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Posts Tagged CPEC

Indian air intrusion night 25/26 February 2019

Indian air intrusion night 25/26 February 2019

Background Information. The intelligence agencies of India USA, Israel and the puppet government in Kabul (RAW, CIA, NDS) duly supported by MI-6, Mossad and BND based in Kabul have been targeting Pakistan from Afghanistan as well as Iran from 2003 onward to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and Balkanize Pakistan. The collaborating agencies have been making use of paid proxies and hybrid war to achieve their objectives. Pakistan security forces after fighting the war on terror for 15 years finally succeeded in chucking out all terrorist groups and restoring peace. Today Pakistan is in a much stronger position to deal with internal and external challenges which have dismayed India and its strategic partners.

Pre-Pulwama Attack Situation

India is highly perturbed over the fast-changing regional scenario which is going in favour of Pakistan and is against the interest of India. Despite India’s best efforts to scuttle CPEC, it is making good progress. Game-changing CPEC has disrupted India’s plan to isolate Pakistan. The US-Taliban peace talks in which India has no role, while Pakistan is playing a key role has upset India. The US plans to strike a peace deal with the Taliban and arrive at a political settlement. The US-NATO troops intend to exit from Afghanistan, which will pave the way for the Taliban to regain power. That would mean decrease if not the termination of Indian influence and increase of Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan.

The gulf between Pakistan and the Arab Gulf States in the aftermath of the Yemen crisis in 2015 had been quickly filled up by India by getting close to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and UAE. The void has now been filled and bitterness removed after the change of government in Islamabad and quiet diplomacy of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Much to the disappointment of India, old camaraderie between Pakistan and KSA-UAE has been restored. KSA, UAE and Qatar have extended generous financial support and oil on deferred payment to help the new government led by Imran Khan to tide over its economic crisis.

China is continuing to consolidate its strategic relationship with Pakistan and to bolster CPEC. The USA found itself stuck in Afghanistan and wanting to exit safely and honourably is waving an olive oil to Pakistan and extending an offer of a free trade agreement. Amidst the happy tidings for Pakistan, planned high profile visit of Crown Prince M. Bin Salman to Pakistan and then to India and the expected Saudi investment of $20 billion together with setting up of an oil refinery at Gwadar seaport to further boost up CPEC alarmed India. Visit of Afghan Taliban to Islamabad on 17th, hearing of Kalbushan case in ICJ on 18th, crucial meeting of FATF on 18th  for which India was lobbying to put Pakistan in the blacklist, and PSL matches taking place in Karachi-Lahore were other important events in that timeframe.  

Internally, Narendra Modi is facing heavy criticism from the public since he has been unable to fulfil the tall promises he made to the people of India. Instead of uplifting the GDP above 11% as boasted by him, the GDP has dropped below 7% and devaluation of bigger currency notes and taxation have affected the small businessmen and farmers. His extremist policies against the minorities in India and craze to promote Hindutva have declined his popularity and minimized his chances to get re-elected. In Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), Kashmiris have got alienated and Kashmir is fast slipping out of the hands of India owing to oppressive policies of BJP government.

Moreover, the atrocities of Indian security forces are now being noticed with concern by the international community, the UN and even the saner elements in India. Modi is feeling frustrated that he has failed to overawe Pakistan through his aggressive tactics, keeping the Line of Control hot by carrying out repeated violations (300 in 2016, over 1900 violations in 2017 and that many in 2018), resorting to water terrorism and hurling threats to break Pakistan into four pieces. Much to his distress, the electoral loss of BJP in five states has panicked him.

 

 

 

It was in the backdrop of series of upsetting developments for Modi when seen in context with approaching elections in India in May 2019 that it was apprehended that he might resort to some sort of misadventure with a view to infuse fresh life into his election campaign, distract the attention of the world from IOK, find an excuse to further step up ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims, change the demography of Kashmir Valley, drum up old narrative that Pakistan is abetting terrorism in Kashmir and isolate Pakistan diplomatically. It became all the more crucial because of the planned visit of Crown Prince on 16-17 February.

