|Gwadar Extends into Deep Sea with East & West Bays|
|Recent Aerial View of Gwadar Hammerhead Growth|
|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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I Love It When You Indians Daydream
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.
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...
#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. ...
$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.
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.
#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.
I hear a lot of big container ships sail back empty out of US ports. http://www.wsj.com/articles/at-u-s-ports-exports-are-coming-up-empty-1444768094
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.
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS
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.
#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.
#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.”
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
#China Grants $260m for #Gwadar International Airport in #Pakistan #CPEC http://crss.pk/story/china-grants-260m-for-gwadar-airport/ …
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. (http://tribune.com.pk/story/1136476/infrastructure-gwadar-airport-cost-260m/)
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.
#Pakistan saw 23% growth in airline passengers in 2015; #Gwadar airport growth fastest at 73% #CPEC http://www.anna.aero/2015/09/02/pakistan-sees-a-rise-in-airline-seat-capacity-of-23/ … 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.
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.
#China urges #Pakistan to let #Pak army, with its decades of infrastructure dev experience, lead #CPEC work https://www.ft.com/content/5eea66c0-4ef9-11e6-8172-e39ecd3b86fc
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.
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.
What explains #Modi government kicking up a row over #China #Pakistan Economic Corridor (#CPEC) now?
http://scroll.in/article/814059/what-explains-modi-government-kicking-up-a-row-over-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-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.
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.
Li Ka-Shing’s 2nd #Pakistan Container Terminal to Start Operations at #Karachi Port Soon http://bloom.bg/2bcCjyH 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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
#China and #Pakistan pin hopes on Arabian Sea port of #Gwadar. #CPEC https://www.ft.com/content/06388212-855b-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5 … 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.”
#India and #Iran Slow to Develop #Chabahar Port as #China Builds Rival Hub at #Gwadar. #CPEC http://bloom.bg/2dHPVbw 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.
#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.
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
#Pakistan #cement sales up 16% in October on #infrastructure development. #CPEC https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/163071-Cement-sales-up-16pc-in-October-on-infrastructure-development …
Cement sales rose 15.88 percent month-on-month in October due to a rise in infrastructure development in Pakistan; although its exports fell almost two percent in the same month on a declining share in the Afghanistan’s market, industry data showed on Monday.
The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) data showed that domestic sales stood at 3.008 million tons in October, while exports were recorded at 0.518 million tons. Total cement dispatches stood at 3.527 million tons, depicting a growth of 12.87 percent month-on-month (MoM).
An association’s spokesperson said the industry’s capacity utilisation logged at more than 92 percent in October.
In October, exports to Afghanistan decreased 23.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 0.193 million tons. Exports to India increased 27 percent YoY to 0.110 million tons in the same month.
Despite Pakistan-India tension, the growth was surprising. The spokesperson, however, said the uptrend might not continue given the unabated border skirmishes.
Cement exports to India are mainly through Wagah border and southern coast of India.
The data showed that cement sales grew 11.26 percent in the first four months (July-Oct) of the 2015/16 fiscal year. Exports also increased 9.57 percent in the same period.
In July-Oct, exports to Afghanistan slid 11.74 percent, while those to India climbed 101.88 percent.
The industry official expressed concern over a sharp rise in coal prices, impacting the cost of production. Coal price, which stood at $54/ton in May, increased to $105/ton.
Manufacturers urged the government to take measures to boost the investment in real estate sector and housing construction.
Currently, the cement industry is mostly depending on infrastructure development projects.
“A sustained growth in housing construction is essential to absorb the additional capacities that would be operational in the next two years,” the official said.
Insight Securities, in one report, said the local cement industry unveiled 23 million tons of expansion plans with around $2.5 billion investment.
Alone Lucky Cement, the country’s leading cement producer, announced to raise its production capacity by 1.25 million tons. A Chinese firm is also mulling to entering the market through a possible acquisition, indicating a jump in output.
The officials said local cement makers are planning an expansion to retain the market share.
The $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, comprising a wide range of infrastructure development, gave a rise to construction activities.
The growth in housing apartment constructions around the country also increased the cement intakes.
Fast track completion of CPEC projects to change the infrastructure development landscape of the country
Western Route of China-Pakistan Economic will be completed by 2018. Gawadar-Quetta Road will be completed by next month, ahead of its scheduled time. Now Gwadar is connected with Quetta, Afghanistan, Central Asian states and rest of the country through this route. Work on Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta Road has also been initiated. Dera Ismail Khan-Burhan Road will be completed by year 2018. Special attention has been given to Sindh and Balochistan in CPEC projects.
#Chinese ship with 300 containers to depart from #Gwadar Port on Sunday. #Pakistan #CPEC https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/163792-Gwadar-Port-opening-on-Sunday …
The civil and military leadership of China and Pakistan will open international port at Gwadar on Sunday. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif will see off Chinese containers leaving for Africa.
Heads of the armed forces, diplomats, chief ministers of Balochistan and other provinces and other dignitaries will be invited for this event in the next 48 hours.
Defying designs of India and its allies, loading of 300 containers will be completed on Saturday and they will depart from the port the next day.
To counter Gwadar, India has invested $12 million in Iran’s Chaubahar port, which is no match to Gwadar port. Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri is going to China on invitation next month.
#Chinese ship at #GwadarPort carrying containers headed to #Africa #MidEast via #Pakistan land route. #CPEC #China http://www.smh.com.au/world/new-silk-road-first-large-chinese-shipment-passes-through-key-pakistani-port-20161113-gsohoi.html
"Pakistan is located at the intersection of three engines of growth in Asia - South Asia, China and Central Asia," Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said at a ceremony on Sunday.
"CPEC will help in integrating these regions into an economic zone offering great opportunities for people of the region as well as investors from all over the world."
A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart, at Gwadar port.A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart, at Gwadar port. Photo: AP
Army chief General Raheel Sharif also attended Sunday's ceremony at the port, which is expected mostly to see imports of building materials in the next year before eventually becoming a gateway for goods from western China's Xinjiang province.
Chinese Container Ship Cosco Wellington left Gwadar today. Ship details:
Call Sign: VRME3
Flag: Hong Kong [HK]
AIS Vessel Type: Cargo
Gross Tonnage: 40465
Deadweight: 49959 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 261.1m × 32.25m
Year Built: 2013
#Iran, #India trade charges on delay of #Chabahar port. #Gwadar #Pakistan #Afghanistan http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/iran-india-trade-charges-on-delay-of-chabahar-port/articleshow/56990454.cms … via @economictimes
The Budget may have allotted Rs 150 crore for the development of Chabahar port in Iran, but it may not be enough to bring the long delayed project back to life as Tehran has not yet submitted a proposal for release of the fund despite several reminders, some officials say.
Indian government had set aside $235 million, or about Rs 150 crore, line of credit for the project since 2015 but is unable to release the first tranche of $150 million, they said.
"The funds cannot be released without paperwork and this has not yet reached the Indian government. Even reminders from EXIM Bank to Iran have not helped," a person familiar with the matter told ET.
"There are apparently no reasons behind Iran's delay in submitting the proposal for the release of loan," the person alleged.
Iranian government sources, however, told ET that the Indian side is delaying work on the project, but did not explain reasons for delay. The project was earlier delayed when the Iranian side unilaterally changed terms and conditions on the eve of the signing of MoU in 2015 by introducing a local stakeholder without consulting India, Indian sources said.
#China investment boosts #Pakistan's economic growth- #CPEC #infrastructure #power #ports #coal Nikkei Asian Review
More than $35 billion of the CPEC investment will be allocated to energy projects. Once completed by the end of next year, power generation projects are likely to help Pakistan overcome its crippling power shortages, a major bottleneck for growth. This is a big reason the CPEC is welcomed by many in Pakistan's industry, who say it is going to be a "game changer" for the country.
China also recognizes that the CPEC initiative will help secure the quickest trade route connecting the country's western Xinjiang region and other landlocked areas to the Arabian Sea, which could facilitate economic development in the Chinese hinterland. The infrastructure development initiative will also allow China to mitigate the problem of overcapacity at home by exporting materials and equipment to Pakistan.
There are proposals to develop a power plant, an airport and highways and other facilities particularly around the port of Gwadar on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, which is strategically important for China as it provides the country easy access to the sea.
According to a local newspaper, $700 million of the $1.1 billion spent on CPEC-related projects in the July-September period last year was financed by loans from the China Development Bank. The amount is mainly earmarked for importing materials and equipment from China, which are needed to complete the projects.
Many in Pakistan have voiced concern over the country's rising debt obligations to China. Also, Chinese companies typically bring their own engineers and workers in large numbers to do work in Pakistan.
"Surging imports from China will damage local companies," said Ehsan A. Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, which represents 62 major companies and organizations. "Tax revenue and employment will not increase." He added, "CPEC may be a Trojan horse."
However, the logic of companies participating in CPEC is very simple. "We asked China, because nobody in the world finances coal projects," said Hussain Dawood, chairman of Dawood Hercules, a large Pakistani conglomerate that includes the Engro group, which is involved in the production of energy and chemicals.
"Investment in CPEC is not only from China," said Arif Habib, CEO of the Arif Habib group. "Companies from Germany, Denmark and Saudi Arabia are also showing interest."
Despite widespread concern about the health of China's economy, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's minister of planning and development, said confidently: "The CPEC projects are a high priority for Chinese companies because they can expect good returns. Even though the Chinese economy is slowing down, the companies still have huge cash reserves."
Many Japanese companies also think the best thing to do now is to take advantage of Chinese-built infrastructure in Pakistan to expand their own business. No matter who invested, if energy and infrastructure investment gains momentum, it could stimulate Pakistan's economy.
Amid all the speculation, Pakistan is moving toward its goal of becoming the next big emerging market by gradually shaking off its reputation for terrorism, corruption and political blunders.
It seems that only small European or island nations like Britain, Spain and Portugal focussed on building navies for "exploration" and "trade" that later led to colonization of America, Asia and Europe.
Henry Kissinger in his book "On China" explains why China failed to rule the world in spite of having a long coast and a large fleet in 1400s.
Kissinger traces this failure to the decision under a Ming ruler to disband its massive Navy in 1433 that was built by a Muslim Chinese Admiral Zeng He.
Here's an excerpt of "On China" by Henry Kissinger:
"Zeng He was a singular figure in the age of exploration: a Chinese Muslim eunuch conscripted into imperial service as a child, he fits no obvious historical precedent. At each stop on his journey, he formally proclaimed the magnificence of China's new Emperor, bestowed lavish gifts on the rulers he encountered, and invited them to travel in person or send envoys to China. There, they were to acknowledge their place in the Sinocentric world order by performing the ritual "kpwtow" to acknowledge the the Emperor's superiority. Yet beyond China's greatness and issuing invitations to portentous ritual, Zeng He displayed no territorial ambition. .....Zeng He's expeditions abruptly stopped in 1433, coincident with the recurrence of threats along China's northern frontier. The next Emperor ordered the fleet dismantled and the records of Zeng He's voyages destroyed.
The expeditions were never repeated. Though Chinese traders continued to ply the routes Zeng He sailed, China's naval abilities faded---so much so that the Ming rulers' response to subsequent menace of piracy off China's southeast was to attempt forced migration of the coastal population ten miles inland."
#Land rush around #Pakistan's #Gwadar port triggered by #Chinese investment | Reuters #CPEC
Pakistani real estate giant Rafi Group made a ten-fold profit last year from its sale of hundreds of acres of land in the remote fishing town of Gwadar, acquired soon after the government announced plans for a deep-sea port there.
The windfall came after 12 years of waiting patiently for the Gwadar port to emerge as the centrepiece of China's ambitious plans for a trade and energy corridor stretching from the Persian Gulf, across Pakistan, into western Xinjiang.
"We had anticipated the Chinese would need a route to the Arabian Sea," Rafi Group Chief Executive Shehriar Rafi told Reuters. "And today, all routes lead back to Gwadar."
Gwadar forms the southern Pakistan hub of a $57-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure and energy projects Beijing announced in 2014.
Since then, land prices have skyrocketed as property demand has spiked, and dozens of real estate firms want to cash in.
"Gwadar is a 'Made in China' brand and everyone wants a piece," said realtor Afzal Adil, one of several who shifted operations from the eastern city of Lahore in 2015.
Last year, Pakistan welcomed the first large shipment of Chinese goods at Gwadar, where the China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd took over operations in 2013. It plans to eventually handle 300 million to 400 million tons of cargo a year.
It also aims to develop seafood processing plants in a nearby free trade zone sprawled over 923 hectares (2,281 acres).
The route through Gwadar offers China its shortest path to the oil-rich Middle East, Africa, and most of the Western hemisphere, besides promising to open up remote, landlocked Xinjiang.
Last year, the Applied Economics Research Centre estimated the corridor would create 700,000 jobs in Pakistan and a Chinese newspaper recently put the number at more than 2 million.
Authorities have completed an expressway through Gwadar, which has a 350-km (218-mile) road network. A new international airport kicks off next year, to handle an influx of hundreds of Chinese traders and officials expected to live near the port.
The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan's largest real estate database, Zameen.com, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month.
"It's like a gold rush," said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan. "Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar."
Prices, which have risen two- to four-fold on average, are climbing "on a weekly basis," said Saad Arshed, the Pakistan managing director of online real estate marketplace Lamudi.pk.
Regional fishermen have held strikes during the last two years, to protest against being displaced by the port.
To keep pace with the interest, urban officials are struggling to computerise land management and record-keeping. "We are trying to upgrade as fast as we can," said Zakir Majeed, an official of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).
But Gwadar lacks basic education and health facilities, in contrast to the gleaming towers and piped drinking water of the "smart city" envisioned by the GDA.
"For commercial projects, things are moving fast," Lamudi's Arshed said. "But people actually living there, that will take a long time."
Port officials expect the population to hit 2 million over the next two decades, from about 185,000 now.
Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of #CPEC
Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to a private news channel, sources linked to CPEC project stated that the Chinese authorities have already initiated paperwork on said projects, which reflects their seriousness.
Analysts have advised owners of local automobile industry to start joint ventures with Chinese as this would help in transfer of technology as well as boost the local industry. Earlier, China announced to set up a steel factory under CPEC apart from various other projects.
China is developing the Gwadar port as a strategic and commercial hub under its ‘One-Belt One-Road’ initiative that promises shared regional prosperity. CPEC is one of many arteries of the ‘One-Belt One-Road’
In 2013, Pakistan handed over the Gwadar port to the Chinese company by annulling a deal with a Singapore company that could not develop the port after taking over in 2007. The ECC further approved amendments in the Gwadar Port Concession Agreement for operating and developing the Gwadar port and free zone.
On October 31, hundreds of Chinese trucks loaded with goods rolled into the Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan as a multibillion-dollar project between Pakistan and China formally became operational.
The corridor is about 3,000-kilometre long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through Gwadar port.
Karachi port is the world's 4th busiest trans shipment port in the world, after Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
India shouldn’t drag China into dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir: Expert
China needs to have access to ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to move its huge shipments of cargo to other parts of the world, said Wang Zhan, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament, and president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
“I know India has lot of disagreements with the CPEC to Gwadar port. But if you are Chinese, considering (the situation in) Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, you would be looking for alternative passageways. We have so much cargo, we surely need the ports. We have to pass by the Indian Ocean to reach Europe,” he said.
Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the just-concluded NPC session, Wang said: “I know India and Pakistan have a dispute over (Kashmir.) If we go through the Kashmir area, which belongs to India, its a problem of sovereignty (for India) but now Pakistan has the right of administration (over PoK). So, it’s a problem between India and Pakistan and doesn’t relate to China.”
Wang, who is also managing director of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said China wasn’t the first country to bring up the Silk Road plan to connect regions and continents.
