Sunday, May 10, 2020

CAREC: More Landlocked States Look to Pakistan's Gwadar Port

Uzbekistan is the third landlocked state in recent years to request the use of Pakistani ports for trade, according to media reports.  The Central Asian nation has asked to join Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) to make use of Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations. Current members of QTTA are China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Afghanistan is not a member of QTTA but it currently uses Gwadar and Karachi ports under Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.

Pakistan to Bypass Afghan Wakhan Corridor to Trade With Central Asia Via China

Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA):

The Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan for facilitating transit traffic and trade.

In addition to being members of QTTA, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are also part of CAREC, the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation. Other CAREC member nations include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Tajikistan , Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects have strengthened Pakistan's connectivity with landlocked Central Asia region in recent years.

CAREC Ministerial Meeting Islamabad, Pakistan

CAREC or SAARC:

Pakistan sits between two economically very dynamic regions: Central Asia (and Western China) and South Asia. Which region is better suited for its economic connectivity and integration? Should Islamabad focus on CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) rather than SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation)?

Ideally, Pakistan should be a major player in both vibrant regions. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted a belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.   All of Modi's actions, including his order to bomb Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019, have signaled his outright aggression against Pakistan. His government's actions in Kashmir have extinguished any hope of normal relations between South Asia's two largest economies in the foreseeable future.  These have essentially forced Pakistan to choose between SAARC and CAREC.

CAREC Corridors: 

CAREC region is building six economic corridors to link Central Asian nations. Six multi-national institutions support the CAREC infrastructure development, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank,  Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, according to Khaleej Times.

Out of the total $27.7 billion CAREC infrastructure investment so for, $9.9 billion or 36 per cent was financed by ADB, a senior officer of the Manila-based multinational bank told Khaleeej Times.

He said other donors had invested $10.9 billion while $6.9 billion was contributed by CAREC governments. Of these investments, transport got the major share with $8 billion or 78 per cent. Asian Development Bank Vice President Wencai Zhang said: "There are huge financing requirements in Carec for transport and trade facilitation, for which 108 projects have been identified at an investment cost of $38.8 billion for the period 2012-2020. Investment for the priority energy sector projects will be $45 billion in this period."

CPEC North-South Corridor:

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major part of the north-south corridor that will allow trade to flow among CAREC member countries, many of which are resource-rich but landlocked nations. The corridor will enable the group to access to the Pakistani seaports in Gwadar and Karachi as part of the new maritime silk route (MSR) as envisioned by China and Pakistan.

CPEC consists of transport and communication infrastructure—roads, railways, cable, and oil and gas pipelines—that will stretch 2,700 kilometers from Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to the Khunjerab Pass at the China-Pakistan border in the Karakorams.

China and Pakistan are developing plans for an 1,800 kilometer international rail link from the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Western China to Pakistan's deep-sea Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, according to Zhang Chunlin, director of Xinjiang's regional development and reform commission.

Rail Network Bypasses Afghanistan

 "The 1,800-kilometer China-Pakistan railway is planned to also pass through Pakistan's capital of Islamabad and Karachi," Zhang Chunlin said at the two-day International Seminar on the Silk Road Economic Belt in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, according to China Daily.

"Although the cost of constructing the railway is expected to be high due to the hostile environment and complicated geographic conditions, the study of the project has already started," Zhang said. "China and Pakistan will co-fund the railway construction. Building oil and gas pipelines between Gwadar Port and China is also on the agenda," Zhang added.

Afghan Instability:

Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.

Summary:

A growing list of landlocked Central Asian countries is lining up to use Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi for trade. Uzbekistan is the latest nation to do so. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects have strengthened Pakistan's connectivity with landlocked Central Asia region in recent years.  The Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan for facilitating transit traffic and trade.

In addition to being members of QTTA, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are also part of CAREC, the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation. Other CAREC member nations include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

1800 Km Pak-China Rail Link

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

CPEC to Create Over 2 Million Jobs

Modi's Covert War in Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC


29 comments:

TT said...

We should try to purchase the Wakan corridor from afghanistan

Riaz Haq said...

TT: "We should try to purchase the Wakan corridor from afghanistan"

Yes! It would create Pakistan's direct border with Tajikistan to serve as gateway to Central Asia!!

Mayraj F. said...

Connection to China made Eastern Roman Empire richer!

"Why was the Eastern Roman Empire wealthier than the West?" With the description adding "If the Silk Road was so important, why weren't the Sassanids richer?"

The Sassanids WERE richer, to a degree.

The importance of the Silk Road can't be overstated. It wasn't just silk that flowed along it; spices, dyes, and other exotic goods came with the Silk, and all the major Silk Road routes ended in the Eastern Empire. At the same time, the East was more urban, as it had been under the rule of major civilizations longer than the west, which had been mostly tribal before the rise of Rome (Italy and Carthage being the exceptions.) This urbanization lead to a higher population, greater production, and more commerce, all making the East richer. Finally, Egypt was in the East. Highly urbanized, with rich farmland, strong trade routes, and natural gold deposits, Egypt was rich beyond measure.

All this, coupled with a somewhat more stable border than the West ever had, made the Eastern Empire rich and safe.


https://www.quora.com/Why-was-the-eastern-roman-empire-wealthier-than-the-west
Why was the eastern roman empire wealthier than the west?

Mantou said...

The government of Uzbekistan has expressed its willingness to utilize Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations and requested Pakistan's support for accession to the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA). The QTTA, under CPEC, provides an alternative route bypassing Afghanistan and relying on the Karakoram Highway via China to reach the Central Asian states. Pakistan plays a significant role in QTTA and ensured support to Uzbekistan in this regard.

http://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=1456

Riaz Haq said...

#China-#Pakistan friendship (1950-2020). Bonds of friendship go back to centuries-old #trade relations, when Chinese traders travel through Pakistan on their business trips to the #MiddleEast, #Europe, and the rest of the world. #CPEC #BRI - Global Times https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1189007.shtml#.XsbCIXnkkak.twitter

Pakistan and China established diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951. The first high-level official delegation visited China just after three months of liberation, on January 4, 1950. But the bonds of friendship have gone back to centuries-old trade relations, when Chinese traders travel through Pakistan on their business trips to the Middle-East, Europe, and the rest of the world through ancient Silk Route. Over 2,000 yers ago famous figures such as the monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang traveled through areas which are today known as Pakistan.

This relationship was built on the strength of successive achievements and becomes formidable with each passing day and year. The leadership of both countries is committed to taking this relationship forward.

To understand the depth of this unique relationship, here is a glimpse of the milestones reached over the years:

• 1950 - Pakistan becomes the third non-communist country, and the first Muslim one, to recognize the People's Republic of China and dispatched a high level delegation to China on January 4, 1950.

• 1951 The two countries established formal diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951.

• 1955 Visit of Vice President Madam Song Ching Ling to Pakistan marked the first high level visit from Chinese side.

• 1956 Visit of Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy to China, was the first high level visit from Pakistan.

• 1963 Historic Visit of Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to China

• 1963 Pakistan and China conclude boundary agreement through peaceful negotiations. Pakistan is the only and most friendly country in the neighborhood who has never had any difference of opinion or border dispute with China.

• 1964 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) started its flights to Beijing, becoming the first non-communist country airline to fly from Beijing, entering into a new era of linkages between the two countries. Pakistan was the window for China to interact with the rest of world.

• 1965 Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed, promoting understanding and harmony.

