Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quote of the day: Kapil Sibal


If all the aid showered by the West on Pakistan for decades has not stabilised Pakistan and ended its terrorist affiliations, it is unclear how CPEC — which is a project sponsored by the Pakistani military — will serve India’s needs.  ...Former Diplomat Kapil Sibal

Are we truly ready for the consequences of a war with China?

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/are-we-truly-ready-for-the-consequences-of-a-war-with-china-20170420-gvod4b.html

Nick Xenophon

Apr 20, 2017

The South China Sea explained

We are faced today with a question that has never before arisen in our history. From January 1788, when the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay, to 2008, during the Global Financial Crisis, we've had first Britain and then the USA as both trading partner and strategic ally.

But now China is our largest two-way trading partner in goods and services ($150 billion), our largest export market ($86 billion) and our largest source of imports ($64 billion). And the integrated East Asian economic zone is the world's fastest growing.

So, how do we negotiate the tension between our major security partner and our major trading partner?

China sees as vital to its security the string of archipelagos from northern Borneo to the Kuril Islands north-east of Japan. It has piled sand onto reefs in the South China Sea, creating seven new artificial islands, and has installed missile batteries and radar facilities, giving it effective control over sea and air traffic in the region.

Earlier this year US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he wanted to "send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed."

Two weeks later, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Los Angeles that "most nations wish to see more United States leadership, not less, and have no desire to see powers other than the US, calling the shots."

Increased tension between the US and China seems inevitable, and Australia may well get dragged in.

Last year the RAND Corporation published a report called "War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable". It makes sobering reading. Their research team concluded that "war between the two countries [the US and China] could be intense, last a year or more, have no winner, and inflict huge losses and costs on both sides."

China's defensive military capabilities will continue to increase, and it will be able to inflict heavy losses on its opponents.

As both sides' technologies and doctrine create a preference for striking first, the potential for miscalculation is high. Each side may believe that by striking first it can gain and retain the initiative, and by doing so it might be able to end a conflict quickly.

Yet this kind of thinking has uncomfortable parallels with Europe of a century ago, when the belligerents initiated their own military plans to attack before being attacked, and both sides believed that in doing so they would gain operational dominance and end the war swiftly. Back then, both sides had strong economic ties, which 'experts' said would prevent any conflict.

Furthermore, using the line and military strategy attributed to Sun Tzu, China may decide to "kill the chicken to scare the monkey" – sink an Australian vessel to warn off the United States Navy.

 Are we truly ready for the consequences of a war? Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, where there were relatively few casualties, this time we may see large numbers of body bags returning, or never returning at all, since they may have been sunk at sea.

Is Australia ready for a relentless parade of funerals? For calls from the extreme political fringe for Chinese Australians to be interned in camps? For India reinforcing its troops along its border with China? For Russia to be emboldened along its western border? For increased activity in the Middle East, as extremists there take advantage of US preoccupation in the South China Sea? We already know what the invasion of Iraq unleashed.

And back home the consequences would be catastrophic, both for our economy and society.

RAND said a US-China war could shrink China's GDP by up to 35 per cent and the USA's by up to 10 per cent. But given our much higher trade dependence on China and the region, a 30 per cent contraction would not be out of the question.

And demographically? Seeing Chinese Australians and Chinese students on our streets shows how integral they've become to our nation's fabric.

A war with China would rip Australia's economy and society apart.

The signals we send to either side about Australia's position are of the highest economic and strategic significance. What we do requires extensive consideration in the Australian Parliament. Contrary to public belief, the ANZUS Treaty doesn't commit the US to come to our assistance, or us to theirs – only to "act to meet the common danger in accordance with [our] constitutional processes".

Australia alone should decide which wars we go to, and the circumstances in which we go to them. That goes to the heart of our sovereignty.

Australia must not get involved in a South China Sea conflict until every member of the Australian Parliament has voted on it, and explained their reasons individually – not hide behind a party line.

What's more, that process should be enshrined in Australian legislation; no Australian military actions ought to occur without parliamentary authorisation, except in self-defence. More than ever, since 1788, it's a law whose time has come.

