Friday, June 30, 2017

बलूच अलगाववादियों का जापानी संसद को संबोधित दुखद है,

JUNE 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

बलूच अलगाववादियों का जापानी संसद को संबोधित दुखद है, ायाज़सादक

टोक्यो (इरफान सिद्दीकी, प्रतिनिधि युद्ध) अध्यक्ष नेशनल असेंबली सरदार अयाज सादिक ने कहा है कि बलूच अलगाववादियों का जापानी संसद केअहा्े में सांसदों को संबोधित दुखद प्रक्रिया है जो जापानी सरकार आधिकारिक तौर पर व्यक्त खेद भी किया है जिस पर जापानी अधिकारियों ने क्षमा भी कर ली है यह खुलासा सरदार अयाज सादिक ने टोक्यो में पाकिस्तानी दूतावास में पाकिस्तानी समुदाय को संबोधित करते हुए, सरदार अयाज सादिक ने कहा कि बलूचिस्तान की डेढ़ करोड़ की आबादी है अगर कुछ सौ लोग दुश्मन के बहकावे में आकर जुदाई बात और उनकी बात जापान जैसे मित्र देश में भी सुनी जाए तो यह कारण ाफसो ही हो सकता है, अयाज सादिक ने कहा जापान उत्तर कोरिया के बारे में पाकिस्तान के साथ कुछ विचार हैं जिन्हें सुलझाने के लिए कूटनीतिक स्तर पर बातचीत जारी रहती है, अयाज सादिक ने अपने संबोधन में पीटीआई के हवाले से कहा कि बतौर स्पीकर वह सबको साथ लेकर चलने की कोशिश करते हैं लेकिन िमराँ खान उनके बचपन के दोस्त हैं लेकिन दो बार चुनाव में उनसे हार के बाद इमरान खान की नाराजगी आज तक बाकी है और दोनों में बातचीत बंद है, अयाज सादिक ने कहा कि चाहते तो धरने के दौरान पीटीआई के इस्तीफे स्वीकार कर सकते थे लेकिन पीटीआई के सदस्यों ने खुद पीछे उनसे संपर्क करके इस्तीफा मंजूर राजा करने का अनुरोध किया जिसे उन्होंने कानून के अनुसार स्वीकृत भी कीं जिससे पीटीआई आज भी संसद में मौजूद है, अपने भाषण के बाद अयाज सादिक ने पाकिस्तानी समुदाय के सवाल भी दिए और कुछ समाधान का वादा भी क्या, अयाज सादिक भाषण समारोह मनें जापान भर से सौ से अधिक समुदाय महत्वपूर्ण हस्तियों ने शिरकत की जिसमें पीएमएल एन, पीपीपी, पीटीआई सहित कई महत्वपूर्ण राजनीतिक और सामाजिक व धार्मिक संगठनों के सदस्यों समारोह में मौजूद थे।
Kya likkha h 👆

Pakistan's regional languages face looming extinction


Updated Jan 06, 2017 10:16pm

Around a hundred women have gathered in a community centre in Peshawar but they are conversing in a dialect incomprehensible to the Pashtun that dominate the region.

They are exchanging anecdotes and ideas in their native Hindko (literally, "the language of India") at a conference organised to promote the increasingly marginalised language.

Pakistan's 200 million people speak 72 provincial and regional tongues, including official languages Urdu and English, according to a 2014 parliamentary paper on the subject that classed 10 as either “in trouble” or “near extinction”.

Hindko speaking schoolchildren sing the national anthem at their school in Mansehra.— AFP

According to scholars, Hindko's decline as the foremost language of Peshawar began in 1947 when Hindu and Sikh traders left the city after the partition of British India.

Known for its curious aphorisms such as “Kehni aan dhiye nu, nuen kan dhar” ("I'm talking to my daughter, my daughter-in-law should listen") — which is meant to convey a harsh message but indirectly, it only has some two million speakers across the country as opposed to Pashto's 26 million.

It has also become a minority language in the city of its birth.

Men read Hindko language books at The Hindko Centre in Peshawar.— AFP

“Years and years of political unrest in Pakistan's northwestern region and Afghanistan have adversely impacted our language and it has lost grounds to Pashto,” Salahudin, Chief Executive of the Gandhara Hindko Board which organised the event, explained.

Some three million mainly Pashto speakers fled war from neighbouring Afghanistan over the past 35 years, while others are more recent migrants from other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkwa province.

A young Sindhi woman looks on as she attends a Sindh Cultural festival in Karachi.— AFP

Loss of culture

The most endangered of Pakistan's dialects are now spoken by only a few hundred people, such as Domaaki, an Indo-Aryan language confined to a handful of villages in remote northern Gilgit-Baltistan. Even regional languages spoken by tens of millions like Sindhi and Punjabi are no longer as vigorous as they once were.

“There is not a single newspaper or magazine published in Punjabi for the 60 million-plus Punjabi speakers,” wrote journalist Abbas Zaidi in an essay, despite it being the language of the nationally revered Sufi poet Bulleh Shah and the native-tongue of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Young Sindhi women pose as they attend a Sindh Cultural festival in Karachi.— AFP

English has been seen as the language of the elite in Pakistan since the country was founded.

It is used at the highest official levels, despite the fact that this excludes the majority of Pakistanis — many of whom, as a consequence of low literacy rates, do not speak English well or at all, according to leading linguist Tariq Rahman.

Urdu, the most common national tongue and spoken as a second language by the majority of Pakistanis, has been relegated to the middle- and lower-level halls of power, while the widely spoken regional languages — usually native to their speakers — are not even taught in schools.

“The result is an underclass that remains out of any public policy making, its upward mobility increasingly limited, and harbouring a deep sense of inferiority,” wrote Urdu poet Harris Khalique in a research paper.

“A majority of Pakistanis is unable to recognise car registration plates, many road signs that are only in English, the signboards of shops and offices.”