“Japan brought up the Silk Road in 1990s, an American Harvard professor brought it up in 2005, and Hillary Clinton brought it up in 2011. They all brought up the Silk Road concept earlier than China,” he said, adding some proposals were north to south and China’s east to west.
“If all the projects in these plans could be realised, the countries touched in the plans would definitely develop, and the economic development would decrease the element of war and chaos,” he added.
Wang said China’s increasing investments in infrastructure, such as ports, in South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka is purely for economic reasons.
“For sure it’s for economic reasons. You can know the answer by the map. India is a peninsula, the trade between Europe and China have to pass by the sea near India and Sri Lanka. It’s decided by geography. We can’t go by Antarctica. If you think from China’s view, you will do the same,” he said.
Referring to China’s objections to India drilling for oil in the South China Sea, Wang blamed Vietnam for the confusion.
“In the 1970s, the Vietnamese had completely agreed that South China Sea belongs to China. Later, they occupied 29 islands and built infrastructure. India drilled for oil in the same area, so we protested. The South China Sea is China’s lifeline. It’s not necessary for India to get involved in the South China Sea disputes,” Wang said.
Feature: Port co-built with China fuels Pakistan's economic engine
Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-03 17:05:20|Editor: ying
by Liu Tian
ISLAMABAD, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Gwadar, an poorly-known port town previously in Pakistan has been becoming a new economic engine for the country with the construction of a free zone co-built with China.
"We have finished 60 percent of the first-phase construction for the port's free zone, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, one year earlier than we planned," Hu Yaozong, deputy general manager of the Gwadar Free Zone Company, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Chinese engineers and their Pakistani counterparts are working around clock in the construction site with the hope of seeing the free zone is open to operation as early as possible.
The free zone is a key step towards developing the Gwadar port into an important regional hub that will benefit not only south Asia, but also the countries in central Asia and the Middle East.
The free zone, which covers about 923 hectares of land and will be developed in four phases. It is designed to take advantage of Balochistan's rich fishery and mineral resources to develop relevant industries for overseas market and to develop light industry for the domestic consumption.
As a part of the light industry plan, China's Linyi overseas market, a comprehensive shopping mall project, will soon be introduced into the free zone.
"It is quite alike the renowned Yiwu small commodities market in China. The Linyi market in Gwadar will develop an overseas warehouse so as to make their goods not only available in the Pakistan market, but also in markets around the region," said Hu.
According to Hu, the first round of investment has almost completed with projects on fishery and electric motors settled and business center enterprises moved in.
The second-phase construction of the free zone is featured with a huge stainless steel factory, which, Hu added, would create a considerable number of jobs for locals in Gwadar, which has a population of less than 100,000.
With the further development of the port and free zone, work forces in other villages around Gwadar are expected to flow into Gwadar.
According to the deputy general manager, a training school donated by China will be completed soon. After short-term training, local people are expected to find a position in the developing Gwadar, he said.
Munir Ahmad Jan, director general of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), also shows high expectations on Gwadar's future.
Besides Chinese and Pakistani investors, a lot of investors from other countries have come to the GPA to consult on business opportunities in the free zone, he said.
In 2016, the Pakistani government issued a financial act which ensured a 23-year tax exemption policy for the Gwadar free zone in a bid to attract more international investors.
Jan said that as businesspeople have seen the bright future of the Gwadar port, a lot of Pakistani real estate investors came to Gwadar to purchase land.
He said the land prices now in Gwadar are increasing fast and real estate related industries have witnessed real momentum in the small city.
Feature: Port co-built with China fuels Pakistan's economic engine
Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-03 17:05:20|Editor: ying
Jan said that as businesspeople have seen the bright future of the Gwadar port, a lot of Pakistani real estate investors came to Gwadar to purchase land.
He said the land prices now in Gwadar are increasing fast and real estate related industries have witnessed real momentum in the small city.
"We feel that Gwadar's free zone area needs further expansion and we have requested for more area," said the official.
"China and Pakistan have an equally long history, but China developed rapidly due to sincere Chinese leadership and now it has become the leading economy in the world. We shall try to maximize our experiences, cooperation and assistance from China to develop our own country and improve common people's lives," Jan told Xinhua.
The development of the Gwadar port is not only in the economic field, but also at a broader social level.
A vessel carrying construction material from a China-donated emergency center reached Gwadar in March.
The medical center, which will come into service as early as in May, is designed to carry out basic diagnosis and treatment, conduct small surgeries and emergency rescues.
It will initially be operated by Chinese medical teams and be gradually handed over to the Pakistani side in the future.
In September last year, a China-donated primary school came into use in Gwadar. The school had planned to enroll about 150 pupils, but more than 300 students of different grades attend the school as many locals believed that the school had better teachers and facilities.
"We are very thankful to the Chinese people who have long been very active in Pakistan's infrastructural development. I think our relationship will be further strengthened with the passage of time because of the sincere leadership on both sides," Jan concluded.
Indian media on Bunji and Bhasha dams in Gilgit Baltistan:
China To Invest $27 Billion In Construction Of Two Mega Dams In Pakistan-Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan
China and Pakistan have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state that remains under latter’s illegal occupation. The MoU was signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Beijing for participation in the recently concluded Belt and Road Initiative.
The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha hydroelectricity projects, will have the capacity of generating 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will fund the construction of the two dams, investing $27 billion in the process, a report authored by Brahma Chellaney in the Times of India has noted.
According to Chellaney, India does not have a single dam measuring even one-third of Bunji in power generation capacity. The total installed hydropower capacity in India’s part of the state does not equal even Diamer-Bhasha, the smaller of the two dams.
The two dams are part of Pakistan’s North Indus River Cascade, which involves construction of five big water reservoirs with an estimated cost of $50 billion. These dams, together, will have the potential of generating approximately 40,000MW of hydroelectricity. Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration would oversee the financing and funding of these projects.
#India's plan to develop #Iran's key #Chabahar port faces #US headwinds. #Gwadar #CPEC #Pakistan http://reut.rs/2sL5iTx via @Reuters
Western manufacturers are shying away from supplying equipment for an Iranian port that India is developing for fear the United States may reimpose sanctions on Tehran, Indian officials say, dealing a blow to New Delhi's strategic ambitions in the region.
Lying on the Gulf of Oman along the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz, the port of Chabahar is central to India's hopes to crack open a transport corridor to Central Asia and Afghanistan that bypasses arch-rival Pakistan.
India committed $500 million to speed development of the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted following a deal struck between major powers and Tehran to curb its nuclear program in 2015.
But the state-owned Indian firm that is developing Chabahar is yet to award a single tender for supplying equipment such as cranes and forklifts, according to two government sources tracking India's biggest overseas infrastructure push.
U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the nuclear agreement on the campaign trail, and since taking office in January has accused Iran of being a threat to countries across the Middle East.
Swiss engineering group Liebherr and Finland's Konecranes (KCRA.HE) and Cargotec (CGCBV.HE) have told India Ports Global Pvt Ltd, which is developing the deep water port, they were unable to take part in the bids as their banks were not ready to facilitate transactions involving Iran due to the uncertainty over U.S. policy, the two officials said in separate conversations with Reuters.
These firms dominate the market for customized equipment to develop jetties and container terminals. One official said the first tender was floated in September, but attracted few bidders because of the fear of renewed sanctions. That fear has intensified since January.
"Now the situation is that we are running after suppliers," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of matter.
A Konecranes spokeswoman declined to comment beyond confirming the company was not involved in the project.
Cargotec and Liebherr did not respond to requests for comment.
prodded in part by China's development of Gwadar port, which lies barely 100 km (60 miles) from Chabahar on the Pakistani coast, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has unveiled massive investment plans centered around the Iranian port, offering to help build railways, roads and fertilizer plants that could eventually amount to $15 billion.
So far, even an initial credit line of $150 million that India wants to extend to Iran for development of Chabahar has remained a non-starter as Tehran has not been able to do its part of work.
"They have not sought the loan from us because they haven't awarded the tenders, either because of lack of participation or banking problems," said the second government official.
Ambassador Kumar said the Iran had indicated it would be sending proposals shortly to tap the credit line.
Meena Singh Roy, who heads the West Asia center at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a New Delhi think-tank, said increasing tension between Washington and Tehran would have an impact on the port project.
"The Chabahar Project has strategic significance for India," she said. "However ... nothing much seems to be moving due to new uncertainties in the region."
Iran and Pakistan: An Interview with Alex Vatanka
, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy and American Influence
So much of U.S. policy in South and West Asia has been determined by Washington’s relationship with two countries: Iran and Pakistan. But the relationship between these two regional powers has been in many ways as influential as their swings from allies to frenemies to adversaries with the United States. The ties between Iran and Pakistan run deep, and have shifted over time from a deep affinity to regional rivalry and proxy conflict. Underneath it all has been the two countries’ pragmatic self-interest. “Neither country has ever genuinely considered optimum relations as an end in itself,” Alex Vatanka writes in the introduction to his book, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy and American Influence. “For both Iran and Pakistan, bilateral closeness was always meant to reap something strategically larger.” But over the past seven decades, since Pakistan’s inception, their relationship has been buffeted by global and regional competition, by the Cold War, the scramble for Afghanistan, and the Iran-Saudi rivalry.
I recently finished reading Vatanka’s book and had the opportunity to discuss the history of the Iran-Pakistan relationship with him by phone. “In this relationship, for the United States watching is not an option,” he told me. “This is a relationship involving two large countries, one is already nuclear armed, one is a threshold nuclear-armed state, combined something like 300 million people, almost the size of the U.S. population. It's a big market potentially if we wanted to integrate them. There are a whole host of areas where we can cooperate in terms of counterterrorism, trying to bring some sort of stability to Afghanistan. If you let the diplomats, perhaps, and economic entry have a bigger say and not look at the relationship purely through the security prism, which is where we are now, then this relationship can improve and become more healthy than it is today. It's clearly unhealthy today.” Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Could you start by explaining why you wanted to focus on Iran and Pakistan?
Almost for the last 20 years, I've been covering Iranian affairs—domestic, foreign, and a lot of regional dynamics involving Iran and it's neighbors. When you look at Iran's immediate neighborhood, including its 15 immediate neighbors (if you include its land and maritime neighbors), there’s plenty of literature on most of the neighbors' relations with Iran. Certainly among those neighbors, we'd consider them the big neighbors, Saudi, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan—Pakistan stands out as one that hasn't really been tackled in the context of its relations with Iran. So I thought, here's a gap, here's a deficiency, and why not try to see if we can find out more about it. That was really the beginning of that research idea, project, and the subsequent book that came out of it.
I think the history alone is really interesting, and there's a lot of that in the book, but I think there's a lot more to it than just the historical narrative. I think if you look at these two large countries, as they sit in Asia, anyone who wants to figure out how the large power politics, the race for influence in this part of the world happened, needs to take into account what drives Iran and Pakistan and where they come from in term of their past, where they are today, and where they are likely to go forward.
Development firm announce plans for first master community development for private market
"We believe Gwadar is following in the footsteps of Shenzen which represented a historic population rise, from a population of 30,000 in 1980 to 11 million people in 2017. Gwadar is poised to see massive population growth due to incoming industries, and we expect this to be one of the most strategic cities in South Asia."
Leading private investment house China Pak Investment Corporation today announced its acquisition of the 3.6 million square foot International Port City project in the city of Gwadar. The investment company is currently revising the scheme's plans in line with international developments standards and will be developing the first of its kind $150 million gated master community tailor-made for the expected 500,000 incoming Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2022.
(Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/564249/China_Pak_Hills_Phase_1.jpg )
The project which is expected to be renamed China Pak Hills hails an exciting new phase in the development of the port of Gwadar, the 'Gateway City' to the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the largest unilateral foreign direct investment from one nation into another. The CPEC is set to catapult Pakistan's stature as a key global trade and economic hub and includes a bouquet of projects currently under construction that will not only improve Pakistan's infrastructure, but will deepen the economic and political ties between China and Pakistan.
Hao-Yeh Chang, Corporate Communications Director for China Pak Investments Corporation commented, "We believe Gwadar is following in the footsteps of Shenzen which represented a historic population rise, from a population of 30,000 in 1980 to 11 million people in 2017. Gwadar is poised to see massive population growth due to incoming industries, and we expect this to be one of the most strategic cities in South Asia."
The final master plan for China Pak Hills is currently being refined in Hong Kong, and will feature a range of state-of-the-art amenities including an open-air shopping boulevard; indoor shopping mall; restaurants and eateries; an international school & nursery; six community parks; indoor and outdoor sports facilities including tennis courts and a resident's gymnasium; a water desalination plant and recycling centre. China Pak Hills will also be home to the Gwadar Financial District, catering to the growing financial sector and adding much needed A Grade office space to Gwadar's growing market.
One Investments Ltd, a UK-based property investment company, headed by Zeeshan Shah, have been appointed as Global Master - Agent for the Development. "China Pak Hills is a unique and exciting opportunity. The level of investment and commitment made by the Chinese government in the CPEC guarantees that Gwadar is going to be one of the most important trading and access points in the World. Its geographic position, combined with the infrastructure being created through the CPEC means that it can only grow exponentially."
The China Pak Hills master-community is being developed by China Pak Investments and is soon expected to announce options for private sale of limited plots to end purchasers.
Experts divided on economic benefit of Chabahar Port
SANJAY KUMAR | Published — Monday 4 December 2017
India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the port would “provide alternative access to landlocked Afghanistan into regional and global markets… an integrated development of connectivity infrastructure including ports, road and rail networks would open up greater opportunities for regional market access and contribute towards the economic integration and benefit of the three countries and the region.”
However, Phunchok Stobdan, a former Indian ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and a distinguished academic, questions the economic viability of the port.
“In terms of slogans, yes, you can call it a new era of connectivity. But how much substance is there, we don’t know. It is just a beginning. It is more about political opportunism than economic benefits, as I see it,” said Stobdan, who is also a senior fellow at New Delhi-based think tank, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA).
“What do you want to export and what you want to import?” he continued. “There are no high-value items to trade between India and Afghanistan.
“I feel the Indian government should also work out some mechanism to open the Wagah border,” he continued. “But Pakistan has been using the strategy of denial for very long time. It is working in their favor. It is a larger political issue; it is not an economic or connectivity issue.”
Stobdan also claimed that “the significance lies in the fact that, before Trump puts (forward) lots of objections, India has been brought into the picture.”
The Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran’s southern coast, is seen by some as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port — which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located around 85 km from Chabahar — and, by extension to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We can say lot, but the economy will speak,” Stobdan said. “You think the Chinese did not know about the Chabahar port? They knew. The market is in Pakistan. The market is in India. The market is not in the Sististan-Baluchistan area.”
Afghan ambassador Abdali said: “The Chabahar port will be open to everyone. All the stakeholders and I hope that no one thinks of it as a counter to any other initiatives. At the same time, I consider it a major development for the whole region.”
Hoping to extend maritime reach, #China is lavishing vast amounts of aid on a small #Pakistani fishing town of #Gwadar to win over locals and build a commercial deep-water port that #America and #India suspect may also one day serve Chinese navy. #CPEC
Beijing has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water infrastructure for Gwadar, a dusty town whose harbor juts out into the Arabian Sea, overlooking some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes.
The grants include $230 million for a new international airport, one of the largest such disbursements China has made abroad, according to researchers and Pakistani officials.
The handouts for the Gwadar project is a departure from Beijing’s usual approach in other countries. China has traditionally derided Western-style aid in favor of infrastructure projects for which it normally provides loans through Chinese state-owned commercial and development banks.
“The concentration of grants is quite striking,” said Andrew Small, an author of a book on China-Pakistan relations and a Washington-based researcher at the German Marshall Fund think tank.
“China largely doesn’t do aid or grants, and when it has done them, they have tended to be modest.”
Pakistan has welcomed the aid with open hands. However, Beijing’s unusual largesse has also fueled suspicions in the United States and India that Gwadar is part of China’s future geostrategic plans to challenge U.S. naval dominance.
