Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Baloch kid watches when Pak Army's Armour vehicle comes

M&As by China in countries part of BRI soar, despite capital crack down
M&As by China in countries part of BRI soar, despite capital crack down

he number of deals by Chinese companies targeting the Belt and Road countries are 109 this year.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by Chinese firms in nations which are part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are rising, even as the Government cracks down on acquisitive conglomerates of China to limit capital outflows.

The acquisitions by Chinese firms in 68 countries that are officially linked to the foreign policy of President Xi Jinping totaled around $33 billion till August 14, exceeding the $31 billion total count for the entire 2016, as per the data by Reuters.

The BRI project, unveiled in 2013, is aimed at creating a modern-day ‘Silk Road’, which connect China by sea and land to Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, and further to the Europe, Africa and Middle East. President Xi has pledged around $124 billion for the initiative in May.

The increase in acquisition-linked investment by Chinese companies in the Belt and Road region comes as the size of all outbound M&As from the country has declined 42% year-on-year till August 14, the data showed.

With China’s move to strengthen the currency - Yuan by limiting the capital flow outside the country and to put a stop on the debt-fuelled acquisitions for ensuring financial stability, it has become tough for the buyers to get approvals for outside deals.

The stricter regulatory scrutiny of acquisitions abroad comes after the Chinese firms spent a whopping $220 billion last year, buying up overseas everything from football clubs to movie studios.

However, the strict regulatory scrutiny has not affected the pursuit of Chinese companies for acquisitions along the BRI corridor, as these investments are considered as strategic for both the companies and the economy.

The number of deals by Chinese companies targeting the Belt and Road countries are 109 so far this year, as against 175 in the entire 2016 and 134 in 2015, according to the data given by Reuters.

The biggest deal so far this year in a Belt and Road country was the $11.6 billion buyout by a Chinese consortium of the Global Logistics Properties of Singapore

Xi loyalists grab the reins of pivotal projects

August 16, 2017 9:42 am JST

China up close

Belt and Road, Beijing redevelopment spark dangerous turf wars

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer

TOKYO -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is giving close allies full control over two signature projects that promise to help him achieve total political supremacy: the Belt and Road Initiative and the remodeling of Beijing.

The former -- also known as One Belt, One Road -- is an effort to create a vast economic zone linking China to Europe and Africa by land and sea. This drive to build a new Silk Road and expand Beijing's sphere of influence will entail astronomical investments over many years. Key positions related to the initiative have been changing hands one after another. 

"It's astonishing how quickly big national projects, including the core One Belt, One Road program, have been taken over by close aides to President Xi," said a Chinese source familiar with economic policy.

"They are mostly from the two provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian," the source said. "The momentum of the 'Zhejiang faction' and the 'Fujian faction' is tremendous."

The factions comprise Xi's former subordinates in the provinces, where he worked for a total of 22 years.

Construction workers piece together a new railway line -- part of China's Belt and Road Initiative -- near the town of Voi in Kenya. © Reuters

Consider the new leader of the National Development and Reform Commission, which handles general planning and international cooperation for the Belt and Road Initiative. He Lifeng, a 62-year-old Fujian faction member and close Xi aide, was promoted to the top post in February.

His predecessor as chairman of the commission -- once the control tower for the socialist planned economy -- was close to former Premier Wen Jiabao.

Bonding over basketball

The ties between Xi and He date back decades.

Thirty-two years ago, Xi moved to the Fujian city of Xiamen to assume the post of deputy mayor. Still in his early 30s, he was exceptionally young for the job.

Balochistan: Pakistan forces abducted 21 people including 7 women from Harnai and Tump

about 14 hours ago

QUETTA: Pakistani FC and military forces have abducted at least 18 people including seven women from Harnai and three people from Tump region of Balochistan on Monday evening.

According to details Pakistani forces conducted offensives in Shahrag area of Harnai and abducted 11 persons including seven women of Yar Jan Marri’s family.

Earlier, in the same area, Pakistani forces attacked the house of Mouzo Marri and abducted wife and three children.

All the abducted persons have been shifted to an undisclosed location and their whereabouts remained unknown until the filing of this report.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan forces have previously abducted tens of people including women and children from Bolan, Margat, Peer Ismael, Harnai and Sibbi.

