Tuesday, September 11, 2018

China and US Battle For Influence in Pakistan

Top US and Chinese diplomats have visited Pakistan to meet with the country's new prime minister Mr. Imran Khan within days of his assuming office. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the first to call on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. Pompeo's visit was soon followed by a three-day visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status, according to the US-based Wall Street Journal.

There is a lot of speculation in the western media about the objectives of Pakistan policies being pursued by the two great powers and their impact on the US-China competition for world dominance. Such speculations have centered on the debt related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the US leverage in potential IMF bailout of Pakistan.

American business publication Wall Street Journal has produced a short video explaining how its staff sees what it describes as "US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan". What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status. Here are the key points it makes:

1. The US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan is about global dominance sought by the two great powers.

2. If China succeeds, it could become the new center of global trade. If the US wins, it could frustrate China's push to become a global power. The impact of it will be felt around the world for decades.

3. China has already surpassed the United States as the world's biggest exporter of goods and services.

4. The biggest project in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in which China is investing heavily and providing massive loans.

5. China could use the infrastructure built in Pakistan under CPEC to gain access to the Indian Ocean and supplant the United States in Pakistan.

6. CPEC-related spending is sinking Pakistan deeper in debt to China. It could force Pakistan to seek $8 billion to $12 billion bailout by IMF where US is the biggest shareholder with veto power.

7. US does not want the IMF bailout money to be used to repay Chinese debt. Not bailing out Pakistan is not an option because it could cost US an important ally in the region.

8. US could, however, use IMF bailout to limit what Pakistan can borrow from China. Such a condition will achieve the US objective of significantly slowing down CPEC and BRI.

9. Pakistan's dilemma is that it needs both the infrastructure improvements financed by China and the IMF bailout to ease pressure on its dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

10. Whoever wins in Pakistan will become the number one global superpower.

Can US "Spend Them (Chinese) Into Oblivion"?

Here's the Wall Street Journal video:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring Balance of Payment Crisis?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Pakistan's IT Exports Surging

Can Indian Economy Survive Without Western Capital Inflows?

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Chinese Yuan to Replace US $ as Reserve Currency?

Remittances From Overseas Pakistanis

Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?

China to Expand Manufacturing in Special Economic Zones


Majumdar said...

As our beloved Qaid Jinnah sahib had said many decades ago: "America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America … Pakistan is the pivot of the world, as we are placed- the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves.’”

The Qaids prophecy is finally coming true!!!

Niaz said...

Majumdar sahib,

Many thanks for reminding us of this remark. Obviously, you are a well-read person, please accept my compliments.

The only place I have come across this ‘Quote’ is in the book “Halfway to Freedom” by Margaret Bourke-White who was a journalist for the ‘Life’ magazine.

In 1948 Marshall Plan was in full swing wherein, following the end of WW2, the USA gave away $12-billion in aid for the rebuilding of war-torn Europe. This is more than $100-billion in today’s money!

Understand that in reply to the Bourke-White’s question about his expectations for aid from the USA; the Quaid allegedly replied: “America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America. Pakistan is the pivot of the world, as we are placed — the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves.” He also said that: “Russia is not so very far away.”

Calling it the Quaid’s Prophesy is stretching it a bit too far. The reply should be seen in the context of the question. IMHO the Quaid had implied that Pakistan will not beg the USA or any other country for money.

Mohajir said...

Niaz and Majumdar: Husain Haqqani has quoted many such words by the Quiad in his book Reimagining Pakistan, most of it, is really embarrassing.

In February 1948, Jinnah recorded a radio talk to introduce Pakistan to the people of Australia. He described Pakistanis as ‘mostly simple folk, poor, not very well educated and with few interests beyond the cultivation of their fields’. But then he addressed what he saw as the key to addressing Pakistan’s poverty. Pakistanis, he insisted, ‘come of hardy, vigorous stock, and I think without boasting I can claim that they are brave. They made good soldiers, and have won renown in many battles. They have fought side by your side in two world wars.’ This gave them a claim on external support in Jinnah’s view and he said he did ‘not believe that anyone from abroad who gives a helping hand would have reason to regret it’. According to him, the fact that the ‘greater part of the world’s jute is grown in East Bengal’ gave Pakistan ‘the great benefit of earning large sums of foreign exchange’, which would be ‘very valuable to us in setting up and expanding our industries’. Pakistan was ‘short of capital and technical knowledge; but given a little time, and here and there a friendly hand, these deficiencies should be made good’.
This, in a nutshell, was the economic plan of Pakistan’s founding father. West Pakistan’s warriors would be the attraction for Western capital and technical knowledge while East Pakistan’s jute would would earn foreign currency that would help the country’s industrialization. Instead of economic considerations, foreign policy and being home to warriors who proved their mettle fighting alongside the British in two world
wars were deemed enough as building blocks of the country’s economy. By the time Liaquat, as prime minister, arrived in the United States in 1950 on his first official visit, he ‘stressed his nation’s strategic position and the fighting qualities of her anti-Communist Muslim warriors’ to seek American aid.21 That approach has worked for Pakistan to the extent of keeping it going thus far but is proving inadequate for transforming it into an Asian economic tiger.

20‘Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Broadcast talk to the people of Australia’, Recorded on 19 February 1948.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Husain Haqqani has quoted many such words by the Quiad in his book Reimagining Pakistan, most of it, is really embarrassing."

Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was absolutely right.

Newly independent nations like Pakistan had been left impoverished by the colonial rulers and they needed a lot of help to rebuild.

The only country left intact and economically strong was the United States after World War II.

Europe was ravaged by war and itself needed help to rebuild which America provided via Marshall Plan.

So naturally Pakistan too looked to the United States and received substantial US assistance that helped Pakistan gdp grow rapidly through 1960s.

US invested in Pakistan in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War when Pakistan's development model was taught at Harvard Business School and Koreans came to Pakistan to learn. Then came the 1971 war and Bhutto's nationalization that scared away foreign investors.


Pakistan was on a similar trajectory as the Asian Tigers during 1960s under Gen Ayub Khan's rule. GDP growth in this decade jumped to an average annual rate of 6 percent from 3 percent in the 1950s, according to Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. Dr. Husain says: "The manufacturing sector expanded by 9 percent annually and various new industries were set up. Agriculture grew at a respectable rate of 4 percent with the introduction of Green Revolution technology. Governance improved with a major expansion in the government’s capacity for policy analysis, design and implementation, as well as the far-reaching process of institution building.7 The Pakistani polity evolved from what political scientists called a “soft state” to a “developmental” one that had acquired the semblance of political legitimacy. By 1969, Pakistan’s manufactured exports were higher than the exports of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia combined.

Asad M. said...

چین کو دنیا کی سپر پاور بنانے کی چابی پاکستان کے ہاتھ میں کیسے ہے ؟ امریکہ اور چین کے درمیان پاکستان میں مفادات کی کیا جنگ جاری ہے ؟ دیکھئے امریکی جریدے وال سٹریٹ جنرل کی رپورٹ، اور خود سے سوال پوچھئیے کہ کیا پاکستان اس صورتحال کو اپنے مفاد کیلئے ایک مثبت موقعے میں بدل پائے گا یا سری لنکا کی طرح چینی قرضوں کے چنگل میں پھنس کر گوادر سے ہاتھ دھو بیٹھے گا ؟ دو عالمی طاقتوں کی اس جنگ میں پاکستان کے ہاتھ میں اپنا مستقبل بنانے یا بگاڑنے کا موقعہ ہے ، کیا نئی حکومت اس چیلنج سے نمٹ پائے گی ؟ ویڈیو دیکھئے اور سمجھیے

Riaz Haq said...

#China, #Pakistan agree to open economic corridor to #investors from other countries to ease concerns about the strategic intent behind its vast #infrastructure push . #UnitedStates #India #CPEC #BRI https://sc.mp/2CPkfgJ via @SCMPNews

The agreement was reached during a meeting in Islamabad between Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khursro Bakhtiar.

In a statement released after the meeting on Sunday, Pakistan’s planning and development ministry said the country had introduced new socioeconomic targets for the project, and agreed to establish a mechanism for third-party participation.

On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed the decision, saying the two sides would open up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to other countries and that it would benefit the whole region.

The move is the latest sign of Beijing trying to adjust its approach amid a series of setbacks in countries involved in its “Belt and Road Initiative”. The economic corridor is a flagship project under that strategy, which aims to build a huge trade and infrastructure network spanning Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Beijing wanted involvement from “countries friendly to both Pakistan and China because it wished to steer clear of adverse criticism, particularly from the US and India”.

China, Pakistan can resolve investment problems, but ‘belt and road’ concerns should not be ignored, experts say
Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the move was an effort to address the backlash over China’s activities in the region.

“Inviting a third party will help to ease concerns and the view that there is strategic intent behind the cooperation between China and Pakistan – in particular concerns held by India,” Zhao said.

He added that inviting third countries to take part would also help to improve the global standing and recognition of the projects.

Sun Shihai, an expert in South Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was learning lessons from recent setbacks but that overall its global infrastructure push was on track.

“China needs to reflect on the problems that have emerged as it makes progress with the belt and road,” Sun said. “The uneven distribution of benefits among different provinces and regions in Pakistan may have caused some grievances and scepticism within Pakistan – China can make adjustments and address these issues.”

The US$60 billion Gwadar port deal is one of the projects that has drawn criticism. The US and India see the port project as China seeking to extend its geopolitical influence, while there have been warnings from the International Monetary Fund and others that Chinese infrastructure investments will create a debt trap for Pakistan.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the economic corridor.

But the day before, the Financial Times quoted Abdul Razak Dawood – the Pakistani member of cabinet responsible for commerce, textiles, industry and investment – as saying that companies from Pakistan had been put in a “disadvantaged” position. He suggested that Pakistan should “put everything on hold for a year” and even “stretch CPEC out over another five years or so”.

Facing a trade war and bumps along the belt and road, China may have to revisit the cost of its grand plan
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng denied Pakistan was seeking to delay or extend the project, saying “Pakistan-China relations are impregnable and the government’s commitment to the CPEC is unwavering”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan keen to start #CPEC’s next phase. #China has invited Prime Minister #ImranKhan to attend the China International Import Expo as the guest of honor at the conference to be attended by members of Belt and Road Initiative. #BRI #trade #exports

The Chinese government has invited Prime Minister Khan to attend the China International Import Expo. Pakistan is the guest of honour at the conference to be attended by members of the Belt and Road Initiative.

It added that the joint working groups meetings were planned to be convened in October. There are five working groups: planning, energy, transport, Gwadar and industrial parks.

Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan gave an overview of the ongoing projects and rundown of the schedule of the upcoming events, leading to the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC).

The cabinet committee endorsed the government’s new priority list of CPEC. The committee decided to prioritise development of Gwadar, Special Economic Zones, Pakistan Railways $9 billion Main Line 1 project, inclusion of social sector development and third-country participation in CPEC, according to the official handout

The committee – the highest bilateral decision-making body – has planned to hold its 8th meeting in the first week of December in China, declared the planning ministry.

The PTI government has undertaken an internal review of CPEC aimed at making it more representative of the aspirations of the people.

Also, the Chinese ambassador on Friday met PM’s Adviser on Textile and Industry Razak Dawood. Both the sides agreed to work more closely to build a brighter and prosperous future for the region, according to a statement issued by the minister’s office after the meeting.

Meanwhile, the 8th JCC will review progress on the implementation of decisions taken during the 7th JCC that was held in November last year.

The officials said progress could not be made on most of the issues that had been decided in the last JCC meeting.

At present, 22 projects worth $28.6 billion are under various phases of implementation under CPEC. They include energy projects estimated at $34.8 billion, road projects at $5.8 billion, ML-1 at $9 billion and Gwadar port and city projects.

The 7th JCC meeting had agreed to resolve the issue of the revolving fund, which was to be set up to make energy payments to Chinese investors. However, the issue remains unresolved till date.

In a related development, the Pakistan Private Infrastructure Board extended the deadlines of a few projects that were falling behind schedule.

The deadlines on ML-I project could not be met. Both the sides agreed to finalise the preliminary design of the project by November 2017 that remains outstanding.

Progress on four provincial road projects – Mansehra-Muzaffarabad-Mirpur Motorway, Gilgit-Shandur-Chitral Road, Naukundi-Mashkhel-Panjgur Road and Keti Bandar port development – could not be made either.

The greater Peshawar Mass Transit Circular Rail and the Quetta Mass Transit projects also remained on papers during the past one year.

The resolution of the Gwadar Water supply scheme of five million gallons per day had been declared an urgent priority by the 7th JCC. So far, no tangible progress has been made.

Bottlenecks to the construction of 300 megawatts Gwadar coal-fired power plant could not be removed, and Pakistan now wants to address it during the prime minister’s visit.

China and Pakistan had also agreed to start construction on the New Gwadar International Airport within six months of signing of the implementation agreement. But work on the project has yet to be started.

However, a Chinese delegation is expected to visit Pakistan soon to discuss the airport project, the officials said.