Pulwama Attack

On 14 February, a suicide bomber rammed his car filled with explosive into the military convoy in Pulwama (part of Jammu in IOK) killing 40 Indian CRPF soldiers. Within minutes of the occurrence, India blamed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Pakistan without even carrying out preliminary investigations.

Possibilities Open

  1. False flag operation by India.
  2. Indigenous suicide attack by Mujahideen.
  3. Pakistan sponsored attack.

False Flag Operation. India has mastered the art of false flag operations and has been using it frequently to project itself as the victim of terrorism (attack on Indian Parliament in 2001, Mumbai attacks in 2008, Pathankot and Uri attacks in 2016). Indian leaders utter lies without any qualm and have been consistently cooking up fake stories to malign Pakistan. Need for engineering an attack was felt by the BJP to garner the votes of Hindu Far Right, to dampen the visit of Crown Prince in Pakistan and to colour his perceptions. Most probably.   

Indigenous Attack. The way the Kashmiris are being oppressed, killed, maimed, tortured, raped and humiliated since 1989 by Indian forces and are being denied the right of self-determination gives them a strong cause to resort to the extreme measure of suicide attacks. Even the children and girls throw stones at the Indian soldiers and do not fear them. Adil was among the many who were detained, tortured and made to rub nose on the floor. This option is probable but doesn’t suit India.

Pakistan Sponsored Attack. Pakistan draws no benefit and stands to lose on all accounts particularly when its national policy and strategy is defensive, and has shown extraordinary restraint in the face of Indian indiscriminate firing along the LoC causing deaths and injuries to a large number of civilians. Pakistan has paid a heavy price in controlling terrorism, it is making concerted efforts to get itself out of the FATF grey list and its main focus is on improving the economy. Hence this option is unviable and ruled out but suits India the most.

Orchestrated War Hysteria

From February 14 onward, Indian media stimulated a calculated hysteria duly augmented by BJP hawks. Drums of war were drummed and slogan of ‘teach Pakistan a lesson’ was loudly chanted. Options of how best to avenge the attack in Pulwama were openly discussed on Indian media channels. Kashmiris were hunted all over in Jammu and Indian cities, killed, thrashed and girls kidnapped. The state machinery backed up the goons belonging to RSS, BJP, Shiv Sena and other extremist Hindu groups. Additional 12000 troops were inducted into the already saturated Kashmir Valley to further tyrannize the Kashmiris.

It was owing to jingoism of India that the Crown Prince delayed his visit to Pakistan by one day and visit of the Taliban to Islamabad was also cancelled. Highly successful visit of the Crown Prince to Islamabad followed by failure of Modi to extract a statement from the visitor advising Pakistan to rein in Pakistan-based terrorist groups allegedly involved in Pulwama attack thoroughly disappointed him.

Failure of UNSC to blame and condemn Pakistan, rejection of Indian accusation against Pakistan in Pulwama attack by Turkey, and Trump desisting from pointing a finger at Pakistan further upset Modi. Wholehearted support of Indian Sikhs to the marooned Kashmiris added to Modi’s woes.

Since Modi had stirred up the emotions of Hindu extremists to a high pitch and they were baying for Pakistan’s blood, he was left with no option other than undertaking some kind of a token strike inside Pakistan to pacify them. Weighing the pros and cons of each option short of war and with no human cost, it was decided to opt for air option against a civilian target under the garb of striking an imaginary training camp of JeM.           

Pakistan’s Readiness

Contrary to Modi’s warmongering and irresponsible statements, PM Imran Khan gave a balanced and mature response by offering peace and dialogue and at the same time curtly stating that “Pakistan will not think to react but will react”. Chairing the NSC meeting, he authorized the military to react with full force whenever attacked. Gen Bajwa made it clear that the Pak Army’s response will be beyond Indian expectations and will stun India. The message was loud and clear; “don’t mess up with nuclear Pakistan”! In a meeting between the Army and PAF chiefs on 25 February, they expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of armed forces for a befitting response to any Indian aggression.