Pakistan forces also killed several dozen abducted innocent Baloch in staged encounters. The victims of fake encounters were previously abducted people whom Pakistani forces killed under custody and claimed that they were killed in gun battles with Pakistani forces.

Meanwhile, Pakistani forces raided a town in Tump region of district Kech Balochistan and started a house-to-house search operation.

Pakistani forces tortured and harassed resident of the town during their rampage and abducted at least three people named Saed son of Majeed, Naveed son of Majeed and Mama Bahad son of Mohammad Bakhsh.

Pakistan military, FC, Intelligence Agencies and their local death squads intensified their brutalities in Makuran, Kech, Gwadar and other areas of Coast Belt in Balochistan after the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project

Doklam face-off a turning point in Sino-Indian relationship

By Xie Chao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/15 20:08:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

India has been intensifying its military presence in the Doklam area since it trespassed into Chinese territory on June 18. The aggressiveness demonstrated in the move shows that the Modi government is strengthening its intention for a comprehensive strategic confrontation with China. By challenging China's sovereignty in the Doklam region, India aims to maintain and showcase its hegemonic status in South Asia.

Before Modi took office, India's economy and thus its national strength had maintained years of relatively high growth. However, during the same period, China's national strength was growing even faster, and therefore the gap between the two countries was getting bigger. Beijing's influence has been expanding quickly in South Asia in recent years as it is dedicated to developing friendly cooperation with all countries in the region. The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further deepened Beijing-Islamabad friendship. Border negotiations with the Bhutan government have made periodic achievements. China has improved its ties with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and other South Asian countries.

Traditionally, India's elites have insisted on the country's military and diplomatic dominance in South Asia. But they have now realized that India is not capable of maintaining its absolute advantage over other South Asian countries, and its dominant status in the region is being weakened and challenged.

India's hard-line leadership is attempting to take advantage of structural conflicts between Beijing and Washington. New Delhi's growing national strength encourages itself to push the Beijing-New Delhi bilateral relationship into conflict and confrontation and therefore to contain China's growing influence in the region. That's why we see after a short period of sounding out the Chinese government, Modi is actively leading the two nations into the direction of confrontation.

India's political environment makes it easier for politicians to confront China than improve ties with it. Modi has opted for confrontation with China, with the consideration that by challenging China, the Modi government can maintain India's influence and hegemony in South Asia.

The standoff in the Doklam area has already triggered strong confrontational sentiments in both Chinese and Indian society. No matter how it ends, the Beijing-New Delhi bilateral relationship is highly likely to enter into a confrontational stage. India's current domestic political environment is favorable for Modi to remain in office for a long period, and thus it is highly likely that the Doklam face-off symbolizes a long-term confrontation between Beijing and New Delhi. 

Hence it is safe to predict that even if the standoff is peacefully addressed, it will only temporarily suspend the Sino-Indian strategic confrontation, and the Modi administration will take provocative actions against Beijing on other issues.

Modi's handling of China affairs has shown such a tendency. India has taken an aggressive attitude against China on the Belt and Road initiative, the CPEC, the South China Sea disputes, the bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the reform of the UN Security Council and other issues.

The strength gap between China and India determines that New Delhi cannot contain China by itself and has to enlist the help of Washington and Tokyo. The timing of the Doklam face-off coming shortly after Modi's visit to the US is not a coincidence. Taking advantage of Washington's strategic aspiration of using New Delhi to contain and confront Beijing, Modi is attempting to strengthen political and military cooperation with the US. Meanwhile, India-Japan collaborations in the Malabar drill and cooperation in the nuclear and military fields will give New Delhi more bargaining chips to counter China. Modi is hoping such engagement will help maintain and strengthen its hegemony in South Asia.

India's economic gap with China means that India cannot prevent China from deepening economic cooperation with South Asian countries. At this point, China's Belt and Road initiative has a strong basis of support among the public and governments in South Asia. However, New Delhi believes that it could utilize Beijing's structural conflicts with Washington and Tokyo to obtain some political support from the international community, and thus it would be feasible to confront Beijing politically and militarily. With nuclear weapons, India is also confident of its military capabilities.

Given the above, India's provocation this time is not a simple border dispute, but a turning point of the Sino-Indian relationship. No matter how the standoff ends, Beijing and New Delhi will enter into a stage of long-term strategic confrontation and the confrontation will be mainly reflected in political and military matters. 