Similarly, four out of nine prioritised Special Economic Zones have also remained stuck for the past one year.

Anonymous said...

China is the only way to go with full support. Betrayal by US in the past provides enough for us to learn. In this current geopolitical situation it seems like China will be number one superpower soon followed by US and then Russia. India may not become superpower soon but at some point it will. Just imagine if Pakistan tilts heavily towards America, then we will not have good relations with China, the country that is on our borders and Americans are against them. If this happens then China might start favouring India to maintain good relations with them, another country on our borders. As we know Iranians are skewed in favour of India, for a long time, may join in with China, India and Iran against Pakistan. Pakistan already has Afghanistan and India against it in very open manner. On this occasion Pakistan cannot afford to join in with America as we can not take our land borders away from the region where we live. Future will be much disturbing for Pakistan if we join America now.

This debt trap diplomacy is partially true not fully true. It is being popularised by west against China as if west has not done the same thing in the past with many countries. Entire WW2 was funded by bankers to get countries in their debt trap. These bankers were westerns and they are still reaping the reward.

Its time that Pakistan should focus more on China, Russia, Iran and Turkey. All five countries are very powerful one way or another. These countries together can bring a change for rest of the globe. Its not a time when few narrow minded politicians in Pakistan should take decision in favour of America against some money, that money will end up in western banks anyway like it happened in the past. Take a little hardship now and future will be rewarding.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's army chief Gen Bajwa visits #Beijing after 'Silk Road' tension. He is most senior figure to visit staunch ally #China since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August. #CPEC #BRI https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-china-military/pakistans-army-chief-visits-beijing-after-silk-road-tension-idUSKCN1LW0PR

Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed.

Bajwa may be hoping in Beijing to smooth out any Chinese alarm at comments last week by Pakistan’s commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, who suggested suspending for a year projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan leg of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that includes recreating the old Silk Road trading route.

Bajwa, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), regularly holds meetings with world leaders due to the Pakistan armed forces’ outsize influence in the nuclear-armed nation, where the military controls security and dictates major foreign policy decisions.

“During the visit COAS will interact with various Chinese leaders including his counterpart,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman, tweeted late on Sunday.

Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project.

Dawood, in an interview with the Financial Times, also suggested the CPEC contracts had been unfairly negotiated by the previous government and were too favorable to the Chinese. Later he said the comments were taken out of context, but did not dispute their veracity.

The critical comments were published just after China’s top diplomat, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, visited Pakistan and the two sides reaffirmed the mutual benefits of the Beijing-funded projects.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s government said it wanted CPEC to include more projects with a focus on socio-economic development, something which would align more with the populist agenda of Khan’s new administration.

Riaz Haq said...

#China says #military ties 'backbone' to relations with #Pakistan. Belt and Road initiative (#BRI) should be a benchmark for China-Pakistan ties. #CPEC https://reut.rs/2PHj04s

Military ties between China and Pakistan are the “backbone” of relations between the two countries, a senior Chinese general told Pakistan’s visiting army chief, days after a Pakistani minister stirred unease about Chinese Silk Road projects.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the most senior Pakistani figure to visit ally China since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August, and his trip comes a week or so after a senior Chinese diplomat visited Islamabad.

Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed.

Bajwa may be hoping to smooth out any Chinese alarm at comments last week by Pakistan’s commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, who suggested suspending for a year projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Pakistan leg of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that includes recreating the old Silk Road trading route.

On Tuesday, Zhang Youxia, a deputy chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission which President Xi Jinping heads, reiterated to Bajwa that the two countries are “all weather” strategic cooperative partners.

“China-Pakistan military ties are an important backbone of relations between the two countries,” said Zhang according to a statement by China’s Defence Ministry late on Tuesday.

“The two militaries should further pay close attention to practical cooperation in all areas, keep raising the ability to deal with various security risks and challenges, and join hands to protect the common interests of both countries.”

However, Zhang cited Xi as saying that the Belt and Road initiative should be a benchmark for China-Pakistan ties.

He said China appreciated the new Pakistan government’s platform of fully promoting the relationship and that China was willing to work with the new government to push construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project.

Riaz Haq said...

Reform the IMF to reflect new economic landscape
From Kavaljit Singh, Director, Madhyam New Delhi, India
an hour ago
Martin Sandbu rightly warns about the diminishing role of the IMF as a crisis manager ( Free Lunch, September 19). The challenges faced by the fund are much bigger than its lack of financial resources to put out fires.

The current financial market turmoil in Argentina shows the IMF’s standby loan of $50bn — the largest ever credit line in IMF history — has failed to provide an effective anchor for addressing financial vulnerabilities and bolstering market confidence. The immediate disbursement of $15bn (30 per cent of the total IMF loan) to Argentina did not help in averting currency collapse or arresting capital flight.

These developments in Argentina may deter other emerging market economies to seek financial support from the IMF as its ability to provide the missing anchor for financial stability has been seriously undermined.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, new bilateral and regional mechanisms for crisis management have emerged, but they have remained largely untested. Hence, there is a need to implement quota and voice reforms at the IMF to better reflect the new economic landscape. In addition, the IMF should move away from the orthodoxy in terms of economic thinking and adopt a more nuanced approach towards capital controls that have proved to be effective tools in curbing capital outflows.

Kavaljit Singh
Director, Madhyam New Delhi, India

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Trudges Along a Familiar Economic Path


Elevated energy prices and the lack of internationally competitive exports will continue to drive Pakistan's high import bill and trade deficit.
Spending cuts targeting development will narrow the budget deficit but at the cost of slowing growth and increasing unemployment.
New Prime Minister Imran Khan's great challenge will be to balance his impassioned populism with a pragmatism required to govern Pakistan.
As Prime Minister Imran Khan tries to set a new direction for Pakistani politics, his administration is urgently seeking to resolve the country's most serious macroeconomic challenge: boosting its dwindling foreign exchange reserves. As of Sept. 7, the State Bank of Pakistan's net reserves remained beneath $10 billion. That's less than the three-month import cover recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fueling speculation that Khan will turn to the U.S.-based organization for a bailout. Indeed, Finance Minister Asad Umar has unveiled a series of measures targeting the widening budget deficit ahead of an IMF delegation visit to Islamabad on Sept. 27. These measures include cutting more than $2 billion in planned development spending, doubling the tax rate on the highest income earners to 30 percent and hiking tariffs on 5,000 nonessential imports.


All told, Pakistan needs an estimated $31 billion in the current fiscal year, hence its dialogue with the IMF. Pakistan has gone to the Washington, D.C.-based guarantor of global monetary stability 21 times since 1958, completing its latest loan program, $6.6 billion, in 2016 under then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Khan reportedly is seeking to hash out the details of a loan ahead of next month's IMF-World Bank meetings in Bali, Indonesia. If his administration implements its various cost-cutting proposals — including trimming development expenditures, reducing tax and tariff exemptions, restricting nonessential imports, privatizing money-losing public sector corporations, widening the tax base, and raising tax collection targets — the GDP growth rate probably will fall by as much as 1 percent, since curbing development spending will hit an engine of economic expansion. (Indeed, a key driver of the fiscal budget deficit — which reached 6.6 percent of GDP in fiscal 2017-18 — was spending by provincial governments on development projects as lawmakers' terms ended ahead of July's elections.) Meanwhile, withdrawing tax and duty exemptions means that prices on hundreds of items will go up. This will give grist to the political opposition as it moves to criticize Khan's management of the economy.

Ultimately, the road to resolving Pakistan's fiscal and trade deficits will be a long one. Khan will be forced to make unpopular decisions to stabilize the country's finances in the short term so he can be better positioned to address its structural problems. He will seek to advance the country's industrialization in support of a more competitive export base, without which growth of productivity, income, employment and the overall economy will lag. Khan's great challenge will be to strike a careful balance between the impassioned populism that ushered him into office and the pragmatic administration of government necessary to bring his vision of "a new Pakistan" closer to reality.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's top diplomat says plots to disrupt ties with #Pakistan will fail. #CPEC #BRI #US #India http://po.st/n8y86Y via @ChannelNewsAsia

Any plots to sow discord in China's ties with Pakistan will not prevail, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Tuesday, as Beijing fends off criticism of its economic projects in Pakistan and a clampdown in China's western Xinjiang region.

China has pledged US$57 billion (£43 billion) to build power stations, major highways, new railways and high capacity ports along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road plan to further tie China to Eurasia.

The sustainability of Chinese projects has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July warned that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan's troubled economy should not be used to pay off Chinese lenders. Both Beijing and Islamabad say the loans are sustainable.

China welcomes the good start made in its "all-weather" partnership with Pakistan following the election of the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan, State Councillor Wang Yi told Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

But "any conspiracies attempting to incite disharmony or interfere in China-Pakistan relations will not prevail," Wang added, without elaborating, according to a statement released by China's foreign ministry on Wednesday.

China and Pakistan should continue to make "all-out" efforts to promote the economic corridor, expand trade and reduce poverty to bring more benefits to the ordinary people of Pakistan, Wang said.

The relationship between China and Pakistan will not change, regardless of circumstantial changes, Qureshi told Wang, according to China's statement.

The corridor is "extremely important" to Pakistan and has brought "deep impact" for jobs, development and livelihood, and Islamabad will take effective measures to ensure the security of the entire route, he added.

Beijing has faced growing international criticism from rights groups, some western nations and United Nations human rights experts over its sweeping security crackdown in the far western region of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.

Islamabad, like most governments of majority Muslim countries, has so far remained silent on the issue, but a group of Pakistani businessmen whose Chinese wives and children have been trapped in Xinjiang are lobbying the new government to help pressure Beijing into allowing their release.

Beijing says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in Xinjiang and has rejected accusations of mistreatment.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/china-says-plots-to-disrupt-ties-with-pakistan-will-fail-10758750

Riaz Haq said...

#Japan is countering #China’s Belt and Road Initiative (#BRI) with a whirlwind of Japanese visits and #investment announcements from Southeast Asia to #Pakistan to the Baltics in recent months. #CPEC https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/2132811/japan-takes-lead-countering-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative via @scmpnews

Sri Lanka, after Pakistan, is one of the clearest examples of how China’s ambitious infrastructure development plans – known as the Belt and Road Initiative – are spooking neighbours who worry about Beijing’s rapidly increasing influence and military reach.

Those fears were made manifest late last year, when Sri Lanka handed over the port of Hambantota to China to cover its debts to Beijing.

The kerfuffle over Hambantota helps explain why Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono made a point of ending his visit with a tour of Sri Lanka’s other big port, Colombo, announcing plans to help build a natural gas import terminal.

It was just one of a whirlwind of Japanese visits and investment announcements from Southeast Asia to Pakistan to the Baltics in recent months.
Japan, faced with the abrupt disengagement of an inward-looking United States under President Donald Trump, now finds itself playing the leading role in pushing back against China’s grand plans to extend its influence throughout Asia and into Europe.
To do so, Tokyo is increasingly joining up with other countries and especially India, launching a US$200 billion infrastructure plan, and even boosting its military efforts in the broader Indian Ocean area in what is seen as a deliberate bid to counter Beijing’s growing heft.
The effort even extends as far afield as Eastern and Central Europe, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit just last month.

Japan – if not India – even suggests periodically it could end up joining the Belt and Road at some point.
Seen from Islamabad, the biggest beneficiary of the Belt and Road thanks to the US$60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), not even Japan and India’s partnership represents a serious threat.
“India and Japan can collaborate, but the Belt and Road is too big to be countered by them, and that is why they are keeping open the option to join sooner or later,” said Ahmad Rashid Malik, the director of the China-Pakistan Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.

Riaz Haq said...