• 1970 Pakistan facilitates first visit by US President Nixon to China, paving way for the first-ever US-China official contact, leading toward the normalization of Sino-American relations.

• 1976 Agreement on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation signed, opening huge opportunities for Pakistani scientists and students.

• 1978 The Karakoram Highway, a construction miracle, linking mountainous Northern Pakistan with Western China officially opened, linking China to the Arabian Ocean.

• 1983 Pakistan and China sign MoU on Educational Exchanges, which led 32,000 Pakistani student studying in China today.

• 1989 The two countries sign an agreement on Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investments. China is the largest investor in Pakistan.

• 1995 Agreement for Traffic in Transit is signed between the Governments of Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, opening avenues of transit trade with other central Asian states and whole of Eurasia.

• 1995 Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto visits China as a special guest to attend the 4th Women's Conference in Beijing, bring the women of the two friendly nations close to each other.

• 1999 The contract to jointly develop and produce the JF-17 was signed, a landmark event for Pakistan's defense Industry.

• 2001 Premier Zhu Rongji visits Pakistan on the occasion of 50 years of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations.

Riaz Haq said...

Retired #Indian General: "#Ladakh is the only area where physical military collusion can take place between #Pakistan and #China...just to the East of Siachen glacier and is our (#India's) vulnerability" #LadakhStandoff #Kashmir #CPEC https://theprint.in/opinion/china-believes-india-wants-aksai-chin-back-thats-why-it-has-crossed-lac-in-ladakh/430899/ via @ThePrintIndia

China is extremely suspicious of India. It believes that in the long term, India’s strategic aim is to restore the status quo ante 1950 by recovering Aksai Chin and other areas captured/secured by China. India’s alignment with the US, the presence of Tibetan government-in-exile in India, and the aggressive claims on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan — through which the prestigious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes — only strengthen China’s suspicion.

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In the absence of any government or military briefings, there are speculations galore about the details of the incidents on the LAC and the political/military aims of China. More so, after the two informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi — at Wuhan in 2018 and Mamallapuram in 2019 — wherein both leaders had committed to maintain peace and tranquility on the LAC and give strategic directions to their militaries on border management.

The starting point of any conflict between two nations is the political aim. Military actions are merely the means to achieve that aim. I will reverse the process and analyse the military situation and strategic importance of the areas of the India-China ‘face-offs’ to derive the political aims.

At the outset, let me be very categoric — just like in 1962, 1965, and 1999, we have once again been surprised both at the strategic and tactical levels. The manner in which we had to rush reinforcements from other sectors gives a clear indication that we were surprised. At the strategic level, it was the failure of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to detect the build-up of the PLA formations from the rear bases to replace the border defence units. Our tactical surveillance with UAVs and patrols has been inadequate to detect this large-scale movement close to the LAC. The ITBP mans the border and ironically is not under the command of the army.

As per unconfirmed reports, the PLA has crossed the LAC and physically secured 3-4 km of our territory along Galwan River and the entire area between Finger 5 and Finger 8 along the north bank of Pangong Tso, a distance of nearly 8-10 km (the areas are marked in this Indian Express sketch in its 2017 report). There also seem to be minor incursions in the area of Hot Springs, in Ladakh’s Chang Chenmo River valley and at Demchok.

My assessment is that the PLA has deployed maximum one brigade each in Galwan River valley and along the north bank of Pangong Tso. Precautionary deployment would have been done at likely launch pads for offensive and other vulnerable areas along the LAC. Reserves would be on short notice to cater for Indian reaction/escalation. The airfield at Ngari has been upgraded and fighter aircraft have been positioned there. It is likely that additional troops have been deployed at Depsang plains, Hot Springs, Spanggur Gap, and Chumar.

It is pertinent to mention that the intrusion by regular troops is not linear like normal border patrols going to respective claim lines. If a brigade size force has secured 3-4 km in Galwan River, it implies that the heights to the north and south have been secured, thus securing a total area of 15 to 20 square km. Similarly, along Pangong Tso, the PLA brigade having secured 8-10 km on the north bank would have also secured the dominating heights to the north to physically control 35-40 square km. And if China subsequently realigns its claim line based on the areas secured, the net area secured would increase exponentially.

Anonymous said...

The outlook for SAARC is gloomy with the Sangh Parivar Regime always diverting the attention of the masses from real and pressing problems onto those imagined ones which are colored by the religions of the minority communities. The latest enterprise is to resurrect the supposed horrors of the Goa (Christian) Inquisition (20m Christians vs 1bn Hindus) almost totally based on a book written by a 17th century French traveler, and with saffronized wiki doctoring.This issue takes precedence even over COVID-19.
What hope is there when the educated classes are enthusiastic sangh parivarists all the while creating and believing the most ridiculous stories concerning the minority communities. How can SAARC work when there are Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Riaz Haq said...

#Afghan Transit #Trade Starts Via #Gwadar Port. It's part of #China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor (#CPEC), which is building #Pakistani roads, economic zones and a major airport in Gwadar to improve regional connectivity. #Chabahar #Iran #India | TOLOnews https://shar.es/aHBksx


China's embassy in Pakistan on Tuesday in a tweet said that Afghan transit trade has started at Gwadar Port. The first ship full of containers reached Gwadar Port on Tuesday.

The containers will be loaded onto trucks for transport to Afghanistan through the Pakistani border town of Chaman, VOA reported.

Kabul traditionally has relied on Pakistani overland routes and the two main southern seaports of Karachi and Port Qasim for international trade, under a bilateral deal with Islamabad, known as the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA).

However, recent Chinese financial and construction efforts have activated the deep-water port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, which offers a much shorter overland link, particularly to southern regions of Afghanistan, for the rapid delivery of goods.

The port is at the center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is building Pakistani roads, power plants, economic zones and a major airport in Gwadar to improve connectivity between the two allied nations and the region in general.

The massive project is hailed as the flagship of Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which has brought about $30 billion to Pakistan in direct investment, soft loans and grants over the past six years.

Riaz Haq said...

Gwadar port to boost #Pakistan-#Afghanistan #trade. Bagging of fertilizer will be done in #Gwadar and bags shipped on trucks to Afghanistan which will generate employment for the locals in #Balochistan. #CPEC #infrastructure #trade #economy https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/gwadar-port-to-boost-pakistanafghanistan-trade-envoy/1850461

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal said Islamabad''s decision to allow Afghan traders to import goods via the Gwadar port in Balochistan province will boost bilateral trade and transit ties between the two countries.

Mashal''s comments on Friday came following the arrival of a cargo ship, carrying 16,000 tonnes urea for transit to Afghanistan at the Gwadar port, reports Xinhua news agency.

Pakistan last month announced to allow import of the Afghan bulk cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilizers at the Gwadar port and onward transit to Afghanistan in sealable trucks, instead of being limited to containers.

"For the first time, bagging will be done locally instead of foreign ports. Urea will be bagged and shipped on trucks to Afghanistan at Gwadar, which will generate employment for the locals. Instructions have already been passed to allocate all labor jobs to local population," Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani Prime Mnister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, tweeted on Friday.

In response, the Afghan Ambassador welcomed Pakistan''s decision.

"This will certainly have a positive impact on Afghanistan-Pakistan trade and transit ties. We must extend support to each other for revival of commerce and connectivity in Central and South Asia that will surely benefit people in the region," Mashal said in a tweet.

Pakistan announced in October 2019 to open the Gwadar port for the Afghan transit trade as the trade related infrastructure at the port was already to handle bulk cargoes to and from Afghanistan.