The author is a PhD candidate at the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion


Thursday, 17 August 2017 | Pravin Sawhney | in Oped

Present stand-off is the result of India's tenuous hold on LAC. Unlike most times, when New Delhi downplayed Chinese transgressions, this time, with Bhutan involved, it is not doing so

As the Doklam crisis between India and China enters its third month, two questions worth deliberation are: What is the future of this crisis/how will it end? How to diffuse future crises?

The good thing about this crisis is that neither side wants war. Both nations want peace to fulfil the grand agenda that each has clearly spelt out: China’s Belt and Road initiative, and India’s Act East policy and Think West policy. Notwithstanding the congruous peaceful upwards trajectory of both nations, if cooperation with strategic mutual trust is still not there, the reasons are not difficult to find. China does not assess India to be its rival in Asia. Instead it sees itself pitted against the United States for supremacy in the Eurasian landmass; and the Western-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. Since China believes that it can shape a unipolar Asia which India contests, geo-strategic rivalry becomes obvious. Matters are accentuated since both leaders have strong nationalistic images at home.

Moreover, China has deftly positioned itself much better — legally and militarily — on the disputed border. From the 1980s when China had offered a give-and-take solution to India to resolve the border dispute, it, today, wants it all. According to China, it now has a 2,000-km long Line of Actual Control [LAC] (as against India’s assertion of 3,488-km) with India, which excludes Ladakh. Moreover, the LAC, which comprises all of Arunachal Pradesh (called south Tibet by China) is claimed by Beijing. This is not all. Chinese President Xi Jinping has spurned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to mutually agree to the LAC alignment so that transgressions would minimise.

The Doklam crisis is the result of India’s tenuous hold on the LAC. Unlike most times, when India has downplayed Chinese regular transgressions across the LAC, this time, with Bhutan involved, it was not possible to do so. With two sides having set difficult demands to withdraw forces from the Doklam plateau, the situation has become sensitive, requiring urgent solution without either side losing face.

Unfortunately, unlike the 1986-87 Sumdorong Chu crisis, where both sides remained militarily engaged for seven years, this time, it will not be possible. For one, China will be perceived as India’s equal — in however limited military aspect — which it will not countenance. For another, India is not militarily prepared for an escalation which has its own dynamics. Given China’s impressive militarily capabilities in various war domains, there is a lot it can do below the nuclear weapons threshold, including take recourse to available inter-operability between the Chinese and Pakistani militaries to fight together.

Given the stakes for both sides, it is essential that they talk. Since China has set the condition that talks will follow and not precede withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam, third party intervention — albeit discreetly — becomes necessary.

For this reason, Russia could help break the logjam at the coming Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in China from September 3 to 5. The agenda of the Brics summit, which is ‘stronger partnership for a brighter future’ is what is needed to bring China and India to the negotiating table.

The Modi Government would do well to get in touch with Russia at the highest level so that a successful mechanism for mutual disengagement of forces in Doklam is worked out at the earliest. India should not repeat the mistake which precipitated the Doklam crisis.

For instance, three weeks before the Chinese road construction party moved into the disputed Doklam plateau on June 16, it had twice informed India about its intentions. Yet, instead of talking, India purportedly kept quiet, and allowed its Army to block road construction on June 18, resulting in the face-off.

On the issue of how to handle similar crisis in the future, something more than mechanisms for confidence building measures (CBMs) needs to be done. India and China have innumerable such mechanisms at the field, diplomatic and even political representative levels, yet they have not helped in resolving Doklam. Instead of introspecting on their futility, a former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, has suggested the need for strategic communications to handle future Doklams, implying more mechanisms between the two sides. Since CBMs are only as good as the political will, these will not help.

What India needs is real — and not perceived — military power, coupled with a roadmap to build strategic cooperation with China. Once done, India will find it easier to shape its rise through the Act East and Think West policy.

Building military power, however, will not be easy because it requires transformational rather than incremental changes. India needs insightful military reforms to build and synergise various war domains with complete involvement of the political leadership. This has never been done.

For example, the Arun Singh committee report of 2002 and the Naresh Chandra committee report a decade later, had restricted themselves to bureaucratic-military reforms while keeping the political leadership out of the ambit. This will not work.

