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Posts Tagged Putting Hurdles in CPEC

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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Sabotaging the Gwadar and CPEC Project by Nasurullah Brohi

 

The external infiltration has always been a major reason for the instability in Pakistan and despite huge diplomatic efforts and raising voices at various international forums; the issue has never been resolved. Particularly, right from the proclamation of the China’s investment plans for the development of Gawadar port and CPEC projects with an announcement of $46 billion development projects for Pakistan, the regional rogue powers never sat with ease. Since, with its immense trade potential, the Gwadar Port provides the shortest trade route and serves as a corridor between the Persian Gulf and Western China.

Notably, China provides over 80 percent of the $248 million for the development of the Gwadar Port. The decision to invest on Gwadar Port, allows the regional states and the trade partners to benefit through a short, safe and convenient trade route that effectively passes through the South China Sea, Pacific Rim, Malacca Strait and Sri Lanka and effectively connects the entire region with the European markets.

Pakistan has always shown serious concerns over the Indian efforts to sabotage the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPC) by possible terror attacks aimed at making the CPEC a failure. The issue of sabotaging the projects through the clandestine nexuses against the Pakistan as revealed after the recent apprehension of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav with a series of his confessions about the tasks and operations yet were in the pipeline to carry out in Pakistan.

Such motives do not seem merely confined with the objectives to put a single target in chaos but in fact, reflect the eager pursuits of creating muddle the situations that ultimately delay the completion of the development projects particularly those underway with the friendly states and predominantly that aim at boosting Pakistani economy.

At the diplomatic fronts, ambitious efforts also try to isolate Pakistan by creating a typical sense of bitterness amidst the relations of Pakistan with its friendly states like China but fortunately, the time-tested friendship

a typical sense of bitterness amidst the relations of Pakistan with its friendly states like China but fortunately, the time-tested friendship between the two countries, and the wisdom of their leaderships never let such immoral tactics to become successful. Many analysts believe, since, India considers China as a regional competitor, therefore; it frequently tries overcoming the China rise that greatly diminishes the chances of Indian ambitions of becoming a regional and later on a global power.

With over 46 billion dollars investment, the project would greatly increase the political and economic influence of China in the region, therefore; the Indian side always attempted through the despicable means to creating law and order situation in the region. Such tactics often used as a tool to compel the Chinese to vacate the Gawadar port and eventually lose interest in the completion of the CPEC and Gwadar projects. Though India poured an initial investment of $150 million for the development of Iranian Port of Chah Bahar but such strives could not undermine the significance of the Gwadar Port.

Comparatively, the Gwadar port enables the regional countries to carry out the trade activities much easier access than Chah Bahar. In addition, the Port also provides landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian states with much cheaper opportunity than the Chah Bahar. The Gwadar Port also reduces the trade distances of regional partners from 10,000 km to 2,500 km. moreover; the regional trade partners will effectively save the cost and time as well.

However, the firmness Chinese and Pakistani government is always obvious for making the long cherished dream a resounding success. For the reasons of security and the timely completion of the CPEC project additionally with the successful functioning of the Gwadar Free Trade Zone, Pakistan has allocated a special security division of over 8, 000 military personnel. In addition, an estimated number of 90,000 security personnel comprising the paramilitary and other security services of Pakistan also vigilantly monitor and ready to curb all the Indian secret activities for sabotaging the Chinese investment plans in Pakistan.

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The Army, the Government, and the CPEC Chinese Corridor. By Saeed A.Malik

 

 

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Map Courtesy Mehwish Zia

 

 

 

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 The Army, the Government, and the Chinese Corridor.

By 

Saeed A.Malik

 
That the CPEC is very important for China, goes without saying. That it is vital for Pakistan, would be an understatement.
 
This corridor will help China to whittle down, to a considerable extent, the effects of the containment being implemented against it by the U.S. For Pakistan it will mean a vital economic fillip which, if exploited for the national good, will buy it time for a turn around, and hopefully, comparative prosperity. And this, in and of itself, can help ease many of the problems we are faced with today.
 
Thus for Pakistan the CPEC is germane not just to national security but it is vitally essential to our future.
 
Whether or not therefore, the plans of the CPEC are successfully implemented, should be of major concern to both Pakistan and China.
 
For precisely the opposite reasons they are bound to be of equal concern to countries which have a vested interest in a weak Pakistan and a weak China. And these countries will work in tandem to ensure that the CPEC is wrecked before it ever takes off.
 
