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Archive for category China- Global Security

China to sell an aircraft carrier to Pakistan

 

China to sell an aircraft carrier to Pakistan

 


China, as part of its recent military and foreign policies, has planned to upgrade on a large scale its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to sell it to Pakistan, its ally, in order to compete with India. This selling is to increase Pakistani Navy’s strength, facing India equally and making of Pak a better ally for China.


China to sell an aircraft carrier to Pakistan 2An aircraft carrier fleet of the Chinese PLA Navy arrives in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 7 for a visit to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. The fleet comprises the country’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning, two destroyers and a frigate. The fleet will leave Hong Kong on July 11.  (Picture source: PLA HK Garrison)


An official media report separately disclosed that China has planned to carry out a “large-scale upgrade” of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and “sell it to Pakistan to compete with India”! It described Pakistan “as the best destination for it” and said that by then the Liaoning, which was commissioned into the PLAN in September 2012, will have served the Chinese Navy for about 18 years. Gwadar and Karachi are already described by Chinese Navy strategists as a “logistics base” and “PLA Navy (PLAN) base” respectively. This does mean that the carrier could be sold to Pak by 2020.

This isn’t the only military vehicle that China wants to sell to Pakistan. During the past few months, plenty of armament and vehicles have been sold to Pakistani armed forces, including nuclear weapons technology, warships, aircraft and missiles. In addition to that, China and Pakistan both take part to more and more joint exercises on their shared borders. Moreover, is China sending aircraft to Pakistan to help them understand Indian aircraft’s technologies and characteristics, in order to counter them more efficiently (J-11, J-11B and Su-30MKK to simulate India’s Su-30MKI, and J-10C to simulate the Rafale fighters India is to acquire).

Military cooperation between those two countries seems to increase more and more all along the months. And China appears intending to integrate Pakistan into its military system to fulfil its global ambitions. Pakistan would then become an outpost for Chinese extended global maritime reach.

All of this can largely be explained by the intentions China has to extend its military and political influence beyond its borders. Recently, China actually has shown to the world its desire to militarily secure the South China Sea, and maybe even the Indian Ocean, by increasing its military power and presence in these areas. In order to make it possible, China has made the decision to deeply transform its armed forces by enhancing its naval capabilities, through the building of brand new vessels, but also through the training of more maritime personnel.

PLA Navy (PLAN) strategists emphasized that, in order to be able to achieve such goals, China would have to launch new carrier battle formations in East and South China. Therefore, China has decided to build 5 aircraft carriers and launch them by 2025-2030. Another 6th could even be considered but whether this one will be built remains uncertain.


 

 

 

 

 

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Bajwa’s Beijing sojourn by S M Hali

Bajwa’s Beijing sojourn

According to the Chinese media, in all the meetings, both the sides have resolved to strengthen the relations between, Pakistan and China and continue the progress of the CPEC. China appreciated the security initiatives taken by the Pakistan Army for the ongoing CPEC projects and expressed the desire to benefit from Pakistan’s military experience

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China Counters Indian Influence in South Asia By Sajjad Shaukat

China Counters Indian Influence in South Asia

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Under the caption “Chinese investment in Bangladesh rings India alarm bells, Beijing deepens ties across South Asia billion infrastructure loans”, a news item was published in the Financial Times on August 7, 2018. Its summary is:  “China has invested $3.7bn in Bangladesh to built a 6 km long bridge over Padma River which will link north and south Bangladesh by road and rail. India is disturbed over Chinese growing influence in South Asia where it funded similar projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives. It is ringing alarm bells in India which surrounds Bangladesh on three sides and considers itself as Dhaka’s principal ally. India should be concerned, given the role China is also playing in other countries which surround it. In Pakistan, Beijing is planning to spend $60bn on roads, railways and power plants as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will give China access to the sea via Gwadar port on Pakistan’s south coast. In the Maldives, it has signed a trade agreement and has been handed a contract to build a new airport that was originally granted to the Indian company GMR Infrastructure. In Sri Lanka, it has taken control of the southern port of Hambantota after Colombo was unable to repay the money it borrowed from Chinese state-backed lenders to build it.”