This writer has suggested a roadmap to build military power in the co-authored book, ‘Dragon on Our Doorstep: Managing China Through Military Power’. These could become the starting point for a wider debate on this subject. Genuine steps by India to build military power will not go unnoticed in China where the People’s Liberation Army forms the pivot of the Belt and Road initiative.

Building strategic cooperation is both easy and difficult. Easy because all it requires is for both sides to be sensitive about each other’s mutual concerns. While India should be sensitive about Tibet, China should be sensitive about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Delhi must remember that Tibet (along with Taiwan) are China’s core concerns over which it would go to war. Hence, any future visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh should be handled with care and sensitivity.

Similarly, there are numerous ways in which the CPEC alignment could still be made more acceptable to India. This requires Beijing to initiate talks with India rather than present it with a fait accompli. Since Delhi understands that the CPEC is the flagship of the Belt and Road initiative, it could, if bilateral talks were held, help find an acceptable solution to the conundrum.

The difficult part which prohibits strategic cooperation are India’s ideological baggage and China’s assessment of its position in the world. Even when it is impossible for India to get PoK back from Pakistan, Right-wing ideologues believe that it is possible. This is where Prime Minister Modi needs to step in and accept a realpolitik way forward.

This approach would not only help make peace with China, but with Pakistan as well. China, on the other hand, ought to be sensitive to India’s desire for a multi-polar Asia. Notwithstanding the yawning gap in national power between India and China, India is simply too big with enormous potential to be assessed as a swing state.

(The writer is editor, FORCE newsmagazine

All about Belt and Road: Indian, Chinese media continue blame game


Accusations from both sides about Doklam standoff center around China's Belt and Road Inititiative

By ASIA UNHEDGEDAUGUST 17, 2017 5:32 AM (UTC+8)00

China’s state-controlled Global Times and Indian news outlet The Economic Times published editorials this week throwing more blame for the protracted border standoff in Doklam. Both commentaries accused the other side of orchestrating the conflict, and both said that it was in the interest of either supporting or derailing the China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Liu Zongyi wrote in the Global Times Tuesday on how India is trying to sabotage BRI:

India orchestrated the standoff to not just guarantee the security of the Siliguri Corridor – India’s sensitive “chicken’s neck” connecting its central and northeast regions, but more importantly to jeopardize China’s Belt and Road initiative. In this way it can reverse its strategic disparity with China in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region and tighten its grip on small countries there.

Given the rising nationalism in India, its leadership believes that the country has entered its third flourishing period since its independence and has the backing of the US and Japan to confront China. Meanwhile, Indian leaders have misjudged the will and resolution of Chinese government and leadership in defending China’s territorial sovereignty.

Dharminder Kumar responded on Wednesday in the Economic Times that China is trying to distract the Indian military from protecting India’s interests in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Part of CPEC, he explains, runs through Pakistan occupied Kashmir, territory disputed by India:

Then why is China risking a costly war? The answer to this question lies in two biggest developments in the subcontinent in the past few years: India’s surgical strike inside the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last year and China planning to build a global network of roads, ports and railways which it calls ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR). India boycotted the grand launch of OBOR because a part of it—China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India’s opposition to OBOR is the biggest sore point between India and China today. And that could be the reason behind China’s Doklam posture. Border disputes have lingered on for decades and have rarely led to such a prolonged stand-off.

So, the actual theatre of Doklam war might not be the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction where Indian and Chinese soldiers are facing off. It could be thousands of kilometres away—the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. In Doklam, China might be maneuvering to secure CPEC, its biggest strategic asset in the region

Warning from history: Could Japan-style crash hit China?


TOKYO,AUGUST 16, 2017 12:27 IST

UPDATED: AUGUST 16, 2017 17:53 IST

China is starting to look like Japan before its economic bubble burst in the early ‘90s

Sizzling property prices, a groaning debt load, wealthy tourists and tycoons willing to slap down eye-popping sums for art: China is starting to look like Japan before its economic bubble burst in the early ‘90s.

The similarities are not lost on Beijing: President Xi Jinping has commissioned a study to help China avoid Japan's pitfalls, according to Bloomberg, as growth slows and ratings agencies sound the alarm over its debt.

Fears over China's groaning debt load were heightened after the IMF warned on Tuesday that the world's second largest economy was on a "dangerous" path, urging Beijing to take a more sustainable course and speed up structural reforms.