All the three services, as well as the air defence, carried out necessary preparations to face the possible Indian threat. The PAF started flying combat air patrols (CAP) in a rotation along the eastern and northwestern borders. 

Sensing the ugly mood, Pakistan Foreign Minister expressed his apprehensions to his counterparts of other countries that India is up to something nasty and it must be restrained from undertaking a military venture against nuclear Pakistan since it will have horrendous consequences.

Indian Air Intrusions

On the night of 25/26 February, one of the CAP observed Indian jets flying towards Lahore-Sialkot border. Although it turned back when challenged, I guess it was probably a deception to distract attention from the main strike. The next batch of jets was observed by another CAP along Okara-Bahawalpur front across the border which was also a diversion. The 3rd   heavy batch of Mirage-2000s was next spotted by the CAP approaching Muzaffarabad sector-Kiran Valley. They crossed the LoC from Tangdhar salient opposite Balakot sector and penetrated 4-5 miles at 0345 a.m. When challenged by the CAP, the jets flew back in haste at 0350 a.m. after jettisoning their payload of 4 bombs at Jabba. The bombs fell at a deserted place causing no human casualty or damage to property except for uprooting some pine trees. It was not an attack on any military target but an intrusion which sought a civilian target.

Claims made by India. True to its tradition, India has claimed that the attacking jets successfully targeted JeM camps in Balakot, each bomb weighing 1000 kg and in their 21 minutes operation, they killed 350 militants and destroyed a madrassa supposed to be a training centre of JeM. The claim is preposterous, fictitious and entirely based on a figment of imaginations. This claim is similar to the one invented after the fake surgical strike conducted in AJK in September 2016, which has not been proved to this date. Indians are foolishly celebrating the fabricated victory and deriving a vicarious pleasure.

DG ISPR Press Briefing. The DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor conducted an elaborate press briefing today and with the help of slides, he exposed the fake story woven by India. He has extended an open invitation to the local and foreign media persons as well as diplomats to accompany him to the scene of occurrence and see for themselves and to interview the locals whether any area had been bombed/strafed by jets and whether there was any trace of human blood, or any evacuation or burial of dead bodies was carried out, and whether there was a single brick found from the debris where the bombs had landed. He stated that the Pakistan military’s response will come definitely and will be different and will surprise India.

Pakistan’s Response

Indian incursion has united the divided society and the polarized political parties. A large number of rallies have taken place in various cities to denounce Indian aggression. The nation has gelled together to face the Indian challenge squarely. The National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies have censured the blatant intrusion of Indian jets and have extended their full support to the armed forces. The PM chaired the NSC meeting today in which it was decided that a credible response will soon be given at the time and place of our choosing. After the joint parliament session tomorrow, a meeting of National Command Authority will be held.

Until and unless Pakistan gives a hard-hitting response, it will encourage India to undertake similar air violations on the pattern of ground violations in Kashmir. On the diplomatic front, we should make a similar noise as is being done by Indian media and their leaders.

The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com   

           

                      

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CPEC – A SUMMARY

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Map of China Pakistan Economic Corridor …

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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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Growing Trend of Negative Coverage of CPEC in Media       By Sajjad Shaukat

Growing Trend of Negative Coverage of CPEC in Media

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

In the cyber-age, online information and interaction of peoples by the developed and the less developed countries have further increased the importance of media. Media tools which include TV channels, newspapers and websites have the power to mold peoples’ views in a positive or negative sense.

 

In this respect, terror-attacks in Pakistan’s various regions, especially in the Balochistan province and other anti-Pakistan developments cannot be seen in isolation, as these are part of the conspiracy to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

While, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. Country’s primary intelligence agency ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Balochistan and Karachi.

 

But, recent blasts in Balochistan and other areas of the country show that the US-led India, Afghanistan, and Israel have again started subversive acts to weaken Pakistan and to harm the CPEC. Well-entrenched in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in collaboration with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) are using various terrorist outfits like Daesh and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their affiliated terrorist groups in order to conduct terrorist acts in Pakistan. As part of the double game, these secret agencies also support Baloch separatist elements to promote the covert agenda of the US-led entities against China and Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is noteworthy that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan. During investigation and in a video, shown on Pakistan’s TV channels, RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav confessed that “he was the agent of RAW” and “during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project.