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration on Thursday sought to bring
Pakistan back into its sphere of influence by offering new business
opportunities with US for Islamabad alongside a lengthy critique of the
country’s engagement with Beijing through the China-Pakistan Economic


The US push to regain ground it has lost to China came on the heels of
President Trump’s phone call to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan,
ostensibly to thank him for Islamabad’s efforts in facilitating the release of
two Western hostages in Afghanistan. A White House statement said the
two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the USPakistan trade relationship as well as investment and people-to-people “potentially at an unsustainable cost to Pakistan.”
“Inflated pricing of power & development projects isn’t good for the Pakistani people. CPEC almost always takes the form of
burdensome loans or financing with Chinese state-owned enterprises and the Chinese government profiting. This is hardly the
'peace and win-win cooperation' OBOR is supposed to facilitate,” US Assistant Secretary of State for South Central Asia Alice
Wells tweeted ahead of a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she said Pakistan faced longterm economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
“While the world’s economies certainly benefit from initiatives that promote sustainable global investment & trade, OBOR is far
from responsible in its economic practices. OBOR lacks transparent financing practices. Failure to repay can lead to
unsustainable debt burdens, which can result in surrendering of assets and diminishing sovereignty,” Wells warned.
Wells also argued that CPEC also relies primarily on Chinese workers and supplies rather than giving that business to Pakistani
companies and workers. She contrasted CPEC with the US-Pakistan business partnership which she said "contributes to
sustainable growth and expertise that builds capacity for local communities and by bringing superior quality & technology,
drives productivity gains in Pakistan."
“Unlike the Chinese government, the US doesn’t tell businesses where to go; they go where they see the greatest
opportunities. There are countless commercial connections between US & #Pakistan leading to thousands of jobs for
Pakistanis,” Wells said, adding that the US culture of corporate social responsibility also provides models for creating jobs and
Pakistan though remains in thrall of Beijing, even though the Trump administration has twitted it by highlighting China’s poor
treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang province to prick its conscience. China though is reported to be unhappy with the pace of
implementation of CPEC projects, resulting in a recent ministerial reshuffle by Prime Minister Imran Khan to address Beijing’sies between the two countries.
Trump had earlier cut off aid to Pakistan in keeping with his distaste for doling out American freebies, but he has repeatedly
said he is in favor of greater trade with all countries as long as it is on a level playing field. Pakistan too has come around to
saying it prefers to grow through trade rather than aid.
Trump’s phone call came even as a senior US official critiqued Pakistan’s economic engagement with China under the One Belt
One Road (OBOR) rubric, warning that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the main initiative under OBOR, comes

Riaz Haq said...

US Ambassador Wells said there was potential for “ever deeper” relationship with Pakistan.


Wells also spoke about the US relationship with Pakistan, saying as “Pakistan takes steps to move away and to restrict the ability of non-state terrorist proxies, the potential for our relationship to grow ever-deeper is there.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan revives Belt-and-Road projects under Chinese pressure

Islamabad calls in senior military official after economic crisis stalled investmentsShare on Twitter (opens new window)Share on Facebook (opens new window)
SaveStephanie Findlay in New Delhi and Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad 3 HOURS AGO
Pakistan has bowed to pressure from China to revive a string of Beijing-backed infrastructure projects that have run aground, appointing a senior Pakistani military official to streamline decision-making over the multi-billion-dollar investments.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a key part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which Beijing sees as a 21st century Silk Road to connect Asia, Africa and Europe. But only half of the announced $62bn-worth of projects in Pakistan are under way as Islamabad scales back its financial commitments while it implements a $6bn IMF bailout package.
Beijing is frustrated with the slow pace of the initiative, which is supposed to be a shining example of China’s economically transformative investments, and has put pressure on Islamabad to put the military in charge.
Last month retired lieutenant general Asim Saleem Bajwa was appointed chairman of a new CPEC authority, reinforcing the military’s grip on the project and insulating it from prime minister Imran Khan’s fractious government.
“The job of the CPEC authority will bring focus to this vast project,” said a senior government official in Mr Khan’s office. “General Bajwa will also take care of the security aspects.”

But even though the military is assuming greater control, analysts said Pakistan’s economic crisis will continue to constrain work on CPEC.
Islamabad has slashed imports, depreciated the rupee, decreased development spending and raised taxes in an effort to cut its substantial fiscal and current account deficits. Gross domestic product growth has tumbled from 5.8 per cent last year to a forecast 2.4 per cent this year. Exports are flatlining.

Large-scale manufacturing production fell 5.9 per cent year on year in the three months from July to September, with some industries, including cars and pharmaceuticals, suffering double-digit decreases in production.Pakistan is now worried about falling into a debt trapHusain Haqqani, the Hudson Institute© Bloomberg
China has long faced criticism that its BRI projects burden fiscally weak countries with unsustainable debt. Islamabad is expected to pay $40bn in debt repayments and dividends to China over the next two decades.
Sakib Sherani, former adviser to the Pakistani finance minister, told the Financial Times that CPEC-related debt is “not unmanageable” but cautioned that Pakistan’s ability to meet its debt obligations hinges on increasing exports.“There is a disconnect. CPEC-related debt eventually must generate enough exports to be able to deal with the repayments,” he said.
Last month US ambassador Alice Wells warned that “China is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy”. She added: “Even if loan payments are deferred, they’re going to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing prime minister Khan’s reform agenda.”

Riaz Haq said...

The West is competing with #China and #Russia for influence in #Afghanistan & Pakistan while #India’s case against #Pakistan is being viewed as having become weaker thanks to the many controversial decisions by #Modi . #Kashmir #CAB2019 http://www.ecoti.in/eTwNia via @economictimes

While Moody’s Investors Service lowered India’s credit rating from stable to negative last month, it raised Pakistan’s rating from negative to stable last week. ‘The rating affirmation,’ said Moody’s, ‘reflects Pakistan’s relativelylarge economy and robust long-term growth potential, coupled with ongoing institutional enhancements that raise policy credibility and effectiveness, albeit from a low starting point.’


It shows a poor understanding of global geopolitics for any one to imagine that western powers — not to mention China that now chairs FATF — are prepared to put Pakistan in the same box as Iran and North Korea.

The US, in particular, has vehemently opposed the latter and their nuclear capability while happily doing business with nuclear-armed Pakistan. The world seems to have come around to the view that after the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, there has been no major cross-border terror attack on any civilian target in India, and that the cross-border attacks on military installations are part of an ongoing undeclared war between the two neighbours.

Given recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir terror attacks, they will increasingly be viewed by world opinion as ‘locally staged’, if incontrovertible evidence to the contrary is not provided. All this will reduce the pressure on Pakistan to improve its behaviour.

Riaz Haq said...

Without #Afghanistan, #Pakistan and #UnitedStates need a new basis for relationship. Under this arrangement, "We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger." #economy #trade #FDI https://thehill.com/opinion/international/477903-without-afghanistan-pakistan-and-the-us-need-a-new-basis-for#.XhyYHjMtuvs.twitter

Pakistan’s population is in the same league as other democracies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The United States has security ties with each of these democracies, but it also has economic ties, people-to-people ties, and ties in technology, education, and innovation. We should have similarly broad and deep relations with Pakistan.

Although there are valid criticisms in the United States of Pakistan, we need to engage the country in a more rounded way. A broader, more comprehensive engagement would likely require Pakistan to also have a more comprehensive vision of its own role in the world — one also less-viewed through the prism of a single country, namely, India. Pakistan places a disproportionate lens on its military and defense, it spent 4 percent of its GDP on the military in 2018. In contrast, Pakistan only spent 2.9 percent of GDP on education in 2017.

Pakistan’s Potential

Pakistan could become another Argentina or Ukraine in terms of agricultural potential. Agriculture accounts for 20 percent of Pakistan’s GDP and employs 43 percent of its workforce. Agriculture also plays a huge role in Pakistan’s exports, accounting for about 80 percent. But Pakistan’s agricultural productivity currently only ranges between 29-52 percent and could be much higher, with broader use of improved seeds and farming techniques.

Pakistan also has very significant tourism potential. It is best known for its ancient historical and religiously significant buildings, such as the Madshahi and Grand Jamia Mosque. It also has immense natural beauty, such as the Hunza Valley and Desoi National Park. However, Pakistan is one of the least competitive countries in South Asia in regard to travel. Pakistan had 1.7 million visitors in 2017, compared to Sri Lanka’s 2.3 million and Jordan’s 4.2 million. Introducing a recent e-visa program was a great start to opening the doors for tourism but much more needs to be done.

Pakistan has significant hydropower potential but has only developed one-tenth of its 60,000 MW potential. If this resource were properly tapped, it could play a huge role in tackling the power deficit in Pakistan and the broader region.

What would a reframed relationship with Pakistan look like?

On the U.S. side a reframed relationship would require a broader and larger set of stakeholders. We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger.

Most members of congress who had an interest in Pakistan — especially outside of the military relationship — have left politics, so a new coalition in Congress needs to be rebuilt. The relationship is poisoned by disappointments, accusations, fear and distrust.


Education is also key to reframing the relationship. Student exchange programs are beneficial in improving relations between countries. In 2016, the last year for which we could find numbers, there was an 8.5 percent increase in the number of Pakistani students studying in the United States — which is still just 11,000 Pakistani students. That is half of the 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China.

The United States must revisit its foreign aid program to support Pakistan in reaching its full potential. From recent informal conversations, it’s clear that neither OPIC, now the USDFC, nor EXIM Bank have sent a mission to Pakistan for many years. That needs to change. Our foreign aid has dropped drastically and is at levels far below what’s required, given the challenges. Creating a new relationship could take as a long as a decade but must begin now.

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC and Beyond: China and the US Fight For Influence In Pakistan
Beijing and Washington tussle to have their way with Islamabad’s foreign policy decisions.


On Monday, the U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, in a statement said that a number of firms blacklisted by the World Bank had received contracts in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In her renewed criticism, Wells, who is on a four-day visit to Pakistan, noted that the lack of transparency in the existing deals and the financial conditions imposed by China have increased Pakistan’s overall debt.

This not the first time that Wells has criticized the CPEC. In November last year, Wells warned that the Chinese loans are “going to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister [Imran] Khan’s reform agenda.”

Broadly, CPEC has come under U.S. criticism due to its wider linkage to China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project. While Washington’s overt criticism of the project continues, it has also continued to insisted that Pakistan is a sovereign state that can make any trade deals that the country’s leadership finds suited to its interests. After Wells’ recent criticism of the project, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W. Jones explained that Wells’ “remarks were meant to generate a debate.”


it’s unlikely that Washington’s criticism of CPEC will wear out in the coming months or years. Arguably, policymakers in Pakistan are wary of Islamabad’s growing financial reliance on China but at the same time they have been unable to win any significant financial support from Washington. Khan’s government demanded a major review to CPEC projects when it came to power in 2018. However, to Khan’s frustration, Beijing was only willing to review projects that had not started yet. Reportedly, the matters were settled after Pakistan’s top military leadership intervened and assured China of Islamabad’s commitment.

Arguably, CPEC has emerged as the next battleground for the United States and China’s economic rivalry. Both countries’ warnings and counterwarnings are coming at a time when Pakistan is looking for financial assistance from both countries. Pakistan may not like China’s financial terms, but there is no other major investor willing to assist Islamabad at a time when the country is stuck in a major financial crisis.

Moreover, while the United States has assured Pakistan that it is greatly enhancing trade with the country, it’s unlikely that Islamabad will win Washington’s economic support at a level even close to Beijing’s financial commitments. However, it remains to be seen if Washington can allow Beijing to completely wipe out its ability to influence Pakistan’s policymakers.

It’s unlikely that Islamabad is going to be able to balance its relationship between China and the United States in the coming months or perhaps years as both countries compete for influence in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

In an interview with Pakistani journalist Israr Kasana that was published on YouTube on June 3, 2020, (Indian Defense Analyst) Pravin (Sawhney) asserted that "Pakistan has never lost (to India) in any war, be it 1965 or 1971 or any other." "If Pakistan had lost, there would be no line-of-control or ceasefire line on the ground," he added. Here's more from that interview:

"If Pakistan had lost we (India) would have erased the LOC...why do I say that? I have explained it in my book. Pakistan has been strong in the western sector. It's a myth that Pakistan is weak, a myth that Pakistan itself perpetrates...India says we (India) are strong when in fact it is not.....CPEC is extremely important...China will share a lot of military capability with Pakistan....China shares platforms and assures unlimited supply of spare parts which is crucial in war...China and Pakistan do frequent joint military exercises...to assure interoperability."


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to Host Russia, NATO Members for Joint Naval Drill


Pakistan announced Monday it will host navies from 45 countries, including the United States, China and Russia, for a joint military exercise in the North Arabian Sea later this month.

It will be the first time in a decade that Russian naval ships have attended drills with multiple NATO members.

Officials said the biannual multinational "AMAN" (Peace) exercise in Pakistani waters is aimed at fostering international cooperation to fight piracy, terrorism and other crimes threatening maritime security and stability.

“Exercise AMAN is about bridging gaps and making it possible to operate together in pursuance of common objectives,” Rear Adm. Naveed Ashraf, commander of the Pakistani fleet, said Monday.

An official statement quoted him as saying that participating nations will attend the military drills with their “surface and air assets, special operation forces and maritime teams.”

Britain, Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and countries from the African Union are also among participants of the military exercise under the banner, "Together for Peace.”

The last time the Russian navy conducted joint military drills with NATO members was in the "Bold Monarch" exercise in 2011, which took place off the coast of Spain.

NATO’s relations with Moscow have since deteriorated over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014.

“Pakistan considers that maritime security is not just important for itself but for all other countries whose prosperity and progress are strongly bonded with the seas,” Ashraf said.

He stressed that Pakistan’s “extraordinary dependence” on the seas for trade and operationalization of infrastructure projects developed with China’s financial and technical assistance “make the maritime stability” an “important agenda of our national security.”

The multibillion-dollar collaboration, known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is regarded as a key component of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative.

The project has in recent years cemented economic relations between the two allied nations, which traditionally maintain close military ties.

The Pakistani navy chief last week confirmed his institution will acquire eight submarines and four frigates from China.