China was also downgraded this summer by Moody's, with the credit rating agency citing the country's ballooning debt, sparking an angry response from Beijing.

Debt-fuelled investment in infrastructure and real estate has underpinned Chinese growth for years since the global financial crisis a decade ago decimated growth in Western markets that booming exporters relied on for growth.

Japan was the original Asian tiger, with growth surging at an average 9.0 percent annually between 1955 and 1973 in the long postwar boom, turning it into one of the world's great economic powers.

China has also basked in heady growth -- replacing Japan as the world's number two economy in 2010 -- and has not seen a single recession in decades.

United in debt

Japan too is groaning under a huge national debt, the legacy of monetary and fiscal policies aimed at boosting growth.

Japan's debt load is now more than 200 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. China's debt is around 260 percent of GDP, up from around 140 percent before the 2008 financial crisis.

Eighties-era Japan kept interest rates low, creating excessive liquidity in its economy.

Frenzied buying saw land prices quadruple in the mid-to-late eighties, and the Nikkei stock index hit almost 40,000 in 1989 -- double its current level.

But it all came to an end when the central bank abruptly tightened policy. Stock and land prices plunged, businesses stopped investing, consumers stopped spending and bad loans piled up.

That ushered in a period of low or no growth known as the "lost decades".

Chinese stock prices remain well off their 2015 highs. But mainland house prices have been soaring, particularly in hubs like Beijing, Shanghai and southern industrial powerhouse Shenzhen.

Both countries saw their arrival on the world stage announced by striking acquisition of foreign assets, as Chinese overseas investment hit $170 billion last year, surging 44 percent from 2015.

China's Anbang Insurance bought New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel for almost $2 billion in 2014, while tycoon Liu Yiqian purchased Modigliani's "Nu Couche" for a record $170.4 million in 2015.

Those big-ticket purchases bear the hallmarks of when Sony scooped up Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion in 1989 and Mitsubishi Estate paid nearly $850 million for the controlling stake in the operator of New York's Rockefeller Center.

In 1990, Japanese paper tycoon Ryoei Saito bought Vincent Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr Gachet" for $82.5 million and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette" for $78.1 million.

"What's scary is that people in China are thinking, 'China is special, so we are OK.' That's exactly how people felt in Japan during the bubble era," said Kokichiro Mio, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

Reining in the rhinos

Still, China is not a mirror image of Japan 30 years ago.

The Chinese economy and its currency are tightly controlled by the state and shielded from foreign influence to a far greater extent than Japan.

And Beijing has launched a crackdown on "grey rhinos" -- powerful private conglomerates -- amid fears they are racking up dangerous debt levels through buying frenzies and threatening financial stability.

"The current circumstance in China is considerably better than that of Japan back then," said He Chao, assistant professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

"The whole property market... is under relatively strong control of the Chinese government."

Lessons from Japan suggest officials should have acted more quickly to bring in stricter banking regulations to keep lenders from overextending themselves and better manage the economic slowdown.

But Chinese "authorities are more able to regulate bank loans and the financing of speculative transactions, and they can intervene in markets", said Ivan Tselichtchev, an economics professor Japan's Niigata University.

Others point out that China is not the advanced economy that Japan was at the time its bubble burst, meaning there is much more room for the economy to grow and increase productivity.

But even if China is headed for Japan-style troubles, warnings from its neighbour may not mean much.

"Unless you feel the pain, I think the message doesn't quite hit home," said Mio of NLI Research Institute.

"China is not without people who are voicing concerns, but as it was in Japan, that doesn't stop people from investing especially when you think prices will only go up

China’s New Silk Road investment surges despite crackdown on overseas deals

Huge spending in 68 countries linked to government trade initiative, amid tight scrutiny of Chinese corporate buyouts abroad to rein in outflow of capital

ReutersUPDATED : Wednesday, 16 Aug 2017, 8:47PM

Mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies in countries that are part of the “Belt and Road Initiative” are soaring, even as Beijing cracks down on China’s acquisitive conglomerates to restrict capital outflows.