Nick Xenophon is a South Australian Senator. This is an edited version of a speech given at Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Thursday night

Japan's ruling party heavyweight to attend China's New Silk Road summit

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN17R0KH

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with the chairman of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party's General Council Toshihiro Nikai during the China-Japan friendship exchange meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, May 23, 2015.

REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

X

By Linda Sieg and Tetsushi Kajimoto | TOKYO

The secretary-general of Japan's ruling party said on Tuesday he will attend China's New Silk Road summit in May, a sign Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to improve ties with Beijing amid tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

But an adviser to Abe said Tokyo remained cautious about the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), created at least in part as a way to fund the Silk Road plan.

"Given the international situation starting with North Korea, mutual understanding between Japan and China is vital," Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai was quoted by Jiji news agency telling a news conference, adding he would attend the May 14-15 China summit.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Suang confirmed the attendance. Geng gave no other details.

Concerns have grown that a sixth North Korean nuclear test could be imminent and that the test, or another long-range missile launch, could occur around the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the North's Korean People's Army on Tuesday.

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North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military, media reported, in defiance of U.S. warnings against such action.

Nikai, a ruling party heavyweight and second to Abe in the party, is known for his close ties to China.

Japan's ties with China have long been plagued by the bitter legacy of World War Two and mistrust over present-day regional rivalry. But Japan, like the United States and South Korea, wants Beijing, North Korea's main backer, to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its missile and nuclear programs.

Japan's trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, is also considering attending after receiving an invitation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, while Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of business lobby Keidanren will also go.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in announcing a list of those attending the summit earlier this month, which includes many Asia leaders, did not mention officials from Japan, South Korea or North Korea.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has championed the "One Belt, One Road" initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects.

Japan, following Washington's lead under then-U.S. President Barack Obama, did not join the AIIB, partly from concern it was a vehicle to boost China's regional clout and a potential rival of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Manila-based institution dominated by Japan and the United States.

In May 2016, the AIIB and ADB signed an agreement setting the stage for joint financing projects.

"We remain cautious about AIIB and need to examine its transparency even more closely, since China plays a dominant role in its governance," Abe adviser Masahiko Shibayama, told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING; Editing by Michael Perry and Clarence Fernandez

ANZUS, war powers and killing the chicken to scare the monkey

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/anzus-war-powers-killing-chicken-scare-monkey/


24 Apr 2017|Nick Xenophon

Future historians might well consider that this current period is a turning point in Australian strategic history.

Last month, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pointed out that ‘[many] of our assumptions founded on the international rules-based order that evolved after World War II, now appear less certain.’ She called on the United States to ‘play an even greater role as the indispensable strategic power in the Indo-Pacific,’ a call she had made earlier in the year in Los Angeles, at the US-Australia Dialogue on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. On that occasion, she said that ‘[most] nations wish to see more United States leadership, not less, and have no desire to see powers other than the US, calling the shots.’

Clearly, while other challenges exist, the question of China looms large. There is no doubt in my mind that the ANZUS alliance is the most important strategic alliance we have. As Peter Edwards argued in 2005, ‘successive Australian governments, both Labor and Coalition, have convinced themselves, and sought to persuade their public’ that the benefits of the alliance are five-fold:

the security guarantee;
access to high-level US policy-makers;
access to unique intelligence information
;access to advanced science and technology;
The economic benefits of the Free Trade Agreement.

While intellectual challenges can, and have, been mounted to each of these five claimed benefits, I am sure that the alliance enjoys considerable public support. It certainly has my support. Indeed, as ASPI’s own research in 2008 demonstrated, ‘an overwhelming majority of voters and major party candidates see the ANZUS alliance as important to Australia, the only question being whether they see it as “very” or “fairly” important.’

The big strategic question for Australia is how to negotiate the tension between our key security partner and our key trading partner.

We’ve never had this question arise in the first 220 years of European settlement. From January 1788, when the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay, to 2008, during the Global Financial Crisis, we’ve had first Britain and then the USA as our trading partner and strategic ally. But now China is our largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at $150.0 billion in 2015–16), our largest export market ($85.9 billion) and our largest source of imports ($64.1 billion).