The first ship carrying containers for Afghan transit trade arrived at the Gwadar port on January 14.

Pakistan and Afghanistan had signed a transit trade agreement in 1965 that was revised in 2010, which calls for better facilitation in the movement of goods between the two countries.

Afghan traders would previously use ports in Karachi for import under the transit trade agreement.

Riaz Haq said...

The Trade and Transit Woes of Landlocked Afghanistan During COVID- 19
Pakistan plays a big role in dictating the fortunes of the Afghan economy.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/the-trade-and-transit-woes-of-landlocked-afghanistan-during-covid-19/

Afghan Think Tank's View:

Being landlocked remains one of the most disadvantageous positions for a state, especially in the modern global economy dominated by maritime trade. Prominent Oxford University economist Paul Collier listed being landlocked with bad neighbors as one of the four key reasons why countries with a combined population of 1 billion are stranded in poverty.

Afghanistan is a typical victim of such a landlocked geographic position. Transit routes and access to the sea are hardly dictated by international laws, conventions, and bilateral agreements when it comes to neighboring Pakistan. The situation remains grim, even during the outbreak of COVID-19, at a time when global efforts are being made to ensure humanitarian support to all countries.

In Pakistan, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on February 26 and the pandemic gained momentum with every passing day since. On March 16, the country closed all its borders with neighboring countries for two weeks. The decision included the closure of the major crossings at Torkham and Wesh-Chaman along the Durand Line, thus interrupting Afghanistan’s trade and transit. It is worth mentioning that the Wesh-Chaman crossing point had been closed in first week of March. As a result, around 2,000 containers were stranded along the crossing points, while another 6,000 Afghanistan-bound containers carrying food, medicines, and non-food items were piled up at Pakistan’s Karachi port.

On March 20, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his commitment to support Afghanistan during the crisis and said that he had instructed the authorities to open the Wesh-Chaman crossing point. Although, Torkham, not Wesh-Chaman, is the major crossing point, Khan’s tweets inspired relief among Afghan traders, government, and the public. However, the situation remained unchanged until April 9. The crossing points were open again on April 10, but traffic was diminished — three days a week, plus hours reduced to 10 hours per day rather than 24-hour service. Further, 100 percent of goods were being scanned before crossing, as opposed to the 5 percent threshold laid out in agreements between the two countries. This meant 200 to 250 trucks could cross over per week, compared to earlier figures of 4,000 to 5,000. At this pace, it will take an estimated three months to bring all the stranded containers to Afghanistan.

The delay has severe cost implications as well......

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The recent obstruction of transit trade and the approach of the Pakistani authorities has left the Afghan economy at the verge of a disaster, once again. A sustainable long-term solution lies in seeking alternative trade routes. The Afghan government has neither pushed for renegotiation of the bilateral agreement nor has it done enough to operationalize Chabahar for Afghan traders. The five-year duration of APTTA has already expired and there is a need to renegotiate it. A shift of transit trade to Chabahar would give the Afghan government much-needed bargaining power to renegotiate APTTA and ensure smooth trade and transit through both routes. The present Afghan government’s approach will only allow Pakistan to dictate the fortunes of the Afghan economy and exploit its vulnerable position.

Riaz Haq said...

A study highlights that if China uses the CPEC route for trade with six countries in the Middle East and Europe, it will be able to save almost $70 billion annually. The estimate is based on data for the year 2016-17.

Pakistan will also earn good revenue of around $6-10 billion through different types of services and fees. Mutual gains from the industrial, agricultural and scientific cooperation will be even more rewarding for both the countries. Thus, the focus must be on implementation and completion of projects on time.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2232569/2-cpec-criticism-needs-improve/

Riaz Haq said...

#China #PLA expands modern high-altitude arsenal like tanks, rockets, artillery, helicopters and drones to address border threat from #India. Z-8G #helicopter can take off from 4,500-6000 meters above sea level .#Ladakh #Kashmir #Gilgit_Baltistan #CPEC https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1190083.shtml#.XtVC21wXFSI.twitter

Since the Doklam standoff with India in 2017, the Chinese military has expanded its arsenal with weapons like the Type 15 tank, Z-20 helicopter and GJ-2 drone that should give China the advantage in high-altitude conflicts should they arise, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

China's Type 15 tank made its public debut at the National Day military parade on October 1 last year.

With a powerful engine, the Type 15 lightweight main battle tank can effectively operate in plateau regions difficult for heavier tanks, and with its advanced fire control systems and 105 millimeter caliber armor-piercing main gun, it can outgun any other light armored vehicles at high elevations, the experts told the Global Times on Sunday.

China's most advanced vehicle-mounted howitzer, the PCL-181, also debuted at the parade.

At 25 tons, the PCL-181 is lighter, faster and can endure longer than the previous 40-ton self-propelled howitzer on crawler tracks.

It can digitally deploy its gun at the press of a button, with automatic calibration and semi-automatic reloading.

Both the Type 15 tank and the PCL-181 howitzer were displayed in the high-elevation plateau region of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region in a China Central Television report on military exercises in January.

Another new weapon which debuted at the parade was a multiple-rocket launcher system, which uses an 8x8 wheeled high-mobility chassis and carries two sets of four 370-millimeter rockets, making it viable for high-altitude deployment, according to publicly available reports.

In the air, China unveiled the Z-20 utility helicopter at the parade. This medium-lift helicopter can adapt to all kinds of terrain and weather and can be used on missions including personnel and cargo transport, search and rescue and reconnaissance.

The Z-20 can operate in oxygen-depleted plateaus thanks to its powerful homemade engine, Chen Guang, vice general manager of Avicopter, the helicopter branch of Aviation Industry Corporation of China that developed the helicopter, told the Global Times previously.

Joining the Z-20 is the modified Z-8G large transport helicopter displayed at the Fifth China Helicopter Exposition held in Tianjin in October.

Focusing on plateau operations, the Z-8G is the first of its kind in China and can take off from 4,500 meters above sea level with a ceiling higher than 6,000 meters.

At Airshow China 2018, the Chinese Air Force unveiled the GJ-2 armed reconnaissance drone, which has a higher ceiling and can carry more payload than the previous GJ-1. Reports said it can be used to patrol the long border in high-altitude areas like Tibet.

These specially designed weapons have boosted the Chinese military's combat capabilities in high-altitude regions, enabling it to better safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Chinese analysts said.

Border incidents have recently occurred between troops of China and India.

Chinese border defense troops have bolstered border control measures and made necessary moves in response to India's recent, illegal construction of defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region in May.

Indian media reports said China recently deployed 5,000 more troops to the border area with India, and diplomats of the two countries have started talks on a peaceful resolution.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said Friday at a regular press conference that the Chinese border defense troops are devoted to safeguarding peace and stability in the border regions and that the overall situation along China-India border was stable and under control.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #Navy chief talks regional security and tech wish list. Over 90% of its #trade is seaborne; it's a trade conduit to #China and #CentralAsia via #CPEC. Key threats to Pakistan’s security is from India’s #Hindu Nationalist mindset of #Modi. #CAREC https://www.defensenews.com/interviews/2020/06/03/pakistans-naval-chief-talks-regional-security-and-tech-wish-list/#.Xtev-d9TdMc.twitter

The Pakistan Navy, being a firm believer in the freedom of seas, has been contributing significantly in preserving maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. In this regard, the Pakistan Navy was the first regional navy to join Combined Task Force 150 in 2004. Similarly, to counter the increasing acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa, we joined Combined Task Force 151 in 2009. So far, the Pakistan Navy has been the largest contributor to CMF operations, second only to the United States Navy. Pakistan Navy officers have also had the privilege of commanding both these task forces on numerous occasions.