“Naval collaboration between the two countries has been strengthened with the procurement of F-22P frigates, fast attack craft, helicopters, and state-of-the-art survey ships,” Adm. Amjad Khan Niazi told China’s Global Times.

“The PN (Pakistan Navy) has also contracted construction of eight Hangor class submarines, four Type 054A/P frigates, and medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles from China,” Niazi said.

On Monday, Pakistan’s military received a donated batch of COVID-19 vaccine from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). It marked the first time the PLA has provided the vaccine to a foreign army.

“Pakistan’s armed forces extend their deepest gratitude to PLA and People’s Republic of China for this magnanimous donation during testing times,” the Pakistani military said.

It added, however, that the drug will be contributed to the ongoing national drive inoculating health care workers across Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Pravin Sawhney (@PravinSawhney) Tweet:

Pakistan Navy Aman 21 exercise brings US, China & Russian navies together - what more needs to be said of Pak’s geopolitical importance in times of change!


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani leaders have repeatedly signaled a shift from ‘geopolitics’ to ‘geo-economics’ in recent months


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

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

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

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

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

A battle of ‘new world orders’

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

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

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

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


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

Riaz Haq said...

India, Pakistan ​Could End-Up Fighting On The Same Side In US, China Cold War -- US Expert


In a conversation with the Pakistani journalist Ejaz Haider in an online session, Mearsheimer said that what he meant by a cold war is that there will be an intense security competition between the two sides, which will definitely create a crisis.

“But it’s hard to say for sure whether there will actually be a shooting war, but that danger will always be present. And that was basically the situation we had during the first Cold War. And again, my argument is that we are destined to be in a similar situation moving forward,” he adds.

Mearsheimer said China’s focus will primarily be Asia, and it will try every trick to dominate the region and be the hegemon.

“I think there is a likelihood that Pakistan would side with China and the US would try to peel off Pakistan from China in the emerging Cold War. The Indians would ally with the US. The Americans would try to get Myanmar in its fold”.

Riaz Haq said...

The #Hindu Right is turning against the #US. Until a few years ago, #Modi Bhakts were largely pro-US. Now, Joe #Biden is seen as antagonistic — if not to #India, then to the sort of India that Modi’s supporters want to create. #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://theprint.in/opinion/the-hindu-right-is-turning-against-the-us-but-india-needs-to-see-reality-over-rhetoric/895977/


Even while the war in Ukraine rages, however, we should be asking ourselves deeper questions. A few days ago, at the ABP Ideas of India Summit in Mumbai, I interviewed Fareed Zakaria. Fareed’s view was that over the last decade or so, India has become so inward-looking and obsessed with its own issues and divisions that it has not spent enough time thinking about its place in the world, going forward.

While we have been obsessed with headscarves and caste arithmetic, the world has rearranged itself. No matter what happens in Ukraine, Russia will come out of the war damaged. If it makes peace, then some of the sanctions imposed on it by the West may be moderated but it seems unlikely that Putin’s Russia will become a full-fledged member of the global economy for a long time.

In that case, it will have no choice but to move into the Chinese sphere of influence. One scenario sees Russia as a classic vassal state of the Chinese, supplying energy and raw materials to feed the Chinese military machine and its industrial complex. Pakistan and China are longstanding allies, so we will probably see the emergence of a Russia-China-Pakistan alliance.

India will then have two choices. Either we agree to accept China’s suzerainty over the East. Or we look for other options.

Should we choose the second path (and I imagine we will have to), then there really is nowhere to go but the West. At present, the West understands how India is constrained by its dependence on Russian weaponry. But in the long run, it will expect a greater measure of alignment. Is that something we have considered? Or are we too blinded by the rhetoric about anti-Hindu America and hypocritical Washington?

Sooner, rather than later, we will have to rescue reality from the rhetoric.

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Is Losing a Strategic, Nuclear-Armed Ally to China


As a result of its involvement, Pakistan says it has lost 70,000 lives, incurred economic losses in excess of $150 billion and made itself a target of violent extremism. The U.S., meanwhile, blames the Pakistan Army and the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for harboring Osama bin Laden in a safehouse in Abbottabad, and for secretly helping the Taliban take back control of Afghanistan.

Relations between the U.S. and the Pakistan have ebbed and flowed since the 50s and early 60s, when Washington lavished Islamabad with millions of dollars in foreign aid as reward for joining its global campaign against communism, only to suspend the assistance as punishment for Islamabad’s hobnobbing with Egypt and China in 1965. Relations improved again in the 1970s, when the Nixon and Ford administrations used Pakistan as a go-between to court China, before souring again under President Carter’s administration, which cut off military aid to punish Pakistan for building a facility to enrich uranium.

With Pakistan becoming a front line state in Washington’s campaign against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, U.S.-Pakistan cooperation steadied again. But when that war ended in 1989, the U.S. sanctioned Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment for enriching uranium and hastily dialed down its engagement in the region. This firmly sowed the seeds of distrust between the two sides and led Pakistan to cultivate its relationship with China. As part of Washington’s global “war on terror,” Islamabad did, however, join the renewed U.S. campaign in Afghanistan post-9/11, this time against the Taliban—who took over after a protracted period of civil war following the Soviet withdrawal.

But the years leading up to America’s own withdrawal from Afghanistan last year have seen gradual distancing between the old allies, and Pakistan’s decisive pivoting toward China. The U.S. has simultaneously tilted toward Pakistan’s arch-enemy India, drawing it into regional coalitions against China, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, comprising the U.S. Australia, Japan and India. The economic engagement between India and the U.S. has also been increasing noticeably. India is one of the participating countries in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framew

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Is Losing a Strategic, Nuclear-Armed Ally to China


China’s unstoppable rise in Pakistan
On the other hand, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—a $62 billion program of infrastructure program that creates a trade and energy route between the Arabian Sea and China through Pakistan—has made China the linchpin of Pakistan’s economic development. Pakistan’s reliance on Chinese investment and its resentments against what it considers American duplicity, means that it now no longer matters who holds the reins of government in Islamabad. All major and minor political players are bound to prioritize Pakistan’s relationship with China over that with the United States. The only difference is the degree to which they will antagonize the U.S. publicly.

The Pakistan Army, which was instrumental in bringing Khan to power and is still very much the power behind the throne, would like the civilian government to have cordial relations with the United States, if for no other reason than to protect the country’s failing economy. Even as Khan leads the charge against the government and the U.S., Pakistan is negotiating an emergency assistance package with the International Monetary Fund, which will require Washington’s buy-in.

It is in this context that Khan’s America bashing is seen as a problem. The top brass of the military understands that a victory for Khan in the next general election would come with an implied mandate of creating an even greater distance between Islamabad and Washington—something the country can ill afford.

The present administration—a coalition led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif—appears committed to a policy of rapprochement with the United States and has already begun making overtures toward Washington. Foreign Minister Bhutto says the U.S. and Pakistan need “to engage in a far broader, deeper and more meaningful relationship.”

But the years leading up to America’s own withdrawal from Afghanistan last year have seen gradual distancing between the old allies, and Pakistan’s decisive pivoting toward China. The U.S. has simultaneously tilted toward Pakistan’s arch-enemy India, drawing it into regional coalitions against China, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, comprising the U.S. Australia, Japan and India. The economic engagement between India and the U.S. has also been increasing noticeably. India is one of the participating countries in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework—just announced by Biden—that is aimed at countering China’s economic influence.

Riaz Haq said...

Handle the India-U.S. Relationship With Care
The world’s largest democracy often sees things very differently than America.

By Walter Russell Mead


Superficially, the U.S.-India relationship looks like a success. With both countries focused on China, business ties steadily deepening, and U.S.-Pakistan relations in a deep freeze, many of the old obstacles to the relationship have disappeared.

But an intense week of meetings in Bangalore and Delhi with politicians, think tankers, religious leaders and journalists made clear that while Americans and Indians share strategic and economic interests, and we both value democracy, we remain divided by important differences in values and perceptions. Unless managed carefully, these differences could derail U.S.-India cooperation at a critical time.

Americans and Indians often see the same problem in very different ways. India, for example, does not see Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a threat to world order. While Americans have been disturbed by India’s continued willingness to buy oil from Russia, Indians resent the West’s attempt to rally global support for what many here see as a largely Western problem in Ukraine. Pointing out that Europeans scarcely noticed China’s attacks on Indian frontier posts in 2020, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, last week that “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems.”

More generally, Indians bristle when they sense Americans and Europeans getting together to write global rules. The more that American Wilsonians talk about a values-based international order, the more that Indians worry about Western arrogance. Many Indians want a strong Russia and, within limits, a strong China precisely to help guard against the kind of world order President Biden and many of his advisers want to build.

This is more than the postcolonial suspicion of Western intentions that India has long shared with many other non-Western countries. The Hindu nationalist movement that has replaced the long-ruling Congress Party with a new political system built around the Bharatiya Janata Party and its charismatic leader, Narendra Modi, has brought a new dynamism to Indian foreign policy. This new nationalist India wants to increase and develop Indian power, not submerge Indian sovereignty in Western-designed international institutions.

The domestic agenda of the Hindu nationalist movement can also cause problems for the U.S.-India relationship. For Hindu nationalists, the rule of the Muslim Mughal emperors, some of whom destroyed ancient Hindu temples and built mosques on their ruins, was as much a disaster as British colonialism for Indian civilization. It is not enough to send the British packing; the liberation of India means placing Hindu civilization back at the center of Indian cultural and political life. Many BJP supporters want the Indian government to defend India’s Hindu civilization and culture from Islam, Christianity and Western secular liberalism.

This form of Hindu nationalism leads to controversial policy initiatives. Tough restrictions on the ability of foreign organizations to fund civil-society groups in India threaten to disrupt the activities of American charities ranging from the Ford Foundation to the Catholic Church. Anti-conversion laws put obstacles in the path of both Christian and Muslim missionary efforts, and Hindu women wishing to marry out of the faith sometimes face severe social and governmental pressures. Communal violence, a problem in India since the days of the British raj, has risen in recent years. Indian Muslims often express fears for their personal security.

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Edge in Asia, and China Knows It

John Custer


While the U.S. military is globally dispersed, China can concentrate its forces on winning a future conflict in its own neighborhood. It now has the capability. China has the world’s largest navy and Asia’s biggest air force and an imposing arsenal of missiles designed to deter the United States from projecting military power into the Western Pacific in a crisis. China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier is nearing completion, and other new hardware is being developed or is already in service.

To turn things around, the United States must prioritize the threat from China, reinforce its military strength in Asia and provide Australia, Japan and India more sophisticated military and technological capabilities to bolster a strategy of collective defense.


Washington should support Australian and Japanese aims to build long-range missiles on home soil by sharing intellectual property, provide more U.S. weaponry to India and beef up foreign military financing in the region, starting with a dedicated fund to boost Taiwan’s deterrence capabilities.

A Chinese fighter jet veered in front of an Australian military surveillance aircraft over international waters in the South China Sea last month and released metallic debris that was sucked into the Australian plane’s engines.

No one was reported hurt in the encounter, which Australia’s defense minister called “very dangerous,” but it added to a string of recent incidents that demonstrate China’s growing willingness to test the United States and its partners in Asia militarily.

China has systematically tracked U.S. warships in the region, its air force has staged intensifying incursions into Taiwanese and Japanese airspace, and its coast guard routinely harasses Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian vessels. In recent weeks, Chinese fighter pilots have repeatedly buzzed Canadian military aircraft on a U.N.-sanctioned operation — sometimes raising their middle fingers at the Canadians.

As China’s armed forces grow in strength, sophistication and confidence, U.S.-led military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific is losing its bite.

Take the United States’ military presence in the region. It has about 55,000 military personnel in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea. Several thousand more are deployed across Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam. This posture has barely changed since the 1950s. But plans to reinvigorate the U.S. presence have been stymied by inadequate budgets, competing priorities and a lack of consensus in Washington on how to deal with China.

The Pentagon has increased investments in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, and cyber- and space-based systems to prepare for a possible high-tech conflict with China in the 2030s. But the balance of power is likely to shift decidedly in China’s favor by the time they are deployed unless the United States brings new resources to the table soon.

President Biden this year submitted the largest defense budget ever in dollar terms, but much of the increase will be swallowed up by skyrocketing inflation. Mr. Biden, like former President Donald Trump, is thus falling short of a target of 3 percent to 5 percent real annual budget growth, a bipartisan goal set even before the Ukraine war and often cited as the minimum the Pentagon needs in today’s era of great-power competition.

Riaz Haq said...