 

In fact, China is countering Indian influence in South Asia, as New Delhi has planned to establish its hegemony in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this regard, the fast-growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with the Third World has irked the eyes of Americans, Israelis, some Western countries and particularly, Indians. Owing to jealousy, America desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia.

 

America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms, and aircraft. During President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the US and India announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. Besides, America also announced $4 billion of new initiatives aimed at boosting trade and investment ties as well as jobs for the Indians. During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to America, the then President Barack Obama strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Earlier; Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with New Delhi. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on a larger scale. In the recent past, during the meeting in Washington, the US President Donald Trump also gave the same assurances to Modi.

 

 

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By availing the US secret diplomacy, in the pretext of the presumed threat of China, India has been trying to establish her dominance in South Asia.

 

Historically, India has continued interventionist and hegemonic policies vis-à-vis her neighbours through its secret agency RAW. Besides supporting separatism in East Pakistan which resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and continued assistance to the separatist elements of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, New Delhi occupied Sikkim, subdued Bhutan, sponsored terrorism in Sri Lanka, and has been teasing Nepal.

 

As part of the double game, India has also been making a cordial relationship with the small countries of South Asia with a view to colonializing them gradually. For example, during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi, India and Bangladesh on April 8, 2017, signed 22 agreements in the fields of defence cooperation, civil nuclear energy, space and cyber security among others, following bilateral talks between Indian Prime Minister Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart. Both the countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through which India would extend a line of credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence-related procurements.

 

India is planning to counteract China’s influence in Sri Lanka. In this respect, two different stories in published in Indian media, need attention.

 

In this context, on April 27, 2017, on a website, LiveMint.Com, Elizabeth Roche under the title, “India renews Sri Lanka ties to counter China influence in South Asia” wrote, “India moved to cement closer economic ties with Sri Lanka in a bid to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the Indian Ocean region and South Asia. A pact on economic cooperation was signed in the presence of visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his host Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leaders welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation in the foreseeable future”, an Indian foreign ministry statement said without giving details—Both sides expressed their commitment to ensuring that this mutually beneficial agenda is expeditiously implemented.”

 

Roche explained, “Analysts said this move by India was aimed at warding off increasing Chinese influence in South Asia which India considers its sphere of influence. In recent years, China has tried to co-opt Sri Lanka and the Maldives into its ambitious. One Belt One Road initiative—a programmes to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe—Given the subsequent hiccups in the neighborhoods first policy or placing—a deterioration of ties with Pakistan and strains in India-Nepal ties for instance—Modi seems to be looking at a new framework of ties with India’s neighbours with the aim of countering Chinese influence, Mansingh said. The new formula includes an element of strong economic cooperation, he said, pointing to India announcing the extension of a $4.5 billion line of credit for development infrastructure and other projects in Bangladesh and another $500 million for defence hardware purchases for Dhaka during the 7-9 April visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India.”

 

Similarly, Indian media and websites gave much coverage to an article, published by German TV Channel (Which also publishes online news items) under the title “India Nips at China’s Heels in Race to Collect Lanka Port Assets” written by Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria, April 26, 2017.

 

Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria wrote, “India is looking to invest in a colonial-era Sri Lankan oil-storage facility as it seeks to further its naval interests in the Indian Ocean and push China back in the process. A unit of state-owned Indian Oil Corp., the country’s largest refiner, is set to help fund the $350 million development of an 84-tank facility at the strategically located Trincomalee port on Sri Lanka’s east coast. India and Sri Lanka are also discussing setting up a refinery in the island nation, according to Shyam Bohra, managing director of Indian Oil’s subsidiary Lanka IOC. The talks come before a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi. Still, India’s interests in the Sri Lankan port are probably more strategic than economic, part of its effort to displace hefty investment coming into the country from China and preserving a key gateway to the Indian Ocean. China is expanding both militarily and economically in the region, and its submarines have docked previously in Colombo. Lanka IOC is managing the 15 tanks and a lubricant blending unit. The governments of India and Sri Lanka have agreed in principle to jointly develop part of the tank farm…The Sri Lankan government has suggested that Lanka IOC retain 74 of the 84 reconstructed tanks through an equal joint venture with Ceylon Petroleum Corp., Chandima Weerakkody, Sri Lanka’s minister of petroleum resources development said by phone. The other 10 would be handed back to Ceylon Petroleum, he said… Shyam Bohra, managing director of Indian Oil’s subsidiary Lanka IOC said…Lanka IOC is open to the joint development of the tank farm. Something should definitely happen because we are very keen to see to it that the facility is developed, However, Weerakkody…the minister compared India’s investments unfavourably to China’s. India should expedite their projects that they engage in, he said. Chinese investments—they are pretty quick. India’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. If India’s investments materialize, the historic but relatively obscure port could become a hub for New Delhi, whose navy must go around Sri Lanka as it crosses from ports on India’s west coast in the Arabian Sea to those on the east coast in the Bay of Bengal. But New Delhi’s plans would almost certainly be worth far less than Beijing’s ambitious infrastructure-building in Sri Lanka. China has already built a port at Hambantota in Sri Lanka’s south in a move that alarmed Indian observers.”

 

Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria further wrote, “Beijing has also invested heavily in Gwadar, a port in Pakistan that serves as the terminus of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

 

As regards Nepal, on Nov 28, 2016, a memorandum was forwarded by the Greater Nepal Nationalist Front (GNNF) to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on facts, which disqualify India for attaining permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC). The memorandum pointed out that “these days India is vying for a permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat. Greater Nepal Nationalist Front (GNNF) would like to register…reservations against Indian candidature for a permanent seat in the esteemed UNSC.”

 

It said, “Nepal has been a victim of Indian hegemonic and high handed mentality. India imposed a blockade against Nepal…why was India annoyed with Nepal? Because the people of Nepal did not heed Indian advise on promulgating a Nepalese Constitution. India refused to accept the mandate of the people of Nepal as the constitution was approved by more than 90% vote of the Constituent Assembly. India continues to illegally occupy 60000 square Kilo Meters of Nepalese territory.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this context, on March 25, 2017, ABC News conducted a talk programme/interview with Mr Phanidra Nepal (Mr PN) Chairman of Greater Nepal Nationalist Front, and Dr Bishnu Dahal. In the programme, the discussion was carried out on the need to change Nepal’s foreign policy so that Kathmandu can maintain an equal level of relations with both Beijing and New Delhi. Mr PN said, “Border blockade, unrest in Madhesh, growing anti-India sentiments, excessive Indian interference in internal affairs of Nepal is largely the consequence of our faulty foreign policy and diplomacy…None of the current crises being faced by Nepal is an overnight development, rather these were expected long time ago due to India dependent policies of our country, but Nepalese leaders have failed to read the writing on the wall. China has never opposed maintaining good relations with India but India always managed to alienate Nepal from China. Most of the Nepalese leaders are guided by selfish motives and they try to climb an easy ladder to power through India. This is one of the main reasons that Nepal is subjected to undue Indian pressures, harassments and humiliations. Nepal will have to bear some economic hardship in the short term, but it can lessen all difficulties and achieve a sustainable growth in the long term if it adopts Chinese funded mega projects especially OBOR [China’s One Belt One Road] to reduce dependency on a single country, i.e. India. India is worried about visits of Greater Nepal’s campaigner Phanindra Nepal to China and through diplomatic channels may express her concerns.”

 

In this connection, in an article, under the caption, “Nepal leader vows to revive Chinese dam project, open to review pact over Nepalese soldiers in India”, Debasishroy Chowdhury wrote on February 25, 2018: “The campus was a US$350 million gift from China, which built it in two years and handed it over last year to the paramilitary force, which plays an important role in checking Tibetan refugees from entering Nepal. “Apart from the bricks and mortar, they brought everything from China. All the fittings, the furniture, everything,” says a visibly impressed Shrestha as he points to the overhead projector and the desks in one of the many classrooms. “This entire campus in just two years, imagine the level of efficiency…As a new government takes power in Kathmandu, this widening rift puts it on the cusp of a geopolitical transformation as Nepal seeks a hedge in China to counterbalance India’s traditional dominance.”