Last year the RAND Corporation published a report called ‘War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable’. It makes sobering reading. Their research team concluded that:

‘war between the two countries could be intense, last a year or more, have no winner, and inflict huge losses and costs on both sides. The longer such a war continued, the more significant economic, domestic political, and international effects would become. While such non-military effects would hit China hardest, they could also greatly harm the U.S. economy and the U.S. ability to meet security challenges worldwide.’


This is something that really cries out for attention by all members of the Australian Parliament.

What happens—or does not happen—is of the highest significance to Australia. The signals we send to either side about Australia’s position requires extensive consideration in the Australian Parliament.

Australia would not be spared from disruption to our economy and demography. RAND said a US-China war could shrink China’s GDP by 25–35% and the USA’s by 5–10%. But given our much higher trade dependence on China—four times more reliant as a proportion of GDP than the US—a 30% contraction would not be out of the question. And demographically? Seeing Chinese Australians and Chinese students on our streets shows how integral they’ve become to our nation’s fabric.

A war with China would rip Australia’s economic and social fabric apart. I don’t think any Australian participation in the South China Sea ought to occur until every member of the Australian Parliament has had a chance to vote on it, and has been put on the spot to explain their reasons individually—not hide behind the line of their respective party.

I believe that parliamentary authorisation is workable and can be formulated in a suitably flexible way that takes a variety of contingencies into account, protects the security of classified information, and copes with the time-sensitive nature of emergency military deployments. In requiring Parliamentary approval, it is necessary to distinguish between ‘wars of choice’ and ‘wars of necessity’. Wars of necessity refer to military actions taken in self-defence and require the use of rapid and/or covert military force.

At the moment, the danger is one of a surprise war, as a result of an escalation during (say) a freedom of navigation exercise, in which Australia’s Executive deploys forces without any effective check from the legislature, since the only option parliament has is to bring down the government through a motion of no-confidence—something that backbenchers in a governing political party can hardly be expected to do, whatever their misgivings about a particular military deployment.

Furthermore, using the line and military strategy attributed to Sun Tzu, China may decide to ‘kill the chicken to scare the monkey’—sink an Australian vessel to warn off the United States Navy. The signals we send to either side about Australia’s position are of the highest economic and strategic significance. What we do requires extensive consideration in the Australian Parliament.

Whilst this debate has been both energised and exercise by the Trump Presidency, it’s worth remembering it was no less than the husband of Candidate Trump’s rival who said, while he was in office, ‘We will act multilaterally where we can, unilaterally when we must’. Australia alone should decide which wars we go to, and the circumstances in which we go to them. That goes to the heart of our sovereignty. Australia must not get involved in a South China Sea conflict until every member of the Australian Parliament has voted on it, and explained their reasons individually—not hide behind a party line.

What’s more, that process should be enshrined in Australian legislation; no Australian military actions ought to occur without parliamentary authorization, except in self-defence. More than ever, since 1788, it’s a law whose time has come.

AUTHOR

Nick Xenophon is an Australian senator for South Australia and the leader of the Nick Xenophon Team. This is an edited extract of his address to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on 20 April 2017. Image (c) ASPI 2017

Read for pleasure from West Bengal

http://english.cctv.com/2017/04/25/ARTIo6ozJCVDzOxmgV82B43H170425.shtml

The B&R Initiative: an opportunity for India to solidify good neighborly relations with China

Editor: zhangrui 丨CCTV.com

04-25-2017 09:44 BJT

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By Rabi Sankar Bosu, an India freelance contributor to Chinese media outlets

China will host the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation from May 14 to 15 in Beijing. The BRF has attracted an increasing amount of attention from the international community since Chinese President Xi Jinping announced it at the 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on January 17 this year. The forum will be the most important international gathering to better build consensus and advance cooperation, as its theme suggests, "Cooperation for Common Prosperity."
 