“It all suggests that Gwadar, for a lot of people in China, is not just a commercial proposition over the longer term,” Small said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Beijing and Islamabad see Gwadar as the future jewel in the crown of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The plan is to turn Gwadar into a trans-shipment hub and megaport to be built alongside special economic zones from which export-focused industries will ship goods worldwide. A web of energy pipelines, roads and rail links will connect Gwadar to China’s western regions.
Port trade is expected to grow from 1.2 million tonnes in 2018 to about 13 million tonnes by 2022, Pakistani officials say. At the harbor, three new cranes have been installed and dredging will next year deepen the port depth to 20 meters at five berths.
But the challenges are stark. Gwadar has no access to drinking water, power blackouts are common and separatist insurgents threaten attacks against Chinese projects in Gwadar and the rest of Baluchistan, a mineral-rich province that is still Pakistan’s poorest region.
Security is tight, with Chinese and other foreign visitors driven around in convoys of soldiers and armed police.
Beijing is also trying to overcome the distrust of outsiders evident in Baluchistan, where indigenous Baloch fear an influx of other ethnic groups and foreigners. Many residents say the pace of change is too slow.
“Local people are not completely satisfied,” said Essar Nori, a lawmaker for Gwadar, adding that the separatists were tapping into that dissatisfaction.
Dear Riaz Bhai
now you can see the speed at which Chabahar has come up. Already trading started from this port. India spent $500 million on this project. But this is AID for Afghanistan. Not a single dollar will be charged to Afghan government. They will be free of Karachi port shackles. What China is offering Pakistan is not AID. It is loan at a very prohibitive interest rate of 6.5%. Pakistan economy is already in doldrums with lots of debt repayment looming ahead next year on-wards. When Pakistan has to start payment to Chinese from 2019, Pakistanis are not going to like it one bit.
First #Djibouti ... now #Pakistan's #Gwadar tipped to have #China's naval base. #India #Iran #Chabahar #Navy #Military #Hormuz #RedSea https://sc.mp/2CINAJb via @SCMP_News
Beijing plans to build its second offshore naval base near a strategically important Pakistani port following the opening of its first facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa last year.
Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the base near the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea would be used to dock and maintain naval vessels, as well as provide other logistical support services.
“China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Zhou said.
“It’s a common practice to have separate facilities for warships and merchant vessels because of their different operations. Merchant ships need a bigger port with a lot of space for warehouses and containers, but warships need a full range of maintenance and logistical support services.”
Another source close to the People’s Liberation Army confirmed that the navy would set up a base near Gwadar similar to the one already up and running in Djibouti.
“Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships ... Public order there is in a mess. It is not a good place to carry out military logistical support,” the source said.
The confirmation follows a report this week on Washington-based website The Daily Caller in which retired US Army Reserve colonel Lawrence Sellin said meetings between high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani military officers indicated Beijing would build a military base on the Jiwani peninsula near Gwadar and close to the Iranian border.
Sellin said the plan would include a naval base and an expansion of the existing airport on the peninsula, both requiring the establishment of a security zone and the forced relocation of long-time residents.
Gwadar port is a key part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a centrepiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s broader “Belt and Road Initiative” to link China through trade and infrastructure to Africa and Europe and beyond. The corridor is a multibillion-dollar set of infrastructure projects linking China and Pakistan, and includes a series of road and transport links.
Sellin also said the Jiwani base could be “signs of Chinese militarisation of Pakistan, in particular, and in the Indian Ocean”.
Chinese military observers said Gwadar had great geostrategic and military importance to China but China was not about to “militarise” Pakistan.
Zhou said China wanted better access to the Indian Ocean, which was now largely limited to the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia. The Gwadar port could be a transit hub for sea and land routes once the corridor’s railway was up and running, helping improve and cut the cost of logistics for China.
“The Chinese naval flotilla patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and other warships escorting Chinese oil tankers in the Indian Ocean need a naval base for maintenance as well as logistical supplies because they can’t buy much of what they need in Pakistan,” Zhou said.
Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said India was well aware of China’s plans in Pakistan.
“China finds it very useful to use Pakistan against India and ignore India’s concerns, particularly on terrorism issues. That has created a lot of stress in the relationship between Beijing and Delhi,” he said.
“[But] Indian naval capabilities and experience in the Indian Ocean region are fairly good. Much better than Pakistan and China.”
Dubai vs Gwadar: port cities chart a course for share of world’s economy
By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid and 3 collaborators
A strategic port at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in southern Pakistan is continuing to push its rival megaports in the United Arab Emirates, pitting the lesser-known Gwadar against Dubai in a bid to move goods faster and more cheaply to some of the most populated countries of the world.
“Many economic analysts believe that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map,” said Tariq al-Shammari, a writer and self-described activist, who wrote about the expansion of the Pakistani port for OpenDemocracy, a UK-based political website. “Gwadar port will become the main sea gate for Central Asia.”
As it becomes easier to send goods through Gwadar, Dubai may see a threat to its regional influence, al-Shammari said.
“This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries; Pakistan, China and Qatar on one side, India and the UAE on the other,” he wrote.
How the ports stack up
Dubai’s two major commercial ports — Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali — provide significant revenue to the UAE. Jebel Ali has the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the biggest Middle East port, and more than 5,000 companies from 120 countries rely on its services for goods ranging from consumer items to heavy construction machinery.
Gwadar’s deep sea port is strategically located to provide easier access to the Gulf region and the Middle East for China, especially the northwest Xinjiang region, and central Asia countries. The overland distance from Gwadar to Kashgar, in China, is 1,500 miles, while it is another 2,500 miles to move across China to Shanghai. Cargo ships have to move double the distance, again, to reach the Middle East waters.
The Gwadar corridor will reduce the transport time for goods to Western China by about 60 or 70 per cent, according to Liu Ying, a research fellow at the Chongyang Institute who studied the economics of the port (The Telegraph).
The Gwadar port is a key project in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative (South China Morning Post), which seeks to build strong economic connections between China and the countries along the old Silk Road – and well beyond.
Gwadar was built with financial and technical assistance from China, which took operational control after the Port of Singapore Authority pulled out of a 40-year port management and development contract because it was unable to get the land it sought to develop a free trade zone. The Gwadar port had been unable to become fully operational because of unsettled issues between Islamabad and the port authority.
The pivot to China “will also enable the dragon to swim in the Indian Ocean, which is strategically important for China as it expands its influence across the region, according to The National, a newspaper based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
“To ensure the security of shipments along existing routes, a Chinese naval presence at Gwadar could also patrol the Indian Ocean sea lanes. Of concern to Washington and New Delhi is the Chinese naval presence near the Strait of Hormuz and its strategy of building a ‘string of pearls’ presence on the Indian Ocean rim,” the newspaper reported.
The Gwadar Development Authority is working on developing residential and commercial areas at the port, spurring growth in real estate and services. As observers note, some of the projects mirror those in Dubai, of which it may always be more of “sister city,” than a true rival (The Express Tribune).
Mega #oil city to be constructed in #Gwadar as part of #CPEC. Plan includes oil terminal and storage tanks, oil #refinery and #petrochemical #industrial complex. #Pakistan #China
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to construct a mega oil city at Gwadar on 80,000 acres under much hyped China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This mega oil city will be used for transportation of imported oil through the Gwadar Port to China. The oil will be imported from Gulf and will be stored at this proposed mega Gwadar oil city.
The distance to China will be reduced, and it will take just seven days to cover the distance from Gwadar to Chinese border as import through western China took almost 40 days by covering double distance.
“We have forwarded PC-1 to the Ministry of Petroleum for acquiring 80,000 acres for this mega oil city at Gwadar with estimated cost of Rs10 billion. There will be additional cost for construction of its storage and other aligned facilities with the help of investments,” Director General, Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), Dr Sajjad H Baloch, told Islamabad based journalists who visited the Gwadar Port last week. This visit was arranged by the Planning Commission in order to show case different ongoing projects under CPEC.
A refinery, petrochemical industries and storage will be established in the oil city, he added.
The Gwadar oil city, he said, would be used for storing oil for its onward transportation to China. Usually, it takes 40 days for vessels to transport oil to China but via Pakistan it will reach China within 7 days, he added. He said that the total area of Gwadar Model City is 290,000 acres which includes 160,000 acres of residential area while the remaining is for industrial purposes. A Chinese company is working on the Model City Plan and it will be ready by August 14, 2018.
To another query regarding different measures for overcoming water shortages at Gwadar, he said that the current water requirement stood at six million gallons per day and there is no direct water supply taking place to the area. Two MGD water is being supplied from two water small dams through tankers and nearest distance is almost 70 kilometres.
“We have a deficit of four million gallons per day in water supply to the area,” he said and added that by 2020, the water requirement of Gwadar would be 12 million gallons per day, for which additional arrangements were made to get 10 million gallons of water.
New Gwadar International Airport: Earlier, the journalists visited the site of proposed new airport at Gwadar. The China Airport Construction Group Engineering Company representative Jianxin Liao told the visiting journalists that they were conducting soil investigation on the basis of which, the design of new airport at Gwadar will be finalised. He said that the procured land for this new airport stood at 4,300 acres, and this airport will possess capacity to handle one million passengers on annual basis. He said that by April this year the design will be completed after which the cost of the project will be estimated. It will be the biggest airport of Pakistan.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) representative Zohaib Soomro said that the initial cost of the project was estimated at $228 million, but its cost would be finalised after completion of design, and it would be estimated again.
The sources said that it would be premature to give any assessment related to cost, but it would be more than $2 billion to $2.7 billion at least if we want to construct state of the art airport in accordance with international standards.
India Lacks a Competitive Trade Strategy for Chabahar
India needs a sound economic and political strategy to maximize the benefits it receives from Chabahar.
The first shipment to pass through the port of Chabahar to Afghanistan was celebrated with much fanfare and excitement this late October. India, with the largest economy in South Asia and an ever-rising military footprint has much to be proud of regarding this development. In the face of regional tensions with its western neighbor, Pakistan, India has chosen to circumvent the nation in order to open new trade routes with Afghanistan and greater Central Asia. Delhi may now find it easier to further diversify its trading partners, strengthen its relations with regional neighbors, and simultaneously compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
While the potential for Chabahar’s positive externalities remain numerous, they also remain largely hypothetical. The completion of the project does not necessarily guarantee an increase in Indian economic influence, considering the economic and political realities that Delhi presently faces on the domestic front and in the region. The competitiveness of Indian exports, the security situation in Afghanistan, and regional geopolitics pose several hurdles that India must overcome.
Domestically, India faces a slowing economy that has had six continuous quarters of decreasing growth. The economy rebounded in the latest quarter but growth forecasts for the economy continue to be revised downwards due to recent poorly executed economic reforms (the Goods and Services Tax and demonetization). This becomes further troubling as the Indian economy continues to be faced with a critical job shortage that must incorporate 12 million young people every year. Additionally, India’s banking sector continues to pose risks to the economy with non-performing assets (bad loans) continuing to rise to unprecedented levels. In light of domestic economic challenges, Delhi would be wise to draft a comprehensive economic strategy to justify the cost of the overall investment in Chabahar and the overall multinational initiative.
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Currently, India has allocated around $2 billion to the overall project — $500 million dollars has been allocated to the construction of Chabahar port to increase cargo handling capacity and $1.6 billion to the construction of a rail link that will connect the port to the city of Zahedan. The city borders Afghanistan and will allow goods to flow into the country through already built infrastructure. Chabahar port will also serve as a starting point for the over-arching International North-South Trade Corridor (INTSC) that aims to connect India, Iran, Russia, and various Central Asian states. Remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various analysts claim that the new port will revolutionize trade and commerce. This may prove to be true if India is able to drastically improve the efficiency of its manufacturing sector and increase the demand for Indian goods.
Yet, the current status quo will prove difficult to change considering both the cost and share of total exports India sends to Central Asia (including Afghanistan) when compared to other nations, specifically China. In early July, the Minister of State for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, Haribhai Chaudhary, was asked why domestically produced goods cost more than those imported from China. Chaudhary responded, “The products manufactured in China are reportedly of lower price mainly because of their opaque subsidy regime and distorted factor prices.” India’s economy is primarily based on the services industry, which composes more than half of its GDP, compared to industry (including manufacturing), which only composes a little more than a quarter. China’s economy on the other hand, is primarily composed of industry, giving it greater leverage and ability to compete with Indian goods.
Pakistan, China Jointly Showcase Arabian Sea Gwadar Port
Pakistan and China have jointly organized the first international exhibition to showcase the significance of the Arabian Sea Gwadar Port and its economic free zone as an emerging international business hub.
The warm water deep sea commercial port, which overlooks some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes, has been built and recently expanded with Chinese financial assistance.
More than 200 companies from both China and Pakistan were present in Monday’s event at Gwadar, while six Chinese provinces also sent their representatives, said Beijing’s ambassador to Islamabad, Yao Jing, while addressing the ceremony.
Foreign diplomats and business leaders were also invited to the opening session of the two-day event.
Chinese operators of the port say the Gwadar Free Zone shall bring extensive economic benefits, like a tax holiday for 23 years and land lease up to 99 years to the upcoming businesses along with other incentives and pro-business policy frame work for general trade, services, manufacturing, logistics, trans-shipment and bunkering business.
Direct benefit for Pakistan
Gwardar port is to be a trans-shipment hub connected to landlocked western Chinese regions, giving Beijing a secure and shorter international trade route through Pakistan.
Gwadar is celebrated as the gateway to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a flagship of President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road Initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Under CPEC, networks of road, communications, rail, economic zones and power plants are being built and upgraded in Pakistan with an estimated Chinese investment of $62 billion.
Around $27 billion in projects are underway or completed, including “early harvest” energy projects, adding much-needed electricity to Pakistan’s national grid.
“I would like to say that the Chinese government will continue to invest and send our input to further support the development of this project. Also, we will encourage Chinese companies and Chinese businessmen to join the development of Gwadar,” vowed Chinese envoy Jing.
Wider benefit planned
During the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said CPEC is the “most visible part” of China’s of BRI, saying the mega project will cater not only to the needs of his country, but to the needs of the region.
Officials expect Gwadar’s cargo handling capacity to increase to 1.2 million tonnes by the end of this year and it will be able to process about 13 million tons by 2022, making it the largest port in South Asia.
Chinese partners say they would need around 38,000 skilled workers by 2023 for the Free Zone, according to Dostain Jamaldini, Chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority. He says of the 2,500 current workers, around 500 are Chinese nationals and the rest are locals.
An international airport with a 12,000 meter runway is being constructed in the once sleepy town with a Chinese financial grant of around $300 million.
The Arabian Sea port is located in Pakistan’s largest province of Baluchistan where militant groups, including Islamic State, and a low-level insurgency remain key security challenges to CPEC.
Additionally, the corridor runs through Pakistan-controlled portion of the divided Kashmir region, drawing objections from rival India. The United States suspects China may also turn Gwadar into a military base.
But Chinese officials reject those concerns, maintaining “CPEC is merely an economic cooperation project,” and Islamabad dismisses New Delhi’s opposition as politically motivated.
#Pakistan Mulls #US, #NATO Offer to Ship #Afghan Supplies Through #Gwadar Port as Shorter, Cheaper Route. #CPEC
Pakistani officials say the U.S.-led NATO military coalition in Afghanistan has offered to import vital supplies through the southwestern port of Gwadar, calling it a much shorter and economically viable route into landlocked Afghanistan.
The federal minister for maritime affairs, Hasil Bizenjo, says NATO representatives proposed the idea at a recent meeting he convened with local and international business leaders.
“They (NATO) are very interested and we are working on it,” Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.
The coalition of about 16,000 troops, known as Resolute Support, mostly consists of Americans advising and assisting Afghan forces in their battle against the Taliban and other militant groups.