‘My Order, My Rules’: China and the American Rules-Based Order in Historical Perspective
William M. Zolinger Fujii


The similarities between the process through which the US established its hemispheric dominance and the Chinese quest to become a regional hegemon in East Asia must not be exaggerated; not only are the two regions and historical contexts vastly different, but also China’s path towards that goal is in its very early stages, rendering it impossible to be meaningfully compared to that of the United States. This notwithstanding, the patterns of Beijing’s contestations of Washington’s position in East Asia find certain parallels with the US’ challenges to European ambitions in a region it regarded as its natural ‘sphere of influence’ in the nineteenth century. If the US leadership believed their country had the divine right to establish itself as a hemispheric hegemon, the Chinese can be seen as regarding China’s regional leadership as some sort of a historical right (Bandeira, 2005; Zhao, 2016)


Despite the substantial academic and political attention that the crisis of the liberal international order has attracted over the past decade, Latin America and the Caribbean have been largely ignored by mainstream IR literature in the English language (Long, 2018). In part, this is due to the region’s relatively low geopolitical relevance – itself resulting from the absence of a potential regional rival to the US as well as of an external power with significant influence in the region – and Washington’s hemispheric hegemony. The fact that the effects of the rise of China and the relative resurgence of Russia are negligible in a nuclear-free Latin America further reduces its relevance in the debate on the crisis of the liberal international order, although Chinese economic and political influence in the region has grown enormously in the past two decades (Chen, 2021; Noesselt and Soliz-Landivar, 2013; Pini, 2015; Vadell, 2011) At the same time, as John Mearsheimer (2010) notes, the Western Hemisphere is the most important region for the US due to its geographical proximity, having thus greater potential strategic relevance than any other area on the globe.

Riaz Haq said...

As the world lurches through the growing pains of massive geopolitical change, the US’ relationship with India will increasingly take center stage. Washington likes to see itself as providing a geopolitical center of gravity that is inherently attractive to nations like India, especially against regional competitors such as China. As the US is about to discover, however, India and China have a shared ambition about who should dominate the Pacific in the coming century, and it doesn’t include the US. Op Ed by Scott Ritter


On Aug. 19, India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, gave a speech at a university in Thailand where he stated that relations between India and China were going through “an extremely difficult phase” and that an “Asian Century” seemed unlikely unless the two nations found a way to “join hands” and start working together.

For many observers, Jaishankar’s speech was taken as an opportunity for the US to drive a wedge between India and China, exploiting an ongoing border dispute along the Himalayan frontier to push India further into a pro-US orbit together with other Western-leaning regional powers. What these observers overlooked, however, was that the Indian minister was seeking the exact opposite from his speech, signaling that India was, in fact, interested in working with China to develop joint policies that would seek to replace US-led Western hegemony in the Pacific.

Struggle for Leadership

More than six decades ago, then-US Senator John F. Kennedy noted that there was a “struggle between India and China for the economic and political leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is the better.” The US, Kennedy argued, needed to focus on providing India the help it needed to win that struggle — even if India wasn’t asking for that help or, indeed, seeking to “win” any geopolitical contest with China.

Today, the relationships between the US, India and China have matured, with all three wrestling with complex, and often contradictory, policies that are simultaneously cooperative and confrontational. Notwithstanding this, the US continues to err on the side of helping India achieve a geopolitical “win” over China. One need only consider the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” conceived in 2007, but dormant until 2017, when it was resurrected under US leadership to bring together the US, Japan, Australia and India in an effort to create a regional counterweight to China’s growing influence.

There was a time when cooler heads cautioned against such an assertive US-led posture on a regional response to an expansive, and expanding, Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This line of thinking held that strong Indian relationships with Tokyo and Canberra should be allowed to naturally progress, independent of US regional ambitions.

These same “cool heads” argued that the US needed to be realistic in its expectations on relations between India and China, avoiding the pitfalls of Cold War-era “zero-sum game” calculations. The US should appreciate that India needed to implement a foreign policy that best met Indian needs. Moreover, they argued, a US-Indian relationship that was solely focused on China would not age well, given the transitory realities of a changing global geopolitical dynamic.

The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

Riaz Haq said...

Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?

by Tom Hussain


A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well

For the first time since the United States cancelled military aid to Pakistan in 2018, Washington this month approved a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the South Asian nation’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, hinting at a thaw in bilateral ties that had turned decidedly frosty of late.
The deal announced on September 9 followed a flurry of diplomatic activity, prompting speculation that in return for agreeing to keep Pakistan’s warplanes airborne for the next five years, the US military covertly secured access to the country’s airspace to carry out counterterrorism operations.
Though Islamabad has repeatedly denied any such conspiracy, the assassination in late July of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul is widely believed to have been carried out by a US drone that traversed Pakistani airspace en route to its target.

Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?
A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well

Riaz Haq said...

Suhasini Haidar
India, Pakistan both partners of U.S. with different points of emphasis: Biden administration
"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values...shared interests." Said State dept spokesperson




India and Pakistan are both partners of the U.S. with different points of emphasis, the Biden administration said on September 26, a day after visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar questioned the rationale behind the latest American F-16 security assistance to Islamabad.

Referring to the argument made by the U.S. that F-16 sustenance package is to fight terrorism, Mr. Jaishankar had said everybody knows where and against whom F-16 fighter jets are used. "You're not fooling anybody by saying these things," he said in response to a question during an interaction with Indian-Americans.

"We don't view our relationship with Pakistan, and on the other hand, we don't view our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own," he said.

Early this month, the Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, reversing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

"We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbours have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. So that's another point of emphasis," Mr. Price said in response to a question.

Responding to another question, Mr. Price said it is "not in Pakistan's interest to see instability and violence in Afghanistan".

"The support for the people of Afghanistan is something we discuss regularly with our Pakistani partners; our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods and humanitarian conditions of the Afghan people, and to see to it that the Taliban live up to the commitments that they have made," he added.

Pakistan is implicated in many of these same commitments: the counterterrorism commitments, commitments to safe passage, commitments to the citizens of Afghanistan, Mr. Price said. "The unwillingness or the inability on the part of the Taliban to live up to these commitments would have significant implications for Pakistan as well".

"So, for that reason, we do share a number of interests with Pakistan regarding its neighbour," Mr. Price said.

The United States, he noted, has been intently focused on the devastation that has resulted in the loss of life resulting from the torrential floods that have devastated large areas of Pakistan.

"We have provided tens of millions of dollars in relief for these floods. The Secretary today will have additional details on further US assistance for the Pakistani people, in light of this humanitarian emergency that Pakistanis are facing," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Hassan Akbar
Shocking coming from a country that has been on the receiving end of US generosity what with the CAATSA waiver. Can’t believe India thinks it can dictate US foreign policy while selling Washington baloony about is own independence when it comes to Ukraine.


"You're Not Fooling Anybody...": S Jaishankar On US' F-16 Deal With Pak
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," S Jaishankar said at an event in Washington


Riaz Haq said...

With eye on Beijing, India and US make a show of unity amid fissures

On Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had sharp words for US President Joe Biden’s approval earlier this month of a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the F-16 fighter jet fleet of Pakistan, India’s rival. The US argues that the F-16 fleet is important to counter terrorism.


A day after fissures reappeared in US-India ties, top diplomats from both countries struck a cordial tone on Tuesday in a show of unity with an eye on China – a common challenge and competitor in the Indo-Pacific.
On Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had sharp words for US President Joe Biden’s approval earlier this month of a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the F-16 fighter jet fleet of Pakistan, India’s rival. The US argues that the F-16 fleet is important to counter terrorism.

India – a key partner in the US security strategy for the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing muscle – opposed the move, contending that Pakistan harbours and exports terrorists. On Monday, Jaishankar said the US was “not fooling anyone” when it said the fighters would be used for counterterrorism “because we all know where they are deployed”.

Expressing a “keen interest to move forward on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Expressing a “keen interest to move forward on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”, a loose grouping of 13 countries from South and Southeast Asian countries led by the US to counter China’s dominance in international trade, Jaishankar said that “India and the US share a strong interest in encouraging more resilient and reliable supply chains”.
Discussing security issues, Jaishankar praised the US for adopting a more “international” approach and becoming “more open to engaging with countries like India” in initiatives such as the Quad Security Dialogue – a four-nation bloc including the US, India, Japan and Australia – that hope to counter China as its influence grows in the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad, he said, “has grown remarkably in the last two years”, adding that there was a “lot of promise in working with the US to shape the direction of the world”.

For his part, Blinken signalled support for “increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the United Nations Security Council, a long-standing goal of India”. China opposes India’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council; the two nations maintain strained ties over a decades-long border dispute in the Himalayas.

While Jaishankar avoided the topic of Pakistan, Blinken endured questions from the Indian press over the deal’s effectiveness in tackling terrorism. He said that it was the US’ “responsibility and obligation” to provide sustenance support, reasserting that Pakistan’s bolstered capability in counterterrorism benefited both India and the US.
Last week, China, one of the five permanent Security Council members, blocked a joint attempt by the US and India to sanction Sajjid Mir, a Pakistan-based commander of the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba; India claims Mir played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 that killed more than 300 people.
Akriti Vasudeva of the Stimson Centre in Washington noted that with “the growing US-India strategic partnership, the two countries’ alignment on the Chinese threat and the need for a rules-based order, and their broad-based cooperation means that they have far greater convergences than divergences and will not let any misgivings derail or hamper their ties”.

Riaz Haq said...

By Nirupama Subramaian, Foreign Affairs and National Security Editor, Indian Express

“As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”


India has lashed out at the US over its F-16 package to Pakistan
Why has the Biden Administration reversed Trump's freeze on military ties with Islamabad with a $450 million package for a lifetime upgrade of Pakistan's F-16 fleet? What is the deal, and why is Delhi unhappy?

Speaking at a meeting with the non-resident Indian community in Washington on Sunday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar lashed out at the US for its decision to provide Pakistan with a $450 million package for what the Pentagon has called the “F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment”. Jaishankar questioned the merits of the US-Pakistan partnership, saying it had “not served” either country. When asked about the US justification that the fighter planes were meant to assist Pakistan in its counter-terrorism efforts, Jaishankar retorted: “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things”.

Riaz Haq said...

How China and Pakistan Forged Close Ties
Though ties between China and Pakistan began in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian clash, China did not embrace the relationship. By the mid-2000s, the shift in U.S.-India relations and China's own global ambitions made Pakistan a critical partner for China.

Article by Manjari Chatterjee Miller


On a visit to China almost a decade ago, I had a conversation with a Beijing-based Chinese foreign policy analyst. The subject of China’s relationship with Pakistan came up and the analyst laughed ruefully. Although he acknowledged Pakistan saw the bilateral relationship as a valuable friendship, he implied that was not how China saw it. China was in some ways reluctant, I gathered, even to be seen as cultivating a friendship with Pakistan. At the time, the idea of taoguang yanghui (hide your strength and bide your time) still held sway in China, and the Chinese government was not only wary of being seen as an international spoiler state but also siding with one. China saw no need to trumpet the relationship, and Pakistan needed China more than the other way around.


Pakistan is now an important partner for China. The relationship raises the specter that India may, in the future, face a two-front war, a scenario that would have been implausible a decade ago. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and embassies in South Asia often tweet sympathetically about the relationship—including on topics such as Pakistan’s welcome of the Chinese-sponsored Global Security Initiative, China-Pakistan football matches, China’s flood aid, and pandemic cooperation. At an MFA press conference earlier this year, the spokesperson gushed that, “the bond of friendship and mutual assistance between the Chinese and Pakistani people is stronger than gold, and the two countries’ iron-clad friendship is deeply rooted in the people and boasts strong vitality.”

This is not to say the relationship is problem-free. China’s wariness about Islamist militants in Xinjiang and their links to Pakistani militants, its concern about Chinese citizens working in Pakistan who have been the targets of terror attacks, the sporadic opposition in Pakistan to CPEC projects, and China’s caution about weighing in on Kashmir (despite its recent condemnation of India’s abrogation of Article 370 and Wang Yi’s reference to the territory at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting) all continue to be sticking points. Yet this is no longer just a relationship, but a genuine partnership. India should take note.

Riaz Haq said...

From Indian News Agency ANI:

America upgrades Pakistani F-16 fighter jets, experts weigh in | Latest News


Sep 8, 2022 US has approved F-16 fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan. The deal is valued at up to $450 million. This program essentially means structural and software upgrades, leading to additional usable flight hours. Pakistan Government requested to include US Government for follow-on support of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet to include an F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program. The country has also requested to consolidate and include logistics services for support of Engine Management Program and software support. This program essentially means structural and software upgrades. It will lead to additional usable flight hours on existing F-16 aircraft and better air-to-ground precision capability. Defence Expert PK Sehgal reacted to President Biden’s millions dollar deal by saying that the initiative has been taken by US in order to resist the global Chinese hegemony.

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Gen Bajwa in DC, US envoy, German FM statements on Kashmir, show why Pakistan can’t be isolated.

By Shekhar Gupta


The US ambassador visits Pakistan occupied Kashmir & refers to it as ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir’, German foreign minister says UN could play a role in Kashmir & Pakistan’s Army Chief spends nearly a week in Washington. In episode 1093 of Cut The Clutter Shekhar Gupta explains why Pakistan cannot be isolated or ignored and where it stands right now.