While we continue to be part of CMF, the Pakistan Navy is also a proponent of a region-centric maritime security construct. Alive to the changing geostrategic realities in the region, the Pakistan Navy in 2018 instituted the RMSP to protect our national maritime security interests and fulfill international obligations in the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan Navy ships, with embarked helicopters, are undertaking these patrols along three axes: the Horn of Africa, the North Arabian Sea and the central Indian Ocean. The objectives of the RMSP include contribution toward maintaining good order at sea in our own area of interest and engagement with the regional navies to enhance mutual collaboration and interoperability.

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

Progressive “capability development” is an important pillar of my vision for the Pakistan Navy. As warships are the mainstay of any navy, induction of surface platforms is essential to boost the Pakistan Navy’s operational deployability. In this regard, we have contracted for the construction of Type 054AP frigates from China and Milgem-class corvettes from Turkey along with transfer of technology. We are also inducting Dutch-designed offshore patrol vessels constructed in a Romanian shipyard.

In addition, we have contracted for the acquisition of Hangor-class submarines from China, and in the second phase their construction is planned in-country, for which necessary upgrades of Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Limited is in progress.

We are also focusing on the induction of modern aviation assets, including jet-powered, long-range maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. In addition, we are modernizing our existing fleet of warships and aircraft with upgrades to their weapons and electronic suites.


These inductions have led to expansion in our human resource capital. However, keeping a high “teeth-to-tail” ratio remains a priority. As our Navy expands in line with the recent restructuring, the induction rates have almost doubled. With regard to the budgetary allocations, our Navy, like many other navies, operates in a resource-constrained environment. However, with a clear and long-term plan for its modernization and capacity building, emerging challenges are being addressed through indigenization and cost-effective solutions.

The Pakistan Navy always looks forward to adopting new technologies, especially those which serve as force multipliers. Unmanned surface vehicles have a variety of utilities, such as for harbor defense, mine detection and countermeasure roles. We are presently evaluating this technology and will acquire it as per their suitability and feasibility to our requirements.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan approves $7.2 billion #rail project. Modernization of 1,872 kilometers #railway track is expected to increase the speed of the passenger trains to 160km/h from 110km/h and boost freight as part of #China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor. #CPEC https://www.railway-technology.com/news/pakistan-approves-7-2bn-rail-project/

Pakistan has given its approval for the $7.2bn project to upgrade the railway between Karachi and Peshawar.

The approval was given by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP).

This 1,872km-long rail line is a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will link Kashgar, China, with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.

Times of India quoted CPEC Authority chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa as saying that this approval is a major milestone in the CPEC phase two.

The modernisation of the rail line is expected to boost the speed of the passenger trains to 160km/h from 110km/h.

With this approval, Pakistan will undertake negotiations with China for the project finances and inform the International Monetary Fund regarding the loan.

The CPEC is a $60bn project under China’s President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative to connect Asia, Africa and Europe with a network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

In April 2019, Malaysia and China signed a revised agreement to resume construction of the suspended East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

As part of Belt and Road initiative, the ECRL project will connect Port Klang on the Straits of Malacca to Pengkalan Kubor in north-east peninsular Malaysia.

In March, Nepal decided to use the Chinese track gauge standard for its railway system in a bid to reduce costs.

In October 2018, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group and Myanma Railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study of the 431km Muse-Mandalay railway line.

Riaz Haq said...

"Belt & Road Economics": 2019 Report by the World Bank


http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/715511560787699851/pdf/Main-Report.pdf


Pakistan’s GDP to increase by up to 6.43pc till 2030, if one is to take only the investment on transport infrastructure under CPEC into account. However if one includes the impact of some policy measures like reducing border delays and reduction in tariffs that the World Bank proposes, Pakistan can add as high as 14.06pc to its GDP.

“The impact of a more ambitious set of reforms could magnify the gains from the new infrastructure network. For instance, if in addition to an improved infrastructure network also border delays were reduced by half, BRI economies could double the GDP gains coming from infrastructure investment alone. As all countries, BRI and non-BRI, are subject to border delays we find that non-BRI economies benefit as well from trade facilitation reforms. Low-income countries, which trade intensively with countries or tend to have long border delays, would disproportionately benefit from better border management. Better border management would allow firms located in low-income countries to access cheaper inputs increasing their competitiveness in foreign markets. As a consequence, demand for labor would increase pushing nominal wages up. Finally, a more efficient use of intermediate inputs and lower transport costs would lead to a decrease in prices of final goods.”

“As a second exercise, we simulate a 50pc reduction in applied tariffs among BRI
economies. Average tariffs in BRI countries are relatively high compared to tariffs in advanced economies. Applied tariffs in BRI countries vary between around 14pc in Sub-Saharan Africa and 2pc in East Asia and Pacific compared to applied tariffs of below 1pc in G7 countries. This trade rade policy could have a substantial effect on countries in South Asia that could increase the impact of infrastructure improvement alone by a factor of 5.
Interestingly, countries located in the Middle East and North Africa and in Europe and Central Asia would benefit more by combining infrastructure investment with trade facilitation policies rather than combining it with trade policies. This result is explained by relatively high border delays in these regions and by the fact that they rely disproportionately more on non-BRI countries in terms of inputs for their production. The effect of combining both a reduction in preferential tariffs and border delays would increase the benefits for both BRI and non-BRI members more than individual complementary policies alone.”

“Our results show that BRI transport infrastructure projects increase GDP for BRI
economies by up to 3.35pc. The model also shows that BRI-related transport projects could increase GDP for non-BRI countries by up to 2.61pc and for the world as a whole by up to 2.87pc. These numbers are larger than typical findings for regional trade agreements such as NAFTA using a similar methodology. Contrary to regional trade agreements, which decrease tariffs within a narrowly defined set of countries, the BRI is expected to decrease trade costs between a very large number of countries, including many economies that are not part of the initiative but whose trade flows will benefit from the improved transport infrastructure network when accessing (or transiting through) BRI countries.” the report stated.

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/06/10/cpec-to-lift-pakistans-gdp-to-6-43pc-in-ten-years-world-bank/

Riaz Haq said...

#US to include #Pakistan in $3b fund for Central Asian Republics. US IDFC fund is to support immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of the #COVID19. Pakistan looking for stronger connectivity in #CAREC. #infrastructure https://tribune.com.pk/story/2252842/us-keen-to-include-pakistan-in-3b-regional-fund

The United States intends to launch a regional fund for development in Central Asian Republics (CARs), which will include Pakistan as well.
In this regard, US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) CEO Adam Boehler informed Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood that they intended to start a regional fund for development in CARs, which had shown keen interest in including Pakistan in the fund.

He added that the IDFC had a $3-billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also discussed a number of opportunities with the Pakistani side and decided to pursue different options, as discussed in the meeting.

Giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with regional countries, Dawood said Pakistan was already working closely with Afghanistan, particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building a long-term economic relationship. The PM aide added that Pakistan was looking for stronger connectivity with CARs, which would include building of roads as well as power infrastructure.

The adviser underlined that Pakistan was a high-cost energy country and with stronger connectivity with CARs, the country could lower the cost for the benefit of investors and businesses. He further said the IDFC could play an instrumental role as a link among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.

While discussing different opportunities in Pakistan, Dawood apprised the IDFC official of the public-private partnership model introduced by the government in order to ease some burden on the annual development expenditure.