A Sindhi folk singer wearing traditional Sindhi cap and Ajrak performs during a Sindh Cultural Day festival in Karachi.— AFP

Taking a stand

Some language activists have taken a stand, such as Rozi Khan Baraki, a champion of the Urmari language of South Waziristan tribal zone that claims some 50,000 speakers.

At its peak in the early 16th century, the language flourished across much of Afghanistan and what is now northwest Pakistan.

Sindhi children pose as they attend a Sindh Cultural festival in Karachi.— AFP

“But then people in [the area] began speaking Pashto and Persian because many of the speakers of those languages migrated to the fertile lands of this region.

“Migrations have also threatened our next generation, who being Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, and Karachi have stopped communicating in their mother tongue.”

Baraki said to avoid extinction, community elders have asked their people to “force their children to speak Urmari at homes, especially those who have married women who speak other languages”.

“Our next generation is threatened, this language is going to die if we don't preserve it today,” he said.

Young Sindhi women pose for a 'selfie' as they attend a Sindh Cultural festival in Karachi.— AFP

Rahman lauds such efforts but says the process of saving dying languages can only happen when it is taken up at a governmental level as was the case with Welsh, a regional language of Britain.

A loss of diversity can have lasting ill effects, he warns.

Those who shift from their mother tongue to assimilate “try to become clones of another group — the one which they want to imitate, and lose respect for their former group”, he said.

Children find it difficult to communicate to their elders, while folk stories and music can also fade from memory.

“There are names of herbs and local names for fruit and animals that are lost. In some cases when you lose the name of the herb the use is also forgotten,” he said.

CPEC and the new great game

CPEC and the new great game

I fear that I may not be doing justice to describing the sentiments of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral regarding CPEC. The intensity of these feelings emanate from a sense of being excluded and deprived from CPEC’s development potential – both in a political and economic sense. There is a new wave of a nationalistic upsurge, with the youth gravitating towards sceptical idealism – which ranges from issues of political representation to economic empowerment. 

The exaggerated prosperity debate around CPEC is one of the key factors that have generated misgivings among the citizens about the game-changing prospects of this economic juggernaut. The euphoria surrounding CPEC’s transformative role impedes the possibility of a realistic assessment of the long-term impacts of this mega project on culture, the environment and the local economy. 

The simulated hype of prosperous future serves the parochial political and economic interests of the ruling elite. The debate over CPEC in the mainstream media has failed to provide an objective and pragmatic strategy for policymakers to help the government engage in a mutually beneficial partnership with China for the optimal utilisation of opportunities.

Such concerns are not restricted to GB alone. Reservations are being expressed frequently in Balochistan, Sindh, KP and various parts of Punjab. At the national level, there seems to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the camps of both the proponents and opponents of CPEC. This has triggered conflictual differences and widened the gulf among the various groups in a fragile nation-state.

There is a visible trend of a mission drift in the original script of development promises as recently-revealed deals include the leasing of agricultural land and mining sites to Chinese companies. This has reinforced scepticism about the project and could potentially ruin the endeavours of consensus-building among the varying political interests. In a political ecosystem of trust deficit among the provinces, a weakening federal structure and the absence of a visionary leadership of statecraft, CPEC has become a bone of contention. Each province – vying for a larger share of the pie – is finding it difficult to convince its people to rise above the immediate gains in the larger interest of the country.

At times, CPEC appears to formalise the protracted conflicts between the federating units, which have become all the more pronounced with the rising appeal of ethnocentric nationalism. In a fraying political fabric of a fragile polity, it is advisable for the government and other key stakeholders of CPEC to open the debate for public consumption by being transparent about its pros and cons for the country and its citizens.

CPEC is, of course, a gigantic economic development project. But it is not the panacea to address all our development ills. It must be based on a sense of reciprocity to promote the interests of both China and Pakistan in the strictest sense of the principles of international relations. It is more a matter of gauging the diplomatic depth of a state to strike a deal and achieve optimal gains from such partnerships rather than to judge the intentions of the other party. In our critical discussions about CPEC, we tend to forget the very principle of quid pro quo in international politics, which defines interstate relations in the pursuit of interests that are both a moral and an objective in their nature.

Some critics have gone much further and drawn an analogy between CPEC and the East India Company, calling it part of an imperialistic expansion. In doing so, most of these critics do not provide an in-depth analysis of the inner workings of global capitalism and its political nemesis anchored by the Chinese in the contemporary intra-national politics. Of course, it would be a facile view to jettison CPEC as an imperialistic agenda. But it is vital to locate CPEC in the political context of an emerging international scenario of the Rising South led by China.

Stopping short of the new cold war, experts of international relations see the rise of the South as the beginning of a new Great Game. During this era of the so-called new great game, it is less obvious whether this is likely to annihilate the possibility of a different global order. This raises many questions about the validity of ideological politics when two seemingly diametrically opposed ideologies are in a transactional relationship in economic and political terms.

If the new Great Game involves containing the political influence without compromising the economic interests, it would be difficult to consider China and the West to be two distinct ideological camps that are bitterly hostile towards each other. There is little economic reason to see the beginning of a new cold war when Western capitalists consider China to be one of the most conductive investment place for profit accumulation.

The stark contradiction between the political ideology and the economic mode of production in China will lead to chaos and uncertainties to restrict growth and expansion. Quite contrary to commonly-held view that China will be threatened by the pro-Western movements, there is a strong likelihood that China may see an upsurge of the radical left. This would be a moment of surprise for China and for those who would be quick to call it a yellow revolution, just as they have been good at naming – rather colouring – the revolutionary attempts in the 21st century.

China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is, of course, a source of hope for an 800 million-strong workforce, which is going to face huge lay-offs due to the economic downturn in China. Job creation is one of the key strategic objectives of the OBOR initiative in addition to broadening the choices of the relatively secure and cost-efficient trade routes.

State capitalism in China is under tremendous pressure owing to an inefficient labour-intensive structure, which is further plagued by a lack of accountability. The Pakistani political leadership should not pin too much hope on Chinese investments under CPEC because they are primarily designed to help accelerate economic growth to sustain a huge workforce in China. However, Pakistan can strike some profitable deals with a clear-cut inclusive national growth and development programme. The government must take all provinces and federating units into confidence to turn the challenge of nation-building into an opportunity through an equitable investment plan.