 

It is notable that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined New Delhi. In this context, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

 

Islamabad strongly dismissed the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative.

 

In this regard, repeated threats of the US President Donald Trump and top American officials to Islamabad and other moves like suspension of latter’s aid are part of the same scheme to thwart the CPEC.

 

However, terror-attacks to destabilize Pakistan coincide with a continued propaganda campaign, launched by the foreign media against Pakistan, while, giving negative coverage to the CPEC.

 

In fact, Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centers, think tanks and so-called human rights groups utilize the media tools in defaming Pakistan internationally. Especially, RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan.

 

In this connection, much coverage was given by the external media to a report, released on April 13, 2017, by Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which is in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi International AISBL. The subject report portrayed complete Indian negative propaganda themes about the provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and Sindh. Based on falsehood, the report also said that the CPEC is a breach of international law and is being implemented without consultation or compensation to the people of the area.

 

Undoubtedly, GB is the gateway of CPEC into Pakistan, whereby GB’s strategic and socio-economic importance has increased manifold. Like Balochistan, the region has huge potential in the trade with China, tourism, minerals, gems, precious stones, agriculture-farming and hydropower production. Therefore, GB’s people who are strengthening their association with Pakistan pays no attention to the false propaganda.

 

In this context, a blog under the caption, “Why Pakistan and China must pay heed to the growing local resistance to CPEC—Communities that are being displaced by the project are anxious–and angry” appeared on a website on July 18, 2017, written by Dr. Amiera and Dr. Nausheen H. Anwar. The blog was also republished by the Asia Times (Online) on August 8, 2017. As part of the negative coverage of the CPEC, it was reproduced several times under various titles like “CPEC: The growing resentment and resistance among poor Pakistanis can cost China dearly”, “For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs” etc.

 

Nevertheless, the blog left no stone unturned in making the CPEC controversial. It wrote: “In Pakistan, there’s no topic hotter than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a multi-billion dollar bilateral development project…its focus on energy development is also desperately needed in a country…At least, that’s the theory. Not everyone sees the changes wrought by the CPEC so positively…with those being impacted by CPEC-funded energy projects, growing citizen mobilization in Sindh and Punjab may be turning into a political problem for Pakistan…while CPEC projects are already benefiting the national economy, the boon is less assured for those living in the project regions…Many of the residents in CPEC target areas are homesteaders, pastoralists, and small business owners…the farmer told us about ongoing resistance to a planned CPEC project that the government had thus far failed to heed. At this point, he said, they should expect violent opposition…Many Pakistanis…both in Punjab and Sindh perceive CPEC development as just another form of oppression.”

 

Anyhow, this blog indicates to how propaganda techniques are being employed by the foreign media to target the CPEC.

 

While, these external media-propagandists who also give undue coverage to the meetings and protests against the integrity of Pakistan, are particularly exaggerating the statements of those Baloch leaders who have taken shelter abroad and are fulfilling the agenda of their foreign masters against the CPEC.

 

In this respect, RAW and CIA arranged a meeting of Baloch Sub-Nationalists, SSNs (Sindhi-Sub- Nationalists) and the USNs (Uyghur Sub-Nationalists of China) on the termination of 35th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva from 12-14 June 2017. The agenda was; planning against the CPEC/Pak-China’s interests in the region. Mehran Marri attended the conference and delivered a speech (reportedly prepared by RAW) alleging CPEC as exploitation projects and Baloch cultural genocide by Pakistan and China. Representatives of World Sindh Congress (WSC), Uyghur human rights activists, Rebiya Kadeer and Dolikun Aeysa were also present in the said conference.

 

As a matter of fact, since April 20, 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to the CPEC, gloomy coverage of the project had already started in the external media.

 

But, it is regrettable that by following the pessimistic approach of the external media, in the recent past, some media anchors and the so-called analysts of Pakistan have also given negative coverage to the CPEC by manipulating the differences of the provincial and regional politicians. Thus, intentional or intentionally, they have encouraged the designs of the foreign entities.