Pakistan is our most important neighbor

We must focus on Pakistan

We can not ignore Pakistan in India because the world can not ignore Pakistan

The Western world has an intrinsic relationship with Pakistan which doesn't go away

The West does not see Pakistan as so useful to them today and yet Pakistan can not be isolated

You can see all the indications that Pakistan is not isolated

A lot of (Indian) TV channels say Pakistan is isolated but the evidence doesn;t support it

Pakistan FM has visited Washington and met his counterpart Tony Blinken

Pakistan Army Chief has received a warm welcome at the US Defense Dept and met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Bajwa matters more than the Pakistan Defense Minister. Nobody knows his name.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, a career diplomat has visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and called it Azad Kashmir...Azad means free.

When the chips are down in the region Pakistan is the ally Americans reach out to

The US does not want Pakistan to drift to China

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has spoken about Kashmir...the K word. She has asked for the UN to help solve the Kashmir issue.

Bajwa is not a warmonger. He wants to normalize ties with India. He wants to trade with India. He doesn't want Faiz Hameed to succeed him. He used to be the ISI chief and took credit for the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Do the Americans have leverage here?

Where does Pakistan's unique power come from? Why can't Pakistan be ignored? Why can't Pakistan be isolated?

The Indian public needs to understand it.

Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated.

Pakistan has the 5th largest population and its population is growing fast. It could soon exceed Indonesia to become the largest Muslim nation in the world.

Pakistan has the 5th strongest military in the world.

In terms of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Pakistan is too well located to be isolated. It has geo-strategic location. Pakistan is the western gateway to China. Pakistan opened China's ties with US. And then helped the US defeat the Soviet Union.

The factors that made Pakistan such a strong ally to US still exist. Don't blame the Pakistanis for it.

India is not willing to be commit to an alliance with the US.

Imran Khan tried to change Pakistan's foreign policy to be more like India's but he failed.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden is ignoring Pakistan. Here’s why that’s a mistake


American officials are beginning to realize that ignoring or trying to isolate Pakistan is not a smart policy option. The U.S. maintains relations with a host of countries with which it disagrees. Why should Pakistan be different?

After a hiatus of a few years, Pakistan and the United States have started to re-engage, though Pakistan no longer features critically in U.S. global plans, as the Biden administration’s national security strategy makes clear. Over the past few weeks, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

These meetings reflect recognition that Pakistan, with all its complexities, cannot be wished away. It is the world’s fifth most populous country and is the only majority Muslim nation armed with nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the U.S. has walked away from Pakistan before, in the 1990s over Pakistan’s nuclear program. That did not work out well for American interests as it only strengthened the most radical elements in Pakistani society.

But it is equally true that the Cold War-era considerations that brought Pakistan and the U.S. together are no longer applicable. The two countries have very different views on India (which Pakistanis see as an enemy and Americans view as an essential partner), China (which is considered an “iron brother” by Pakistan but deemed a threat by the U.S.) and Afghanistan (where Pakistan has consistently favored fundamentalist groups such as the Taliban against secularists preferred by Americans).

As the Pakistan Study Group report points out, the U.S. and Pakistan have parallel narratives of their shared experience. They were preoccupied with confronting different enemies and pinning different expectations on their partnership. Instead of behaving like a quarrelsome married couple, it is time for the two countries to try to be friends who work together where they can and disagree honestly where they cannot.

The close China-Pakistan relationship at a time of deepening U.S.-China rivalry should be a reason for greater, not less, American attention to Pakistan. In fact, even India, which wants Pakistan to stop supporting Muslim militants in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, should join the U.S to ensure Pakistan maintains a degree of sovereign autonomy over its actions and does not become a Chinese proxy.

Riaz Haq said...

#China to #US: Ties with #Pakistan ‘none of your business’. China Expert Yun Sun: “China has plenty of confidence that its relationship with Pakistan is going to continue regardless of the modality of US-Pakistan relations.” #CPEC #India #XiJingping https://www.dawn.com/news/1718723

Speaking at a two-day seminar on US-Pakistan relations, Chinese foreign policy expert Yun Sun said Pakistan’s relationship with the US was a factor in China’s overall strategy for South Asia, but “China has plenty of confidence that its relationship with Pakistan is going to continue regardless of the modality of US-Pakistan relations.”

She, however, said that China was also adjusting or recalibrating its policy and expectations towards Pakistan, especially in terms of the CPEC.

“And from that recalibration there’s almost a welcoming attitude in China that Pakistan should re-balance its external strategy. And there’s a welcoming attitude that Pakistan is reaching out to the United States again,” Ms Yun said.

“This readjustment of Pakistan’s expectations and external alignment strategy has much approval in China.”

The Chinese, she said, did not believe that the recalibration of US-Pakistan relations would come at the expense of China’s interests in the region “because India’s still there and because CPEC will remain one of the most significant campaigns regardless of how people feel about it.”

About China’s reaction to US-Pakistan interactions, she said, “[it] has more to do with what the US has said, rather than what Pakistan has said.

“This is none of your business,” said Ms Yun when asked about China’s reaction to the US suggestion that Pakistan should renegotiate its debt with Beijing.


“Dan, is it none of our business?” Moderator Shamila Chaudhary asked another panelist, Daniel Markey of the US Institute of Peace (USIP).

“At some level, of course, it is our business… We look at its debt burden… have concerns about the growth of its economy. We see Pakistan going to the IMF and other lenders. So, of course, it’s right that the US asks questions about the other forms of debts that Pakistan holds, including from China,” he said. “Gap in transparency is also a cause of concern for us.”

Pakistan’s envoy in Washington, Masood Khan, however, explained how the end of the war in Afghanistan had created an opportunity for Pakistan and the United States to start afresh.

“Pakistan-US relations have been de-hyphenated from India and Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Khan in his keynote address at the two-day conference, organised by the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), University of Lahore, the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and Engro Corporation here this week.

“The US policy in the past was based on regional equilibrium,” the ambassador said, adding that the US relationship with India stood on its own. “We are engaged right now to recalibrate, reenergise and rejuvenate a broad-based relationship in the new technological age,” he said.

Others were not as confident. Former Chief of Naval Staff Tahir Afzal suggested correcting past mistakes to build a better relationship. “The relationship needs another event. When there is an event, the relations will be good. When the event is over, we will move from being the cornerstone of US policy to being the most sanctioned country,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#China to #US: Ties with #Pakistan ‘none of your business’. China Expert Yun Sun: “China has plenty of confidence that its relationship with Pakistan is going to continue regardless of the modality of US-Pakistan relations.” #CPEC #India #XiJingping https://www.dawn.com/news/1718723

Ms Chaudhary, a non-resident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council, noted that Pakistan was not even mentioned in the new US national security strategy, released last month, although “there’s a lot of conversation” about the region, as well as Afghanistan and India.

“The strategy is talking around Pakistan, but if you look at the themes of strategy …there’s a lot of fruitful conversation that we can have about how US and Pakistan can collaborate with each other.”

Mr Markey noted that some equate strategic stability in Pakistan with the safety of its nuclear assets. Noting that this was “a very narrow context,” he said, Pakistan was also strategically important to the US because “it’s an enormous country”.

The nuclear issue, however, was “central to the US interests” as it would like to “ensure that these types of weapons are never used”.

The nuclear issue was also “central to Pakistan’s sense of its own security. It is at the core of Pakistan’s security in the region. So, that continues to be a strategic concern,” he said.

Mr Markey noted that the US has a strategic partnership with India, while Pakistan has a strategic partnership with China and this arrangement too has become strategically important as US-China and Pakistan-India relations are strained. The US and Pakistan, he said, “need a firm and established equilibrium… to move forward”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia Wants To Participate In The #China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor. Russia’s vision for its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) passes through the #CPEC, as part of China’s #BRI. #Afghanistan #India #Eurasia | OilPrice.com https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Russia-Wants-To-Participate-In-The-China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=tw_repost #oilprice

By Jamestown Foundation

On September 27, the Taliban government in Afghanistan disclosed a deal it signed with Russia to import petroleum products and wheat at a discounted rate (Al Jazeera, September 28). The deal came days before Russia agreed to provide petrol to Pakistan on deferred payments and extend its gas pipeline infrastructure in Central Asia to the Islamic republic (see EDM, October 5).

In truth, Russia has been seeking expanded ties in Southwest Asia in recent months. Moscow’s deepening involvement with Pakistan and Afghanistan is all about preparing for Russia’s entry into the $62 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Russia’s growing interest in the CPEC comes against the backdrop of budding Russian-Pakistani relations over the past few years. Moscow was willing to join the CPEC in 2016 when it requested Islamabad to allow Russia to use Gwadar Port for its exports. This strategically located port along the Arabian Sea in Pakistan’s Balochistan province is an essential part of the CPEC. Islamabad accorded approval to Moscow’s request, and then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his visit to Turkmenistan in November 2016, welcomed the Kremlin’s decision to join the project (Hindustan Times, November 26, 2016). In 2019, the two countries, during a meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability in Islamabad, agreed to the proposed seven-point road map for boosting bilateral relations. The visiting Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Russian participation in the CPEC was among the seven points, which also included the signing of a free-trade agreement between Moscow and Islamabad as well as a deepening of strategic defense relations (Times of Islamabad, March 28, 2019).

What does joining the CPEC mean for Moscow in a strategic sense? In fact, Russia’s vision for its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) passes through the CPEC, as part of China’s BRI. Through its participation in the CPEC, the Kremlin will seek to merge the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with the BRI. In April 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the Second BRI Forum for International Cooperation that five EAEU member states had unanimously supported the idea of pairing the EAEU’s development with the BRI. Overall, an EAEU-BRI merger would be a real step forward in Moscow’s quest to realize the goals of the GEP, which, beyond connecting with the BRI, also include improving connectivity with Iran, India and Southeast Asia (Russiancouncil.ru, June 3, 2020). With its geostrategic location, which marks the confluence of South, Central and Southwest Asia, Pakistan has the strong potential to play a promising role in making the GEP a reality. Thus, Putin recently characterized Pakistan as one of Russia’s “priority partners” in Asia (see EDM, October 5).

Why does China want Russia to join the CPEC? Whereas Russia’s participation in the CPEC will strengthen and boost Sino-Russian cooperation and brighten prospects for economic integration in the region, it might also appease India, which is fiercely opposed to the CPEC traversing Pakistani regions claimed by New Delhi. China wants Russia to play its role in brokering a peace agreement between the two arch rivals—India and Pakistan—to save the CPEC (Pakistan Today, January 10, 2017).

Riaz Haq said...

RIAC :: Pakistan’s Role in Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnershi


Connectivity is one of the key trends of the 21st century, which Russia is fully embracing with its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) in order to counteract the chaotic processes unleashed throughout the course of the ongoing systemic transition from unipolarity to multipolarity. This outlook sets forth the grand strategic task of integrating with some of the former countries of the erstwhile Soviet Union through the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and then further afield with the other regions of Eurasia in order to benefit from the growing cross-supercontinental trade between Europe and Asia. President Putin declared during the second Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in April 2019 that this Chinese-led project “rimes with Russia’s idea to establish a Greater Eurasian Partnership” and that “The five EAEU member states have unanimously supported the idea of pairing the EAEU development and the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt project”. It naturally follows that the pairing of the EAEU with BRI would involve Russia improving its connectivity with the latter’s flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in South Asia, thereby endowing Pakistan with an important role in the GEP. The rapidly improving relations between Moscow and Islamabad, as well as the peacemaking efforts undertaken by those two states and other stakeholders in Afghanistan across 2019, raise the prospect of a future trade corridor traversing through the countries between them and thus creating a new axis of Eurasian integration that would complete the first envisaged step of bringing the EAEU and BRI closer together. In pursuit of this multilaterally beneficial outcome, it’s important to explain the policymaking and academic bases behind it so as to prove the viability of this proposal.

Riaz Haq said...

A new study on China’s global influence puts Pakistan at the top of the list.


Cambodia and Singapore are in second and third place respectively as the “most exposed” to Beijing’s influence. Among the top 10 countries most exposed to influence by China, eight are in Asia. Paraguay, North Macedonia and Albania were ranked as ‘least influenced.’

The China Index 2022 explores China’s influence in 82 countries by asking experts to respond to questions about China’s activities in their country. The study was conducted and published by the China in the World (CITW) network, an initiative of Taiwan-based anti-disinformation group, Doublethink Lab.

The report asked questions across nine domains to assess each country’s exposure to Chinese influence.

The domains included media, academia, economy, society, military, law enforcement, technology, domestic politics and foreign policy. Some of Beijing’s activities abroad included paid trips for government officials, scholarships for students, journalism training, research funding, trade, investment and military cooperation.

Puma Shen, chairperson of Doublethink Lab told VOA this research lets people around the world see how China approaches their country.

“By comparing all these rankings and comparing all the different strategy, all these countries could learn [about] each other, like how to counter Chinese influence operations,” he said.

Measuring China’s influence

The report measures influence through three indicators, ‘exposure,’ ‘pressure’ and ‘effect.’