The military mission is dependent on ground lines of communication and air lines of communication, known as GLOC and ALOC, through Pakistan for receiving supplies.
Currently, NATO supplies are shipped through the southern Pakistani port of Karachi, where they then are placed on trucks and transported on a week-long journey to neighboring Afghanistan via the northwestern Torkham border crossing.
“NATO people told us it would be extremely convenient for them in terms of quick transportation of supplies from Gwadar directly to Kandahar. They are very interested and we are working on it,” Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.
The Chinese-built, Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is in the southwestern Baluchistan province adjoining Afghanistan's Kandahar province, which hosts one of the five U.S. military bases in the war-shattered country.
Gwadar port is connected to the Chaman border crossing with Kandahar through a newly constructed highway, enabling truck convoys to reach Afghanistan in fewer than 24 hours.
Pakistani minister Bizenjo said companies dealing in Afghan transit trade also want their cargo to be shipped completely through Gwadar.
“Another meeting with Pakistani business and NATO representatives and Afghan transit trade dealers has also been scheduled to further the discussions, Bizenjo said, without saying when.
Pakistan earned the status of non-NATO ally for allowing U.S.-led international forces to use the GLOC and ALOC supply lines to invade Afghanistan in 2001 and oust the Taliban from power for harboring al-Qaida leaders. In return, Islamabad received U.S. security assistance and civilian aid.
The proposal to redirect U.S. and NATO military cargo from Karachi to Gwadar comes as Pakistan’s traditionally rollercoaster relations with the United States suffer fresh setbacks.
FWO was tasked to lay a network of roads for the much needed connectivity of Gwadar Port with upcountry as part of CPEC. The Frontier Corps was tasked to maintain the law and order throughout the vast province, especially along the highways.
FWO is presently constructing 873 km of roads in Balochistan as part of Western Route of CPEC to operationalize Gwadar Deep Sea Port by enhancing its connectivity. The road projects being undertaken are:
Hoshab-Turbat-Gwadar Section (M-8) 193 Km
Khuzdar-Shahdadkot Section (M-8) 58 Km
Sorab-Besima-Nag-Panjgur (N-85) 430 Km
Kalat-Quetta-Chaman Road (N-25) 110 Km
Wagum-Rud-Khajuri Road (N-70) 64 Km
The M-8 Motorway reflects the vision of a progressive Balochistan. It is the first motorway of the province which will connect Gwadar with Indus Highway. The alignment of this road goes along Gwadar, Turbat, Hoshab, Awaran, Khuzdar and Rattodero (near Larkana). Traversing through the vast expanse of interior Balochistan the highway shall usher in a new era of socio-economic development and prosperity. Presently the trade trucks going upcountry have to take the longer route via Karachi which results in increase of logistic costs. With the direct and shorter route of M-8 the distance from Gwadar to Indus Highway will be reduced by nearly 400 km.
The Gwadar, Turbat, Hoshab section of M-8 is a vital part of CPEC’s Western, Central and Eastern Routes and will serve all Gwadar bound traffic. The road has been constructed by FWO in most challenging and hostile terrain and security environment.
The N-85 Highway is also known as the Gwadar-Quetta link. It starts from Hoshab and moves northwards towards Quetta passing through Panjgur-Besima and Sorab from where it merges with the Karachi-Quetta Highway (N-25) at Kalat. The 448 km highway passes through the remote towns of interior Balochistan and provides a direct and shorter link between Gwadar and Quetta. Construction of this highway was a big challenge due to harsh terrain and security hazards. FWO has mobilized its resources at 14 locations to complete the project this year. The highway is being regarded as a catalyst for the progress and development of interior Balochistan.
The Kalat-Quetta-Chaman road (N-25) serves as an important trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 230 km long road is divided into four sections of which Section 1 and 3 have been completed while Section 2 i.e., Khad Koocha to Quetta (54 km) and Section 4 i.e., Jungle Piralizai to Chaman (57 km) are being completed by FWO. Also known as RCD Highway this road constitutes the shortest access from Gwadar and Karachi ports to Afghanistan. Substantial progress has been achieved and the project is scheduled to be completed this year.
Despite serious logistic constraints in wake of remoteness of the area and unfavourable security situation, Pak Army is determined to complete this onerous but formidable task within stipulated timeline. The FWO has already completed 648 km of roads out of 873 km, which is a record by any international standard. Completion of these projects by end of 2016 would effectively link Gwadar Deep Sea Port with China through Karakoram Highway (KKH), Afghanistan and Central Asia through Chaman, Central Trade Corridor and Torkham.
#Pakistan’s port city gains economic vitality after free zone launched. Will #Gwadar be next #Honkong or #Dubai? #CPEC #China #SEZ http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/pakistans-port-city-gains-economic-vitality-after-free-zone-launched/ …
For decades, Pakistanis have dreamed for Gwadar to become the next Dubai. Yet the port city in southwestern Pakistan, despite its advantageous location on the shores of the Arabian Sea, had long remained underdeveloped in the past.
Recently, the economy of the prominent city in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan seems to gear up, especially with the launching of the Gwadar free trade zone on Jan. 29, reviving hopes for it to become a global trade hub.
Launching of the free trade zone was a historic moment. It is the beginning of a dream coming true, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistani Minister for Interior and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, said at the launching ceremony.
RAPID PORT DEVELOPMENT
Less than a year ago, the Gwadar port complex was still a giant construction site. Now it has become a brand new modern harbor boasting giant brand new cranes, hotels, warehouses, factories and a business center.
The unprecedented pace of development convinced locals of the future of Gwadar.
“Gwadar will lead the take-off of Pakistan’s economy. It will be the next Dubai or Hong Kong,” local banker Masood Awan said.
Gwadar Expo, a two-day trade fair, coincided with the opening of the free trade zone. Muhammad Niazi, a seafood exporter, had planned to represent his company at the event, but failed to get a booth as more than 5,000 companies had vied for just 150 vacancies.
More than 25,000 people visited the trade fair, according to China Overseas Ports Holdings Co. (COPHC), which took over the operation of the port in 2013.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had to increase the frequency of its flights from Karachi to Gwadar from one to two per day, while announcing that a new flight from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to Gwadar will be open by the end of the year.
Even without a booth, Niazi and his colleagues flew to Gwadar from Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi. He stayed after the trade fair closed on Jan. 30, busy making new business contacts.
“We are determined to expand our business to Gwadar. The speed of development is just amazing,” Niazi said.
BETTER CITY LIFE
More than 30 Chinese and Pakistani companies are investing some 500 million U.S. dollars in the free trade zone, said Hu Zongyao, deputy general manager of the Gwadar free trade zone, which is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the fishing city of less than 100,000 population.
Also, COPHC have worked with the local government and Chinese organizations to help improve living conditions in Gwadar, including the installation of desalination facilities to provide a million gallons of drinking water to local residents.
China’s Red Cross Society helped build a medical station, while China Foundation for Peace and Development help set up a primary school there.
“Better living conditions means better investment environment and more talents. Helping the locals is also helping ourselves,” Hu said.
“Investment by experienced and competent Chinese companies is encouraging for the future of Gwadar. The port will one day become a top destination for business and tourism, a regional, even global trade center,” said Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of Gwadar Port Authority.
The construction of the city is a long-haul endeavor. It takes time to build infrastructure, find investment and talents and cultivate economic vitality. Eventually the city will grow as evidenced by many global cosmopolitans that had been fishing villages.
Wade Shepard, a Forbes contributor, believed a “clearly stated plan” is behind CPEC’s progress. China and Pakistan publicized a long-term plan for CPEC in 2017.
#India’s secret war against #Pakistan. by Praveen Swami #KulbhushanJadhav #Balochistan #RAW #ajitdoval
he implications of the questions raised by the Kulbhushan Jadhav case go far beyond Jadhav’s fate. It is time India reflects seriously on its expanding programme of covert action and its long-term consequences. By PRAVEEN SWAMI
FOR six hours, the hired car had driven through a forest of shadows, cast by the mountains of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province—for generations, a refuge for smugglers, insurgents and spies. Heading towards Saravan, a town of 50,000 some 20 kilometres from the border with Pakistan, the car was carrying a businessman from Mumbai to a meeting. The men he wanted to meet were waiting, but there were others, too: like every spy story, this one ended in betrayal.
India knows something of what happened next: Kulbhushan Jadhav is now on death row, awaiting execution, after a hurried trial by a military court in Pakistan which found him guilty of espionage.
Ever since 2013, India has secretly built up a covert action programme against Pakistan, seeking to retaliate against jehadists and deter their sponsors in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and now by Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW) Anil Dhasmana, the programme has registered unprecedented success, hitting hard against organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Muhammad. But the story of the man on death row illustrates that this secret war is not risk-free. Lapses in tradecraft and judgment, inevitable parts of any human enterprise, can inflict harm far greater than the good they seek to secure.
the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ought to raise questions about whether India’s intelligence bosses are devoting the kind of granular attention that the issue requires to insulate the country from the potential risks. The questions over Jadhav’s passports, the opacity of his business operations and, most important, the lack of transparency about his connection to the Indian Navy, have all made it difficult for the government of India to dissociate itself from his cause—the usual, necessary fate of the spy. It is also not clear why, if he is indeed a spy, he was not withdrawn after Uzair Baluch’s arrest, an elementary precaution.
Perhaps more importantly, there ought to be a serious political debate cutting across party lines on the possible consequences of covert action.
Precedents do exist to resolve situations like this. Gary Powers, the pilot of a CIA espionage flight shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960—and reviled by his colleagues for not committing suicide—was eventually exchanged for the legendary KGB spy Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher.
In both New Delhi and Islamabad, there are rumours the two capitals are working on just such a deal—possibly involving former ISI officer Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Zahir Habib, alleged to have been kidnapped by India—or a wider deal, which could see the release of multiple espionage convicts.
Both countries have much to gain from a dispassionate conversation on the case—on the norms that ought to govern covert activity of the one against the other, and on the inexorable consequences of the secret war Pakistan has long run.
For that, the Kulbhushan Jadhav case needs to be elevated above prime-time ranting and opened up for rational discussion.
Lijian Zhao 赵立坚Verified account
Following Following @zlj517
Gwadar update: COSCO will start a container shipping line at Gwadar port on every Wednesday from 7 March 2018. Businessmen who are interested to export or import specially sea food from Gwadar to any destination to China or any destination globally, can take benefit of it.
#Balochistan Separatist Leader Jumma Marri Says in #Moscow He Now Supports #Pakistan and Blames #India for Hijacking Struggle: #CPEC #China #Russia #Afghanistan https://sputniknews.com/interviews/201802231061939477-balochistan-korybko-jumma-marri-baloch/ … via @SputnikInt
Dr. Jumma Marri Baloch, a prominent leader of the Baloch independence movement and designer of the separatist flag, recently renounced his decades-long campaign against Pakistan while attending a Pakistani Unity Day event last weekend in Moscow, where Sputnik’s Andrew Korybko had the chance to conduct a brief interview with him.
Sputnik: Tell us little about yourself: how and why did you come to Russia, how long have you been here and what do you do presently?
Jumma Marri Baloch: I think everybody who was interested about the Baloch affairs might know my struggle to free Balochistan, which is not hidden from anyone. I will not be wrong if I say that I am from those people who were always on the forefront of the Baloch freedom struggle — many of the readers might know the fact that the Free Balochistan flag, which is currently very popular and is in use, was designed by me.
For the sake of Free Balochistan I left my home, Pakistan, province, tribe and even my father and brothers. In 1979, due to the Balochistan movement I, along with my family, left for Afghanistan and settled there. Since 2000 I am in self-exile in Moscow.
Sputnik: Who is behind the so-called "Free Balochistan" Campaign, what are they aiming for, and how do they operate?
Jumma Marri Baloch: There are no doubts that India is squarely behind the unrest in Balochistan. I am a witness to it from within: India tries to counter Pakistan's support for Kashmir and India wants to pay Pakistan in the same coin by supporting a few so-called Baloch leaders who are enjoying very luxurious lifestyles in such expensive cities as Geneva and London. These people are sending some money to create unrest in Balochistan like blowing electricity supplies, mining bridges and putting mines in the roadside to keep the money supplies open from Delhi.
Sputnik: What is the reason why some international media have been repeating the claims of Baloch separatists and sometimes even lobbying on their behalf, and how does this relate to global fake news industry?
Jumma Marri Baloch: No international media pays any attention to these Baloch separatists except Indian media that are working closely with the Indian intelligence who are paid to cover their paid agents working as Baloch freedom fighters. These are all Indian attempts to silence the voices of the Kashmir struggle for freedom. I guarantee if Pakistan gives even the slightest hint to the Indians that they will stop supporting the Kashmiri, the Hindus will dump the Baloch next day down in a sewage canal.
Sputnik: What is the most effective way to debunk these falsehoods and show people the truth about Balochistan and its native people's relationship to the rest of Pakistan?
Jumma Marri Baloch: Develop the awareness of people about the negative propaganda, through education and empowering the local people to run their affairs without intervention. The Baloch must be respected, first of all, on their own soil, then such negative propaganda will have no effects. The majority of the Baloch people have no problem with Pakistan, but they have questions to the government as every normal citizen of any country around the world.
#Iran shocks #India. #Iranian FM says he has offered #Pakistan and #China participation in India's #Chabahar project http://toi.in/qUtthZ/a24gk via @timesofindia
NEW DELHI: In what may come as a shock to India, Iran said yesterday it offered Pakistan and China participation in the Chabahar project, a port that is being built by India for the express purpose of bypassing Pakistan.
Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported today that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday invited Pakistan to participate in Chabahar seaport project + and in the development of its link with the Gwadar Port "as he sought to allay concerns here (in Pakistan) over Indian involvement in the Iranian port."
“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chabahar,” said Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said Dawn.
Chabahar is said to be becoming a success story in the India-Iran relationship. The first phase of the Chabahar port in south-east Iran, which India is developing, was inaugurated in December last year. The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan. It is expected to cut transport costs/time for Indian goods by a third and likely to ramp up trade among India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.
Given this context, India's not likely to be pleased with the Iranian foreign minister's comments. It's possible though that Zarif was merely making conciliatory remarks. That's because he went out of his way to assure Pakistan that its ties with India are not in conflict with Islamabad
Zarif drew a comparison with Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia and said that just like that relationship does not tarnish Islamabad's ties with Tehran, India's and Iran's relationship isn't going to affect Pakistan negatively, reported Mehr News, an Iranian news agency. He added that the Gwadar port city in Pakistan and Chabahar transit agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan are “complementary” and not “competitive”.
Chinese giant to build Gwadar’s first luxury Golf Community
State-owned Chinese construction company China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has announced that it has entered into agreement for the construction of Gwadar's first luxury gated Golf Community with a Pakistani company.
Empire Properties, the Pakistan registered company, and the CCECC have signed a memorandum of understanding as the prospective contractor for the construction of China Pak Golf Estates, Gwadar's first luxury Golf Community.
The $265 million development is a milestone in the development of Gwadar and will deliver the emerging port city’s most premier residential and lifestyle destination, said a joint press release issued here.
Commenting on the partnership Mr Wang Lei, Managing Director CCECC (Pakistan) said: "It is a great honour to be working alongside a forward thinking international conglomerate like CPIC. China Pak Golf Estates is a ground breaking development for not only Gwadar but Pakistan and we are honoured to be a part of this monumental project and contributing to the growth story of Emerging Pakistan. CCECC are a leading global contractor with 39 years of experience in over 40 countries delivering high quality projects ranging from civil engineering design and consultancy to real estate development. We aim to deliver a timeless community in China Pak Golf Estates that will set a new standard to master community development in Pakistan."