He explained that there was a need for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan because it brought technology, caused improvement in productivity and created employment opportunities for the locals.

He stressed that Pakistan was looking for diversification in FDI as investors.

The adviser also shared the problems being faced by businessmen in Pakistan, amid the global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancelation of export orders.

Elaborating on the specific areas where the IDFC could support Pakistan, the Board of Investment (BOI) chairman, who was also present in the meeting, talked about the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which was a more sustainable approach towards development.

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC Re-Emerges In #Pakistan With Flurry Of Major #China Deals: 2 #hydropower projects costing $3.9 billion, and another to revamp Pakistan's colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion -- the most expensive #Chinese project yet in Pakistan. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/belt-and-road-re-emerges-in-pakistan-with-flurry-of-china-deals-2263687 via @ndtv

China's Belt and Road program has found new life in Pakistan with $11 billion worth of projects signed in the last month, driven by a former lieutenant general who has reinvigorated the infrastructure plan that's been languishing since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office two years ago.
The nations signed deals on June 25 and July 6 for two hydro-power generation projects costing $3.9 billion in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region, and another to revamp the South Asian nation's colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion -- the most expensive Chinese project yet in Pakistan.

Khan's government appointed Asim Saleem Bajwa last year to run the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, which oversees more than $70 billion in projects from power plants to highways.

He also joined Khan's cabinet in late April, becoming one of more than a dozen former and current military officials in prominent government roles as the army expands its influence in the country.

The Chinese financing has helped rid Pakistan of an electricity deficit that left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for much of the day. Still, the implementation of some investments appeared to stall since Khan came to power, with no new projects announced in 2018 and very few in 2019.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the initiative in 2013, the World Bank estimates about $575 billion worth of energy plants, railways, roads, ports and other projects have been built or are in the works across the globe. Its progress has slowed recently, dogged by accusations that China is luring poor countries into debt traps for its own political and strategic gain.

"The reality is that much of CPEC, like the Belt and Road more broadly, has been paralyzed," said Jonathan Hillman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan "is a flagship for China's Belt and Road, so the need to show progress is even more important."

In a tweet last month, Bajwa said some detractors had given the "false impression" that CPEC had been slowed. Not only has the pace of work on projects picked up recently, but a great deal of ground work has been done to launch phase two of the project that also includes special economic zones to lure Chinese manufacturers, agriculture, science, technology and tourism, he wrote.

"The prime minister pushed very hard on this," said Abdul Razak Dawood, Khan's adviser on commerce and investments said by phone. "We feel that we have to get more and more hydro in our energy mix."

A spokesman in Bajwa's office said he was not immediately available to comment.

Little Progress

Pakistan's army is already responsible for securing every single Beijing-funded project scattered across the country, from the mountains near the Chinese border to the desert in Gwadar where the Chinese operate a port. Its role has become even more important following terrorist attacks on three Chinese-related projects in the past year.

"There is no doubt that PM Khan's arrival slowed the pace of CPEC projects," said Mosharraf Zaidi, a senior fellow at Islamabad-based think tank, Tabadlab, and a former principal advisor to the foreign ministry. "The renewed energy and approval we are now seeing is almost entirely likely due to the chairperson having settled in, and being added to Prime Minister Khan's cabinet."

Riaz Haq said...

ML-1 Project: How can an outdated railway line change the destiny of Pakistan? - BBC URDU

https://youtu.be/D7pTwYlzkrI

یک وقت آئے گا جب پاکستان میں ٹرینیں بنا توقف 160 کلو میٹر فی گھنٹہ پر دوڑیں گی اور لاہور سے اسلام آباد آپ صرف ڈھائی گھنٹے میں پہنچ پائیں گے۔ کراچی سے حیدرآباد تو صرف ایک گھنٹہ لگے گا۔ یہاں تک کہ مال بردار ٹرین بھی 120 کلو میٹر فی گھنٹہ پر چلے گی۔ ایسا اس وقت ہو گا اگر آٹھ برس کی مدت میں کراچی سے پشاور تک جانے والی مین لائن ون چین کی مدد سے بحال ہو پائے گی۔ اس سے نہ صرف ریلوے کو نئی زندگی ملے گی، پاکستان کی معیشت بھی اس سے مستفید ہو گی۔ ایم ایل ون کیا ہے، کس حال میں ہے اور کیسے بحال ہو گی، دیکھیے ہمارے ساتھی عمر دراز اور فرقان الٰہی کی اس رپورٹ میں

Riaz Haq said...

$8.6 billion 1,872 kilometer ML-1 #railway project to turn #Pakistan, particularly #Peshawar, into a global #business hub. It will create 150,000 jobs in Pakistan. Pakistan & landlocked Central Asian nations will also benefit from it. #trade #CPEC #China https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/753468-ml-1-to-turn-pakistan-into-a-global-business-hub

ML-1 Railway-line project will turn Pakistan, particularly Peshawar into a global business hub & help open up Central Asia, says a report published by China Economic Net (CEN) on Thursday.


According to the report, experts call ML-1 project a “game changer of CPEC” and predict that in future Peshawar city will the center of business activities. Not only Pakistan, but the countries of Central Asia, wherein many are land-locked, will also benefit from it.

For the rehabilitation and upgradation of the 1,872-kilometer railway line, the Government of Pakistan’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved ML-1 project worth $ 6.8 billion on August 5, 2020.

As per the plan, the Chinese Government under CPEC would provide 90% of the financing of the project.

The project is also expected to generate 150,000 jobs in the country. Basharat Waheed, the CPEC project head in Ministry of Railways told CEN, “The entire track from Karachi to Peshawar would be upgraded.

The worn-out earthworks under the existing 150-year-old railway line will be completely uprooted and fresh sleepers and rails would be installed with new earthworks with an estimated lifespan of at least 50 years”.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan launches ferry service linking Iran, Iraq, UAE and beyond

https://www.cruisemapper.com/news/7888-pakistan-launches-ferry-service-linking-iran-iraq-united-arab-emirates-beyond


The federal cabinet of Pakistan on Tuesday, September 8, gave formal approval to the launch of a ferry service out of ports Gwadar and Karachi to the neighbouring states Iran, Iraq, UAE-United Arab Emirates and beyond.

Currently, there was no national or international commercial ferry service operating in the country for the purpose of transportation of goods and passengers. In the regional countries like Bangladesh, Iran, Oman, Sri Lanka, and there were established ferry operators successfully running on a variety of routes. The potential for initiating Pakistan's ferry service has been felt for quite some time, especially in providing an alternate route for Zaireen intending to call at holy sites in Iran and Iraq.

Transportation between Gwadar and Karachi and provision of an alternate water route between Port Qasim and Karachi also has potential for the country.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs moved a summary for Prime Minister back on December 15, 2017, through the interior, foreign affairs, revenue and defence divisions, proposing the launch of a ferry service through PNSC (Pakistan National Shipping Corporation). The proposal was endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior but the Defence Division raised observations and conditions on the proposed service. The Prime Minister’s Office returned the summary with directions to address the observations and re-submit the same.