The Belt and Road Initiative (B&R), which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was first put forward by President Xi Jinping in the autumn of 2013. The B&R has since become a very popular initiative and the best platform for international cooperation with the brightest prospects in the world.

The forthcoming forum will be attended by 28 heads of state and government and more than 60 leaders of international organizations, 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions for international cooperation. Unfortunately, India has not yet decided on its representation at the summit.

While more and more countries are joining China's B&R, India's insistence on keeping a distance from this mega project is quite a conundrum. It is reported that in the past three years, more than 100 countries and international organizations are already participating in the initiative.

By not joining the B&R, India is missing out an opportunity for economic development that the B&R has to offer. India should realize that the initiative, the grand trade and infrastructure plan, will not only contribute to China’s development but also to coordinated regional development.

At the February 22 upgraded China-India Strategic Dialogue in Beijing this year, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar articulated India's official position on the $46 billion China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) project, accusing the CPEC of violating India's sovereignty as it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He said that India cannot join a program that hurts Indian territorial interests. India fears that the CPEC would serve the purpose of granting legitimacy to Pakistan's control over the Kashmir region, and by promoting the construction of the corridor, China intends to meddle in the Kashmir dispute.

It is unwise to think that China does not respect India's sovereignty concerns. Reacting to India's stand on the CPEC, a recent op-ed in the Global Times wrote, "China has no intention of interfering in the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. China has long believed that the two neighbors should solve their dispute through dialogue and consultations and it has repeatedly emphasized that the construction of the CPEC would not affect its stance on the issue."

In fact, India's current detachment from the B&R represents a contradictory mentality. India is worried that China, under the framework of the B&R, might chip away at its regional leadership. It's really ridiculous that on the one hand, India hopes to deepen economic cooperation with China to promote its "Made in India" campaign, while on the other, it is concerned about China's growing influence in South Asia.

India needs to embrace China's B&R with an "open attitude" as most Asian countries are participating in the initiative in a spirit of openness for economic benefits.

BalochHouse▶▶▶▶▶ Interesting to read, have fun👇

No doubt, 🔷the B&R is an opportunity to modernize India’s Stone Age infrastructure and pave the way for rapid industrialization and employment growth. Partnering with China, India can reap economic benefits from the B&R in the long run. Joining B&R will not only increase India's trade substantially; it will also increase better access to funds through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund, better access to Middle East’s energy resources and increase people-to-people exchanges with the other countries as the B&R aims to build land and sea links between China and Europe through roads, railway lines, power projects and ports in potentially more than 60 countries.🔷

China has become a high-income economy with strong harmonious relations and driven by creativity and the power of ideas. It should not be lost on us that China is far richer than we are. Let's admit it: China is not our enemy. Instead of opposing CPEC, I hope that India will involve itself in China’s B&R with a more pragmatic attitude and look at different opportunities through CPEC, a project that will link more than 60 countries.

The sound and stable development of China-India relations in recent years has proved that the 'dragon' and the 'elephant' should join hands to speed up cooperation and usher in a better future for all, from Asia to the World, "boosting cooperation and realizing win-win development."

Rabi Sankar Bosu, Secretary of CRI’s New Horizon Radio Listeners’ Club, based in West Bengal, In

India must ignore China's One Belt One Road dream, but strike CPEC hard

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/one-belt-one-road-cpec-india-china-pakistan/story/1/16830.html

We need not become petulant and raise our fists at Xi Jinping's initiative.

 |  5-minute read |   25-04-2017

KANWAL SIBAL

 

China is planning to hold an international conference on President Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road project (OBOR) in May where the presence of world leaders it is lobbying hard for would boost its leadership ambitions in Asia and well beyond. Xi has the dream to make China a global power and wants others to share it, kindled by the prospect of benefiting from Beijing’s investment plans across Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Dreams are by nature disconnected and incoherent, which is why the Chinese have not been able to define the project clearly, referring to it as an evolving concept that would incorporate the ideas of participating countries as it develops. It is presented as a cooperative project in a bid to delink it from China’s geopolitical ambitions, but it was launched without consultation with anyone, including India. It remains a Chinese-controlled project as they hold the purse strings.