Afzal Shah, CEO or Empire Properties said: "China Pak Golf Estates will truly set a new standard to real estate community development in Pakistan and there isn't a better company we could be working with to deliver this grand vision than CCECC. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Wang Lei and his team as we embark on this virtuous journey together. Our vision extends beyond developing Pakistan's finest communities, we will change the fabric of Pakistan's real estate industry by setting a new benchmark for integrity and transparency in a market that at times can be described as less than open. Our goal is to elevate the market to the same standards as established international markets. This will result in the introduction of institutional investment which in turn will revolutionise the country’s real estate sector and deliver the quality of life Pakistanis deserve".
Pakistan prime minister inaugurates first deep-water container terminal
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the initial phase of the country’s $1.4 billion first high-tech deep-water container terminal on Friday.
Hutchison Ports Pakistan is a public-private partnership of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports Holdings. The terminal is one of the most advanced in the region, having broken its own productivity record four times and serviced some of the largest container ships in the world since test operations began on December 9, 2016. Its high performance is expected to raise Pakistan’s global trade competitiveness and set a strong foundation for further economic growth.
“The state-of-the-art new container terminal at KPT will be a key component to become part of the overall CPEC system, assisting and facilitating CPEC development in Pakistan, which the government of both Pakistan and China are pursuing so vigorously,” Abbasi said. “The CPEC is the initiative of BRI, which is the project of not only regional but global connectivity.”
As the incumbent government of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is about to complete its five-year tenure, the prime minister highlighted the achievements of his government, claiming that it had undertaken major development projects that had not been done in the past 65 years.
“Turning the economy around, overcoming the energy crisis, combating extremism and terrorism and huge investment in human development sectors have remained our key priorities since the very first day of our government,” Abbasi said. “Our economic rebound is particularly remarkable because we achieved it while aggressively fighting terrorism throughout Pakistan, for which we had to allocate resources to our law enforcement agencies.”
He said that many projects in the energy sector were in the pipeline, including four LNG terminals, four power plants of 600 MW and a desalination plant of more than 50 million gallons. “I am confident that the new government after the elections will be more than willing to play its part to make it a success story,” Abbasi said.
Andy Tsoi, managing director of Hutchison Ports, Middle East Africa, said the port was being operated at international standards and applied the highest level of expertise to port operations. “The project is a glowing example of public-private partnership and the Pak- China friendship that will augment the economic environment of Pakistan while revitalizing the ports and shipping industry and strengthen the relationship between both countries,” Tsoi said.
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, minister for maritime affairs, said that 97 percent of Pakistan’s international trade was handled through seaports and the ministry was committed to integrating the country’s ports. “Hutchison Port Pakistan project is an example of the successes of a public-private partnership in which KPT has invested around $800 million and Hutchison Port Holdings will be investing over $600 million,” Bizenjo said.
He announced the start of cruise line services from Karachi port to Chahbahar port via Gwadar port, connecting Oman and Dubai as well. “The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has completed formalities and is in the process of buying three vessels. Soon foreign and local vessels will be registered in Pakistan like in Panama,” he said.
#India Folds Under #Trump's Pressure, Halts #Iranian #Oil Imports | India’s oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November 2018 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/India-Folds-Under-Pressure-Halts-Iranian-Oil-Imports.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=tw_repost … #oilprice
In more dour news for Iran, India (the world’s fourth largest oil importer) is planning to cut oil imports from the embattled OPEC member. India’s oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November, Reuters said on Thursday, citing two industry sources.
The news comes as Tehran remains defiant over impending U.S. sanctions renewal and just days after India indicated it would push back against pressure from Washington to halt Iranian oil imports, stating that it did not recognize sanctions the U.S. has threatened to impose on countries that continue to buy Iranian oil after November 4.
"India does not recognize unilateral sanctions, but only sanctions by the United Nations," Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at India's petroleum ministry, told CNN earlier when asked whether India would reduce oil imports from Iran. After China, India is the largest buyer of Iranian crude oil.
President Trump said on Tuesday that the U.S. would level sanctions on countries that not did not cut Iranian oil imports.
Though India made an initial defiant stand, it simply can’t afford to alienate Washington since it has to safeguard its exposure to the U.S. financial system, a powerful tool that the U.S. can wield as it pleases since the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This allows Washington to level crippling sanctions on a wide range of countries all the way from Russia to Venezuela to Iran and anybody else that any sitting U.S. president sees fit to punish.
This economic weapon is also why Beijing is working feverishly to supplement or replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In September, John Hardy, the head of FX strategy at Saxo Bank said China was “eyeing the benefits of having its own currency play a larger role and to supplant the USD's role in global trade. The initial focus is on the global oil trade, where it has announced the intention of buying oil in yuan and allowing trade partners to settle that yuan in gold." He added that settling in gold is a clever move by Beijing as it provides oil-exporting countries with a greater degree of comfort.
Slow Internet Hurting China's Silk Road Ambitions in Pakistan
Faseeh MangiJuly 12, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT
Gwadar port seeks to pip Iran’s Chabahar for Afghan business
A port in Pakistan’s Gwadar is a linchpin in China’s plan to revive the old Silk Road linking Asia to Europe and Africa, but a slow Internet line is causing it to lose business.
The customs authority’s failure to fully address issues with Internet speed and reliability has meant the port, operated by a Chinese state-owned company, is functioning at less than capacity, Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, said in an interview.
“About four cargoes of sea food go daily from here to Karachi,” Jamaldini said, referring to the jetty next to the port where customs clearance is done manually. “We are not proactive, we are reactive. It’s a systematic flaw.”
The deep-sea port in Pakistan represents a geopolitical tension point with neighboring arch-rival India, which is financing an Iranian port about 76 nautical miles away. India sent its first wheat consignment to Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port in October.
The customs authority’s online system is riddled by delays due to a slow internet connection and an alternative wireless system installed by the Chinese too is facing bandwidth problems, according to Jamaldini.
Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue Member Customs, Muhammad Zahid, wasn’t available for comment. Jamaldini feels time is of essence, as Gwadar is better positioned geographically and economically for trade with Afghanistan .
“Chabahar port does not have that potential, the route is longer and more expensive,” he said, adding “state policy can force traders temporarily but not forever, they will work where they make more money.”
What used to be a small fishing town on the southwestern corner of Pakistan is giving way for construction of roads and buildings to house banks, insurance and clearing agents. China Overseas Port Holdings, the port’s operator, has separately spent $250 million to add five new cranes, construct a building in less than six months by importing ready made parts and create space for a free zone.
Read more: China’s Big Political Gambit Hinges on a Remote Arabian Sea Port
Five manufacturers have signed agreements to build factories at the economic free zone, including for electric motorcycles, edible oil and a fish processing plant, said Jamaldini.
China is making a big bet on Pakistan and Beijing’s financing has brought power plants and infrastructure projects valued at about $60 billion. The nation’s economic growth rose to the highest in more than a decade and power blackouts have been curbed, helping trigger a wave of expansion in cement and steel companies.
However, the increased imports has also lead to Pakistan’s current financial deterioration, with a current-account deficit that has increased by 45 percent to $16 billion in eleven months ended May. There are also concerns over the viability of the port itself.
Gwadar “can potentially serve a role to provide additional port capacity for Pakistan itself, for Afghanistan, as a complement and trans-shipment hub for Chabahar, as a location for the Chinese to ship materials and so on,” said Andrew Small, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and an author of a book on China-Pakistan relations. It “isn’t really envisaged as the beginning or end of a transit route for China.”
#Karachi's Hutchison #Port named ‘Container Terminal of the Year’. It is #Pakistan's first custom-built deep-water container terminal recognized for its pioneering role in deep-water #containers handling in Pakistan and #SouthAsia. https://dailytimes.com.pk/322231/hutchison-ports-pakistan-named-container-terminal-of-the-year/
Hutchison Ports Pakistan was presented the Container Terminal of the Year (South Asia) award at the inaugural Transport and Logistics Middle East Excellence Awards 2018. The country’s first deep-water container terminal was the only Pakistani company to be recognized at the ceremony, which was held in Dubai this week.
Organised by the news publication Transport and Logistics Middle East, the awards recognize and celebrate operational and technical excellence among the leaders in the transport and logistics industries in the Middle East and South Asian region.
Present at the ceremony were government dignitaries including H.E. Dr. Nabil Al Amudi, Minister of Transport, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy, UAE; and H.E. Ahmed Mahboob, CEO of Dubai Customs among others.
Hutchison Ports Pakistan, the country’s first custom-built and deep-water container terminal, was recognized for its pioneeringrole in deep-water container handling in Pakistan and South Asia, including its introduction of innovative solutions — all of which holds the potential to support the country’s shipping industry through savings of time and money.
“We are honoured to receive this award. This recognition is a testament to our commitment of excellence, efficiency and world-class service to our customers,” said Captain Syed Rashid Jamil, General Manager & Head of Business Unit, Hutchison Ports Pakistan.
Through Hutchison Ports Pakistan, Pakistan’s economy stands to benefit immensely not only through the payment of port dues and other taxes and duties but through the creation of direct and indirect employment opportunities, transfer of technology, skills development of Pakistani engineers and other technical employees, cost savings accruing to exporters and importers, and overall efficiencies in Pakistan’s trade by sea.
Hutchison Ports Pakistan is situated at the estuary of the Keamari Groyne basin, providing the most convenient access to ships entering Karachi. The new facility is the closest Pakistan port to the shipping lanes in the Arabian Sea. Its prime location offers the shortest steaming time from the Fairway Buoy, and will bring real benefits to customers, relating to time, cost, reduction in risk of delays, and reduced carbon emissions.
Great Game Moves to Sea: Tripolar Competition in #IndianOcean. The dynamics of intensifying competition — #military, #economic, #diplomatic — in #SouthAsia, mainly between #China, #India, #Pakistan, and #UnitedStates. #CPEC #pakistannavy @WarOnTheRocks https://warontherocks.com/2019/04/the-great-game-moves-to-sea-tripolar-competition-in-the-indian-ocean-region/
Each state’s approach to the increasingly crowded Indian Ocean environs is informed by history, economic interests, and simple geography. Three significant divergences in the three countries’ frameworks are their perspectives on the Middle East, Pakistan’s regional role, and the balance between military and non-military foreign policy tools. Friction resulting from any of these divergences – what I call geo-strategic seams – could undermine the success of any one of these national strategies for the Indian Ocean arena. Ultimately, China’s more integrated strategy may give it an edge over America’s more disjointed approach and India’s more inward focus.
India, sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean, defines the region as extending from the African littoral to Southeast Asia. In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forward “Security and Growth for All in the Region,” or SAGAR, as an early, high-level articulation of the Indian vision. In 2017, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj specifically defined the region as extending from the Gulf of Aden in the west, through Chabahar Port in southwest Iran, and over to Burma and Thailand in the east. Notably, India does not view Pakistan as a part of this regional cooperation strategy, instead seeing it as an enemy. Similarly, India tries to isolate its long history of land border disputes with China from its wider policy towards the Indian Ocean, even though countering Beijing is one of New Delhi’s goals.
India’s focus on the Indian Ocean area is relatively new, dating back only to the 1990s. For most of the period since it gained independence in 1947, India has been preoccupied with land border threats posed by Pakistan and China, and has apparently lacked the ambition and capacity to exert influence beyond its immediate neighbors.
Unlike with India’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific, however, Pakistan is a central element of China’s approach, linking the maritime and continental components of the Belt and Road Initiative. India, and to a lesser degree the United States, views Pakistan as a declining power that should be internationally isolated for its support of terrorism. In contrast, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is one of the most important elements of the Belt and Road since it provides a direct land bridge from China to the Arabian Sea and allows trade access to support economic development in China’s restive west. Illustrating its priorities, China has promised some $60 billion to develop this corridor and has already made substantial investments in Pakistan focusing on energy and transport infrastructure, including the port of Gwadar in western Pakistan. While some doubt the viability of many of these projects, this investment clearly reflects Beijing’s view that Pakistan is essential to its regional strategy.
#Pakistan’s deep-water #port at #Karachi enters phase II of expansion. Will handle 3.4 million containers of 20-foot length each by the end of 2020 compared to 1.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) today. #Shipping #Cargo https://tribune.com.pk/story/1967137/2-pakistans-deep-water-port-enters-phase-ii-expansion/
KARACHI: Hutchison Ports Pakistan, the country’s first and only deep-water port capable of berthing the world’s largest container vessel, has entered into its second phase of expansion.
“The expansion will enhance the installed capacity to handle 3.4 million containers of 20-foot length each by the end of 2020 compared to 1.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) at present,” General Manager and Head of Business Unit Captain Syed Rashid Jamil said while briefing a group of journalists at the expansion site on Monday.
A four-lane railway cargo track of around 4-5 kilometres inside the port facility, coupled with an increase in installed capacity of power production are also included in the second phase expansion plan.
The deep-water port is located at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT). It is a subsidiary of Hutchison Port Holdings of Hong Kong which enjoys 90% shareholding. KPT is a partner in the project. Some local transport and logistics firms have the rest 10% shareholding in the port. The port began commercial operations in February 2017.
Total cost of the project would be $1.4 billion, which includes KPT’s share of $800 million and Hutchison Ports Pakistan’s (HPP) contribution over $600 million.
So far, HPP has spent $450-500 million. “Estimates suggest that it would be spending close to $750-800 million by the time the second phase gets completed,” stated reliable sources.
The firm has opted for expansion despite the growth rate of cross-border transportation of the containerised cargo remaining flat at around 3.4 million TEUs in calendar year 2018 and it shrank 5% in the first four months (January-April) of the current year.
Gwadar port aims to become new Dubai
“We are expanding containerised cargo handling capacity as per our original plans of 2007 when we signed and initiated the project on built, maintain and transfer basis,” Jamil added.
The port is capable of berthing the world’s largest container vessel of 25,000 TEUs as it has a depth of 18 metres at the outer approach channel and 16.5 metres on the berth side. So far, it received the largest ever container ship of 11,923 TEUs – the China India Express – in December 2018.
Earlier, Pakistan was unable to handle containerised vessels of more than 8,000 TEUs.
The reliable sources noted that growth in the cross-border transportation of containerised cargo shrank in the current year after the incumbent government imposed conditions on fast moving consumers goods (FMCGs) sector including printing details and ingredients, halal certificate and expiry date on the products packaging.
The deep-water port has a 28-megawatts (MW) diesel-based captive power plant. It would increase the power production capacity by 8MW in the second phase.
China, the single largest trading partner of Pakistan, has remained the biggest source of containerised cargo transportation at the deep-water port. Besides, it also transports import and export containerised cargo to and from Europe and the US.
#India unhappy as #Iran goes to #Pakistan asking to link #Chabahar to #Gwadar #CPEC Deccan Herald
As New Delhi complied with US sanctions on Iran and stopped buying crude oil from the Islamic Republic this month, Tehran responded by offering to connect its Chabahar Port with Gwadar Port of Pakistan.
Iran was the third-largest oil supplier for India after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. India bought 23.6 million tons of oil from Iran in the 2018-19 financial year.
India is concerned over the proposal Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mooted during his recent visit to Pakistan late last week. Zarif proposed to connect Chabahar Port of Iran with the Gwadar Port, which was developed by China on the south-weste...
New Delhi perceived Chabahar Port in Iran as a counter to the Gwadar Port, which China developed as part of its “String of Pearls” policy to develop strategic assets around India.
New Delhi has been stayed away from the BRI, as the CPEC, linking Xinjiang in China and Gwadar Port of Pakistan passes through parts of Kashmir that India has been claiming as its own and accusing Pakistan of illegally occupying.
#Afghan-#India #Trade Impacted Due to Cut in #Chabahar funding, #US sanctions on #Iran and #Pakistan airspace closure. Banks in #Afghanistan are not willing to open credit lines for shipment via #Iran ports. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/current-affairs-trends/cut-in-chabahar-funding-us-sanctions-and-pakistan-airspace-restriction-hit-indo-afghan-trade-report-4181921.html
While the (Indian) government has been allocating Rs 150 crore for the port for the past couple of years, this time around, funds allocated have been reduced to Rs 45 crore
The government's decision to slash funds for the development of Chabahar port in Union Budget 2019-20, coupled with the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, will affect the trade between India and Afghanistan, The Hindu has reported.