The main driver of Israeli foreign policy objectives in the region is the Oded Yinon Plan i.e to break into small principalities, all Arab states which have the potential of being a threat to Israel any time in the future. Because of the incredible influence which Israel exercises on U.S policies, the Yinon Plan was infused into U.S policy for this region. Thus whatever the U.S objectives in the region, the play of the Yinon Plan can plainly be seen behind the U.S destruction of Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Even a fool could have foreseen that the de-baathification of Iraq, and the dismemberment of its army would lead to the dismemberment of the state itself. Indeed Gen Shinseki advocated that the invasion force should be half a million U.S troops so that post-invasion stability of governance would be ensured, as did Colin Powell. The former was forcibly retired, while the latter was marginalized, and we see Iraq precisely in a state as Yinon had advocated. The same is true of Libya, and the same is the aim for Syria.
 
Israel tried its very best that Iran too should be destroyed and split into small principalities, but the sheer exhaustion visited on the U.S by the Iraqis who decided to fight back, foreclosed this option. This being the situation, how can Israel countenance a strong and thriving Pakistan, which not only has the bomb, but also varied delivery systems, and which Israel sees as an enemy? Logically therefore a failed Pakistan, which international powers would be obliged to de-nuclify would be much more in Israel’s interests–and by extension, those of the U.S as well.
 
Apart from the Israeli-U.S policy nexus vis a vis a Pakistan whose nuclear wings must be clipped, the U.S has other concerns about a strong Pakistan which is averse to taking dictation from the U.S. One of these concerns is that Pakistan is refusing subservience to the U.S Afghan policy objectives where such objectives are seen as undermining Pakistan’s perception of its own national interest. Another U.S concern is that whereas the U.S would like to see India built up as a credible counter-weight to China, Pakistan, by constantly snapping at India’s heels is a constant distraction in the way of the achievement of this U.S aim. And most importantly, Pakistan, by allowing China an opening onto the Arabian Sea, is directly undermining the most important driver of the U.S foreign policy i.e the containment of China, which it sees as the premier challenge to U.S hegemony around the world.
 
The third country which would like the CPEC initiative nipped in the bud is India, which sees Pakistan as a nuisance in the way of its becoming the unchallenged regional hegemon of the area; and this is quite apart from the ideological view that India’s independence from colonial rule cannot be considered complete till such time as it is ” akhund” [complete] again.
 
Pakistan should therefore have absolutely no doubt that these three countries [ plus their allies] will strain every sinew of their power towards sabotaging the CPEC.
 
And what are the tools they will employ to undermine Pakistan? These tools are already deployed and are in operation for all to see, except for those of us who are willfully blind:
–Aiding the terrorist onslaught against Pakistan. Don’t we already know this,  and the names of countries involved?
–Burdening Pakistan with a volume of debt which it will never be able to repay. Why is it after all that IMF obliges Ishaq Dar each time he goes to them, begging bowl in hand? Does anyone, anywhere in the world, freely extend credit to a country or entity which is a bad credit risk? Cant we see through this easy credit? Cant we see that in less than 5 years we will have reached a debt ceiling which it will be beyond our capacity to repay? And what happens then? Is this not a road to default and sanctions, which will lead to Pakistan giving up its nuclear assets?
–And the most potent tool of all–key members of our national “leadership”, both here and in Dubai, willfully undermining the very foundations of the state by both hollowing out the country financially, and also selling it out to those bidding for its ultimate demise! Does anyone not see this happening already? Which one of our top leaders is not a billionaire? And which of these has made his billions through honest sweat? And will such people, who can sell their grandmothers for a pittance, not sell off their country when the time comes? The problem is that the time is already here and the sale is going on day and night.
 
 Unfortunately, it is said to be very expensive loan facility from China i.e  @ $4.5 + Libor
 
It is not for nothing that as the Chinese unfolded their plans for the CPEC, they went to the Army Chief for guarantees of security. This was not just a comment on the power the Army enjoys, but more so a comment on the lack of trust which may credibly be imposed in our civilian leadership.
 
But with the politicians now haggling over the route of the CPEC, the Chinese have issued statements of concern which have been released to the press. This is not the way the Chinese function. They eschew press statements and use them only as a last resort. The level of Chinese concern should make it clear that the enemy sleeper cells among our national leadership have been activated to sabotage the project. This has been the standard operating procedure to undermine third world countries by the first world for decades.
 
If it is not the case already, the Army should wake up to what is happening. It should also include mega corruption, which has undermined the country and taken it to the very brink, as a national security imperative. If the Army refuses to see the writing on the wall, it must know that its days of glory and power cannot be extended to beyond five years, because then it may not have a country to defend. And then all the Generals will be like the rest of us. It is my bet that in five years or less the IMF will call in our debts, and we will not be able to repay. The Last Post will then be sounded.
 
Saeed A. Malik.
 
 
 
 
Editor’s Note: Pakistanis Must Close Ranks on CPEC,like we did on the Nuclear Program: India and its Western Allies Are Trying Every Trick in the Book to Sabotage CPEC. Inshallah, we will make it happen
 
 
 

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