The maritime affairs ministry re-submitted the proposal and suggested the involvement of private operators and a slightly changed route. The Defence Division supported it but stressed that ferry service should be launched in 3 phases, recommending ferry services to Muscat and then to UAE and Abu Dhabi in 1st and 2nd phases, respectively, and later to Iran and Iraq in the 3rd phase. The re-submitted proposal was returned by the Prime Minister’s Office, with the direction to convene a meeting of the stakeholders to address all the observations and thereafter submit recommendations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Iran, #India to revive #Chabahar. India aims to compete with #China & #Pakistan (#Gwadar/#CPEC) by including #Uzbekistan in North-South Transport Corridor for #trade with #Afghanistan , #Armenia, #Azerbaijan, #Russia, #CentralAsia, #Europe .


https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/02/iran-india-chabahar-port-afghanistan-china-zarif-trade.html

In a proactive move, India has made fresh overtures toward Iran, apparently sensing the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is imminent.

Last week, JP Singh, the joint secretary for Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, paid a visit to Tehran.

Laying the groundwork for closer ties, he held political consultations with top officials and obtained updates on the progress at Chabahar, where New Delhi is funding a project to develop the port on the Gulf of Oman. The main purpose of this visit was to regain India’s lost foothold in the Iranian port project.

Then Singh also touched base with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of the main people involved these days in negotiations regarding the revival of the nuclear deal that is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). New Delhi is seemingly awaiting the removal of sanctions on Iran before it engages in any large-scale projects or business activity in the country.

Indeed, there have been some positive indications in this direction from Washington. Encouragingly enough, Robert Malley, one of the main negotiators of the 2015 deal, has been appointed as envoy to Iran by the Biden administration. Likewise, the appointment of Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state also points toward a possible US-Iran rapprochement, as she had led the team that eventually clinch the deal.


First, if the nuclear deal is salvaged, there is more of the likelihood that Iran will stop “looking East” and maybe even decrease its tilt toward China. Instead, it would try to re-establish business with Western countries, as this is exactly what it had done in 2015 when the JCPOA was first implemented.

Second, as Iran and India already have a defense pact between them, an upgraded strategic role could have a negative impact on Sino-Pakistani projects in the region. Ever since China and Pakistan announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, India cannot help but feel encircled. Moving in next door in Chabahar would be the ideal setup for New Delhi to keep an eye on developments in the Gwadar port and on Pakistan’s coastline.

Third, trying to break Chinese influence in the region, India would want to redirect Afghanistan and Central Asia toward its own routes. Having a pivotal role in advancing New Delhi’s ambitions, the port of Chabahar is center stage.

In case Iran does go ahead with the widely discussed 25-year strategic partnership with China, it could complicate matters, as Beijing’s prospective $400 billion deal includes access to all of Iran’s ports. In a recent television interview, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the China-Iran 25-year deal will be finalized soon and that the two countries are not far from reaching an agreement.

Apparently, Iran continues to keep all its options open where regional alliances are concerned.

Finally, for a few years, spats between India and China have become a regular feature at their mutual border in the Himalayan region. As India gets closer to Iran, tensions between Beijing and New Delhi will start one more front.

Due to the constant maritime competition between regional powers, the Indian Ocean region has become a “key geostrategic space” as it connects the oil-rich Middle East with economic markets in Asia. Enhancing ties with Tehran can be quite useful for New Delhi, as Iran is one of the largest states in this region with an extended presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

However, to some extent the success of India’s regional strategy will depend on the resumption of the JCPOA for now, as Iran’s reintegration into the world economy is dependent on the lifting of US sanctions.

Riaz Haq said...

#Uzbekistan Prefers #Pakistani Over #Iranian Ports.The road is said to cut transportation time from 30 to 15 days from Uzbekistan and other landlocked Central Asian countries to #Pakistan and reduce expenses by 30-35%. #CPEC #Karachi #Gwadar
@Diplomat_APAC https://thediplomat.com/2021/02/uzbekistan-prioritizes-pakistani-over-iranian-ports/

Uzbekistan Prioritizes Pakistani Over Iranian Ports
Accessing seaports at lower costs and shorter distances is a decades-old issues Tashkent is trying to solve, Pakistani ports might be the answer.

Uzbekistan is currently highly reliant on the Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas, accessed through Turkmenistan. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s earlier efforts were focused on continuing to use Iran’s port, but exploring options to access it more directly, such as via a new railroad from Afghanistan’s Herat. Uzbekistan’s other earlier efforts, such as the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman railroad corridors, also clearly involved Iran.

Tashkent appears to be reevaluating its plans in favor of de-emphasizing access to Iranian ports, and the economic rhetoric is dominant. According to Eldar Aripov, director of the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, the Mazar-i-Shareef-Peshawar project offers an entirely new transportation option while the Herat option merely expands existing routes. The cost of transporting a container from Tashkent to Karachi would be approximately $1,400-$1,600, while on the Tashkent-Bandar-Abbas route it is $2,600-$3,000. Furthermore, the construction of the Herat connection will be complicated, but the Pakistan route would tap into a number of existing projects.

Two years ago, Aripov spoke of two other reasons why the Pakistani ports should receive priority over other railroad options. The first reason is that the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar road is the shortest route linking Uzbekistan to a seaport. Second, the road together with the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China corridor unites the four largest corridors in China, the CIS, Europe, and South Asia.

----------
The trilateral talks, attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov, Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razzaq Dawood, and Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, ended by adopting the Mazar-i Shareef-Kabul-Peshawar Road Map.

According to the roadmap plan, the construction of the 600-km railroad should take five years and will allow access to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi. Central Asia’s other projects with Afghanistan — the Surkhon-Puli Humri high voltage electricity line to allow Uzbekistan to supply electricity to Afghanistan and the CASA-1000 regional electricity project supplying surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan — will pass by the same communication lanes and will distribute construction expenses among the three projects.

Tashkent has further arguments in favor of prioritizing access to Pakistani ports. The project presents new opportunities to all participants. For Pakistan and other countries, such as India, the road would open opportunities for connecting with markets of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by rail. Currently, these trade relations are supported by sea routes only.

Riaz Haq said...

Of #Pakistan's total $66 billion of annual #trade in 2020, #China accounted for $11.2 billion & North #America $6.76 billion. It plans to grow trade with 5 landlocked Stans in #CentralAsia to $1.5 billion a year from less than a billion in past decade. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-09/pakistan-seeks-more-trade-with-central-asia-in-diversity-push

The South Asian nation is looking to finalize a new trade accord with Kabul by June, Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said in an interview in Islamabad. It plans to grow trade with five landlocked Central Asian nations -- Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan -- to about $1.5 billion a year from less than a billion in the past decade, he said.

“We’re too restricted to a few countries -- North America, European Union and China,” said Dawood. “But there is a much bigger world.”

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan promises a return of stability and provides an opportunity to Pakistan to strengthen commerce with its neighbor, which sits at the cross-roads of South and Central Asia. Also, Islamabad stands to benefit from greater trade with Central Asian markets that are rich in energy resources needed to feed its ambition to grow its industrial base.

Read: Biden Pulls the Plug on Afghan War at Risk of Turmoil Ahead

Pakistan is due to sign transit and preferential trade agreement with Uzbekistan in July, Dawood said.

The South Asian economy’s move to scout for newer markets stems from the need to diversify its trade basket that’s heavily reliant on the U.S., EU and China. Of its total $66 billion of annual trade in the year ended June 2020, China accounted for $11.2 billion and North America $6.76 billion, according to data from State Bank of Pakistan.

Analysts see the new push in the context of Pakistan’s geo-strategic framework, which draws from the economic cooperation espoused by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

While China has channeled investments toward electricity generation in Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, it’s financing has also been focused on gas- and oil-based projects for exploration and distribution in Central Asia.