This is in addition to the effect that Pakistan's decision to close its airspace for flights to and from India is having on trade between the two countries, according to the report.
The report states that while the government has been allocating Rs 150 crore for the port for the past couple of years, this time around, the funds allocated have been reduced to Rs 45 crore.
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told the newspaper that the readjustment in funds is "based on realistic assessment of likely expenditure to be incurred this financial year", indicating that India does not anticipate developing Chabahar port at the same pace as earlier.
"During the last months (February-May), Chabahar had flourished for transportation of goods and commodities to Afghanistan and central Asia with the volume of loading and unloading twice as much as before," Iran’s Ambassador to Delhi Ali Chegeni told the newspaper. He, however, added that hostile statements by US officials on Iran's sanctions "naturally and indirectly has negative impacts and led to worry among companies about working with Iranian ports, including Chabahar".
While the US has stated that Trump's decision not to grant sanctions exemptions to any oil customers of Iran would not have any effect on the port, the report states that the sanctions have slowed business down.
This is because the banks in Afghanistan are not willing to open credit lines for shipment, while cargo handlers and shippers are not servicing the Chabahar port, according to the report.
Chabahar is the only seaport Iran has in its energy-rich Sistan-Balochistan province by the Gulf of Oman and consists of two ports with five berths each. The port is a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar port, which is being developed with Chinese investment.
The port, inaugurated in December 2017, has opened a new strategic route connecting Iran with India and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
In December 2017, India took over the operations of port and commissioned the second port this January, marking the country's maritime entry into a foreign land.
The report states that the trade with Afghanistan through the air route has also been stalled due to Pakistan's airspace restrictions, with officials stating that a flight from Delhi to Kabul, the Afghanistan capital, taking five hours where it would have taken one-and-a-half hours normally.
#India's #chabaharport gambit fails. The first #Afghan Transit #Trade cargo containing 15,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser is set to reach #Pakistan’s #Gwadar deep sea port, according to Afghan news agency Pajhwok.
WORLD BANK LOANS $406MN TO #PAKISTAN FOR MOTORWAY between #Peshawar and #Kabul, thru Khyber Pass, as part of Corridors 5 and 6 of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (#CAREC) of #Afghanistan, #Tajikistan and #Uzbekistan with Pakistan & Arabian Sea. https://www.newsweekpakistan.com/world-bank-loans-406mn-to-pakistan-for-kpec/
THE KHYBER PASS ECONOMIC CORRIDOR WILL COMPRISE A 48KM, 4-LANE MOTORWAY CONNECTING PESHAWAR TO TORKHAM
The World Bank on Friday inked an agreement with Pakistan for a loan of over $406 million to construct the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor Project.
Witnessed by Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar in Islamabad, the loan agreement aims to facilitate the construction of a 48km, 4-Lane, dual carriageway high-speed motorway connecting Peshawar to Torkham.
Under the proposed project, regional connectivity would improve by facilitating commercial traffic and economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be boosted. It would also promote private sector development along the corridor and is expected to generate up to 100,000 new jobs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The project envisages the use of public-private partnership and private financing to develop clusters of economic activity, economic zones and expressways. According to state-run Associated Press of Pakistan, the connecting transport infrastructure and economic zones will provide a strong foundation for private businesses to invest in these zones.
The expressway between Peshawar and Kabul, through the Khyber Pass, represents a section of Corridors 5 and 6 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC). Corridor 5, which runs through Pakistan, has the potential to provide the shortest link between the landlocked countries of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with the Arabian Sea.
Corridor 6 provides access to Europe, Middle East and Russia. Under KPEC, the Peshawar-Torkham expressway portion of Corridor 5 will be completed.
The Peshawar-Torkham expressway will also form an integral part of the planned Peshawar-Kabul-Dushanbe Motorway, APP added.
Azhar said the loan agreement indicated the World Bank’s resolve to support the development agenda of the incumbent government. World Bank Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovanwhile, at the signing, appreciated the reform initiatives of the PTI-led government, and committed to extend all possible facilitation and financial support to Islamabad in its efforts to promote economic activities in the country and to put the economy back on track.
#Pakistan's #Gwadar Begins Handling #Afghan Transit #Trade. First ship full of Afghan cargo containers reached Gwadar on Tuesday. Containers will be loaded onto trucks for transport to #Afghanistan via #Pakistani border town of Chaman. #Chabahar #India https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/china-built-pakistani-port-begins-handling-afghan-transit-trade
Pakistan’s newly opened southwestern Gwadar seaport has begun handling transit cargo headed to and from landlocked Afghanistan, marking a significant outcome of Islamabad’s multi-billion-dollar collaboration with China.
Officials said the first ship full of Afghan cargo containers reached Gwadar on Tuesday. The containers will be loaded onto trucks for transport to Afghanistan through the Pakistani border town of Chaman.
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).
The recent Chinese financial and construction efforts, though, have activated the strategically located Arabian Sea deep-water port of Gwadar, which offers a much shorter overland link, particularly to southern regions of Afghan, 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.“
CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative are promoting regional economic ties,” said the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad while announcing the arrival of the first Afghan cargo containers at Gwadar.
Officials in Islamabad say Pakistan constitutes roughly 47 percent of total Afghan exports, while some 60 percent of Afghan transit trade goes through the northwestern Pakistan border crossing of Torkham. The Gwadar Port, they say, will increase the transit trade activity between the two countries.
China and Pakistan say they also plan to link CPEC to Afghanistan once the security situation improves in the war-torn neighbor.
Beijing recently announced it would fund and install modern reception centers, drinking water and cold storage facilities at Chaman and Torkham to better serve the daily movement of thousands of people as well as trade convoys moving in both directions.
China also has initiated a trilateral dialogue to help ease tensions between Kabul and Islamabad to encourage political, security and economic cooperation in the region.
Critics say Chinese infrastructure investments, however, are burdening economically struggling and debt-ridden economies, like Pakistan, with expensive loans that ultimately would turn into a "debt trap” for these nations. Islamabad and Beijing reject those concerns as misplaced.
#Beijing-backed #Pakistan port opens as hub for #Afghanistan trade. #Gwadar challenges #India's interests in region (#Chabahar) , but #China's ROI remains unclear. #CPEC #Trade #Iran #CentralAsia #CAREC https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Beijing-backed-Pakistan-port-opens-as-hub-for-Afghanistan-trade
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.
#BoltonBook on #India-#Pakistan in 2019: “After hours of phone calls, the crisis passed, perhaps because, in substance, there never really had been one....when two nuclear powers spin up their military capabilities, it is best not to ignore it". #Balakot https://theprint.in/diplomacy/india-pakistan-balakot-tensions-were-never-really-a-crisis-in-substance-ex-us-nsa-bolton/446768/
“I thought that was it for the evening, but word soon came that Shanahan (Patrick Shanahan, then Acting Secretary of Defense) and Dunford (Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) wanted to talk to (Mike) Pompeo (US Secretary of State) and me about a ballooning crisis between India and Pakistan,” Bolton writes.
“After hours of phone calls, the crisis passed, perhaps because, in substance, there never really had been one,” he stresses.
“But when two nuclear powers spin up their military capabilities, it is best not to ignore it. No one else cared at the time, but the point was clear to me: This was what happened when people didn’t take nuclear proliferation from the likes of Iran and North Korea seriously,” he says.
In his scathing memoir, Bolton, who was fired by Trump as the US NSA on 10 September 2019, also talks about how some US bureaucrats were in favour of extending India a “waiver”, so that it could import oil from Iran, on which the Trump administration had imposed stringent economic sanctions.
“(State Department) bureaucrats found endless reasons to extend the other waivers, as ‘clientitis’ took hold. ‘But India is so important’, or ‘Japan is so important’, said officials, arguing the interests of ‘their’ countries rather than the US interests at stake,” Bolton writes.
“One of the worst cases involved India, which, like the others, was buying Iranian oil at prices well below the global market because Iran was so desperate to make sales,” he says, adding that India “complained” about being disadvantaged not only because of having to find new suppliers, but also because the new sources would insist on prevailing market prices.
“India’s making this argument was understandable, but it was incomprehensible that US bureaucrats echoed it sympathetically,” he writes.
Bolton goes on to describe a phone call between Trump and Pompeo where they were discussing asking India to bring its oil imports from Iran down to zero.
“In a phone call with Pompeo, Trump had not been sympathetic to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, ‘He’ll be okay’,” the former US NSA writes.
India completely stopped importing oil from Iran in May last year under US pressure.
Bolton also adds in his memoir that Trump was concerned over news reports emanating from India that New Delhi was planning to buy S-400 air-defence systems from Russia over America’s Patriot defence systems.
Should #Iran blame #ISI while it helps #India's #RAW against #Pakistan? Iran also cannot afford to turn Pakistan into an enemy given its current level of hostile relations from #US, #Israel to #GCC countries, shared border logic. #KarachiTerroristAttack https://www.globalvillagespace.com/should-iran-blame-isi-while-it-helps-raw-against-pakistan-jan-achakzai/
Iran’s blame against the ISI came as a surprise raising many questions: how come Iran is so sure of the ISI’s involvement? Why Tehran did not entertain the possibility of an Indian hand beyond this incident? And why Iran did not take into account the fact that RAW has been operating out of Baluchistan and involved in false flag operations?
Following are the reasons which defy the underlying logic of Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the blast:
Why Pakistan would want to undermine its relations with Iran at a time when it needs Tehran’s supporting role (not spoiler’s role) in Afghanistan.
Islamabad, particularly the Army Chief Gen Bajwa worked very hard to improve ties with Iran.
Pakistan’s policymakers are very much convinced that Islamabad belongs to this region and it took more than 10 years to restore credibility in the eyes of Iran and Russia for forging close relations and for its quest to pivot to Euro-Asia.
Any attempt of undermining Iran means potentially undermining the Entente Cordiale, Pakistan pain strikingly achieved with Russia.
Upsetting China—which sees Iran as long term important friendly country to connect with its ambitious BRI project—is not in Pakistan’s interest; in other words, whatever concerns Pakistan may have with Iran, they may not be necessarily shared by the China which has much bigger priorities as a rising world power.
Any kinetic operation by the ISI in Iran will never get approval a) when Pakistan itself is vulnerable [read Baluchistan] b) having Iranian leverage against its second largest Shia population and c) Shia community has respectable representation at the top echelon of the inclusive Pakistan army forces which will never be bypassed nor behind its back any approval will be granted for any such operation on Iranian soil.
The proximity factor also precludes the ISI of doing any such operation next door to Pakistan’s Baluchistan province (e.g., Sistan/Baluchistan).
The predecessor of the blamed militant outfit was neutralized by the ISI and its leader Ragi was handed over to Iran.
The incident happens on a very unfortunate time when Pakistan is trying to pull off Afghan reconciliation and many spoilers do not want to see Islamabad succeed.
How come Tehran is so sure that this is not a “false flag” operation, when the Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW, is very much active in Pakistani’s Baluchistan border region; after all, it burnt down the province (Baluchistan) in the aftermath of the Mumbai attack in 2008; therefore, the fact that it has the hallmark of the RAW’s false flag operation could not be ruled out.
Pakistan’s big picture with Iran is clear: it has 900 km border with Tehran so cannot afford Iran as an enemy after hostile Indian and Afghan borders hence are not beneficiary in annoying Tehran.
$230 million mega airport be a harbinger of #Gwadar development. #PM #ImranKhan has vowed that his government would complete the #CPEC project as per plan at any cost, adding the project was a sign of all-weather friendship between #Pakistan & #China. https://www.brecorder.com/news/40002897
Chairman China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa has said that the under-construction mega airport at Gwadar will be a harbinger of development of Gwadar city and Gwadar Port.
“Gwadar International Airport construction in progress,” said Bajwa in a tweet on Saturday, while sharing pictures of the project. “We reaffirm our commitment to launching and completing all projects in Gwadar in line with PM’s directive,” he added.
Bajwa informed that the project under construction cost about $230 million.
The Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday vowed that the federal government would complete the CPEC project as per plan at any cost, adding the project was a sign of all-weather friendship between Pakistan and China. He added that every Pakistani would be benefitted from the mega project.
He directed concerned officials to further enhance the performance and capacity of the CPEC Authority for the early completion of the ongoing projects.
PM Khan expressed satisfaction over the performance of CPEC Authority and said the economic corridor was a best plan to bring socio-economic development which also assured the bright future of Pakistan.
#China-#Iran Deal: #India is a big loser. Chabahar port is India’s counter to the #Gwadar port in #Pakistan that is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative(BRI), if China invests heavily in Iran the Chabahar port could lose its relevance. #CPEC https://www.wionews.com/india-news/as-china-eyes-multi-billion-dollar-iran-deal-indias-chabahar-port-may-lose-relevance-313054 @wionews
China has struck a deal with America's enemy - Iran. It's a $400 billion economic and security strategic partnership deal.
As always, China is using its chequebook to have its way. It has bought Iran over for $400 billion dollars. It is a 25-year strategic accord with an 18-page agreement that weds Iran to China for a quarter of a century.
Once it is signed, Iran will open its doors for Chinese investment not just in one or two sectors but across the Iranian economy. The Chinese presence in Iran would expand in banking, telecommunications, ports and railways, also more than a dozen projects will go to Chinese companies.
Beijing hopes to get cheap oil in return. China will walk away with a steady supply of Iranian oil at a heavily discounted rate for 25 years and this is just one side of the story of the economic aspect.
The deal also has a military dimension. There will be reportedly joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development, even intelligence sharing as part of the agreement.
The deal will fundamentally change Iran’s relationship with China. It will put Tehran in Beijing’s corner and India could see its influence diminish overtime.
The biggest threat is to the Chabahar port. It was seen as India’s counter to the Gwadar port in Pakistan that is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative(BRI), if China invests heavily in Iran the Chabahar port could lose its relevance.
However, it is hypothetical as of today. The Iran-China agreement reportedly has not been submitted for Parliament’s approval yet and hasn’t been made public. China hasn’t shared the details of the deal yet as well. The ministry of foreign affairs in Beijing was asked about it today and it didn’t share any information.
It is not yet clear if the top brass of the Communist Party has signed off on it but the details of the deal that have leaked are reportedly part of the “final version”. Iran is not hiding the fact that it is negotiating the agreement with China. On July 5, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif indicated that the deal will happen and it will be presented before Iran's Parliament for approval.
The potential agreement is a big threat to India. Historically, India and Iran have enjoyed a close relationship. India was one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil but New Delhi stopped buying oil from Iran in 2019 after the United States slapped sanctions against Iran and refused to grant any waivers to India.
Now, Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran has failed. China went under the nose of the Americans and managed to negotiate a deal with Tehran that could create more flashpoints in West Asia and even cost India its relationship with Iran.
China-Iran pact boosts #Pakistan’s trade hub dream. Pakistan is happy over #India’s exit from #Iran and #China’s entry into Iran and hopes this emerging Iran-China strategic cooperation can become a ‘CPEC Plus’ for the region. #CPEC - Asia Times https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/china-iran-pact-boosts-pakistans-trade-hub-dream/
A Balochistan government senior official who requested anonymity told Asia Times that the China-Iran deal could improve security conditions in Balochistan’s restive regions, including those that border on Iran. There are currently as many as two million ethnic Baloch in Iran; the insurgents have historically received support from various outside actors.
“We hope and trust that the incursion of miscreants from the Pak-Iran border at Sistan-Baluchistan province would end as a result of infrastructure and connectivity developments in Iran,” he said.