 

Notably, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had led a high-level delegation to China and met Chinese President Xi Jinping and his counterpart Li Keqiang on May 13, 2017. On the same day, Beijing and Islamabad signed three agreements pertaining to the economic and technical cooperation of worth 3.4 billion Yuan for Gwadar port and East Bay expressway. In the meeting with the Chinese president, P.M. Sharif stated that the presence of all the chief ministers [of Pakistan’s provinces] shows the importance our nation gives to Pak-China ties. He added, “China is our strategic partner…The benefits of the Chinese investment of $56 billion with regards to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will soon reach the common man in Pakistan.” Chinese rulers also expressed similar feelings.

 

The reality is that the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project which is the backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, including developments in other provinces by providing thousands of employment opportunities, especially to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by the US, India and Israeli do not want. Therefore, their media describe the CPEC in negative terms.

 

Nonetheless, instead of following the growing trend of negative coverage of the CPEC in foreign media, Pakistan’s media should give a matching response to the malicious propaganda of the US-led India, Israel and some western countries against this Pak-China project.

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

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

 

 

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Strategic Dimensions:  Indian Wheat is Harmful to Afghans’ Health By Sajjad Shaukat

Strategic Dimensions: 

Indian Wheat is Harmful to Afghans’ Health

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

After hosting the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, India on October 29, 2017, began shipment of 15000 tons wheat to landlocked Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port, which was received in the Afghan city of Zaranj with jubilation. The consignment was the first out of the 1.1 million tons wheat committed by India for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis and was projected in the media mainly to celebrate the launching of the newly constructed Chabahar port. India, Afghanistan and Iran agreed to operationalize the Chabahar port only a year-and-a-half ago when they signed agreements in relation to the US-backed Chabahar project to develop a trade route from Chabahar to Central Asia. The project has been portrayed by Indian media commentators as having changed the historical Great Game for control of the connections between South and Central Asia through Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghan officials said that the rest of the consignments were expected to arrive in different stages, and were set to be completed by the end of January 2017.

It is notable that a huge quantity of wheat being supplied to Afghanistan in the name of a grant was from the old stock and is infected. Hence, it is harmful to the health of the Afghans. Due to administrative mismanagement and red-tapism in India, a large number of wheat stocks got unnoticed for years and ultimately expired.

The Indian government’s recent move of demonetization of currency notes in the country also added to further infect these already expired stocks of wheat, as the Indian farmers did not have new currency notes to purchase seeds which were earlier being provided to them from these old stocks and they ultimately used the fresh yields as seeds.

 

In this respect, Pakistan’s leading businessmen and Director Zia-ul- Haq Sarhadi in a statement issued by the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) said in December, last year that they have once again appealed to the Pakistan and Afghan authorities to review the bilateral trade policies including transit trade to promote bilateral trade between two countries—the new Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) has become the victim of sabotage since last six years. The result was that 70% Afghan trade has been shifted to Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar—due to lack of clear export policy, India has started shifting her wheat to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) through Chabahar port of Iran—Pakistan had exported 1 to 1.5 million ton of wheat, flour and self-rising flour (Maida) annually to Afghanistan.

 

However, rather than being purely a commercial activity, Indian supply of wheat to Afghanistan cannot be seen in isolation, it has strategic dimensions.

 

In this regard, the hastily-launching of the project of Chabahar port came to a head in wake of Pakistan’s Gwadar port of the Balochistan province, becoming a focus of global attention owing to the junction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC). Therefore, in order to fulfil its so-called strategic agenda with maximum projection, New Delhi provided the wheat from its expired stocks. But, with a softer Indian image, New Delhi ignored the health of millions of Afghanis who would be using this wheat as their basic food. The issue can have serious implications for the lives of Afghanis who have already been suffering from food and health crisis since long due to continuous crisis and displacements. Notably, the issue has already been discussed in various talk shows in the Kabul News TV by Anchor Wahidullah and Ghazikhel and on Shamshad TV.