“Economy is one part of the strategic outlook,” Vaqar Ahmed, joint executive director at Sustainable Development Policy Institute said. “Ultimately you would need economy, trade and investment cooperation to keep excitement in your strategic interests.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Trade-growth bid sees #Pakistan look nearer to home in #CentralAsia.“We’re too restricted to a few countries,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to PM Imran Khan, said in an interview. “But there is a much bigger world.” #exports https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-05-19/supply-chains-latest-trade-growth-bid-sees-pakistan-look-nearer-to-home via @business

Trucks carrying processed leather from Uzbekistan have arrived in Pakistan, a sign that the southern Asian economy’s efforts to expand land trade in its neighborhood are paying off.

The arrival of the cargo in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar via Afghanistan marks the first step in Islamabad’s goal to grow commerce with central Asian nations to about $1.5 billion per year from less than $1 billion in the past decade.

Pakistan’s focus on central Asia is a departure from its reliance hitherto on three key markets — North America, European Union and China. Expanding trade with resources-rich Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also fits Islamabad’s ambition of growing its industrial base.

“We’re too restricted to a few countries,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said in an interview. “But there is a much bigger world.”

Pakistan is due to sign a transit and preferential trade agreement with Uzbekistan in July, he said, adding that an accord with Afghanistan would also be wrapped up by June.

Analysts see the new push in the context of Pakistan’s geo-strategic framework, which draws from the economic cooperation championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of his Belt and Road Initiative.

While China has channeled investments toward electricity generation in Pakistan as part of its BRI deals, it’s financing has also been focused on gas- and oil-based projects for exploration and distribution in central Asia.

“Economy is one part of the strategic outlook,” said Vaqar Ahmed, a joint executive director at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute. “Ultimately you would need economy, trade and investment cooperation to keep excitement in your strategic interests.”

Riaz Haq said...

#US, #Afghanistan, #Pakistan, #Uzbekistan to form quad group to enhance regional connectivity for #rade, #transit links. The new quad group is important amid #China's desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan. #BRI #CPEC #SilkRoad https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-afghanistan-pakistan-uzbekistan-to-form-quad-group-to-enhance-regional-connectivity/article35377295.ece

The US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity, the Biden administration has said.

“The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing,” the State Department said on Friday.

Recognising the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties, it said.

“The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus,” said the State Department.

Afghanistan’s strategic location has for a long time been touted as a competitive advantage for the country. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast.

Located at the heart of the historic Silk Road, Afghanistan was long the crossroads of commerce between Asian countries connecting them to Europe, and enhancing religious, cultural, and commercial contacts.

The formation of the new quad group is important amid China's desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan.

The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.

By virtue of its location, Afghanistan can provide China with a strategic base to spread its influence across the world.

Since the announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces by August 31, violence has been rising and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban have slowed.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s geo-economics is working well. Despite their friendly relations with #China (& #Russia), both #Uzbekistan & #Pakistan (biggest 2 nations in Greater Middle East) are eager to deepen ties with the #US. China has huge stakes in Pak & #Afghanistan https://www.indianpunchline.com/pakistans-geo-economics-is-working-well/


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The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus.

The US is intensely conscious that its prestige in the region is at its nadir today and it stands isolated, as the reported cheeky Russian offer volunteering to be America’s gatekeeper shows.


--
Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan are also Muslim countries and they provide a market of around 300 million people. No doubt, the US did its homework. This QUAD has viability unlike its insipid namesake in the “Indo-Pacific.”

In the recent years, the US has been paying extra attention to cultivate friendly ties with Uzbekistan, which is not only the biggest country in Central Asia but a relative success story regionally in political stability and overall developmental trajectory.

Tashkent has been receptive to Washington’s overtures, as strong ties with America help it to balance Russia and will strengthen its strategic autonomy.

The new Quad signals the US’ receptiveness to Pakistan’s persisting demand for a bilateral relationship that goes beyond Afghan issues. There are fault lines in the China-Pakistan relationship, which are no more possible to conceal, and in Washington’s judgment, Pakistani elites, civilian and military, have remained as western-oriented as ever despite their alienation in the recent decade.

To be sure, with the curtain coming down on the Afghan war, the time has come for establishing rail/road links connecting Central Asia with Karachi/Gwadar ports. The expected improvement in the security situation allows mega projects to be implemented. Conceivably, the Taliban would have no reservations over the QUAD. The Pakistani ports are ideally placed to connect the resource-rich Central Asian region and Afghanistan with the world market.

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Clearly, by having both the CPEC and the QUAD on its platter, Pakistan is tasing success in its foreign-policy shift toward geoeconomics. Pakistan’s geography makes it a turf for competition between China and the West in infrastructure development. Simply put, the new QUAD will impact regional politics.

Indeed, the US hopes to wean Pakistan away from its heavy dependence on China. The new QUAD will make India look an outlier drifting aimlessly without a sense of direction. India turned its back on China’s BRI but Pakistan secured the $60 billion CPEC and is now looking forward to the US-led QUAD.

India’s relations with China are in deep chill and its traditional friendly ties with Russia have become listless, whereas, Pakistan not only enriched its ties with China but is successfully exploring the multipolarity in the world order.

On July 16, Pakistan and Russia signed a mega deal for a 1100 km gas pipeline project costing between $2.5 – $3 billion connecting Karachi and Lahore which will transport imported LNG (for which it has separately signed a deal with Qatar whereby 200 mmcfd of gas will initially reach Karachi’s LNG terminal in the beginning of next year that would be enhanced to 400 mmcfd in the coming years.) Whereas, India’s gas pipeline project with Iran has been languishing as pipe dream. read more

Pakistan is anxious to have President Putin inaugurate the groundbreaking of the gas pipeline project, which is expected to be held later this year or in early 2022. Delhi should seriously introspect whether its passionate embrace of the US bandwagon through the past decade under successive governments, brought any significant dividends.

Pakistan is once again becoming a frontline state in big-power rivalry. But this time around, Pakistan stands to gain out of its geography and hopes to create equity for its development.

Riaz Haq said...

UNPACKING PAKISTAN’S GEO-ECONOMIC AMBITIONS
Pakistani leaders have repeatedly signaled a shift from ‘geopolitics’ to ‘geo-economics’ in recent months

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2311110/unpacking-pakistans-geo-economic-ambitions


Pakistan’s pivot from ‘geopolitics’ to ‘geo-economics’ came into sharp focus recently as Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded his visit to Uzbekistan. The term has been repeatedly brought up since the beginning of this year – first when the premier visited Sri Lanka in February and then in March, when both the army chief and Pakistan’s foreign minister announced in clear words the country’s developing geo-economic vision for its future.

The Uzbekistan trip, which spanned July 15 and 16, culminated in a slew of agreements across a range of sectors, from trade to culture. Among other things, the two nations agreed to finalise a preferential trade agreement (PTA) within three months to boost bilateral trade volume, which for now is far below potential. But perhaps most the significant one was a deal to enhance rail links between the two nations via Afghanistan.

The benefits of this particular agreement appear obvious. For the landlocked Central Asian nation, greater connectivity will allow it access to Pakistan’s three ports in Gwadar and Karachi.

For Pakistan, however, the end goal goes beyond more trade opportunities with resource-rich Central Asia. Linking Gwadar and Karachi to the 11-nation Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridor would open the country and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor to both Russia and Europe – the benefits of which, most observers agree, would be unimaginable.

But Pakistan’s pivot seems to be taking shape in a crowded geopolitical space that poses a new set of challenges.