Exposure to China’s initiatives abroad make a country vulnerable to China’s influence, for example, economic dependence or receiving other benefits.

How much ‘pressure’ China puts on a specific country includes either direct or indirect actions by Beijing with the aim of altering people’s behavior.

The actual impact or the extent to which a country accommodates China’s demands, is described as ‘effect’ in the study.

Pakistan ranks #1

Pakistan, the county most exposed to China’s influence in the Index received a 70% rating on exposure, 10% on pressure and 75% on effect. However, the report says these percentages “do not suggest some degree out of a “completely influenced” level of 100%. The percentages express the country’s score out of the total achievable amount based on the indicators for each domain.”

According to the report, China’s influence in Pakistan is most active in the domains of technology, foreign policy and military.

Riaz Haq said...

A new study on China’s global influence puts Pakistan at the top of the list.


Pakistan-China ties

Experts said it is not surprising to see Pakistan at the top of the China Index 2022 as both share an almost 600 km (373 miles) border with each other and a historic rivalry with India.

Decades old strategic ties between the two have deepened since the U.S. ramped up efforts to bolster India to counter China’s growing ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We cannot decouple and only look at Pakistan and China because to be fair, you also have to look at how the U.S. and India are also working it because there is also this sort of strategic quadrilateral relationship” said Syed Muhammad Ali, non-resident scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute.

Others point out that Pakistan’s closeness with China is also a result of Islamabad’s ties with the West cooling off, especially during the last decade.

Arif Rafiq, President of Vizier Consulting, a political risk advisory company told VOA for Pakistan, China is filling a void left by the West.

“China provides Pakistan with goods and materials and funds that it can't get from elsewhere, …that includes military hardware, …advanced technologies related to satellite remote sensing, and also includes funding for electric power plants and infrastructure,” said Rafiq.

In recent years the two countries have struck deals to jointly build submarines and fighter jets. Between 2017 and 2021, Pakistan imported 72% of its major arms from China according to the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

While the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) launched in 2015 is considered the jewel in the crown of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative with roughly $60 billion worth of infrastructure and energy projects, in October local media reported Beijing and Islamabad also agreed to officially launch three new corridors in the areas of agriculture, health and technology.

Pakistan’s top spot on the China Index 2022 also shows Beijing’s reliance on Islamabad, said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at Washington’s Wilson Center.

“These results highlight the fact that the strategic interests of China require a significant level of engagement and influence building with Pakistan,” Kugelman said.

Riaz Haq said...

Russia and Pakistan might cut unprecedented oil deal, with China as middleman
January 22, 2023 Wajahat S. Khan


Cold War rivals Russia and Pakistan are negotiating an agreement for the Russians to start selling cheap oil to energy-starved Pakistan in March.

This will make Islamabad yet another Asian customer of Russian crude at a time when Moscow’s cash inflows are limited by a G7/EU oil cap and sanctions. Also, considering Pakistan is dead broke, payments will be made through a “friendly” country, presumably China – a power play for Beijing, whose yuan will be used for the transactions, giving the currency more sway as an alternative to the US dollar.

How is this deal going to affect American interests in the region? And why is Pakistan, which wants to balance its ties with Washington, giving business to the Russians through China?

First, some history. Although the agreement isn’t finalized, it’ll be geopolitically novel when it is because Pakistan is an unlikely destination for Russian business. Unlike India, Islamabad and Moscow have had no commercial ties for decades.

Considering Pakistan spent the Cold War spying on the USSR and/or attacking its troops in Afghanistan (the Soviet Union paid back in kind by arming India, Pakistan’s archrival), the two sides haven’t exactly behaved like partner-material.

Enter China. Pakistan and China have been “Iron Brothers” for decades. Even though Islamabad was a non-treaty US ally until not too long ago, the Pakistanis and the Chinese have always remained “all-weather friends.”

However, as India settled into the role of becoming America’s strategic partner in the region, displacing Pakistan as the preferred South Asian ally over the last two decades, the Chinese encouraged Pakistan to open up to the Russians, and vice versa. Now, a once hesitant Islamabad doesn’t just want Russian oil, but also natural gas, weapons and more. Still, Islamabad wants to stay aligned with the American camp.

Why is Pakistan doing this? Islamabad’s energy bills make the biggest chunk of its imports. Cheaper oil from Russia will obviously help its escalating balance of payments crisis and ballooning trade deficit.

But the biggest issue is with dwindling foreign exchange reserves. A year ago, Pakistan had $17 billion in the bank. Today, foreign reserves have dwindled to $4.3 billion, which will pay for less than a month of imports.

To manage the dollar crunch, Pakistan could use the Chinese yuan in a swap with China to pay Russia once the oil flows in (it expects to get 35% of its annual crude oil imports from 70 million barrels of Russian crude), putting its import-regime firmly in the China-Russia camp.

Pakistan thus finds itself between a rock and a hard place: It needs the cheap Russian oil but also wants to avoid antagonizing the US and its friends in the Gulf, Pakistan’s main energy suppliers — especially considering that Islamabad has been negotiating bailouts with the Washington-backed IMF and deferred oil payments from the Saudis and the Emiratis.

While the Pakistanis defend their position by citing neighboring India as an example of a country that buys Russian oil even as it tilts towards the US and deals with the Gulf states, Islamabad is in a very different position compared to New Delhi because Pakistan is crawling toward default.

But that’s exactly how Washington and Beijing might find confluence to stop Pakistan from failing. “The US view on this is that countries like Pakistan may at times be strategically important, but in the great power competition between China and US, it doesn’t matter a whole lot,” says Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Beyond Pakistan’s limited importance as a partner for counterterrorism in Afghanistan, he assesses that the view from Washington is that if others want to share the burden of propping up Pakistan and stabilizing its economy, so be it.

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Bilal I Gilani
Who wants to partner with whom

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants to partner with whom

•Among different religious groups, US is ahead of China in preference for economic partnership. However, the gap is narrowest among Muslim respondents.



Bilal I Gilani
A representative sample of men and women in Pakistan was asked the following question: “Which of the following would you prefer your country to partner with economically – ” 56% responded China, 13% preferred US, 8% said Russia while another 8% said Others

Gallup International



Bilal I Gilani
•Interesting to note that just like economic preference, low-income economies prefer China for security partnership.

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants to partner with whom



Bilal I Gilani
Pakistan tops the world in terms of wanting to have security partnership with China

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants to partner with whom



Bilal I Gilani
Out of the 64 countries that were surveyed, South Korea tops security preference for US, Pakistan tops preference for China, while Serbia tops the preference for Russia and EU for security partnership

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants to partner with whom



Bilal I Gilani
•Popularity of economic partnership with China was found to be highest in Sub Saharan Africa followed by MENA region. The least support was found in EU (lower than even US)

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants to partner with whom



Bilal I Gilani
•Younger populations are more amiable towards China when it comes to striking Economic partnership. 23% of respondents under the age of 34 preferred China. Only 11 % in 55+ age bracket across the globe.



Bilal I Gilani
Pakistan, UAE and Nigeria are at the bottom for economic partnership with EU.

Gallup International survey in 64 countries on who wants economic partnership with whom



Bilal I Gilani
Yemen, Pakistan and Russia top in willingness to pursue economic partnership with China.

Gallup international survey on who wants to partner with whom in the global rivals US , China , Russia


Riaz Haq said...

U.S., China Plunge Further Into a Spiral of Hostility


After tiptoeing toward a rapprochement, any fence-mending now has been postponed

Harsh new verbal attacks on the U.S. by Beijing’s top leadership demonstrate just how unsteady relations have become between the world’s two major powers.

Just a few weeks ago, China and the U.S. were tiptoeing toward something akin to a diplomatic cease-fire. President Biden’s envoy was due in Beijing to craft a possible framework for high-level government-to-government dialogues and stabilize ties after years of bitterness.

Then, a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was detected crossing North America, casting a new shadow over relations. The fence-mending trip was postponed and relations between the two powers have plunged further into a spiral of recrimination and tension.

This week, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his foreign minister accused Washington of suppressing China’s development and driving the two countries toward conflict.

“Everything the other side does is seen as negative and done with evil intention,” said Suisheng Zhao, a China foreign-policy specialist at the University of Denver. “That is the Cold War mentality.”

China’s leader, Mr. Xi, elevated the rhetorical tension with an accusation straight out of that bygone era, a breakdown both sides insist they don’t want. China, Mr. Xi charged, faces “all-around containment, encirclement and suppression” at the hands of Western nations in league with the U.S.

On Tuesday, his new foreign minister, Qin Gang, followed up with a warning that unless the U.S. changes course “there will surely be conflict and confrontation.”

A spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, when asked about the rhetoric from Beijing, said the Biden administration policy is unchanged: It seeks competition with China, not conflict.

“There is nothing about our approach to this most consequential of bilateral relationships that should lead anybody to think that we want conflict,” he told reporters Tuesday. “We absolutely want to keep it at that level.”

The breadth of discord in U.S.-China ties, however, shows the difficulties in constraining tensions. The Biden administration has continued Trump-era trade tariffs, sharpened controls on exports of advanced semiconductors and rallied allies and other countries to counter China’s influence around the world.

Beijing has drawn closer to Moscow, including during its war on Ukraine, and stepped up military provocations against Taiwan, while last summer cutting off more of the few channels for U.S. dialogue that had existed, including military-to-military exchanges.

Congress has added to the strains. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said Tuesday he will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen when she travels to the U.S. this year. Beijing wants to isolate Taiwan and Ms. Tsai to force the island to unify with China. Mr. McCarthy’s predecessor, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, infuriated Beijing last summer by visiting Taiwan.

For years, Mr. Xi has sounded ever-darker in his assessments of international relations, though until this week he usually avoided criticizing the U.S. by name. In the past, he has also warned fellow officials to be ready for unpredictable events with dire consequences, known as black swans.

Riaz Haq said...

A Threshold Alliance: The China-Pakistan Military Relationship
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 / BY: Sameer P. Lalwani, Ph.D.


Geopolitical shifts in South Asia over the past decade, driven by sharper US-China competition, a precipitous decline in China-India relations, and the 2021 withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, have pushed the Chinese and Pakistani militaries closer together. The countries’ armies and navies are increasingly sharing equipment, engaging in more sophisticated joint exercises, and interacting more closely through staff and officer exchanges. Yet, as this report concludes, a full China-Pakistan alliance is not inevitable, as Chinese missteps and other sources of friction could slow its consummation.

Despite China’s eschewal of formal alliances, the China-Pakistan military partnership has deepened significantly over the past decade, approaching a threshold alliance. The trajectory toward a military alliance is not, however, inevitable.
China is Pakistan’s most important defense partner since the end of the Cold War. Beijing has become the leading supplier of Pakistan’s conventional weapons and strategic platforms and the dominant supplier of Pakistan’s higher-end offensive strike capabilities.
China’s military diplomacy with Pakistan quantitatively and qualitatively rivals its military partnership with Russia. China and Pakistan have accelerated the tempo of joint military exercises, which are growing in complexity and interoperability. Increasingly compatible arms supply chains and networked communications systems could allow the countries to aggregate their defense capabilities.
The prospects for China projecting military power over the Indian Ocean from Pakistan’s Western coast are growing. Chinese basing has meaningful support within Pakistan’s strategic circles. The material and political obstacles to upgrading naval access into wartime contingency basing appear to be surmountable and diminishing over time.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Chinese Apps Are the Favorites of Young Americans
It isn’t just the algorithms, but lessons from a cutthroat culture


The concern around TikTok in Washington is drawing fresh attention to how Chinese apps have woven themselves into the fabric of young Americans’ lives—and what makes them so popular.

Four of the five hottest apps in the U.S. in March were forged in China. Algorithms are often cited as their secret sauce. An often overlooked facet is how cutthroat competition for users at home has given Chinese firms a leg up over Western rivals.

Much like during China’s rise to manufacturing dominance a few decades ago, Chinese tech companies have harnessed a labor pool of affordable talent to constantly fine-tune product features.

The nonstop drive to get better even has a term in China’s tech industry: “embroidery.”

“Everybody works on improving their craft, stitch by stitch,” said Fan Lu, a venture-capital investor who invested in TikTok’s predecessor Musical.ly.

Seven-month-old Temu was the most downloaded app across U.S. app stores during the first three weeks of March, according to market-insights firm Sensor Tower. It was followed by TikTok’s video-editing partner app CapCut and TikTok itself. Fast-fashion retailer Shein came in fourth. Then came Facebook, the only non-Chinese app among the top five.

One illustration of how immersed American consumers are in an app ecosystem created by Chinese companies: Under the hashtags #temuhaul or #sheinhaul, Gen-Z shoppers have taken to display the result of their shopping sprees in TikTok videos with captions such as “$50 worth of very RANDOM items on TEMU.”