 

It is mentionable that as part of the animosity against Pakistan, the Indian government was exerting pressure on the businessmen and industrialists to hasten the move and subsidized Indian wheat which would drive Islamabad out of the Afghan markets. Besides, New Delhi gave general subsidy on farm inputs, which makes the Indian wheat cheaper as compared to Pakistan, while, India also offered a specific $50 per ton additional subsidy to exporters, thus driving the price further down.

 

It is noteworthy that Afghanistan which is in the phase of transition, moving from crisis to stability, has expressed a strong desire to join the multi-billion economic opportunity of the CEPEC, when in October 2016, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, emphasized upon his country’s interest in joining the CPEC. However, a year later, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s disappointing statement regarding Kabul’s joining of the Indian venture Chabahar Port, gave a setback to the earlier progressive and pragmatic approach of the Afghan nation.

 

While, as a landlocked, terrorism and militancy prone nation, Afghanistan is in desperate need of infrastructural development and uplifting its economy. Thus, if Kabul joins the CPEC, an ideal environment of trilateral cooperation can be developed in the region which can benefit all parties involved.

 

Besides, Afghanistan can, particularly, gain enormously by not only benefiting from this Chinese investment but also can have an active role of both Beijing and its strategic partner Islamabad in bringing stability and peace in Afghanistan.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan and China. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans by giving easy access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

 

In this context, CPEC is predicted to bring industrialization and investment to Pakistan, the carry-over effects of which will obviously benefit neighbouring Afghanistan also. Unlike the Chabahar project, the CPEC is the wider project, between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods. The connected roads will enable Afghan businessmen and investors to access the enormous consumer markets in South Asia, thereby increasing Afghanistan’s exports and reducing the costs of imports. CPEC can bring the three nations under a common economic, commercial and industrial umbrella which, in turn, can ensure joint efforts for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

 

The Afghan nation must also take cognizance of the fact that Kabul is 1237 km. away from Gwadar, whereas the distance between Kabul and Chabahar is 1840 km. It means Gwadar is more suitable for Kabul, because, it is more than 600 km. nearer to it as compared to Chabahar. Gwadar is much more a beneficial route for the Afghanis with suitable logistic expenses.

American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad

Undoubtedly, CPEC is likely to prove as the game-changers in the region, therefore, based in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are assisting terror-outfits so as to destabilize various regions of Pakistan, especially Pakistan’s Balochistan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan.

 

Notably, on June 13, 2016, a Chinese newspaper, Global Times also wrote that India is “damaging the prospects of Gwadar by investing in Chabahar to isolate Pakistan; however, it will not succeed in its designs.” The paper explained, “Pakistan’s Sindh Province saw a bomb attack against Chinese engineers…Meanwhile, the Pakistani government claimed that anti-CPEC activities by foreign forces have been busted in Baluch Province. At the Beijing Forum held in Islamabad in late May, countries including the US and Japan have shown concerns over CPEC construction and even bluntly criticized the China-Pakistan friendship. CPEC is a significant part of the Belt and Road initiative, which is not only a domestic strategy of China to open up its central and western regions, but also Pakistan’s domestic development plan as well as regional integration.”

Another strategic dimension is that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined India in this respect.

 

As part of the double game, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative” the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.” And the recent threat of American President Donald Trump to Islamabad, suspension of aid and encouragement of Indian role in Afghanistan are part of the covert strategic game to damage the CEPEC project. Hence, Pakistan which has already established its strategic partnership with Beijing is also cultivating a strong relationship with Russia and Iran. Thus, an alliance of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran is likely to emerge in the near future in response to the US-Indian partnership.

 

Afghan rulers must also note that pro-Israeli President Trump is against Tehran. In this connection, addressing a regional summit in Riyadh, Suadi Arabia on May 22, 2017, President Trump accused Iran of supporting terrorism from Lebanon to Iraq and to Yemen—contributing to instability in the region. Moreover, in pursuance of Israeli hidden agenda, President Trump has also refused to certify the US-Iran nuclear deal. In these circumstances, Iran could abandon the Chabahar project and could also join the CPEC.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

 

 

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