The government and the security agencies should be on the same page on the issues of national significance. They should not send out public overtures of inner strains between themselves. The melodrama of CPEC is here to stay and its proponents and antagonists will continue to put forth their arguments for and against the project. The proponents are content with the idea of an envisaged prosperity and their stake in the upcoming economic opportunities. Meanwhile, the antagonists have carved out a discourse of discontent and defiance. The choice is either to play to the gallery or to change the game and tame the ghost. And that is, indeed, a hard choice to make.


The writer is a freelance columnist based in Islamabad.


Teenage Baloch student abducted during Pakistan Navy chief’s visit to Jiwani


QUETTA: Pakistani security forces have abducted a minor Baloch student from Balochistan’s coastal town of Pasni on Monday night.

According to details Pakistani forces have attacked the house of Abdul Rasool Baloch in Ward No.6 in Pasni Balochistan and tortured his family members including women and children.

Mr. Baloch’s house was attacked following the visit of Pakistan’s Navy Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah to Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara and Gwadar, and spend a day with troops.

Pakistani forces have carried out several attacks on house of Abdul Rasool Baloch in past one month but on Monday night (26/06/17) they abducted his teenage son, Azaan Baloch.

Apart from abducting the teenage boy, Pakistani forces also terrorised female family members of Abdul Rasool and broke doors and windows of his houses.
The Pakistani forces accelerated their offensive in Jiwani, Pasni and surrdounging areas after an attack and killing of eight Navy officials in Jiwani on 19 June 2017.
The pro-freedom resistance organisation, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), had accepted the responsibility for killing of Pakistani navy soldiers.
Local sources told Balochwarna News that after the attack Pakistani forces have closed down several China-Pakistani projects in Balochistan’s coastal areas due to security reasons.
China had also snapped Pakistan for not providing enough security to its workers in Balochistan.

Conference : World Baloch Organization , July 18, London

Balochistan: Eight civilians including a teenager abducted by military

 by hakkpaan ,  June 29, 2017

According to reports, on 25 June 2017, around 12 AM Pakistan time, security forces stormed into Abdul Rasool’s house in Ward No 6, Pasni district Gwadar, Balochistan.

Azan Abdul Rasool

During the assault, in the absence of Abdul Rasool, security forces abducted his 14 years old son Azan, while the women and children were severely beaten up and injured.

Separately, Pakistani security forces abducted six people from Jiwani Bazar district Gwadar, Balochistan.

Four of the abductees have been identified as Halim Baloch, Rasheed resident of Siyahji, Dasht district Kech, Balochistan, Baigul resident of Shayabad and Mulla Dil Shad resident of district Khuzdar, Balochistan.

On the same day, from Awaran main Bazar, security forces abducted Sattar Fatah Mohammad resident of Bazdad, Gandakor district Awaran, Balochistan

The abductees have been shifted to unknown location and their whereabouts are still unknown to their families

Baloch Martyrs of Mehi

Mehi is a small village in district Awaran, approximately 600 Km from Quetta, the capital of Pakistani occupied Balochistan. It is the birth place of Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, the commander of Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) and the bastion of struggle for the independent Balochistan.

Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch and all his male family members are on the list sanctioned by the Military Intelligence and handed to the death squad contract killers with orders to “search & destroy” with immediate effect.

On June 30, 2015, fire rained on Mehi, and the village’s male collective social quarters were the main target of the aerial bombardment and mortar fires.  Pakistan army surrounded Mehi and flattened it with artillery, and rockets fired from the US-made helicopter gunships provided to the military to fight Al-Qaida and Haqqani Network in Northern Waziristan. Obviously, it was expected that Dr. Allah Nazar and several commanders of BLF would be present inside the targeted zone, gathered for the condolence meeting for late Mohammed Hassan – father of Suleman and brother-in-law of Dr. Allah Nazar.

Thirteen freedom-loving Baloch were killed that day because of the army’s indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry on a tiny remote village. The dead included elder brother and two nephews of Dr. Allah Nazar – Safar Khan, a teacher, and Suleman and Zakir respectively. Many more members of the community were injured and lay helpless without medical aid. The village of Mehi was reduced to ashes, and for many days this tiny village remained cut off from the rest of the world.

Pakistan’s nuclear-armed army shamelessly celebrated its victory on a tiny village in the occupied Balochistan. Following the examples of medieval invaders, the Pakistani soldiers tied the bodies of the deceased Baloch behind their trucks and dragged them for miles on dirt roads to seek revenge and intimidate the villagers. The remains of some deceased were beyond recognition. The survivors in the village who witnessed the barbarism of the Pakistan armed forces lived in fear and uncertainty during the whole period of the operation and remained held in isolation at a nearby school. They were held captive by the assaulting army soldiers and were not allowed to go back to their homes or whatever was left of it.

List of names of the fallen heroes of Mehi village:                


Mir Suleman aka Shehak s/o Mohammed Hassan, a farmer and resident of Mehi, Awaran Affiliation: Commander of BLFZakir s/o Mohammed Hassan, shopkeeper and resident of Mehi, Awaran Affiliation: BLFSafar Khan s/o Nabi Bakhsh, teacher and resident of Mehi, AwaranFarhad s/o Rahmatullah, student and resident of Gajjar, AwaranRamzan aka Balaach s/o Lal Mohammed, livestock trader and resident of Mehi, Awaran Affiliation: BLFGhaaji Khan s/o Mohammed Ishaq. Affiliation: BLFKhuda Nazar s/o Rasool Bakhsh, shepherd and resident of Mehi, AwaranAlam Khan s/o Ghulam Qadir, livestock trader and resident of Mehi, AwaranBaboo, a guest and resident of Nojok, Meshkay, AwaranFaisal, a guest and resident of Nojok, Meshkay, AwaranMohammed Raqeeq, a guest and resident of Zeelag, Jahoo, AwaranAbdul Gaffar, guest and a residence of Zeelag, Jahoo, AwaranAtta Baloch

  “Search and destroy” is a military tactical method and its objective is to insert the ground forces into a hostile territory to flush out the enemy and destroy it with precision, and withdraw immediately afterward. The body count is the measuring tool to determine the success of the operation.  Pakistan army aims are to flush out Baloch guerrillas by search and destroy missions; isolate them from the rest of the population; deny them food and medical supplies, and eventually force them to surrender. The surrendered individuals are then tempted into betrayal to become informers for the Military Intelligence where refusal is not an option.