Ambitions

×

China has launched this idea to serve its global ambitions and the needs of its economy and expect others to make it implementable. To artificially amplify its scope, projects already implemented by China to serve its resource and connectivity needs and which were never intended to be “public goods” have been included in OBOR.

China’s oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to East Turkestan, and the development of the Gwadar port pre-date OBOR. Just four days ago, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has also falsely included the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) project under OBOR’s rubric.

Some in India echo China’s line that it is in India’s interest to participate in OBOR as all our neighbours have supported it and our staying out will isolate us.

Others suggest that we skirt the issue of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) violating our sovereignty by traversing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) with a formula that satisfies our formal position on the territory with a view to allowing our participation in OBOR.

The stakes for us are apparently too high, as we are in desperate need for Chinese investments in ports and manufacturing. The argument is also being made that China’s deep involvement in Pakistan’s political success and economic development creates a congruence of interest with India, as it would help stabilise India’s neighbourhood and wean Pakistan away from terrorism. We are being exhorted to move out of ossified positions and avoid painting ourselves into a corner by opposing OBOR.

China’s global power status is being cited as a reason for India not to be fixated on one or two issues such as NSG membership as that is not an issue of core interest for India. No wonder Wang Yi has noted in his recent statement that many Indian friends support OBOR.

All these arguments are highly questionable. If NSG is not a core issue for us, why is it one for China, which considers our membership as being against its national interest? China already dominates Central Asia at Russia’s cost. Our neighbours have long played the China card against us and OBOR will be one more, presuming that Sri Lanka’s lesson from opening doors to costly Chinese investments goes unheeded by others.

Hegemony

Our neighbours are not worried about China’s hegemonic ambitions in Asia; they would be more wary of India’s hegemony.

If all the aid showered by the West on Pakistan for decades has not stabilised Pakistan and ended its terrorist affiliations, it is unclear how CPEC — which is a project sponsored by the Pakistani military — will serve India’s needs.

Chinese diplomats in Delhi warn that India will pay a price for not participating in OBOR. What will be that price? China will continue to oppose us on NSG membership and Masood Azhar’s designation as a terrorist? It will make one more statement on Tawang? It will give Tibetan names to more counties in Arunachal Pradesh? It will do more military exercise with Nepal and squeeze debt-ridden Sri Lanka more? It will send more submarines into the Indian Ocean?

It will continue to deny us opportunities in its economy and increase our bilateral trade deficit even more? Presumably if we embraced OBOR we will be rewarded by a reversal of Chinese policies on all these issues. China will begin investing in India in a big way and build us up an economic power that will compete with them tomorrow in Asia and beyond and challenge them, replaying the naivety of the Americans of empowering China that now seeks to oust them from Asia.

Expansion

We should just ignore OBOR, except opposing the CPEC, as it represents the vital connectivity between Chinese expansion on the Asian landmass and its plans in the Indian Ocean. We need to implement our own connectivity projects with much greater speed.

If these projects get connected in the normal course with the Chinese connectivity projects on the Asian landmass, so be it. Why should we laud OBOR as transformative (for whom — us?) and praise it. Simply because our companies could get a contract or two here and there is no reason to mortgage our foreign policy to China’s dream.

We need not become petulant and raise our fists at China’s initiative. We should study OBOR to assess its geopolitical implications for our security and our role in Asia. At the Beijing OBOR show, our representation should be low level, only to keep an eye on the proceedings and prepare a report.

(Courtesy Mail Today.)

You

Writer

KANWAL SIBAL

Former Foreign Secretary



Monday, April 24, 2017

What's CPEC, and How Does the Future of the Multipolar World Depend on It?

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201704241052940823-cpec-multipolar-world-future/



COLUMNISTS

19:51 24.04.2017(updated 19:54 24.04.2017)Get short URL

Andrew Korybko

62105197

Andrew just returned from Pakistan's National Defence University where he was lecturing on the geostrategic significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and he's eager to share his insight with Sputnik's readers.