The popularity of the apps has gotten them caught in the crossfire of U.S.-China geopolitical tension—TikTok in particular. The Biden administration has threatened a possible ban on the app if ByteDance doesn’t sell its stakes in TikTok, citing national-security concerns. On Thursday, U.S. lawmakers pummeled TikTok’s Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew about Beijing’s potential influence over the app.

Beijing has opposed a TikTok sale and said it would never require companies to illegally gather data from overseas. Meanwhile, a bill gaining momentum in Washington would result in a blanket ban of broad categories of Chinese technology, including American teenagers’ favorite apps, if it is passed.

Riaz Haq said...

#TikTok, #Shein and #Temu: #Chinese #apps topped #US app-store rankings this month, showing the contrast between the Chinese and U.S. #tech industries. Four of the five hottest apps in the U.S. in March were forged in #China. #technology

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-chinese-apps-are-the-favorites-of-young-americans-a9a5064a?st=rdobpc1nq76mt9q via @WSJ

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Beijing’s opponents ‘may not allow’ alliance with Pakistan


WASHINGTON: Pakistan and China are engaged in a “threshold alliance” but Beijing’s opponents, particularly the US, may prevent it from becoming a fully-fledged alliance, says a recent US report.

The report titled The Future of the China-Pakistan Military Relati­onship describes the current status of the China-Pakistan relationship as “a threshold alliance,” but argues that it may not lead to a fully-fledged future alliance, “potentially due to China’s own missteps, or due to opponents’ active measures to arrest the relationship”.

The author, Sameer P. Lalwani, works for the US Institute of Peace (USIP), a federal institution with a Congressional mandate.

The report notes that in 2015, analysts forecast a decline in the China-Pakistan military ties, citing various reasons. But the same year, President Xi Jinping visited Pakis­tan and introduced CPEC as a “flagship” project and announced sale of eight submarines to Pakistan.

Now, in less than a decade, the China-Pakistan military relationship has “advanced from an episodic partnership to a threshold alliance”, the author argues.

The document claims that Pakistan’s major defence equipment is “increasingly sourced from China, especially the higher-end combat strike and power projection capabilities; and Pakistan continues to retire older US- and European-origin platforms”. But, more is needed for this threshold relationship to become a fully-fledged one. One indicator would be Beijing granting Pakistan more military aid and access to sensitive systems such as the J-20 stealth fighter or nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The other indication would be their militaries adopting a joint peacetime mission “to back each other in the event of a China-India or Pakistan-India border crisis”.

A final signal might be the Chinese Navy deploying maritime reconnaissance assets in Gwadar, it says.

The report, however, notes that both civilian and military leaders have “explicitly denied that Pakistan is drifting into Beijing’s camp and have eschewed pressures forcing them to choose between relations with China and the West”.

According to the report, in China’s and Pakistan’s current political and security environment, there are several points of friction that could slow or reverse the current trajectory of their military relationship.

Politically, China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim minority, in Xinjiang Province could hinder its ties with Pakistan by causing public dissent.

Moreover, China is growing weary of injecting cash into Pakistan’s economy or actively started pursuing economic and military investment in Iran at Pakistan’s expense.

Riaz Haq said...

S.L. Kanthan
In the last six years, China has lent $185 billion in emergency loans to developing nations. That’s more than the IMF.

Multipolar world where poor countries are not the mercy of one system. 👋🏻👇🏽

Also an important fact is that the majority of the loans are happening in Yuan

“Lender of last resort” — Bloomberg




Is China finally living up to its responsibility as the world’s second-largest economy? Or is it setting up a rival system of global governance as the relationship between Beijing and Washington gets sourer by the day?

Those are the questions raised – once again, the cognoscenti might say – by a new paper that lays out the growing role of China as a lender of last resort to countries in economic peril, of which there is now a growing list.

Among the findings of a new paper that my colleague Tom Hancock and I report on here:

From 2000-21, the People’s Bank of China and state-owned banks sent $240 billion to governments in the developing world in what amounted to emergency loans.
The bulk of that came in 2016-21, when 22 countries got some $185 billion, according to what the researchers were able to document.
That total surpassed the $144 billion that IMF data shows its members having drawn from the Washington-based lender during that time.
The research — by Sebastian Horn of the World Bank, Brad Parks of the William & Mary AidData project, former World Bank chief economist Carmen Reinhart and Christoph Trebesch of Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy — is part of a growing body of work looking at Chinese lending.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Don’t ask us to choose between the US and China


Pakistan’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar tells POLITICO emergence of two rival global power blocs is a threat.

Pakistan has enough problems — including escalating attacks by Taliban insurgents and a spiraling economic crisis — without the added headache of a new Cold War between China and the U.S.

In an interview with POLITICO, Pakistan’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar insisted Islamabad had no appetite to pick a side in the growing global rivalry between Washington and Beijing.

As a nuclear-armed heavyweight of 250 million people, Pakistan is one of the most closely watched front-line states in the contest for strategic influence in Asia. While Pakistan’s old Cold War partner Washington is increasingly turning its focus to cooperation with Islamabad’s arch-foe India, China has swooped in to extend its sway in Pakistan — particularly through giant infrastructure projects.

Khar insisted, however, that Islamabad was worried about the repercussions of an all-out rupture between the U.S. and China, which would present Pakistan with an unpalatably binary strategic choice. “We are highly threatened by this notion of splitting the world into two blocs,” Khar said on a visit to Brussels. “We are very concerned about this decoupling … Anything that splits the world further.”

She added: “We have a history of being in a close, collaborative mode with the U.S. We have no intention of leaving that. Pakistan also has the reality of being in a close, collaborative mode with China, and until China suddenly came to everyone’s threat perception, that was always the case.”

It’s clear why Pakistan still sees advantages to walking the strategic tightrope between the U.S. and China. Although U.S. officials have expressed frustration over Pakistan’s historic ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan — and have rowed back on military aid — Washington is still a significant military partner. Last year, the U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of $450 million worth of equipment to maintain Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets.

Simultaneously, Beijing is pledging to deepen military cooperation with Pakistan — partly to outflank the common enemy in India — and is delivering frigates to the Pakistani navy. China is also building roads, railways, hospitals and energy networks in its western neighbor. While these Chinese investments have boosted the country’s economic development, there are also downsides to going all in with China, with Beijing’s critics arguing that Pakistan has become overly indebted and financially dependent on China.

Khar grabbed headlines in April when a leaked memo appeared in the Wall Street Journal in which she was cited as warning that Pakistan’s instinct to preserve its partnership with the U.S. would harm what she deemed the country’s “real strategic” partnership with China.

She declined to comment on that leak, but took a more bullish line on continued American power in her interview in Brussels, saying the U.S. was unnecessarily fearful and defensive about being toppled from its plinth of global leadership, which she argued remained vital in areas such as healthcare, technology, trade and combating climate change.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Don’t ask us to choose between the US and China


“I don’t think the leadership role is being contested, until they start making other people question it by being reactive,” she said. “I believe that the West underestimates the value of its ideals, soft power,” she added, stressing Washington’s role as the world’s standard setter. China biggest selling point for Pakistan, she explained, was an economic model for lifting a huge population out of poverty.

Leverage — and the lack of it — in Kabul
Khar’s sharpest criticism of U.S. policy centered on Afghanistan, where she said restrictions intended to hobble the Taliban were backfiring, causing a humanitarian and security crisis, pushing many Afghans to “criminal activities, narcotics strategy and smuggling.”

A weakened Afghanistan is causing increased security problems for Pakistan, and the Taliban in Kabul are widely seen as supporting an expanding terror campaign waged by the Pakistani Taliban. Ironically, given the long history of Pakistan’s engagement with the Afghan Taliban, Islamabad is finding it difficult to exercise its influence and secure Kabul’s help in reining in the latest insurgency wave.

When the Afghan Taliban seized power in Kabul in 2021, Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Imran Khan celebrated their victory against “[American] slavery” and spy chief Faiz Hameed made a visit to Kabul and cheerily predicted “everything will be O.K.” Khar, who took office last year, said Khan had reacted “rather immaturely” and argued her government always knew “the leverage was over-projected.”

While the violence has put Pakistan’s soldiers and police on the front line of the fight against the Taliban at home, Khar said Islamabad was taking a highly diplomatic approach in seeking to win round the Taliban in Afghanistan, pursuing political engagement and focusing on economic development — rather than strong-arm tactics.

“Threatening anyone normally gets you worse results than the ones you started with. Even when it is exceptionally difficult to engage at a point when you think your red lines have not been taken seriously, we will still try the route of engagement.”

She firmly rejected the idea that any other country — either the U.S. or China — could play a role in helping Pakistan defeat the Taliban with military deployments. “When it comes to boots on the ground, we would welcome no one,” she said.

Pakistan is seeking bailout cash from the International Monetary Fund as the economy is hammered by blazing inflation and collapsing reserves. When asked whether she reckoned Washington was holding back on supporting Pakistan, partly to test whether China would step up and play a bigger role in ensuring the country’s stability, Khar replied: “I would be very unhappy if that were the case.”

No to navies
When it came to Europe’s role in the Indo-Pacific region, she was wary of the naval dimensions of EU plans, an element favored by France. She was particularly hostile to any vision of an Indo-Pacific strategy that was dedicated to trying to contain Chinese power in tandem with working with India.

One of the leading fears of the U.S. has long been that China could use its investments in the port of Gwadar to build a naval foothold there, a move that would inflame tensions with India, and allow Beijing to project greater power in the Indian Ocean.

Khar said Europe should tread carefully in calibrating its plan for the region.

“I would be very concerned if it is exclusively or predominantly a military-based strategy, which will then confirm it is a containment strategy, it must not be a containment strategy,” she said of the EU’s Indo-Pacific agenda.

“[If it’s] a containment strategy of a certain country, which then courts a certain country that is a very belligerent neighbor to Pakistan, then instead of stabilizing the region, it is endangering the region.”

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC Results According to Wang Wenbin of China


Bilal I Gilani
CPEC projects are creating 192,000 jobs, generating 6,000MW of power, building 510 km (316 miles) of highways, and expanding the national transmission network by 886 km (550 miles),” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing."

Associated Press of Pakistan: On July 5, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif while addressing a ceremony to mark a decade of signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said that CPEC has been playing a key role in transforming Pakistan’s economic landscape. He also said that the mega project helped Pakistan progress in the region and beyond. What is your response?

Wang Wenbin: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a signature project of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era, and an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of CPEC. After ten years of development, a “1+4” cooperation layout has been formed, with the CPEC at the center and Gwadar Port, transport infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation being the four key areas. Projects under CPEC are flourishing all across Pakistan, attracting USD 25.4 billion of direct investment, creating 192,000 jobs, producing 6,000 megawatts of electric power, building 510 kilometers of highways and adding 886 kilometers to the core national transmission network. CPEC has made tangible contribution to the national development of Pakistan and connectivity in the region. China and Pakistan have also explored new areas for cooperation under the framework of CPEC, creating new highlights in cooperation on agriculture, science and technology, telecommunication and people’s wellbeing.

China stands ready to work with Pakistan to build on the past achievements and follow the guidance of the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries on promoting high-quality development of CPEC to boost the development of China and Pakistan and the region and bring more benefits to the people of all countries.


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The mega undertaking (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC) has created nearly 200,000 direct local jobs, built more than 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) of highways and roads, and added 8,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, ending years of blackouts caused by power outages in the country of 230 million people.


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing earlier this month that CPEC projects "are flourishing all across Pakistan," making a "tangible contribution" to the national development of the country and to regional connectivity.

But critics say many projects have suffered delays, including several much-touted industrial zones that were supposed to help Pakistan enhance its exports to earn much-needed foreign exchange.

The country's declining dollar reserves have prevented Islamabad from paying Chinese power producers, leading to strains in many ties.

Pakistan owes more than $1.26 billion (350 billion rupees) to Chinese power plants. The amount keeps growing, and China has been reluctant to defer or restructure the payment and CPEC debts. All the Chinese loans – both government and commercial banks – makeup nearly 30% of Islamabad's external debt.

Some critics blame CPEC investments for contributing to Pakistan's economic troubles. The government fended off the risk of an imminent default by securing a short-term $3 billion International Monetary Fund bailout agreement this month.

Security threats to its citizens and interests in Pakistan have also been a cause of concern for China. Militant attacks have killed several Chinese nationals in recent years, prompting Beijing to press Islamabad to ensure security measures for CPEC projects.

Diplomatic sources told VOA that China has lately directed its diplomats and citizens working on CPEC programs to strictly limit their movements and avoid visiting certain Pakistani cities for security reasons.

"They [Chinese] believe this security issue is becoming an impediment in taking CPEC forward," Senator Mushahid Hussain, the chairman of the defense committee of the upper house of the Pakistani parliament, told VOA in an interview earlier this month.

"Recurring expressions of concern about the safety and security of Chinese citizens and investors in Pakistan by top Chinese leaders indicate that Pakistan's promises of 'foolproof security' for Chinese working in Pakistan have yet to be fulfilled," said Hussain, who represents Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's ruling party in the Senate.