 

Nevertheless, India’s endeavour to alienate Nepal from China will not succeed, as a majority of the Nepalese is aware of this duplicity of New Delhi.

 

Regarding the Maldives, David Brewster pointed out on February 8, 2018: “Maldives opposition leaders, such as former president Mohamed Nasheed, are pushing for India to again intervene to restore democracy. However, Delhi’s biggest worry about the Maldives is not the current threat to democracy, but its tilt towards China, especially the possibility that Beijing may establish a naval and airbase there.” 

 

In the recent past, under the title, “Cold War between China and India”,  Jamshed wrote,

“Evidently the relationship between China and India has been strained due to border disputes and economic competition…However, both the countries are in the race to influence the region due to its geo-strategic location…The Global Times said in a recent editorial, “India has a strong desire to control all South Asian countries. It regards the region as its backyard. New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavour by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers. All small South Asian nations want to extricate themselves from India’s excessive leverage.” Particularly in the case of the Maldives, India has some very alarming type of fears and apprehensions with reference to the increasing Sino-Maldivian closeness. On request of the Maldivian government, China has consented on doing co-operation in the construction of a port in Northern Atoll. Moreover, last year on 8th December 2017 a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was also signed between the Maldives and China during Maldivian President Abdulla Yasmeen’s four-day visit to Beijing. By signing this agreement, the Maldives became the second South Asian country after Pakistan to sign an FTA with China. This deal also proved a ‘stunning blow’ for India. Earlier in August 2017, the Maldives permitted three Chinese warships to visit the country, though India had expressed its strong resentment over the decision. Same is the approach of India towards the countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar and even towards Bangladesh. Whereas, China also wants to have its presence as well as influence in the region.”

 

An analyst wrote, Nepal maintains cordial ties with all its neighbours. Since it is one of the less developed countries in the region, it is interested in seeking investment for its economic development. Kathmandu intends to diversify its economic interdependence and develop its reliance on all the South Asian countries for resources and development. Nepal and Bhutan can be a big source of hydropower for neighbours. Bhutan and Maldives view regional economic cooperation as a strategy to bring about economic self-reliance and mutual prosperity. Bhutan aims to improve air links and telecommunication between member states. The Maldives, on the other hand, is interested in joint economic ventures, and in achieving greater liberalization of its economy. China’s observer status in SAARC was a product of the push from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. China is investing in several infrastructure projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor in South Asia. It is also investing in mega projects in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and enjoys cordial relations with Nepal.”

 

Besides, as part of the double game, based in Afghanistan, CIA-led Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are also destabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan through terrorism-related attacks and are giving a greater setback to the collective efforts of Russia, China and Pakistan which want peace and stability in Afghanistan.

 

Nonetheless, China is successfully countering Indian influence in South Asia. New Delhi will have to understand that maintaining hegemony in the region through negative planning is a bad idea in the 21St century. If India has to create a positive role, she will have to lend a hand to its Chinese investment in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: the US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

 

 

Round Table Discussion

Pak China Relations:
Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

Organised By

MUSLIM Institute

     
MUSLIM Institute in collaboration with China Pakistan Educational and Cultural Institute organized a Round Table Discussion titled “Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective” on December 8, 2017, at Islamabad. Air Vice Marshal (R) Faaiz Amir (Vice Chancellor, Air University, Islamabad) chaired the session. Mr Tahir Mehmood (Public Relations Coordinator, MUSLIM Institute) delivered the opening remarks and moderated the proceedings. Other speakers include Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari (Former President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Prof. Le Wei (Dean, School of International Education, Yunnan University, China), Dr. Zhang Daojian (Director, Confucius Institute, NUML Islamabad), Mr. Tanvir Jafri (Incharge, China Study Centre, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad) and Mr. Me Heju (CEO, China Pakistan Educational & Cultural Institute). Mr Asif Tanveer Awan Advocate (Research Associate MUSLIM Institute) presented the vote of thanks.