In his video message, recorded moments before his death; the freedom fighter, Suleman addressed his comrades, and asked his mother not to be saddened but be proud that her son died for the great cause to free his motherland. His message was a call for freedom and struggle until victory. And he conquered death with laughter so loud that its echo will be heard by generations to come.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Moody's thumbs-up gives AIIB global cred

Top rating lowers fundraising cost for China-led development bank

ISSAKU HARADA, Nikkei staff writer

Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, spoke at the opening ceremony of the lender's second annual meeting June 16 in South Korea. © Kyodo

BEIJING -- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank earned a top-notch rating from Moody's Investors Service thanks to factors such as a solid capital base and good management, an endorsement that should give the lender easier access to global bond markets.

The Aaa rating with a stable outlook reflects "the strength of AIIB's governance frameworks, including its policies on risk management, capital adequacy and liquidity," the U.S.-based ratings agency wrote Thursday. With the highest credit rating, which came just a year and a half after its formation, the Beijing-led bank now stands shoulder to shoulder with more established international institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The AIIB's $100 billion capital base "is already larger than at more established Aaa-rated" multilateral development banks, Moody's noted. Outstanding financing totals around $2.5 billion, just 2.5% of available capital, and consists largely of low-risk syndicated loans with peers including the World Bank. The lender's liquidity policy is also "in line with, and in some cases more stringent than, those of Aaa-rated peers," the agency said.

The awarding of a rating from an internationally respected agency like Moody's surprised many. The New Development Bank -- the so-called BRICS bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- has garnered investment-grade ratings from only Chinese agencies, whose standards are seen by some as lax. The bank has so far only issued yuan-denominated bonds in China.

The high rating from Moody's will enable the AIIB to issue debt overseas more easily as well as raise funds more cheaply, letting it offer financing at lower interest rates. The lender also will gain easier access to currencies besides the yuan, including dollars.

The triple-A rating is also a surprise in itself. Some had expected the assessment to be affected by Moody's downgrade last month of China, which contributes about 30% of the lender's capital.

Other ratings agencies likely will weigh in as well. AIIB President Jin Liqun predicted after an annual meeting this month that the bank could get ratings from the three big agencies this year.

AIIB probably will tout Moody's positive assessment of its risk management and finances as an international stamp of approval. But the lender cannot rest on its laurels. The agency warned that the rating could fall if "underwriting and risk management processes were to fail to evolve" as those of top-rated peers have, or if China or other key shareholders become less willing or able to provide financial support.

Difficult Trek on Silk Road in Afghanistan

Posted on June 29, 2017By Salman Rafi SheikhAfghanistanHeadlinePolitics

Chinese mine 35 km south of Kabul

Like a long string of western nations, China finds Afghanistan to be a black hole

Without a durable peace in Afghanistan, gloomy shadows continue to loom over China’s ambitious Silk Road initiative. The Chinese are quite preoccupied with the issue and are investing time and money in the effort to solve the Afghan puzzle.

That is why China’s political involvement as well as a soft military presence in Afghanistan have increased markedly over the past two years or so, departing from their role in solely attempting to mediate negotiations through the now largely-dysfunctional Quadrilateral Co-operation Group (QCG) to actually participating in joint anti-terror operations. All that for seeking a secure route for successful implementation of Silk Road projects.

While within China there is some hope that extension of Chinese capital would help to reduce tension between Afghanistan’s pro-west forces and the militants, the fact that the US has no intention of de-militarizing the country means the essential context for infighting will continue to exist and cause disruption on a scale that would in practical terms hinder the way for a smooth implementation of Chinese projects.

China is acutely aware of this grim reality and the challenge it is posing. Now Beijing’s life has been complicated by the decision by the decision of US President Donald Trump in Washington, announced last week, to leave Afghanistan to America’s generals. For a start, according to news media in the US, it means the addition of 2,000 to 4,000 US troops on the ground, on top of the 8,400 now there. While that is not a major commitment, it is an indication that the US plans to stay.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chinese government researchers recently met with foreigners in Beijing for a discussion billed as “Afghanistan Reconnected”. Sun Yuxi, the first Chinese ambassador to Kabul after the Taliban were bombed out of power in late 2001, correctly summed up the stakes as follows: “If the way and connectivity through Afghanistan is not open, it would be like an important vein being blocked on the Belt and Road, which leads to many diseases to this organ.”

A particular focus of that meeting was on how to carry out trade and investment in the country that remains torn apart and enmeshed among the Afghan and US forces on the one hand, and the Taliban and the emerging IS-K, or Islamic State Khurasan, the provincial division of the Islamic State designated for the nations of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Significantly, IS-K fields a sizeable bunch of Chinese combatants.

Wang Xin, the deputy director of the Beijing-based Center for China & Globalization think tank, said there is potential for China to play a big role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction because Central Asia needed infrastructure and help developing its mining industry – fields in which China is known to excel. It was “utterly inadequate” to develop Afghanistan by just providing humanitarian aid, Wang added.

The Chinese are clearly not happy with the way the former US president Barak Obama’s nation-building project has failed to deliver a meaningful material change in Afghanistan’s ground situation—something that has directly contributed to, for instance, very slow progress the Mes Aynak copper mine, one of China’s biggest projects.  

As such, what would have been the country’s biggest foreign investment project has actually turned out to be a big disappointment, partly due to inadequate security provisions derailing mining plans. It took even the Afghan Taliban almost eight years to pledge not to attack the site.

While the mine was expected to yield US$350 million annually, the target now looks unrealistic for 2017 and perhaps not even attainable by 2020. While the contract awarded to Chinese companies had stipulated the construction and establishment of a 400 MW coal-fired power plant and the building of a railway from Hairtan to the Torkham dry ports, little has been achieved so far, leading the contracting companies to ask for modifications in the contract—a proposal that has received little encouragement from Kabul.

The lack of progress has led to the sacking of Shen Heting, the former general manager of the China Metallurgical Group Corp and the man who was at the center of winning the contract for China in 2007.

Commenting on the situation leading to Shen’s excommunication from the Chinese Communist Party, Wang Lian, a professor at Peking University, was reported to have said, “What is happening with the Chinese investment in Afghanistan shows that the future of some of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ projects is not a straight path,” adding further that “Countries with internal security problems like Afghanistan are likely to lag behind more on cooperation with China than some others,” 

Given this, the largely stalled project, about 25 miles southeast of Kabul, is a grim reminder of possible risks for– and stands as a stark rejoinder to — Chinese investment abroad as Beijing continues to promote its Belt and Road initiative in more than 60 Eurasian countries via trade and investment.

And while the Taliban have refrained from attacking Chinese projects, Afghanistan’s deteriorating security situation since the emergence of IS-K certainly carries no guarantees about not attacking and targeting Chinese interests.  On the other hand, the presence of the Chinese fighters in IS-K means that the organization will find in Chinese projects a ready-made attack opportunity.

Even if direct attacks don’t take place, the very presence of IS-K and the Taliban and the effectiveness of their recently carried out attacks is leaving the Chinese dream in doldrums.

This was clearly evident from the language of China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang’s press briefing that he gave after the April attack on an Afghan military base that killed 140 people.

“China is concerned about the escalation of violent conflicts in Afghanistan,” said Geng, calling on all parties to actively participate in an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace and reconciliation process, and safeguard the country’s peace and development.

What is also evident here is seemingly misplaced hope of reducing tension by just funnelling money into Afghanistan. Had this strategy been successful, billions of dollars the US has ever since 2001 poured in Afghanistan would already have buried the Taliban and peace would have returned to the country.

Therefore, the question remains: what can the Chinese capital do what the US’ could not? The story of Mes Aynak mine reveals that the Chinese capital stands no better chance of success than the US nation-building program ever did.

Co-operation between China and Europe runs through Kazakhstan


Route one: the first freight train of the China Railway Express from Shenzhen to Europe departs from Yantian Port CREDIT: XINHUA

29 JUNE 2017 • 1:15PM

Jeremy Garlick

The Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union are hoping to reap the important economic benefits of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan took place on 8-9 June. The next day, the 2017 Astana Expo, which is scheduled to last for three months, got under way. These two events are indicative of Kazakhstan’s – and Central Asia’s – growing geopolitical and geoeconomic importance.

China and Russia are the biggest nations that are currently members of the SCO. The other four are all Central Asian states: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Thus, due to its membership, the focus so far of the SCO is undoubtedly on Central Asia. This is also a vital region for the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is half of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Silk Road Economic Belt’s overland route to Europe passes through Central Asia. Rail links are undoubtedly the most important aspect of this route. Up to now the performance of these railways has been steady but relatively unspectacular. However, that is set to change as China puts an increasing emphasis on connectivity across the Eurasian landmass.

The Silk Road Economic Belt is based not on unrealistic dreams but on economic principles of supply and demand

At a recent conference in Poland, scholars from Sichuan University in Chengdu emphasised how much the China-Europe rail connection has progressed in recent months. In May, for the first time, Polish apples were delivered to Chengdu’s markets by train, they said – and several weeks faster than via the maritime route, demonstrating what can be achieved.

Apples may seem like an insignificant trade item, but in terms of Sino-European co-operation via the Central Asian route, their delivery represents more than a symbolic step forward.

While the number of trains between China and Europe has been increasing rapidly, most of the wagons sent from China have been coming back empty up to now. The fact that Europeans are beginning to see the possibilities for exporting goods to China by rail brings a new dimension to the emerging land route across Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Sichuan University academics pointed out that the city of Chengdu is building a huge railway port to deal with trade to and from Europe.

Next to the port there is a market, some sections of which are set up to sell European luxury goods and other items. The railway through Central Asia is clearly assuming ever greater significance for landlocked Sichuan.

President Xi Jinping stresses that the Belt and Road Initiative is intended to create win-win synergies across the more than 60 nations

They said that the next step is to persuade European companies that the new trade route can be profitable, and that there are Chinese customers who wish to buy their products. If that happens, the Silk Road Economic Belt will really begin to take off as momentum gathers and more entrepreneurs begin to understand the route’s potential.

As far as Central Asia is concerned, growing Sino-European trade would only be good news. As the route crosses their territories, Central Asians can also cash in, receiving a percentage of the proceeds generated and boosting their economies.

Encouraging increasing economic interdependence between countries is one of the main aims of the Belt and Road Initiative. Improving infrastructure and transport links between countries along the new Silk Road is key to the success of China’s initiative.

At the same time, it is important to remember that the Silk Road Economic Belt is based not on unrealistic dreams but on sound economic principles of supply and demand.

As new markets are created, there is money to be made by anybody who gets involved. This is the reason why President Xi Jinping, who visited Kazakhstan for the SCO summit and the opening of the Astana Expo, continually stresses that the Belt and Road Initiative is intended to create win-win synergies across the more than 60 nations included.

Europeans should realise that it is in their interests to hope for improved links with China via Central Asia and Russia

As a facilitating body, the SCO is also key to the success of the new Silk Road’s land route. By providing a forum in which the interested parties can exchange ideas and information, it helps to smooth possible tensions and create an atmosphere of trust, most notably between China and Russia.

Central Asians, who have historical ties to Russia, understand the importance of maintaining a working relationship with their massive northern neighbour. Finding synergies between the SCO and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union is therefore crucial to the success of the Belt and Road as far as all involved parties are concerned.

Europeans also should realise that it is in their interests to hope for positive outcomes from the SCO summit, and improved links with China via Central Asia and Russia. The world evolves through accepting change rather than resisting it.

Exploring ways to integrate European markets with Asian ones will benefit Europeans, too. The route to China, which passes through Kazakhstan and Central Asia, is therefore likely to turn out to be a vital one as European and Asian markets continue to become economically interdependent during the remainder of the 21st century.

Jeremy Garlick is a lecturer in international relations at the Jan Masaryk Centre for International Studies at the University of Economics in Prague.

This article was originally produced and published by China Daily. View the original article at

China builds new missile shelters on South China Sea islands

Trump fails to change Beijing’s course despite friendly relationship with Xi  

  YESTERDAY by: Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Charles Clover in Beijing

China has built new military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea, suggesting that the friendly relationship Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping kindled at their April summit has not convinced China to change its maritime course. Over the past three months, China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross, boosting the number of installations on the reef to 12, according to satellite images provided to the Financial Times by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. China has also expanded radar facilities on Fiery Cross and two other disputed reefs — Subi and Mischief — in the Spratly Island chain, and started building underground structures that Greg Poling, director of CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, assesses will be used to store munitions. “We haven’t seen any slowdown in construction, including since the Mar-a-Lago summit,” said Mr Poling. “The islands are built and they are clearly militarised, which means they already got over the hard part. Now every time they put in a new radar or new missile shelter, it is harder for the world to get angry. They are building a gun, they are just not putting the bullets in yet.” The advances underscore how much progress China has made towards militarising the man-made islands in ways that significantly enhance its ability to both monitor activity in the South China Sea and to project power in the western Pacific where the US has been the dominant power in the seven decades since the second world war. Euan Graham, an Asia expert at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, said it was “not quite game over in the South China Sea” but that China had fundamentally altered the status quo over the islands that would be hard to change barring war or natural disasters. “They already exert a strategic effect by projecting China’s presence much further out,” said Mr Graham. “They will not prevent the US Navy from operating in their vicinity, but they will complicate the threat environment for US ships and aircraft — by extending the [Chinese navy’s] surveillance and targeting net, as well as the envelope of power projection.” During a visit to Washington, Mr Xi told Barack Obama in 2015 that China would not militarise the man-made islands, but in the intervening 20 months Beijing has stepped up construction, and now has runways that can accommodate Chinese fighter jets.  Asked about freedom of navigation and new construction in the South China Sea, a People’s Liberation Army spokesperson said there were no issues about maritime freedom, and that there was “no problem with China’s freedom to carry out construction on its own territory”.  Chinese premier Li Keqiang in March said the islands were “primarily for civilian purposes” and that any defence facilities on them were “for maintaining the freedom of navigation”. But the foreign ministry in April said the “deployment of necessary national defence facilities is for the aim of safeguarding China’s own territory”. China’s legal claim to the seas around the maritime features is legally controversial since many were dredged out of coral and sand and thus not entitled to status as islands. But Vasily Kashin, an expert on the Chinese military at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, said the goal was never legal sovereignty but to give China forward bases from which it could patrol and exercise control in their vicinity.  “If you have this infrastructure in the Spratlys, it allows China to constantly monitor aircraft and ships in the South China Sea. The point is that no one will be able to do anything in the area without them seeing.”  Ely Ratner, an Asia expert who served in the Obama administration, said Washington had failed to craft a strategy to convince China to halt militarisation of the man-made islands. “Until China believes that there will be significant costs . . . I don’t think they have any reason to slow down,” said Mr Ratner. “They have been pushing on an open door and have been surprised at how little resistance they have faced.” Critics say the Obama administration took too cautious an approach to avoid creating tensions that would hurt the ability for co-operation on other issues. Meanwhile, some experts say the Trump team has given China a relatively free pass to maximise the chances it will boost pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear programme. Mr Ratner says the US should press Beijing harder, saying analysts tend to overstate China’s willingness to risk conflict with the US over the South China Sea. “Their relative willingness to take risk has not been tested. There is a lot more running room for us to push back,” he said. Follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter: @dimi

Japan, China begin maritime talks to avoid accidental clashes

June 29  03:55 pm JST  12 Comments


Japan and China on Thursday started a two-day senior official consultation on maritime affairs in Fukuoka, where they are expected to discuss ways to avoid unintended clashes in the East China Sea.

The focus of the gathering is on whether the two countries can pave the way for an early implementation of a "Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism," effectively a hotline between defense officials, aimed at preventing accidental clashes in the sea where China challenges the sovereignty of Japanese-controlled uninhabited islets.

Japan and China have failed to make a breakthrough in their talks on the matter so far, due in part to Tokyo's decision to put the Senkaku Islands in the sea under state control in 2012, drawing sharp opposition from Beijing, which calls the islands Diaoyu.

In recent years, Chinese vessels have entered territorial waters near the islets.

Ahead of an envisioned meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany on July 7-8, Tokyo wants to ease tensions in the East China Sea, a foreign ministry official said.

At the seventh consultation on maritime affairs, senior officials from foreign ministries, defense ministries and coast guards of the two countries are also set to exchange views on a joint development project of gas fields in the sea.

On Friday, they are scheduled to visit Hakata port in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

The last consultation was held in Haikou, capital of China's Hainan Province, in December 2016.

Tokyo and Beijing held their first high-level talks on maritime affairs in May 2012 in China. They had been suspended against the backdrop of the territorial row but restarted in September 2014.

The negotiations have taken place about twice a year by turns in Japan and China.


Govt satisfied with speed of CPEC implementation

BEIJING - Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan is smoothly implementing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and we are very satisfied with the speed of the implementation.

“China has promised $57 billion in investment in projects along CPEC, part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. He said, “In addition to the investment pledges from China, Pakistan would invest close to $10 billion. The economic corridor, to be completed in three phases by 2030, will boost Pakistan’s energy security and infrastructure, helping it to attract more foreign investment.”

Ahsan Iqbal said, “There are some challenges to be addressed, including on coordination among different government ministries and among internal and external stakeholders.”

“There are actually many gaps that we have to correctly address. First and foremost is the coordination gap,” he added.

“Pakistan and China aim to build a network of rail, road and energy infrastructure as part of the Belt and Road initiative,” he said.

“Pakistan has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the initiative, in part because many projects are for power plants to alleviate its energy shortage,” he said.

Gwadar Airport construction to commence in Sept

GWADAR: Construction work on Gwadar International Airport is likely to be started by the end of September this year after approval of grant by the Chinese government.

The project will be completed within three years and will cost $230 million, Radio Pakistan reported quoting official sources.

The Chinese government has agreed to provide funds for the construction of the airport and had approved a grant in this regard during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's recent visit to China.

Officials said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor will turn Gwadar into a regional economic hub and, in preparation for this, special emphasis is being given for the development of New Gwadar International Airport.

The construction of international standard airport at Gwadar is aimed at facilitating the movement of international investors and visitors. Around 4,300 acres of land 26 kilometers northeast of the existing airport has already been acquired

PNSC gets licence to launch ferry service from Karachi to Gwadar

June 30, 2017

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) has been granted a licence by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping to launch its own ferry service.

Sources in the Shipping Ministry told The Nation that the PNSC has planned to launch a ferry service from Karachi to Pasni and Gwadar which would be extended later to Iran’s Chahbhar port. The government has already waived off port charges for the next 14 years to make the service competitive.

The sources said the PNSC plans also include the launching of a similar service from Karachi to the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and economically viable ferry services to other islands to promote commercial and tourism activities. In addition, it is also working on plans to encourage the private sector to come forward and avail the concessions under the public-private partnership to make the ferry services more competitive to promote people-to-people contact.

Port and Shipping Minister Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo has given a new vision about the future role of commercial shipping in Pakistan and is taking personal interest to launch ferry services through PNSC at the earliest.

The PNSC also plans to launch ferry services to the Gulf countries as well as special Hajj and Umrah services to and from Saudi Arabia. The new vision of the minister is based on the future trends in which Pakistan would play as a hub of trade activities with the completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. It also includes developing river ferries system in the country to help promote commercial activities. The Ministry of Ports and Shipping is also working on proposals to make good use of rivers including the Indus and the Jhelum as main routes to the Arabian Sea.

These services would save foreign exchange of millions of dollars and the freight time for the shipment of the cargo containers would also be reduced. The proposal calls for the massive development of a comprehensive network of canals and rivers from South to North and North to South West which provides a glowing opportunity for the consumers to benefit from it throughout the year.

The existing network of canals and rivers in the country could also be beneficial for Chinese freight companies for the shipment of their goods in shortest possible time through ferry service from North to South.

This network would be used in unison with the network of highways and motorways and train services as part of the multi-billion dollars CPEC project starting from China’s border town Kashgar to Gwadar and Karachi ports.

In a related development, the national flag carrier also plans to expand its existing fleet of vessels with a main focus on adding more oil tankers to capture increased share of the growing market.

According to the sources, the PNSC also plans to enter into new ventures with upcoming refineries.  Under the CPEC, many coal-fired plants are expected to become operational during the next two years. PNSC is aiming to venture for the transportation of the coal, which will be imported from foreign countries through Corporation’s own bulk carriers

Balochistan journalist arrested for criticising state institutions

By Our Correspondent

Published: June 30, 2017


QUETTAThe Federal Investigation Agency on Thursday arrested a reporter of a Quetta daily for allegedly criticising national institutions on social media.

Confirming the development, FIA officials said Zafarullah Achakzai, who reports for the Qudrat daily newspaper, was taken into custody under Prevention of Cyber Act 2016. He was produced in the court of judicial Magistrate after his arrest. The court allowed FIA to remand Zafarullah for six days.

Sources in Zafarullah’s family told a joint meeting of the Balochistan Union of Journalists and other representative bodies of newspapers editors and workers that the report was arrested from his residence a day before Eidul Fitr.



Blasphemous content online: FIA gets custody of three suspects

“The entire area was blocked by security forces personnel before my son was arrested,” said Zafarullah’s father Naimatullah Achakzai who is also Qudrat’s editor-in-chief.

Meanwhile, the joint meeting of BUJ and other newspapers bodies expressed serious concern over Zafarullah’s arrest. The said concerned authorities should have contacted the proper journalists’ body if there was any complaint against Zafarullah.

The meeting also said that any journalist suspecting of violating the law should be produced before a court of law

Eastern and Western routes of CPEC to be completed by 2019


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CPEC Project Director Hassan Daud said Eastern and Western routes of CPEC will be completed by early 2019.

In an interview, he said the first phase of CPEC envisages projects relating to road infrastructure, railways and energy sectors. These projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

He said the 2nd phase of CPEC envisages establishment of economic zones, which will bolster industrial growth in the country.

Hassan Daud said that nine zones will be established in all the provinces including FATA. Feasibility reports are being finalized for these zones. He said the provincial governments are taking interest in the economic zones which will go a long way in boosting Pakistan’s industrial production.

Replying to a question about the development of Balochistan under CPEC, the Project Director said Gwadar would become the Hub of business activities in the region.

Hassan Daud appreciated outreach of Radio Pakistan and said it has played very important role in promoting CPEC in the positive way.

Hassan Daud also made it clear that all the economic zones are not Chinese specific and Pakistani investors are being given equal opportunities and incentives for the investment. He said special incentives would be given to local investors who are willing to invest in the economic zones.

He said that construction work on Multan-Sukhur motorway is in full swing.

The Project Director said all the projects will open new era of development and create job opportunities in the country.

He was confident that CPEC will also increase people to people contact and education collaboration between Pakistan and China.

He said top five universities of the both courtiers will be linked for research purpose.