Chinese acquisitions in the 68 countries officially linked to President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy totalled US$33 billion as of Monday, surpassing the US$31 billion tally for all of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Unveiled in 2013, the “Belt and Road” project is aimed at building a modern-day “Silk Road”, connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Central Asia and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

At a summit in May, Xi pledged US$124 billion for the plan, but it has faced suspicion in Western capitals that it is intended more to assert Chinese influence than Beijing’s professed desire to spread prosperity.

Overseas deals a national security matter for China, Xi says

The surge in Chinese companies’ acquisition-linked investments in the “Belt and Road” corridor comes as the volume of all outbound mergers and acquisitions from China has dropped 42 per cent year on year as of Monday, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

Beijing’s move to prop up the yuan by restricting the flow of capital outside the country and clamp down on debt-fuelled acquisitions to ensure financial stability has made it tougher for buyers to win approval for deals abroad.



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Regulators have tightened the screws further since June, reviewing deal agreements in minute detail and ordering a group of lenders to assess their exposure to offshore acquisitions by several big companies that have been on overseas buying sprees, including HNA Group, Dalian Wanda Group and Fosun Group.

The heightened regulatory scrutiny of overseas acquisitions comes after companies spent a record US$220 billion in 2016 on assets overseas, buying up everything from movie studios to European football clubs.

The scrutiny, however, has not impacted on Chinese companies’ pursuit of targets along the “Belt and Road” corridor, as those investments are considered strategic for the companies as well as the Chinese economy.

“People are thinking in a long-term approach when making investments along ‘Belt and Road’ countries,” said Hilary Lau, a corporate and commercial lawyer and partner at the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

“The acquisitions are also policy driven. There are funds allocated by Chinese banks and state funds for “Belt and Road” deals,” he said.

The number of Chinese deals targeting “Belt and Road” countries totalled 109 this year, compared to 175 in the whole of last year and 134 in 2015, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

What’s real and what’s not? China’s grip on overseas deals leaves everyone in the dark

Companies enjoy a relatively smooth approval process for deals along the “Belt and Road” project as regulators tend to put them in a different basket when reviewing outbound investments, according to lawyers and deal makers.

“If you are doing ‘One Belt, One Road’, that becomes the first sentence in the document” to the regulators, said a senior investment adviser at a Chinese company that has acquired several overseas businesses.

“It is a wise thing to point out early on,” said the adviser, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The largest deal in a “Belt and Road” country so far this year was a Chinese consortium’s US$11.6 billion buyout of the Singapore-based Global Logistics Properties.

Other top deals include the US$1.8 billion purchase of an eight per cent ownership interest in an Abu Dhabi oil company by the state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp and HNA Group’s US$1 billion acquisition of a logistics company, CWT, which has not yet closed.

Why Europe and the US cannot afford to ignore China’s belt and road

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China’s foreign exchange regulator, said this month that domestic companies would still be encouraged to participate in “Belt and Road” activities.

HNA, which has seen at least two overseas deals hit a hurdle as a result of the crackdown on transferring money, has said it plans to prioritise investments that are in industries and regions mapped out under the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

The acquisitions are predominantly in energy and infrastructure sectors, said Hilary Lau of Herbert Smith Freehills.

“We’ve seen a lot of activities recently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. The whole Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh corridor is also hot as it’s connecting the East and West,” he said

CPEC – a game changer


Mohammad Jamil
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, linking Gwadar Port to the Chinese province of Xinjiang, will be a game changer not only for Balochistan and Pakistan but also for the world trade. In Balochistan, development activity has picked up with the return of peace after years of insurgency and violence. A few countries are trying to sabotage the mega project, but Provincial Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti has more than once said the provincial government would do its part in providing fool-proof security to workers during the construction period. With the development efforts of the federal and provincial governments and efforts of the Army Balochistan youth having been inducted in the army, who will frustrate the designs of enemies of Pakistan. People of Balochistan and even Jirga are likely to support efforts for peace and development in Balochistan.
In the past, Baloch youth, the jewel of human being, bubbling with enormous talent, vitality and energy had been suppressed by Sardars. But, whenever he got the chance he turned out an acknowledged doctor, engineer, lawyer, civil servant, diplomat and general of sterling quality. Various governments in the past, whether military or elected, had appeased and mollycoddled illusive Sardars, chieftains and local wielders who had been riding a rough shod over Baloch commoners, particularly youth. Billions of rupees were poured into the provincial treasury from the centre in the name of packages and development plans from 2002 to 2009 but one did not see any worthwhile project with first-class educational facilities in diverse fields and disciplines for the commoner Baloch youth. Since Abdul Malik was elected CM and then Sanaullah Zehri is at the helm, funds are being spent on the projects that can be seen on the ground.
Not only Balochistan and its people but people of Pakistan will benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC project is part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” plan to expandits trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia. It will give China easier access to the Middle Eastern oil via the deepwater port of Gwadar. Of course, the completion of Gwadar would make Balochistan economic hub and create a strategic nexus between Pakistan, China and Central Asia. It would provide links from the Caspian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz, and enable Gwadar to compete with Persian Gulf ports. The US is wary of Chinese strategic access to the Arabian Sea and its presence in the region. Reportedly, the US tried several times to persuade Pakistan against involving China in the mega project but Pakistan remained firm on its commitment to China.
On 1st June 2015, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue of CPEC during his recent visit to China (2015) and called the mega project unacceptable for the country, which was sheer interference in the affairs of a sovereign country. During a press conference in June 2015, Sushma Swaraj also told reporters that the Indian government had summoned the Chinese envoy over the $46 billion economic corridor that is to run from Gwadar in Pakistan’s west to China’s Kashghar. China’s Foreign Office rejected India’s reservations on CPEC, and said that “India’s concerns are not right enough and we will carry on trade ties with Pakistan.” He added that the CPEC would bring stability and prosperity in the region. Out of desperation, India has stepped its vile acts. Arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav bears testimony to the fact that India is involved in terror acts.
The provincial government, federal government and military have contributed towards winning the hearts and minds of the people; which is why many Farari commanders have laid down arms and dissidents have been forced to come to the negotiating table. After successful completion of Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad is progressing well, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday visited Rajgal valley, Khyber Agency, where he was given detailed briefing on progress of Operation Khyber-4 in which forces have cleared over 92 percent of the area, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Talking to officers and troops on the occasion, COAS said: “With the full backing of the nation, we are heading towards a normalized Pakistan where writ of State and supremacy of law would be ensured so that every Pakistani will be able to play his positive and rightful part in Pakistan’s progress.
It is imperative to establish the writ of the State throughout Pakistan to create climate conducive to investment and development. Reportedly, the US had tried several times to persuade Pakistan against involving China in the mega project. India has invested heavily in the road linking project from Afghanistan to Iran’s Chabahar port to lessen the importance of Gwadar Port. But given the determination of Pakistan and China, the project would be completed in time. Balochistan will become an economic hub and people of Balochistan and other provinces of Pakistan will benefit from the mega project. It will also help Pakistan to achieve self-reliance, get rid of the dependency syndrome. Of course, Pakistan would become militarily strong and India would think twice before hurling threats or resorting to posturing.
Many anti-Pakistan lobbies have been at work to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as they know that with the completion of its projects Pakistan will usher into an era of progress and prosperity. There are others who wittingly or unwittingly create unfounded fear and misconception about the CPEC. Anyhow, CPEC will open new vistas of development as a result of which the national economy will grow fast, lead to creation of new job opportunities, poverty reduction and development of transportation sector and boost industrial growth. CPEC is a comprehensive package of cooperative initiatives and projects, which covers key areas including connectivity, information network infrastructure, energy cooperation, industries and industrial parks, agricultural development, poverty alleviation, tourism, financial cooperation as well as livelihood improvement including municipal infrastructure, education, public health and people-to-people communication. Energy sector has been assigned top priority to help Pakistan overcome energy shortages.
However, Gwadar Port Project is the centerpiece of Pak-China Strategic Partnership with its strategic location and potential for becoming the future economic and energy hub. The projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will transform it into one of the world’s leading port cities having top-class commercial and tourist facilities, integrated infrastructure and investment opportunities. This will make Gwadar a catalyst for development of Makran Coast and Balochistan in particular and Pakistan in general. The first phase of Gwadar port with three multipurpose berths having a total quay length of 602 meters is fully operational. The first phase was completed last year, which included three multipurpose berths of 602m quay length, one service berth of 100m length, 4.35 km navigable channel of 11.6/12.5m depth, roads, plinths and transit shed, operational craft and equipment including navigational aids and shore-based port buildings and allied facilities