He said that the Gwadar port and other CPEC projects in Balochistan would “pick up pace” if the security problems were resolved. “The CPEC’s security input could come down massively if the situation normalized to some extent,” he said.
Mushahid Hussain Syed, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senator, told Asia Times that China-backed economic activities in Iran would contribute to stability in Balochistan and by association the CPEC’s progress.
“With a proactive Chinese role in Iran – both being good friends of Pakistan – Pakistan’s Western flank will be secured, hopefully helping stability in Balochistan and strengthening the role of Gwadar port in promoting regional connectivity with China, Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asian Republics,” Mushahid said.
“The Iran-China strategic agreement is good for the region and positive for Pakistan’s interests as it strengthens regional economic connectivity of which Pakistan is the emerging hub due to the CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Mushahid said.
He suggested that Gwadar port, the multi-billion-dollar centerpiece of the Beijing-financed CPEC, will be pivotal for transit and trade with the wider region including Afghanistan and Central Asian nations such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
That’s clearly what Islamabad hopes. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa recently touted the government’s new economics-oriented vision during the inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, which was held nearly coincident with the formal announcement of the Iran-China pact.
Bajwa’s narrative is in line with Beijing’s regional trade-promoting aim, which was further underlined in its new strategic trilateral coordination between Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey. Still, whether Beijing foresees Pakistan as the hub of its Iran pact is debatable.
Pakistan’s key CPEC port a long way from trade hub vision
Despite serious efforts to build and promote Gwadar as a global trade centre, business is scarce in the port city. A field report reveals that a lack of infrastructure hampers development and construction of a major road has left fishers worse off.
Unlike Karachi and Qasim ports (also in Karachi), whose infrastructure expanded as they became major global freight hubs, little development had happened in Gwadar before the CPEC project’s launch in 2013.
There are big plans for Pakistan’s southern coastal city of Gwadar. Pakistan and China are making a considerable effort – and pledging close to USD 700 million in investment – to transform what was once a sleepy fishing town into a vibrant trade hub, complete with a seaport, airport, major road connections and a trade zone. But the pace of development is slow, and business even slower.
“[It] must be because they [the developers] do not have the blessings of the people of Gwadar,” said Abdul Rasheed Isa, a fisher of the Khulgari Ward settlement in the port city.
A visit in April this year revealed that the only real activity at Gwadar port was undertaken by two small crabs, which had made a gargantuan effort to haul themselves up from the crystal-clear water of the Arabian Sea onto the dock. The towering blue and red cranes, brought there to load and unload shipping containers, were still.
The port is the crown jewel of the USD 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which connects China’s western Xinjiang province to the Arabian Sea. It is where both countries hope the logistics of incoming and outgoing cargo will be handled for an international market.
The Gwadar port dream started in 2013, when a little-known state-owned company, the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), acquired the port for 40 years on behalf of Pakistan. About 90% of the port’s revenue is contracted to go to the Chinese company.
On paper, the port’s potential is promising. At present, it has space to berth two or three large ships with a capacity of 50,000 deadweight tonnage. By 2045, it is expected to berth 150 ships and hold up to 400 million tonnes of cargo. According to the Pakistani government, a functional Gwadar port, the country’s third deep sea port, will meet the “increasing demand for trade” that the existing Karachi and Qasim ports are “unlikely to keep pace with” on their own.
Though parts of Gwadar have had a visible facelift, the lives of its 265,000 residents, the majority of whom are poor fishers, have barely improved. In some cases, the construction of these projects has added to their problems. Most struggle with access to basic necessities such as electricity and have limited options for education.
Slow business coupled with delays to major CPEC projects in Gwadar – such as the main expressway road, coal power station and new airport – could mean that their lives are unlikely to improve any time soon.
Naseer Khan Kashani, the chair of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), which oversees construction and maintenance, outlined the problem with a frank admission.
Despite Gwadar’s “strategic positioning” as one of the “best deep sea ports” at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which facilitates the movement of “one-third of global oil every year”, he said the port has failed to bring business.
“It is ready for anyone to use. It’s up to investors and traders to use it to do profitable business. We cannot trade for them,” said Kashani, adding that the creation of demand is “up to the market forces”. Incentives such as competitive handling charges, improved security and safety of cargo at the port and also during transport, speedy customs clearance and free storage for up to three months have failed to beckon traders.
With #Taliban Dominance, #India's #Chabahar Port Could Become a Dead Investment. #Americans have partnered with #Uzbekistan, #Afghanistan and #Pakistan to make a new north-south connectivity corridor bypassing #Iran. #CPEC #Gwadar https://thewire.in/external-affairs/with-taliban-takeover-indias-chabahar-port-could-become-a-dead-investment via @thewire_in
The spectre of the collapse of the Ashraf Ghani government of Afghanistan and the takeover by the anarchic, ragtag group of Taliban, even while the US has left the country to its miserable fate, is increasingly driving a nail in many bilateral and multilateral arrangements between Kabul and the world.
Undoubtedly, the most hurt would be India and its much vaunted project of the Chabahar Port in Iran’s east, which was meant to allow New Delhi an opportunity to side-step Pakistan and take the land route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Now Chabahar, from Iran and India’s perspective, seems like a dead investment — a dream gone sour.
“Indians just took too much time to complete the project. Now, changed circumstances and alternative connectivity routes are being conjured up by other countries to make Chabahar irrelevant,” claims an Iranian source.
He may be right.
Much of the blame for the slow pace at which the Chabahar project progressed should rest on India and its over-cautious attitude. The current government in Delhi did not want to do anything to antagonise the US government after it had imposed sanctions on Iran.
Now, the Americans have partnered with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to make a new connectivity corridor.
So where does it leave India?
Ironically, India’s Chabahar engagement, though old, gained momentum after former US president Barack Obama ended sanctions against Iran and signed the nuclear deal. His successor, Donald Trump, had other ideas. He, rather unceremoniously, canceled the deal and clamped claustrophobic sanctions on Iran, but gave freedom to India to carry on with the project as it benefited Afghanistan.
The Indian government, through the periodic visits of its external affairs minister, S. Jaishankar, and other officials, has routinely expressed its commitment to complete the project. However, the Iranians have a different story to tell.
And it is not a happy story with a happy ending.
Not only did India baulk at its promise to provide a line of credit in 2018 to build the railway route from Chabahar to Zahedan, the Indian company that is supposed to build and manage port Shahid Behesti, India Port Global, is a leaderless entity that is in a state of drift.
Iranian sources allege that there is a conscious attempt by China, which is furiously building its Gwadar project in the Sea of Oman, and, now, the US, to puncture Chabahar. Or else, what was the reason that the US should announce a ‘connectivity project’ in Tashkent with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan that does not include Iran or India?
Jennifer Murtazashivilli from the Center of Governance, University of Pittsburg, was quoted by the Voice of America arguing: “Given the difficult relations between the US and Iran, it would be difficult to secure funding for that southward route, so it is more politically feasible to connect Uzbekistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan, than to go through Iran right now.”
China to invest $15 billion in petrochemical industry at Pakistan's Arabian Sea port
#China to invest $15 billion in #petrochemical industry at #Pakistan #Gwadar port. #CPEC has seen #Beijing pledge over $60 billion for #energy & #infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s (BRI) to develop land & sea trade routes globally
Investment would include a power pipeline project from Gwadar port to western China
Pakistan said last month it is formulating a strategy to improve the security of Chinese companies operating in the country
“Chinese companies would invest in the petrochemical sector in Gwadar, including the project of energy pipeline from Gwadar to China,” Board of Investment (BOI) secretary Fareena Mazhar told the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.
She added that talks related to the projects were underway, as BOI is working on 50 reforms to create a conducive investment environment and improve the ease of doing business in Pakistan.
Chinese business leaders met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad last week and reposed their confidence in Pakistan’s “policy support and security,” months after a blast killed nine Chinese nationals working on a CPEC project in northwestern Pakistan.
In a statement after the meeting, Khan’s office said he would hold monthly meetings to “review progress regarding issues faced by Chinese investors.”
Last month, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced Pakistan was formulating a strategy to improve the security of Chinese nationals and companies operating in the country.
CPEC has seen Beijing’s pledge over $60 billion for energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop land and sea trade routes in Asia and beyond.
Pakistan and China unveil ambitious plan to develop Karachi coast
KARACHI -- In an ambitious turn, Pakistan and China have agreed to develop the Karachi coast, possibly shifting away from Gwadar as the center stage of the Belt and Road project in Pakistan, following ongoing problems at the southwestern province of Balochistan.
A memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project during the recently held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, after a gap of almost two years.
Based on details shared by Pakistan, China will invest $3.5 billion, separately confirmed by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, in the project which includes adding new berths to Karachi port, developing a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare trade zone on the western backwater marshland of the Karachi Port Trust. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands.
The writing was already on the wall for some. In June, Saudi Arabia decided to shift a proposed $10-billion oil refinery to Karachi from Gwadar. This was a major shock to the government's plans of building an energy hub in Gwadar, which is facing massive protests due to lack of water and power.
Now, Gwadar stands to lose even more foreign investment. Karachi is the largest city and the main commercial hub of Pakistan and also home to the busiest port.
Malik Siraj Akbar, a South Asia analyst based in Washington, believes that Karachi offers not only better infrastructure, but also tighter law and order, making it an ideal hub for CPEC. "The Chinese want CPEC to leave its mark as a symbol of rising Chinese power without particular interests in any specific region in Pakistan," he said.
Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, said that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset.
"[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.
Despite the signing of the agreement and expression of commitment from the Chinese side, analysts fear that implementation will be difficult.
Iwanek believes that Belt and Road projects are under scrutiny in China, as funds are no longer distributed so liberally as loans and there is a focus on more feasible projects. He suggested that it will not be easy for Pakistan to draw investments or loans for this project because China is lending with a greater focus on "pragmatism" now.
Arif Rafiq, president of Vizier Consulting, a New York-based political risk assessment firm, shares that view and said that the project had a long way to go.
"Feasibility studies, including on the environmental impact, need to be conducted. The dredging will destroy existing mangroves, which serve as a vital, natural defense against storms and erosion," he said. He claimed that as many as 500,000 people will have to be resettled, which will be a politically contentious process.
Gwadar's sudden fall from grace has implications for wider Belt and Road enterprises. Analysts said that the way Pakistan and China are dealing with Gwadar implies that any problematic project of Belt and Road, irrespective of its potential, can either be dropped or put on the back burner.
"Pakistan and China had an opportunity to develop [Gwadar] port in a conflict zone but several factors, such as corruption, mismanagement, lack of public support and transparency, have led to a loss of interest in the Gwadar Port," said Malik, as he warned that other problematic Belt and Road projects could face the same fate.
Gwadar airport to be operational by December
$246 million greenfield Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) being built at an area of 4,300 acres
The test flight from new Gwadar International Airport would be started from December this year as the construction work on site has been expedited, an official of Gwadar Development Authority said on Thursday.
The new $246 million greenfield Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) being built at an area of 4,300 acres would be made operational before the deadline which was September 2023, the official said.
The government has also expanded the 50-bed Pak-China Friendship Hospital Gwadar to 150 beds state-of-the-art medical centre in order to ensure best health care facilities for the people of Gwadar.
The authority would ensure state-of-the-art free medical facility to the inhabitants of the port city of Gwadar from January next year, he said.
The officials were making all-out efforts to expedite the infrastructure and development projects for its timely completion.
The GDA said the authority has expedited the implementation of old town rehabilitation plan of Gawadar to provide best infrastructure and provide every facility to the masses of the port city. With the support of federal government, the project worth Rs3.3 billion for old town rehabilitation of Gwadar was in full swing to develop the city on modern lines to end the sense of deprivation among the people of the area, he addd.
The federal government would be funding 67 per cent of the total cost while Balochistan government would bear the remaining cost for the old town rehabilitation under the Gwadar development plan.
Under the plan, water drainage, supply and distribution of utility projects would be completed soon, besides ensuring the supply of clean drinking water to the dwellers.
The official said the water supply issue in Gwadar would be resolved in the short period of three months as desalination plant is also in progress to cater to the need of whole city.
The authorities have been directed to strictly adhere to Gwadar Master Plan while carrying out development and other public welfare projects in the city.
The 19.49-km expressway inaugurated on Friday is aimed to meet the urgent need of the locals and promote sustainable development in Pakistan's Gwadar.
GWADAR, Pakistan, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The inauguration ceremony of the China-aided Eastbay Expressway of Gwadar port was held on Friday in Gwadar city of Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province.
As an important early harvest project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the 19.49-km expressway was officially started in 2017 by the China Communications Construction Company, with an aim to meet the urgent need of the locals in Gwadar and promote the sustainable development of the area.
Addressing the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif thanked China for the grant and said that China has built a very high-quality expressway which links the port to the coastal highway ahead.
It will enhance connectivity and help the transportation of goods from the port all the way to the country's southern port city of Karachi in the future, said the prime minister.
"Pakistan is determined to speed up the development of Gwadar," Sharif said, adding that China has donated solar panels to thousands of families in Gwadar, aided the construction of a hospital and other livelihood infrastructures, and will fund a desalination plant.
On the same occasion, Pang Chunxue, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy to Pakistan, said China attaches great importance to people's livelihood in Gwadar, and is willing to continue promoting the development of Gwadar's healthcare, education, vocational and technical personnel training and other livelihood fields.
Pang said the construction of the expressway aims to benefit the local people, and the concerns of local fishermen were fully considered in the design and construction.
China will strive to continue to help solve local people's problems such as shortage of electricity and fresh water, and promote the construction of a smart, green and modern Gwadar Port, so that local people can share the high-quality development of the CPEC, Pang said.
"It is our joint efforts that ensured the successful delivery of this CPEC project in Gwadar."
"When the New Gwadar International Airport is completed in the future, it will work with the Eastbay Expressway to promote Gwadar as a regional transportation hub and create a better life for the local people," Pang added. ■
New Gwadar International Airport is a Class 4F airport. It is only the second greenfield airport in Pakistan.
The airport's 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F... are the flight zone levels, which are represented by numbers + letters. The number indicates the length of the runway, and "4" indicates 1800 meters or more. The letters indicate the wingspan and wheelbase of the aircraft that can take off and land, from A to F, the larger it becomes.
Karachi Airport Certified for Aircraft Operation up to Aerodrome Reference Code 4E
Islamabad Airport has been certified for aircraft operation up to aerodrome reference code 4F that allows Airbus A380 flight operations.
The purpose of this AIRAC AIP Supplement is to notify the aviation industry of the aeronautical
ground facilities, navigational equipment and services that are available at Islamabad Int’l airport for
aerodrome reference code 4F Cargo / Commercial Operations. The airport is located at a distance of
14.08NM from Islamabad city.
NHA awards contract for construction of last section of CPEC’s M-8 Motorway--China Economic Net
Islamabad, June 14 (Gwadar Pro) - The National Highway Authority (NHA) on Monday awarded an Rs 8 billion contract for the construction of 168 kilometres long-missing link in the M-8 Motorway of the central alignment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.
The 250 kilometres Ratodero-Khuzdar and 193 kilometres Gwadar-Hoshab sections of the M-8 Motorway are operational. Similarly, work on 146 kilometres long Hoshab-Awaran section is also underway at a cost of Rs9.12 billion. The contract for the last missing link between Awaran and Naal (near Khuzdar) has been awarded to a joint venture of Habib Construction Services and Matracon Pakistan for Rs 8.08 billion.
After completion of this section, Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore will be connected with the Gwadar Port through the shortest route, NHA said. It will also mark the completion of the first-ever access-controlled link between the Gwadar Port and northern parts of the country.
The M-8 Motorway starts from Ratodero in Sindh and culminates at the Gwadar Port, passing from Khuzdar, Awaran, Hoshab and Turbat areas of Balochistan.
The east-west motorway will link Sukkur, Sindh with Gwadar. Pakistan has already completed a network of access-controlled roads from Peshawar and Islamabad up to Sukkur.