© PHOTO: PIXABAY

As Battle of Words Rages, Threat of Nuclear ‘Accident’ on the Rise

The world order is going through profound changes in transitioning from the Western-controlled unipolar system to the non-Western model of multipolarity, and the ongoing multifaceted friction between the opposing forces sums up the nature of the New Cold War. The US and its allies are struggling to retain their erstwhile dominance over global affairs, while Russia, China, and their respective partners are working hard to achieve peaceful breakthroughs in undermining their rivals' control.

The development of alternative governance systems such as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are central to the multipolar initiatives to reform the world system, but what's needed most of all is to integrate the Afro-Eurasian countries of the Eastern Hemisphere into a win-win network of real-sector economic relations. China's solution to this pressing need is its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity which aims to construct a series of multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects designed to do just that.

CPEC Connectivity

© SPUTNIK/ MIKHAIL VOSKRESENSKIY

'Clear-Cut Hybrid War': US Strikes in Syria Could 'Destroy Everything'

The most important Silk Road project is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a $55 billion investment (and counting) that seeks to connect East Asia with South Asia by means of a non-Malacca mainland trade passage. Upon full completion, CPEC will be a geopolitical game-changer for the simple reason that it will provide China with an alternative to the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca, thereby making it impossible for the troublesome US Navy to control the People's Republic's trade routes via maritime manipulations in these two aforementioned chokepoints. This, in turn, will allow China to trade more freely with its Western European, Mideast, and African partners and therefore advance its globally transformative vision of New Silk Road connectivity which lies at the heart of structurally reforming the unipolar-controlled global system.

While China is indeed streamlining other mainland corridors across Eurasia and plans to outfit them with high-speed rail technology, they each run the risk of being disrupted, controlled, or influenced by the externally provoked identity-driven conflicts of Hybrid Wars. The same can be said for CPEC, too, but it's much easier to manage these disturbances in the two transit states of China and Pakistan than it is to do so all across the Eurasian landmass. This makes CPEC the most solid and dependable New Silk Road investment from a security standpoint, which is doubly understandable if one acknowledges the geostrategic seriousness of this project.

© PHOTO: PIXABAY

North-South Corridor to Take India, Russia Ties to a Trade High

CPEC doesn't just connect China to the Indian Ocean, but also lays the groundwork for Pakistan to function as the Zipper of Eurasia in linking together a series of Eurasian economic blocs. As I explained in my September 2015 analysis for the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, CPEC holds the promise of "zipping" the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, China, Iran, and South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)-member Pakistan together in economically strengthening the SCO and subsequently enhancing the viability of the emerging Multipolar World Order.

Accepting that CPEC holds the realistic possibility of connecting Europe, the Arab countries, and Africa with their SCO counterparts, then it's foreseeable that a Convergence of Civilizations will take place on Pakistani territory which could consequently counter the divide-and-rule blueprint of a "Clash of Civilizations."

Cognizant of the irreplaceable significance of the Indian Ocean and appreciating the dual roles that CPEC is poised to play as the Zipper of Eurasia and Convergence of Civilizations, it’s reasonable to assert that the present century is an Indo-Pacific one and that Pakistan sits right in the middle of the most influential global processes.

How It Works

© AFP 2017/ SAM PANTHAKY

Road vs Rail: India Counters China's One Border One Road With Freight Train to Turkey via Iran

None of the abovementioned concepts – the Zipper of Eurasia, Convergence of Civilizations, and Indo-Pacific Century – are hyperbolic slogans, however, as there's solid economic reasoning behind each one.

To succinctly explain, the expansion of transport connectivity generally equates to an improvement in economic relations between all related parties which come to employ the said route, which thereby justifies the Zipper of Eurasia paradigm.

Concerning the Convergence of Civilizations, any company could be interested in relocating their production facilities to Pakistan in order to achieve equidistance between their pan-Eastern Hemispheric suppliers and consumers, as well as to cut down on related transport and labor costs.