A battle of ‘new world orders’

In his first news conference in March, US President Joe Biden kept observers on their toes by dubbing his country’s great power competition with China a ‘global ideological fight between democracy and autocracy’. His language signified the emergence of a new divided world, the likes of which had not been seen since the end of the Cold War.

The 1990s saw the emergence of a unipolar world, perhaps for the first time in human history, as the Soviet Union disintegrated and the US, starting with Iraq and Kuwait, discovered it could decide global matters alone. Empowered by its technological and military supremacy, the US cemented its lone influence over major trade routes, like the straits of Malacca and Hormuz, and thus found itself in control of other nations economic and energy bloodlines. Through organisations it led, like the World Bank and IMF, the US also strengthened its global financial influence around the same time.

Against this backdrop, the China-led OBOR appears to contest the old US-led ‘new world order’ by providing alternative strategic routes to the ones the latter controls. Simultaneously, China’s rapid military modernisation, especially in terms of naval power projection, threatens America’s singular dominance of the seas.

Beijing’s large-scale investment in various regions, likewise, has appeared as a challenge to US financial might and the latter has already fired the first salvo in an emerging economic war by slapping sanctions on certain Chinese firms.

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Speaking on internal challenges, former principal economic advisor and prominent economist Sakib Sherani said the implementation of geo-economics strategies would become near impossible for Pakistan if reforms in various areas are not implemented. “Take for example taxation, the system is so flawed that the entire burden is on formal and registered businesses instead of informal or unregistered businesses. Which is why informal sector in the country is growing,” he stressed. “It is not only affecting the government’s revenue but discouraging direct foreign investment as well,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese business leaders confident in #Pakistan after meeting with PM #ImranKhan. Khan has promised to chair a monthly meeting to address their concerns. #CPEC #China #infrastructure #Business #trade #Industry - Global Times https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234278.shtml#.YUE0FH8Gd2k.twitter

Several Chinese business leaders on Tuesday expressed increased confidence in their operations in Pakistan after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan on Monday that was aimed at addressing Chinese firms' concerns regarding policy support and security after recent terrorist attacks.

During the meeting with a delegation of Chinese business leaders, Khan vowed to chair a monthly self-review meeting to address their concerns, according to local media, sending a strong signal that the Pakistani government attaches great importance to Chinese companies.

Zhang Shilu, general manager of Zhengbang Agriculture Pakistan (Pvt) Limited, who attended the meeting, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the meeting was held in response to concerns that have gripped Chinese investors.

"Chinese enterprises encountered some difficulties in doing business in Pakistan and we expressed our expectations to the Pakistani Prime Minister, who showed that Pakistan attaches great importance to the development of Chinese enterprises in Pakistan. It greatly increases the confidence of Chinese enterprises," Zhang said.

He added that at the investment meeting, representatives of Chinese enterprises voiced their hopes that Pakistan could introduce an industrial park management committee - a common practice in China - to simplify approval processes.

Zhengbang Agriculture currently produces pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides and fertilizers in Pakistan, which are used on all types of crops in the country, including cotton, rice, wheat, citrus and mangoes.

According to Pakistani Prime Minister's Office Twitter account, Chinese enterprises that attended the meeting included OPPO, Shanghai Challenge Textile Co, and Easy Prefabricated Homes Pvt, a subsidiary of Henan D.R. Construction Group Co.

George Long, CEO of OPPO Pakistan, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the company was hoping for some form of preferential tax treatment and land policies from the Pakistani government to support its R&D and high-tech production. This would boost local employment and local tech supply chains would also be steadied, Long said.

The Chinese phone vendor's foray into the Pakistan market began in 2014 and it has built 17 aftersales services centers and more than 5,000 retail outlets across the country. "We're confident about expanding investment in Pakistan and bringing quality smart gadgets to the people of Pakistan," Long said.

A manager surnamed Jin with Henan D.R. Construction Group who participated in Monday's meeting told the Global Times that the agenda of the meeting included difficulties for Chinese-funded firms in the local industrial park that include land purchases and natural gas and power supplies.

In October 2019, the company purchased 6.1 acres of land in an industrial park as a factory production base, and started to build the factory after the land purchase procedures were approved in December 2019.

The company had been applying for power supplies and the use of natural gas, but no progress has yet been made, even though construction for the factory was completed in March. Pakistani authorities pledged to look into the matters, Jin said.

Participants in the meeting also discussed security issues that have been under the spotlight in the wake of recent terrorist attacks targeting Chinese personnel.

"After previous terrorist attacks on Chinese project personnel, Pakistan has equipped our factories with a special protection unit," said Jin, adding that the company remains upbeat about investment and business expansion in Pakistan, citing favorable investment policies.

Riaz Haq said...

Central Asia-South Asia connectivity may hinge on Pakistan-US relations
BY JAMES DURSO, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 10/20/21 05:40 PM EDT

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/577672-central-asia-south-asia-connectivity-may-hinge-on-pakistan-us-relations

What should the U.S. do?

Don’t be the spoiler: Blocking projects that may benefit the economies of Afghanistan and Pakistan will push Central and South Asia into the arms of Russia and China.

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Connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia is needed if the regions are to escape the gravitation pull of Russia and China. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which border Afghanistan, have established relations with the Taliban government as many key economic projects require stability in Afghanistan.

In February 2021, representatives of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan agreed to a roadmap for the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway project, a 600-km track to be built over five years. The rail project will run alongside regional power projects — the 1,000-megawatt Surkhan-Puli-Khumri high-voltage power line and the 1,300-megawatt CASA-1000 energy project — that supply power to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The final key project is the stalled 1,100-mile Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural-gas pipeline that can ship 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually, and will relieve Ashgabat of Beijing’s leverage as China currently receives 90 percent of Turkmenistan’s gas.

Pakistan has successfully arbitraged its location by supporting the U.S. in two wars in Afghanistan and reaping significant financial benefits in the process. It is a partner with China in the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the largest project in the Belt and Road Initiative. Now Pakistan may be Central Asia’s partner linking the region to maritime trade routes via the ports of Karachi and Gwadar, and Pakistan’s large internal market of over 200 million people, 60 percent of them under the age of 30.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. and Pakistan weren’t even fighting the same war. U.S. officials have accused Pakistan of a “double game,” but Islamabad was eyeing the “next game” — the conflict with India. The U.S. anticipated a formal end of hostilities after it defeated the Taliban and restructured Afghan society, but Pakistan knew even if the U.S. departed in victory, it would still have India to contend with and war in Afghanistan was just a way to position itself for the next phase of the struggle. Pakistan could use the Taliban to build “strategic depth,” recruit fighters it could deploy against India in Kashmir, and be paid for helping Uncle Sam. The Pakistani generals were channeling Paul von Hindenburg who, when he recommended the annexation of the Baltic Provinces into the German Empire said, “I need them for the maneuvering of my left wing in the next war.”

America sees wars as finite events that end at Appomattox Courthouse or on the battleship Missouri; Pakistan sees war as a process.

U.S. policy in Afghanistan is pretty much now just “women and girls,” which ignores that leaders in Central and South Asia are also responsible for women and girls. The U.S. should not allow its differences with the Taliban to block regional trade arrangements — which will have to include the Kabul government — and thereby hand a political win (and financial windfall) to Russia and China by limiting the region’s trade options.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, the “Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act of 2021,” that, among other things, directs the Biden administration to “develop a revised strategy for South and Central Asia,” and also requires an assessment of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban from 2001 to 2021.