Brief Summary of the remarks shared by the speakers is as follows:


Row 01 (From Left): Air Vice Marshal (R) Faaiz Amir, Prof. Le Wei, Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari
Row 02 (From Left): Dr. Zhang Daojian, Mr. Tanvir Jafri, Mr. Me Heju
Pak-China diplomatic relations were established in 1951. Pakistan is among those countries which recognized the People’s Republic of China soon after its revolution. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is also the first Muslim state to establish relations with China. An unshakeable mutual trust between both the states was seeded soon after the Bandung Conference in 1955 under the efforts of the Premier Zhou Enlai. Pak-China friendship, described by the political leadership of both the states is as higher as mountains, as deeper as oceans and as sweeter as honey is a unique and exceptional case in the international system. 

Pakistan is home to the vital link between China and the Muslim World. Both states have been rendering remarkable services for the sake of their mutual development in their transitional period of almost seven decades. For example, more than twenty-two major projects have been initiated by China in Pakistan which includes heavy mechanical complex, heavy electrical complex, tank rebuilding factory, aircraft rebuilding factory, Gwadar port, Karakoram Highway, Nuclear power plants etc.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be a reality and both countries have decided to establish an international economic hub. CPEC is a game changer because the fate of Pakistan, as well as the region of South Asia and even the world at large, is going to be changed. The current Chinese president, Mr Xi Jinping wants to make China an economic superpower and in the pursuance of these initiatives, One Belt One Road (OBOR) project is in the process of completion. This initiative will connect 65 countries of the whole world. An interesting fact regarding this initiative is that out of a total 65 countries, 55 are Muslim countries. It looks that the world order is going to be reconstructed. The centre of power is likely to be shifted from the West to the East. Pakistan is on the front line with China and CPEC will benefit both Pakistan and China economically. The One Belt One Road initiative would bring competition as well as stability between both the nations. It will not only improve infrastructure but also total export at large. The major task is based on five points. 1st is the policy communication, 2nd is the facility of connectivity, 3rd is regarding unlimited trade, 4th deals with mutual financing and the 5th considers strong people to people contact. If the two countries are devoid of indigenous connectivity, we will not be benefitting ourselves with the maximum potential enshrined in CPEC. They need to understand each other. They need to know their similarities as well as the differences so that they form the habit of respecting each other. In this respect, they will be able to explore their challenges mutually while influencing factors regarding their relationship in a positive manner. Most of the issues can be solved easily through academic, social and cultural exchanges and with also people to people contact between the two countries not only at the state level but also at an individual. The world is changing its dynamics and the China and Pakistan have a specific and unique role in the world generally and in the region at large. Both the countries enjoy the peculiarity of their own cultural values and abilities to face the change, in this regard, a famous Chinese scholar says “Everyone respect one’s own culture and values. If we respect others’ culture and values, the world will be full of hope”. 

However, there are cultural differences between the two nations and an acute sense of understanding regarding those cultural differences is very important. Pakistan is home to 200 million people contrary to 1.35 billion that of China. For cultural interaction and cultural affinity, the civilization of China has to be more sensitive towards the cultural adequacies of Islamic civilization. The significance of the promotion of China-Pakistan socio-cultural exchanges and people to people contact has increased.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
It will be better to enhance educational exchanges first which is the basic level. This level will disseminate a greater sense of opportunities regarding mutual understanding. Propagation of cultural affinity at student level deserves pivotal importance. In this respect, a high level of mutual confidence is required. It is really a good omen that Chinese students used to study in various universities of Pakistan. Both the governments are advised to invest heavily in the field of education while establishing world-class educational institutions under mutual operational capacity. It will help a great deal in achieving mutual recognition regarding educational qualification between both the nations. Moreover, collaboration in significant areas like that of language and culture is of pivotal importance. Another significant area is the establishment of vocational education institutes across Pakistan in the wake of world’s largest credible project CPEC. Because a large number of skilled workers will be needed soon to drive the project up to its maximum potential.

The academic contribution is considered as an ignored area with respect to other developmental areas. Humans are more important than projects. Up to May, 2017, Chinese institutions which officially set up Pakistan Research Centre include only seven special research institutions: Tsinghua University Pakistan Cultural Transmission Research Centre, Peking University Pakistan Research Centre, Sichuan University Pakistan Research Centre, Fudan University Pakistan Research Centre, Jiangsu Normal University Pakistan Research Centre, China West Normal University Pakistan Research Centre, Yunnan Nationalities University Pakistan Research Centre. In addition to above seven special research institutions, comparatively minimal number of scholars in other universities and scientific research institutions pay attention to jointly composed China’s Pakistan research team. Similarly, in Pakistan, a recent increase in academic and cultural studies was witnessed but still, it needs to be strengthened. Therefore, there is a dire need to establish and improve existing volume of Pakistan-China academic cooperation. It will help a great deal in further strengthening the already an unshakable relationship. In Pakistan, China Study Centre aims to promote cooperation in the field of science and technology. Various projects have been visualized by joint coordination with Chinese universities. A team of seven artists was warmly welcomed in Chinese universities. Another effort by the centre is the introduction of the Chinese way of flying a kite which is less dangerous as compared to the Pakistani way. Hundreds of kites were imported from China in order to celebrate Pak-China kite festival at China Study Centre. In addition, mass singing of Chinese anthem at China Study Centre is another feather in the centre’s cap. This singing has the privilege of first such kind in the history of Pakistan.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
A large number of Buddhist antiques and sculptures are present in different museums of Pakistan including Taxila Museum, Lahore Museum, Peshawar Museum, Dir Museum and Karachi Museum which is a treasure encompassing wonders not only for the Chinese tourists but for the researchers belonging to the field of archaeology. These assets are not only promoting tourism in Pakistan but also providing a chance of interaction between the two peoples.

Being the fourth pillar, Media play a very significant role in the development and prosperity of a nation. Chinese are advised to develop their own news agencies along with independent TV networks operating multilingual news along with encompassing a global reach. It will help a great deal in dealing with prevailing propagandas geo-politically against this historic friendship.

Although there exists healthy exchange of academicians, scholars, analysts, as well as researchers yet the up gradation of future prospects of socio-cultural and academic cooperation, is the need of the hour in concordance with the changing geopolitical scenario.

Interactive Session:Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective


Participants asking questions in interactive session
A fruitful discussion took place in interactive session it is summarized as follows:

People of China consider the folks of Pakistan their best friends. CPEC is a game changer which will benefit both countries of China and Pakistan. Pakistani students are under education in various departments of Chinese universities and their numbers have increased substantially after CPEC. They are being provided full time scholarships and other educational facilities. Although different academic scholars, analysts and students visit both sides thus enhancing future prospects of socio-cultural and academic relationship, but considering the capacity on both sides, a lot of work need to be done.

 

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CPEC and Gwadar by By Zahra Niazi THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

 OPINION

CPEC and Gwadar

By Zahra Niazi

Published: August 11, 2017

The writer is a freelance columnist

The writer is a freelance columnist

The city of Gwadar that we proudly own today did not belong to us. Our government bought it from the Sultanate of Oman in 1958. Only if Oman had known the fate of this land earlier, it probably would have never sold it to Pakistan. Now, Pakistan gladly reaps the reward while Oman silently observes.

It wouldn’t be unfair to credit Worth Condrick, the man who carried out a survey of the area and realised the worth of the land of Gwadar when Oman had known little about its value and was ready to get rid of it since Oman and Gwadar were geographically detached. Neither was it profitable to them. Additionally, the inhabitants of Gwadar were willing to join Pakistan.

A somewhat riveting fact is that Pakistan wasn’t the only country to which this land was offered. It was originally offered to India. It was India’s hard luck that it refused and Pakistan’s fortune that Gwadar was geographically contiguous to it. Today, the consequences are much harsher for India. Their angst is quite clear from the recent terrorist activities being carried out in Balochistan in order to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It was a few months ago that an Indian submarine was found lurking in the waters around the port. RAW networks are also active in Karachi and along the western border. The deep sea port of Gwadar can prove to be a major security threat for India that may scale down its influence in the Indian Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Thayer Mahan was a geo-political strategist. Today, Chinese maritime strategy is based upon Mahan’s theory of sea dominance. He foresaw the superiority of the Indian Ocean. He was of the view that the one who controls the Indian Ocean could become dominant in the whole of Asia. According to him, securing the sea lines of communication can prove beneficial for countries in order to impose a blockade against others.

India is fearful that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA) and the Pakistan Navy (PN) together could diminish its dominance in the Indian Ocean. The PLA Navy would become permanent in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. In case of a war, both the allies can easily impose a naval blockade against India and thereby hinder its trade. Competing against allies wouldn’t be plain sailing for India. They would keep an eye on India’s activities in the Indian Ocean particularly the Arabian Sea. China would also be able to secure its sea lines of communication. The capability of the PLA Navy as well as the PN would grow. China sees this as an opportunity to turn the port into its naval base.

China would have never invested this laboriously in Pakistan if Gwadar wasn’t bought. Giving and receiving is a fundamental law. According to this, you need to give something in order to receive something. China’s string of pearls strategy, initially coined by US analysts, includes setting up a number of military and naval areas of influence across a widespread region. Each of the area would be a pearl and one of those pearls is the deep sea port of Gwadar. China wants to diversify the trade routes and find an alternative to the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. The Strait of Malacca is under the watchful eyes of the US and Indian naval forces. In case of any major conflict, this strait could be halted and this would affect the Chinese economy. Additionally, the strait is also surrounded by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands owned by India. Hence, the trade route through Gwadar port is fairly economical for China.

Balochistan, a resource rich region, hasn’t been able to contribute enough to the economy of Pakistan since the beginning of the creation of the country. Now, Gwadar is going to materialise our dream of sustainable prosperity for Pakistan by turning from a fishing village into a port city. Gwadar is expected to generate massive revenue. Along with this, different industrial estates could be established in the adjacent areas. Not only people from other provinces but foreigners would also be tempted to invest here if the security situation is duly maintained. Gwadar is expected to generate almost two million jobs for the people of Balochistan. The trade capacity of Gwadar port is more than that of Port Qasim and Karachi port combined.

In order to reap maximum benefits, skilled labour is a major need otherwise the job opportunities could easily be exploited by the Chinese and all the money Beijing is investing will benefit them with interest. After all, the port has been leased to a Chinese company for a period of 40 years. Along with this, the dependence on the Chinese expertise for maintenance should be reduced. Pakistan should increase its economic activities and exports. Hambantota port is the finest example where Sri Lanka was trapped in a debt and the port had to be leased to China for a period of 99 years. All the essential steps should be taken before it’s too late.

Furthermore, maritime crimes should be controlled. Crimes like illegal entry and carrying of weapons, smuggling, drug and human trafficking are frequent, and therefore need special attention. Another noteworthy issue is that of marine pollution. In order to tackle these issues, there should be strict rules and regulations for all the moving ships and efficient monitoring with the use of a system to track shipments.

Internal instability combined with external factors is another stumbling block to the success of CPEC. The Baloch people have been living with a sense of deprivation for years now. Another rather disturbing fact is RAW’s involvement with the ‘Baloch liberation movement’ and Baloch student federations. The sense of deprivation of the Baloch could be reduced by giving them due rights and bring their province at a par with others.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri and an Iranian delegation led by the governor of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Aaqa Ali Hosth Hashmi, decided to set up a railway track between Chabahar and Gwadar. If this becomes a reality, Iran and Pakistan would be able to have a mutually beneficial relation, putting an end to RAW’s involvement along the western border.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017

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