Manufacturing, assembly, or sales outposts in South Asia could make it much easier to balance commercial connectivity between Western Europe 

© AFP 2017/ NARENDRA SHRESTHA / POOL

SAARC Bears the Weight of India-Pakistan Rivalry

and East Asia, as well as to in principle acquire access to SAARC (provided that political-administrative roadblocks can be surmounted).

CPEC is also importantly located midway between the booming East African marketplace and China's East Asian manufacturing coast, so it can additionally be utilized by either of these sides or interested third-party partners to facilitate trade between this emerging economic axis.

Altogether, the crisscrossing trade networks in the Indian Ocean and CPEC's central location in enabling all of this adds credence to the argument that the world is moving towards an Indo-Pacific Century which will see South Asia become the focal point of global geopolitics and economic competition.

Broadening the BRICS

Having acquired familiarity with the driving logic behind CPEC and its salience to the New Cold War, it's now time to introduce the reader to how this game-changing project is slated to contribute to the bolstering of the BRICS bloc and the consequent promotion of the emerging Multipolar World Order.

© REUTERS/ DANISH SIDDIQUI

BRICS Plus: 'the Bloc That Will Dominate the World'

Chief economist with the Eurasian Development Bank and Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club Yaroslav Lissovolik published a thought-provoking policy proposal in February titled "Re-Thinking The BRICS: On The Concepts Of BRICS+ and BRICS++," in which he elaborated on the most feasible prospects for broadening the five-member BRICS partnerships into a truly global multipolar platform. Soon thereafter, China proposed its own concept of "BRICS-Plus" which it vaguely alluded to as being composed of key OBOR partners, thereby strongly inferring that Pakistan and CPEC (the largest Silk Road investment) would naturally be involved.

This immediately drew the ire of India, which has been steadfastly opposed to CPEC on the grounds that it allegedly violates New Delhi's maximalist claims to Kashmir. I comprehensively explored the various nuances involved with this in an article that I published for the Islamabad-based Regional Rapport analytical outlet titled "India's Freaking Out Over China's 'BRICS-Plus' Proposal," and I suggest that any curious readers reference it if they'd like to learn more about this important issue. The topic of India's resistance to this project isn't the focus of the given article, nor is its rapidly developing military-strategic partnership with the US which might be playing a guiding role in these said calculations, so I'll move along and continue to discuss the positive aspects related to CPEC instead.

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Potential Pakistan Entry in BRICS Via China’s BRICS Plus Leaves India Concerned

China's OBOR vision of global New Silk Road connectivity recently received official UNSC backing in mid-March, and this has set the stage for Beijing's upcoming Belt and Road Initiative summit (BRI, another name for OBOR) next month which will be attended by dozens of world leaders including President Putin. India and the US, in what may either be coincidence or coordination, both have yet to signal their interest in participating, which might thus mean that they're voluntarily isolating themselves by choosing to remain outside of this new global economic framework.

Either way, China and its multitude of partners won't be dissuaded from continuing their breakneck progress on OBOR just because two spoilsports are against this series of initiatives, and there's a strong likelihood that Beijing will make the New Silk Road and BRICS+ concepts the tangible manifestations of the four themes that the People's Republic plans to promote during the 9th BRICS Summit which it will host this September. Accordingly, there's no escaping the fact that CPEC is primed to steal the show in such a scenario due to its previously explained geostrategic significance, so it's fair to state that this New Silk Road project will form the inseparable spine of BRICS+ and thenceforth the future of the multipolar world.

© AFP 2017/ ISABEL INFANTES

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This makes it all the more curious why more people aren't up to speed about CPEC and its pertinence in catalyzing the global transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, but this lack of awareness can likely be attributable to the ongoing infowar campaign being waged by China and Pakistan's rivals and which is designed to suppress any objective information about this ambitious undertaking. Nevertheless, China seems ready to bring CPEC to the forefront of the world's mainstream attention during the upcoming BRI and BRICS Summits, at which time this project is expected to be debuted as the cornerstone of the equitable and just alternative world system that China and its partners are constructing.

In every which way, the future of the multipolar world depends on CPEC, and given the strong global support that this initiative is receiving, it's safe to say that the future lies in good hands.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik