dust (or not to raise dust). It is even baffling how economic development of those neglected regions would hurt Indian interests. After all, the people inhabiting those regions are also Indians, isn’t it?

The sensible thing would have been to let the Chinese loosen their purse strings to develop our territories that happen to be inside Pakistan temporarily so that when we finally make them part of Akhand Bharat, they won’t be the impoverished terrorist-infested swathes of land that they are today.

Frankly, India is taking an illogical stance. The Modi government estimates that Economic Corridor is “India-centric”, whereas, it is a strategic initiative by China in self-interest.

China has a good reputation for putting money only where the mouth is – and $46 billion is a lot of money. The Chinese motivations are not difficult to comprehend.

The Economic Corridor boils down to project exports by Chinese industry, which is saddled with excess capacity.
Two it opens up efficient communication links with markets in the Gulf and Africa.
It fuels the economy of Xinjiang.
It mitigates to some extent China’s “Malacca Dilemma” – the fact that 80% of China’s oil imports have to pass through the strait en-route from West Asia and Angola.
It creates leverage to balance the traditional American dominance over Pakistan.
Indeed, finally, it cannot be overlooked that One Belt One Road Initiative has a geopolitical dimension insofar as it counters the US’ strategy to encircle China and "contain" it.
Conceivably, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will galvanise Pakistan’s economy. Now, isn’t that a nice thing to happen if it prods our western neighbour to understand that getting rich is the smart thing to do?

If China succeeds in transforming Pakistan as a modern middle-income economy like Turkey or Malaysia, it can only strengthen regional security. But then, a paradox arises: If Pakistan does not collapse as a “failing state” and instead becomes a more prosperous country than India, what happens to Akhand Bharat?

The smart thing would have been to offer to the Chinese an economic corridor through our territory. It is advantageous to be a transit country.

Riaz Haq said...

Does China see CPEC absorbing excess industrial capacity?

The CPEC provides an additional incentive for Chinese companies to extend further afield and expand their business models. Then there is the utilisation of its excess industrial capacity, which China stands to gain from considerably; “Putting idle machinery to use in another country helps to alleviate the domestic burden of idle productive capacity”, Polk explains, “which is currently one of the major constraints on China’s growth, so removing that excess capacity by building infrastructure in other countries may help to accelerate a stabilisation in China’s industrial sector”. Given such advantages for China, it would seem that the benefactor is gaining from the project as much as the recipient, and some may argue, even more so.

Riaz Haq said...

Li Ka-Shing’s 2nd #Pakistan Container Terminal to Start Operations at #Karachi Port Soon via @markets

Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd. is set to start its second Pakistan terminal after a five-year delay, giving mega vessels access to the coastal city of Karachi for the first time.
Hutchison’s terminal operations in South Asia’s second-largest economy will commence before the end of this year, as agreed with the Karachi Port Trust, the company said in an e-mailed reply to questions on Monday.
Li’s company, a unit of his Hong Kong-based flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., is tapping into expanding growth in Pakistan as China plans investments valued at $46 billion in power plants and road projects. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is targeting an annual growth rate of 7 percent next year as the country is set to complete an International Monetary Fund loan program next month.
“Pakistan has been lagging behind big time and now we are moving into the future with this terminal being one of the deepest in the region,” Abid Butt, chief executive officer of Karachi-based freight company e2e Supply Chain Management Ltd., said by phone. “The port can become a transshipment location given India is congested and located better than Dubai’s Jabel Ali.”
Hutchison Port shares gained 1.2 percent to 0.440 Singapore dollars as of 9:01 a.m. in Singapore trading. The stock was down 18 percent this year as of the close Monday.
Karachi Delays
More than half of the nation’s total trade is done through transshipment, said Butt. However, roads around the port in Pakistan’s biggest city will need to be expanded to accommodate cargo from the world’s largest ships, he said.
South Asia Pakistan Terminals Ltd. will handle as much as 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units a year and increase the nation’s container handling capacity by more than half, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the plans are private.
Hutchison’s port will begin operations in the last week of October and will aim to handle 250,000 twenty-foot equivalent units in the first year of operations and increase that to more than 2 million in five years, the person said.
The commercial operations of the terminal with a depth of 16 meters was initially expected to start in 2011, four years after the agreement. Bureaucratic wrangling and a slowdown in road construction and dredging delayed the port operator’s plans, the person said. Some road works and dredging are still not complete, the person said.
‘Leftover Dredging’
“Most of the work is done and the leftover dredging and road work will be complete before the launch,” said Shafiq Faridi, spokesman for the Karachi Port Trust said by phone.
Pakistan handles about 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent, including Hutchison’s first venture Karachi International Container Terminal that started in 1998.

Riaz Haq said...

Published: 27 Jun 2016
Pakistan Vision 2025 seeks to enhance the national transportation infrastructure by establishing an efficient and integrated transportation and logistics system. Establishing industrial parks and developing SEZs along the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will strengthen the transportation network and logistics infrastructure. Road freight transportation contributed over 90% of the goods transported by land. Rail freight is likely to gain share due to modernization and expansion. High priority is given to road network development. Private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum, and transportation and warehousing are likely to lead logistics industry growth during 2016–2020.

The potential opportunities in the logistics industry in Pakistan, is estimated at approximately US $ 30.77 billion in 2015. Key targets set in the national development initiatives for the transportation sector include reduction in transportation costs, effective connectivity between rural areas and urban centres, inter-provincial high-speed connectivity. Also high priority is given for the development of integrated road/rail networks between economic hubs (including air, sea and dry ports) and high capacity transportation corridors connecting with major regional trading partners

Up-gradation of all major airports to trans-shipment hubs, development of cargo villages, modernization of rail transport, E-commerce, CPEC related investments in industrial centres and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will serve as primary macro drivers for logistics sector growth. CPEC related projects intend to upgrade and modernize road transport and related logistics infrastructure such as logistics park and establishment of cargo villages at major airports. Hence, high priority is given for road network development; private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum.

Storage and Warehousing demand from CPEC related industrial corridors are likely to derive increased storage and warehousing requirements including cold chain logistics, establishment of Cargo Villages Ports will facilitate goods traffic to central Asian countries and evolve as a major transhipment hub in the region.

Freight forwarding opportunities expected to increase due to increasing trade activities through Karachi and Port Qasim. Trade reforms expected to increase volume of trade with increase in inter and intra-regional trade. Development of new port at Gwadar generates demand for warehousing, special economic zone, road and railway infrastructure network. As the connectivity and linkage improves, this port will emerge as one of the major transhipment hub in the region - transhipment goods to China, Central Asian countries

Energy and Transportation sectors are expected to see high growth due to increased investment relating to CPEC and National Transportation Plans between 2016 and 2020. This is expected to growth of transportation and warehousing segments between 2016 and 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

“Doesn’t it just look like Mars?” says a Pakistan Army lieutenant colonel, as laborers toil under the blinding sun, building a road across the barren deserts of Balochistan.

Against a backdrop of scorched mountains, workers cut steel bars and prepare rock for crushing near a viaduct that crosses a dry river bed. In the distance, a truck kicks up dust, bringing materials to the site. Army vehicles patrol the road with signal jammers, while snipers scan the hills—the lair of armed separatists and bandits until a military campaign cleared most of them out a few years ago.

This is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s biggest gambit in his so-called One Belt, One Road project to rebuild the ancient Silk Road, a trading route connecting China to the Arabian Sea that slices through the Himalayas and crosses deserts and disputed territory to reach the ancient fishing port of Gwadar, about 500 miles by boat from Dubai.


The project includes coal-fired, solar and wind power stations and a network of highways running 3,000 kilometers down the length of the country, from the freezing passes of the Karakoram Highway to the Arabian Sea. They will run through Kashmir, an area claimed by both India and Pakistan that is subject to frequent border clashes, and restive Balochistan, which Pakistan annexed in 1948.
“The energy policy was there for anyone to come and invest, but others were just looking at the political risk,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview in Islamabad on July 25. “China took a bet on Pakistan when others were shy.”


The cornerstone of the project is Gwadar, 30 minutes from the border with Iran, or an eight-hour drive from Karachi along a two-lane coastal highway that twists through jagged weather-beaten hills and across arid dust-blown plains.
Bought from the Sultanate of Oman in the 1950s, Gwadar is not connected to Pakistan’s power grid, using electricity imported from Iran, also a major source of fuel and consumer goods, much of it smuggled across the border.
Kids here play soccer, rather than the cricket that is popular elsewhere in Pakistan, wearing jerseys of European stars like England captain Wayne Rooney and France’s Paul Pogba. For centuries, the city looked to the sea for its wealth. Wooden fishing boats clustered in the bay haul lobsters and jumbo shrimp that now find their way to China and other markets in East Asia.


For 26-year-old Mohammad Younis, Chinese money has meant an escape from needing to find a job at sea. As a teenager he joined a gang of fuel smugglers, driving pickups from Iran. After the authorities clamped down, he landed a job as a driver at the Pearl Continental, a five-star hotel built in 2006 that hosts Chinese engineers.
The hotel plans to triple capacity within five years and add office and apartment blocks, said General Manager Salman Saeed Khan.
“Development is happening at a faster pace than ever before, now that the Chinese have come,” said Younis. “It’s good. We will get jobs.”

Riaz Haq said...

#China and #Pakistan pin hopes on Arabian Sea port of #Gwadar. #CPEC … via @FT

From the window of his plush office, Dostain Jamaldini, the moustachioed chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, looks upon the mostly deserted, three-berth deep seaport that he argues could one day rival Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Presently, no cargo ship is visible in the tranquil Arabian Sea waters — just the small fishing trawlers.

But Mr Jamaldini says the empty port, built with Chinese financial and technical help at a cost of $248m, finished nearly a decade ago and barely used since, will buzz with traffic by December 2017. By that time, Gwadar should be linked by road to the rest of Pakistan, a key part of the plan to create a vibrant and bustling hub.

“Gwadar has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest ports,” he says. “Once we have connectivity, the port will see traffic. We are now waiting for the road.”

The long-anticipated road is slated to be a modern highway network that seamlessly links Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang province, giving the landlocked Chinese region access to the Indian Ocean. A train should run alongside and Beijing also wants to build oil pipelines from Gwadar to western China, potentially a quicker and easier route for supply from the Gulf.

Yet realising this ambitious vision requires extensive ground infrastructure in Balochistan — one of Pakistan’s poorest, most troubled provinces, with a long history of armed separatist insurgency. Analysts say the region’s volatility could prove an obstacle to realising the $46bn China-Pakistan economic corridor.

In August, Quetta, Balochistan’s provincial capital, was rocked by a sophisticated suicide bomb that killed 70 people, many of them lawyers. Pakistan — which has established a 15,000-man security force to protect the infrastructure and the Chinese engineers — publicly called the attack an attempt to disrupt the massive development.

Prime minister Narendra Modi electrified Indians — and raised the hackles of the Pakistan establishment — in August when he proclaimed New Delhi’s moral support for residents of Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province.
Islamabad has long accused its rival, India, of covertly assisting Balochistan’s separatist insurgents. But former US officials say Washington has never found evidence of Indian military aid beyond New Delhi’s hospitality for Baluchi leaders. Speculation is mounting that New Delhi could be poised to do what Pakistan has always suspected — as it seeks a new, more muscular approach to a neighbour that it blames for numerous terror attacks on its soil.
But security analysts say the prospect of Indian aid for Baluchi rebels is limited by its lack of direct access to the territory. “Actual physical assistance is going to be incredibly difficult,” says Sumit Ganguly, an Indiana University professor. “Geography imposes a certain kind of constraint.”
Chinese analysts also play down the likelihood of India deliberately targeting a Chinese-developed infrastructure project. “It is unlikely that India will act to directly disrupt the CPEC,” Mao Siwei, China’s former consul-general in Kolkata, told the Financial Times. “But strained India-Pakistan relations are extremely detrimental.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India and #Iran Slow to Develop #Chabahar Port as #China Builds Rival Hub at #Gwadar. #CPEC via @markets

When the leaders of India, Iran and Afghanistan gathered in Tehran in the spring for a ceremony marking India’s development of a strategic Iranian port, they recited Persian poetry and said their partnership would “alter the course of history.”
On a recent visit, roughly 13 years after India first agreed to develop the port of Chabahar, a single ship floated at the main jetty. Most of the cargo containers scattered in an asphalt lot bore the logo of the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. In an adjacent harbor, a dozen wooden dhows, or traditional fishing boats, bobbed in the water.
Months after the ceremony in May and pledges by India to inject $500 million into the project, the much-heralded port of Chabahar remains a sleepy outpost – as well as a shadow of the Chinese-built port of Gwadar, 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the east across Iran’s border with Pakistan.
“What you’re seeing is the problem with many of the Indian commitments abroad,” said Sameer Patil, an analyst at Gateway House, a research organization in Mumbai. “Once a prime minister makes that commitment, the parties find it difficult to move the process forward. The Indian bureaucracy takes its sweet time.”

Chabahar was supposed to be an easy win: India would bankroll a hub to rival the China-Pakistan partnership at Gwadar, Iran would get a major ocean port outside the Strait of Hormuz and spur growth in its poor eastern region, and Afghanistan would gain road and rail links to a deep-water port that could boost its war-ravaged economy. But more than a decade on, the strategic asset is languishing, even as China sinks $45 billion into the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that winds down to Gwadar.

“The slowness comes from these small things,” said Mosadeghi, who heads the economic section at Iran’s embassy in New Delhi. “Both sides want to expedite this.”
For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chabahar could aid his goals of integrating South Asia’s economies and boosting India’s stature in the region. However, the slow pace of its development has drawn criticism.
“With China and Pakistan developing Gwadar just a few kilometers away, India cannot afford either delay or inattention to this vital port,” said Shashi Tharoor, a lawmaker with India’s opposition Congress Party and chairman of a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs.
Chabahar could be a linchpin for the region’s economy. It’s close to the western Indian ports of Kandla, Mundra and Mumbai and could help India’s farmers get cheaper access to fertilizers and other commodities from central Asia and beyond.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan and #Iran in talks over #CPEC joining. #India #Chabahar #China #Gwadar

Iran, which is keen to join the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has started talks with Pakistan to extend the ambitious project to the oil-rich nation.

Iran's envoy to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost held talks with CPEC Projects Director Zahir Shah to discuss fields in which Iran would be able to participate and play an "active" role in the CPEC, Pakistan Today newspaper reported.

Iran had showed willingness to become part of the CPEC in a recent meeting between President Hasan Rouhani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York last month.

"Iran's different private sectors have huge capabilities in different fields including technical, engineering, energy projects, road and construction, building energy transmission line and are fully prepared to participate in different projects of CPEC," said Honardoost.

The ambassador also stressed that Iran is ready to meet the energy needs of Pakistan, including natural gas and electricity, which is crucially important for Pakistan to move faster on completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Riaz Haq said...

GWADAR: First Chinese ship finally arrived at Gwadar port that is center of $46 billion China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) project between Beijing and Islamabad, Samaa reported Sunday.
The project is the beginning of a journey of prosperity of Pakistan. The economic corridor is about 3000 Kilometres long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to rest of the world through Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
To strengthen economic activities at the port, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently unveiled five developmental projects for Gwadar.
These are Free Trade Zone, Business Complex of Gwadar Port Authority, Pak-China Government Primary School Faqir Colony, Sawar and Shadikor dams and Gwadar University.
Gwadar, the nerve centre of CPEC, is fast transforming into an international city. Gwadar has the potential to become a world class sea port and a place which is not only important for Pakistan, but also for the region and the world. – Samaa