Xinhua Video: New Gwadar International Airport
Being built by China Airport Construction Company
Rising Phoenix shape like a wing
4F class---2nd greenfield airport after New Islamabad Airport (longer than 1,800 meters)
3,650 meters long runway
Project started October 2019
Original schedule was for completion in 36 months
Delayed due to pandemic, now expected to be completed by December, 2022
For a greener and richer Gwadar: B&R Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest Center
GWADAR, Jun. 15 (Gwadar Pro) – “In the eyes of outsiders, high temperature and scorching sun may be a disadvantage of Gwadar, but in our view, the light and heat conditions here are a natural advantage for the development of agriculture and non-wood forest”, noted Zhang Saiyang, vice director of the Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest and doctoral candidate of Central South University of forestry and technology, in an exclusive interview with Gwadar Pro.
The Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest was jointly initiated and established by Central South University of forestry and technology, China Overseas Ports Holdings Co., Ltd. and Yulin Holdings Co., Ltd. for Gwadar ecological construction and industrial development. Since 2018, it has systematically improved the local soil conditions in Gwadar. Zhang told Gwadar Pro that the Chinese team combined the organic fertilizer collected from local sheep farm and leaves and other humus to mix with local soil in a certain proportion to improve the fertility and pH of the local soil. Besides, the local soil conditions were greatly improved by the team members planting legumes to use the nitrogen fixation of legume rhizobia.
“In addition to the soil, moisture is our long-term focus as well. With arid climate here, the irrigation method appears to be particularly important,” Zhang said, “after enhancing the soil water retention capacity through soil improvement, we mainly use a combination of sprinkling irrigation and drip irrigation to maximize water conservation. Not to mention that our selected varieties are drought tolerant crop with very developed root systems.”
By now, nearly 100,000 seedlings such as bananas, dates, orchid and figs have been cultivated here. Among them, bananas (Musa nana) are selected local varieties that can adapt to drought and high temperature and produce a large amount of fruit. In May, the center successfully held the first non-wood forest products-banana harvest festival in Gwadar Port. “Our production of bananas has attracted the attention of local farmers, who hope to buy banana seedlings to grow on their own land,” Zhang mentioned.
Moreover, figs are also a key economic crop here. Hundreds of fig seedlings have already produced a lot of fruit in just one month. More than 10 hours of sufficient sunlight per day and the temperature difference between day and night in the Gwadar region allow figs, a drought-tolerant and light-loving plant, to accumulate more sugar. According to the promotion plan, the fresh and dried figs launched by the center will have a place in the market.
“In addition to bananas and figs, which are familiar to Chinese people, the endemic crops of Pakistan, including Sesbania grandiflora and Ziziphus spina-christi, can also give full play to their economic value through our breeding techniques,” Zhang listed the local valuable economic crops one by one, “the leguminous plant Sesbania grandiflora is resistant to high temperature and drought, and has a large amount of fruit. It is a very good tree species for ecological greening and economic forest. Its fruit, as a woody vegetable, has been widely promoted by us in Gwadar, and then sold in the market. The local unique Ziziphus spina-christi is also drought-tolerant and light-loving, which can bear fruit several times a year. The seedling breeding, fresh fruit sales and juice processing of it have also been put on the agenda.”
As for the future planning, Zhang Saiyang mentioned that the center has set up “Gwadar Classroom” to train local workers. Opened in March this year, it has trained the first batch of modern agricultural skilled workers in the local area, laying a solid foundation for the local development of agriculture and non-wood forest industry, as well as promoting farmers’ employment and using their own land to start businesses.
Can President Ebrahim Raisi turn Iran’s economic Titanic around?
By Nadereh Chamlou
According to the International Monetary Fund, Iran’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)—accounted for 1.86 percent of the world’s GDP (PPP) in 1980. By 2021, its share had declined to 0.8 percent. Within the same timeframe, South Korea’s share rose from 0.6 to 1.7 percent and Turkey’s from 1.2 to 2 percent. This means that Iran has lost considerable economic power on the global stage in comparison to where it was in 1980. Economic underperformance combined with a near trebling of Iran’s population has also led to a per capita income that has barely grown in three decades and one that falls short of its comparators.
Low growth, high inflation, and widespread un- or underemployment have diminished the purchasing power of many income deciles, causing widening income inequality. Iranians below the national poverty line have doubled in the past three years, now encompassing 35 percent of the population. There are daily reports of a decline in the purchase of basic food staples, such as a 50 percent drop in meat, dairy, eggs, and fruits. Even more affordable imported rice, rather than the domestic variety, is being sold one cup at a time rather than in bulk as was done before. There is a shortage of affordable housing, and an average of 40 percent of Iranians—and as high as 70 percent in Tehran—are “house-poor,” i.e. spend the lion’s share of their income on housing, leaving them exposed to sudden poverty in case of cost of living shocks. The anxiety about an ever-increasing uncertain future has also created a mental health crisis.
Unemployment among the educated youth is as high as 40 percent, and one in three Iranians is eager to emigrate. Since the revolution, Iran has become a leading country in brain drain. For instance, in just one category and in 1399 alone (the last Iranian calendar year: March 2019-March 2020), some 250,000 nurses left Iran. It’s a critical number for a country with one of the earliest and worst coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East. Supreme Leader Khamenei has weighed in by issuing a stern warning against those who encourage the skilled to emigrate, calling it treason.
Officials are quick to blame Iran’s economic underperformance on decades of sanctions imposed by the United States, which have indeed impacted and distorted Iran’s economy. Yet, a 2021 paper co-authored by Hashem Pesaran, Iran’s most renowned economist, faults predominantly domestic policies. The study examines foreign exchange fluctuations and output growth as the leading indicators since 1989. It finds that 80 percent of foreign exchange fluctuations and 83 percent of variations in output growth cannot be explained by sanctions. These “most likely relate to many other latent factors that drive the Iranian economy,” writes Pesaran. Indeed, “state-dominated institutions, heavy-handed bureaucracy, and a banking sector plagued with problems are Iran’s self-imposed sanctions,” concurs Roozbeh Pirouz, a British-Iranian entrepreneur.
The Islamic Republic’s economic model, as designed and implemented by its founders, has failed to fulfill in the last forty-three years any of the grandiose promises that Ayatollah Khomeini made to the Iranian people, such as affordable housing, free utilities, and the eradication of poverty.
Oman offer to build Gwadar railway conjures Pakistan port's past - Nikkei Asia
ISLAMABAD -- A company from Oman is looking to invest in a train line that would link the Pakistani port town of Gwadar -- envisioned as a key stop on China's Belt and Road infrastructure network -- with Pakistan's main railway system.
The proposed multibillion-dollar project could go a long way toward resolving the seafront city's lack of rail connectivity. It also conjures up the past of Gwadar, which was part of Oman for 175 years. But at the same time, Pakistan's turbulent political situation is casting doubt on the prospects for pushing the plan forward and realizing the port's potential.
Earlier this month, officials from Anvwar Asian Investments, an Omani project financing firm, met with officials of Pakistan's Board of Investment and expressed interest in building a 1,087-kilometer railway between Gwadar and Jacobabad in central Pakistan. The investment would be worth $2.3 billion, and the Omani side says it is ready to provide an immediate tranche of $500 million as initial financing, according to the BOI.
Many see the plan as fitting, given the history that binds Gwadar with Oman -- about 450 km away, across the mouth of the Gulf of Oman.
In 1783, the ruler of what was then Kalat State -- now Balochistan -- gifted Gwadar to Oman's Taimur Sultan, a defeated prince on the run, who later mounted a comeback and reigned as sultan in Muscat. Gwadar remained part of Oman until roughly a decade after Pakistan's inception, when Islamabad purchased it in 1958 with British help.
Many of Gwadar's older residents still have Omani nationality as well.
Nasir Sohrabi, president of the Rural Community Development Council in Gwadar, said Oman has been the primary overseas destination for the people of Gwadar, even after the town became part of Pakistan. "Plenty of people from Gwadar live in Oman and do business or work as employees in many sectors, including the army," he told Nikkei Asia.
Oman is well-regarded among many locals. Sohrabi added that when Gwadar suffered severe power shortages in 2001, Oman's then-ruler, Sultan Qaboos, gave the city 45 power generators.
"This is one instance of the people of Gwadar having a special bond with Oman," Sohrabi said.
The railway investment offer, if it comes to fruition, would significantly ease access to Gwadar and its Chinese-built and operated port, part of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Despite being in the middle of BRI activity in Pakistan, no train lines run to Gwadar, and uncertainty shrouds plans for other railway upgrades under CPEC. Plans call for improving tracks between Peshawar and Karachi, the latter of which is about 600 km from Gwadar. But this project, known as Main Line-1 or ML-1, appears at risk of being shelved due to a disagreement on costs between Islamabad and Beijing, according to local reports in April.
"China wanted ML-1 to have a price tag of $9 billion, which Pakistan reduced to $6.8 billion," an official who deals with the planning of federal projects in Pakistan told Nikkei Asia on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to talk to the media.
The official added that Islamabad wants loans at a lower rate than what Beijing is prepared to offer.
Sohrabi stressed that Gwadar can never be a successful major port without a strong railway network.
"Currently, the cargo which is unloaded at Gwadar Port is transported by road to Karachi [and] from there it's shipped to other parts of the country via rail," he said. "If this is the case, then it makes more sense to unload cargo directly at Karachi Port instead of Gwadar."
Oman offer to build Gwadar railway conjures Pakistan port's past - Nikkei Asia
"Currently, the cargo which is unloaded at Gwadar Port is transported by road to Karachi [and] from there it's shipped to other parts of the country via rail," he said. "If this is the case, then it makes more sense to unload cargo directly at Karachi Port instead of Gwadar."
Some see the Omani offer to develop Gwadar's infrastructure as a quid pro quo effort to support CPEC. China is investing in an industrial park in Oman's Duqm, a port town about 1,000 km south of the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane.
Yet, Oman's Anvwar Asian Investments is not the only one interested in building a railway link for Gwadar.
"A Singaporean company, Pathfinder, has expressed its interest to invest $5 billion to develop a high-speed rail network from Gwadar to Hub," a town in Balochistan, Saeed Ahmed Sarparah, chairman of the Balochistan Board of Investment and Trade, told Nikkei. He added that the Singaporean offer is undergoing an assessment by the federal government.
Neither the Omani company nor the Singaporean one had responded to requests for comment as of publication time.
Some are skeptical about the chances of moving forward with such a high-stakes, long-term endeavor given the persistent political instability in Pakistan. The coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is locked in a power struggle with the man he replaced, Imran Khan, amid an economic crisis. Khan now faces terrorism charges. And investments in Balochistan, whether by China or a Canadian gold miner, have become targets of separatists.
Aslam Bhootani, a member of the National Assembly representing Gwadar, told Nikkei he was unaware of the rail investment offers as he had "not been taken into confidence yet."
But Bhootani said, "I do not see how Oman and Singaporean companies can benefit from investing in the rail network of Gwadar at such a turbulent time."
India’s Trade Dreams Snubbed As The World’s Biggest Ship Gives It A Miss
India’s goal of being a trade hub hit a major snag on January 11, when the world’s biggest boxship, Ever Alot, gave it a miss because of port infrastructural issues. Meanwhile, the economically hit Sri Lanka and the south-east nation Malaysia have been visited by Ever Alot in recent times.
Although the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust highlighted that the Mundra Port run by Adani could handle the 24000 TEU ship, Ever Alot decided to skip it over the lack of a 17-meter draft. To berth the 400 meters long ship, such a draft was crucial.
So far, the Mundra Port has handled ships as big as APL Raffles, a 17,292-TEU ship, in January last year. The vessel was carrying 13,159 TEUs onboard at that time.
Under Manmohan Singh, India had planned Chabhar Port in Iran to counter China-controlled Gwadar Port in Pakistan. In 2018, Iran invited China and Pakistan to join Chabhar Port project, and now Iran is going to supply electricity to Gwadar Port.
Gwadar will have 100 MW additional electricity from March 1 from Iran, according to Director General Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Qambarani.
“InshaAllah Gwadar will have 24/7 power supply, this will boost industry, tourism and real estate business in Gwadar,” Qambarani wrote on his Twitter.
To fulfil the electricity needs of Gwadar, the governments of Pakistan and Iran signed an agreement for the supply of an additional 100 megawatts of electricity in June 2022. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his visit to Gwadar last year, directed authorities concerned to complete the project in a short period of time.
Moreover, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), last June, approved a 132kV transmission line from Jiwani to Gwadar. The construction of 94-km 132kV transmission line will be completed for Rs2,322.940 million. Gwadar relies on imported electricity from Iran and with the construction of the 132kV line, the port city will be connected to the National Grid for the first time.
20 new projects in Gwadar on the way of completion during 2023: Report | Pakistan Today
These projects entail desalination potable water plant, Gwadar Free Zone North (Phase 11), Gwadar Safe City Project, New Gwadar International Airport, three electricity projects, Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan, Gwadar Tourism Project, New management model of Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute (PCT & VI), State of Art Shipyard Project, Oil Refinery project, Green Gwadar Project, Pak-China Friendship Hospital, fisher community projects, Gwadar Port dredging project, Export-oriented projects, Fishing industry, Warehouse industry, and Gwadar Huafa Exhibition and Trading Center.
According to the report, over the last 10 years since CPEC set its foot in 2013, Gwadar outlook is changing gradually and constructively, getting over daunting challenges including poverty, civic issues, water, electricity, employment, infrastructure, agriculture and on top of them blue economy.
In the past Gwadar was in shamble and disarray. Later in the course of 10 years, Gwadar has been making headway toward progress in a sustainable manner.
Many development projects have been completed so far including Gwadar Port, Gwadar Free Zone South (Phase I), Eastbay Expressway, Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute (PCT & VI), China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, Fiber Optic, E-Custom system (WeBOC), Plant Tissue Culture Lab & Green House, livestock, women-led garment factory, Gwadar University and GDA-Indus Hospital.
The city’s strategic location at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, coupled with its deep-sea port and modern infrastructure, makes it a hub for trade, transportation, and investment.
As a result, Gwadar is expected to attract a significant amount of foreign investment and economic activity in the coming years, emerging as a major contributor to Pakistan’s economic growth.
One of the most significant projects is the 1.2 Million Gallon Per Day (MGD) de-salination plant, expected to be fully operational by April 2023. This plant will provide a reliable source of clean drinking water to the residents of Gwadar.
In 2023, more than 4 lakhs of people of Gwadar are going to get rid of painful power woes as three electricity projects will power up Gwadar. The first project is about 100 MW Irani electricity from Gabd-Remdan (Pak-Iran border) to Jiwani Grid Station to Gwadar that will come on 1st March.
The second project is another 100 MW from Iran-Pangjur-Turban-Pasni to Gwadar that is going to be completed in current year. The third project is from Quetta, Nag-Besima section to Pangjur and then Turbat-Pasni to Gwadar.
Meanwhile 5 MW power supply will be available to Gwadar Free Zones North (Phase II). If all goes well, in the second step 12 MW power supply will be ensured for Gwadar Free Zone South (phase I) and Gwadar Port in coming months. Finally, the government also approved 300 MW coal-fired power project for Gwadar.
Another major project that is expected to pick more pace in 2023 is the development of the Gwadar Free Zone North (Phase II) spreading over 2,221 acres of land. Currently, export-based Chinese companies are very near building and running their factories in a few months.
The year of 2023 has also brought many fortunes for Gwadar’s fishermen regarding their livelihood to new housing schemes. The Balochistan Government has approved 200 acres of land for new fishermen housing colony for low-income fishmen of Gwadar.
Around Rs300 million has been allocated. Around 3,291 poor fishermen of Gwadar are going to get free of cost boat engines as the government has allocated funds of Rs823 million.
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