He said nine Pakistan study centers would be established in the Chinese universities while China has already established its centers in our universities. Vocational training centers are also being set up to take full advantage of the opportunities to be generated by the CPEC related project

CPEC expressway hits roadblock in Himalayas

By Mohammad Zubair Khan

Published: June 29, 2017

Protestors in Abbottabad demonstrate against lack of compensation, environmental degradation. PHOTO COURTESY: Mohammad Zubair Khan

The E 35, or Hazara Expressway, is a 110 kilometre under-construction expressway linking Hasan Abdal in Pakistan’s Punjab province with Haripur, Havelian, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shinkiari, Battagram and Thakot in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

These cities are famous for the beauty of their natural surroundings, nestled as they are in the Himalayas. The expressway is facing the ire of local people for the damage it is doing to that environment.

People affected by the construction work in the districts of Battagram and Abbottabad have brought the construction to a halt. In Battagram work resumed after negotiations, but in Abbottabad locals are not allowing work to begin on a ten kilometre stretch.



A sneak peak into the ‘CPEC Master Plan’

Anwar Baig, a property dealer and the senior member of the action committee set up in Battagram district told  that the tribal jirga set a deadline of July 5 for the government to fulfil the demands raised by the committee. If this deadline was not met, construction work in Battagram would be stopped as well.

Ongoing construction work on the Hazara Expressway, Battagram. PHOTO COURTESY: Atta Ullah Nasim

“We will not compromise on the compensation [for land acquired by the government for the expressway], but we are also concerned about the environmental hazards which are now affecting the local communities,” he said.

Baig said that earlier, the temperature in Battagram never went beyond 30 degrees Celsius, but this year it had soared to 40. The locals were blaming this spike on the felling of trees and the sustained used of heavy machinery in the area.

The committee had demanded that a revised plan be presented to deal with these environmental changes, especially the cutting of trees and the construction work, he added.

Malik Maqsood Ahmed, a British-Pakistani, with businesses in London, is the president of the committee of the affected people in Abbottabad. He said that until their demands were met, they would not allow the construction of the road.

Both Baig and Ahmed are clear that they do not oppose the construction, or the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but they want fair compensation for the land, as had been promised, and a reduction in the environmental destruction in the region.

According to the information obtained from the National Highway Authority (NHA) and the revenue ministry of K-P, 120 villages and 5,000 families will be affected by the road project. Half of these families who will have to relocate are from the lower middle class.

According to the K-P forest department, 27,059 trees have already been cut down and 50,000 more will be felled for the project.

Pakistan faces challenges in building economic corridor with China

When contacted, the K-P Environment Protection Agency said that the NHA had done an Environment Impact Assignment (EIA) report in 2013 but had not shared the results.

Men busy cutting pine trees in Abbottabad. PHOTO: COURTESY: Sultan Dogar

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had uploaded an EIA report obtained in 2012, but the construction work only started in 2016 when the mega expressway route was changed and extended from Havalian to Thakot. It is not clear if the change and extension of the route had been factored in.

According to legal experts a new EIA report must be filed, and a No Objection Certificate (NOC) needs to be issued. This is legally binding under the Environmental Protection Act (2014) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Malik Amin Aslam, the Chairperson of Green Growth Program K-P and global Vice President of IUCN, said, “The EIA is a tool which would compile the environmental costs and benefits of all CPEC projects including the effect of tree cutting if being done. The cutting of any tree does certainly have a damaging effect on local climatic conditions.”

“This is certainly a very fragile region ecologically and also one which is highly vulnerable to climate change owing to its geographic topography. In fact, what we have recommended through The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of all CPEC projects which would provide a clear picture of the environmental impacts and the possible remedial measures required. Such an undertaking would not only ensure the eco-integrity, public transparency and global credibility of CPEC but also strengthen a long term sustainable future for Pakistan,” added Aslam, a former environment minister of Pakistan.

Debunking myths on CPEC

Mandi Zaman, a former deputy attorney general of K-P, backs the idea of an SEA. He said, “Pakistan and its Himalayan Hindu Kush region is already facing natural disasters due to climate change and environmental degradation. Now if the construction of the mega projects ignores the environment, it will bring more destruction to the community.”

Mustaq Ahmad Ghani, an elected Member of the K-P Assembly from Abbottabad and spokesperson for the K-P government, said that K-P is already facing financial losses as well as the loss of lives due to climate change. In this scenario, it is important to do a proper environment study in the area where CPEC infrastructure construction is underway.

He said that the provincial government was in touch with federal authorities to convince them to pay reasonable compensation to those affected, and to conduct an environmental study that is of international standards.

With the July 5 deadline fast approaching, it is to be seen how federal and provincial authorities deal with the demands of the people in the path of CPEC.

This article originally appeared on

Boost S.E. Asian nations’ maritime security through joint training

7:43 pm, June 28, 2017

The Yomiuri ShimbunBolstering the maritime security capabilities of Southeast Asian nations is essential for establishing the rule of law in the South China Sea and ensuring it is a safe and open sea. Assistance in terms of both hardware and software is indispensable.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has conducted separate joint training exercises in the South China Sea with its Philippine and Vietnamese counterparts. This is the first joint training of its kind involving patrol boats provided to the two countries by Japan. The JCG’s patrol boats also took part.

Just as in the East China Sea, illegal fishing operations by Chinese fishing boats accompanied by government vessels are rampant in the South China Sea. If a naval force is mobilized to deal with such illegal fishing activities, it will heighten tensions with China. To avoid such a result, it is important for the matter to be dealt with by a coast guard with police power, thus preventing China from creating faits accomplis.

Coast guards are not long established in Southeast Asian nations. They have yet to accumulate sufficient experience and the ability to clamp down on Chinese and other countries’ fishing boats based on international law.

In recent years, Japan has provided other countries with patrol boats at their request. These patrol boats’ law-enforcement capabilities will improve steadily through repeated joint training.

The joint training with Vietnam was conducted based on a scenario in which a foreign fishing boat was found to be operating illegally, in line with a proposal from Vietnam, which has been having difficulty dealing with poaching by Chinese fishing boats. In the joint training with the Philippines, the scenario involved pirates.

China urged to restrain itself

Sandwiching a poaching boat between rubber dinghies and boarding it to detain suspects. Repeatedly issuing an order to stop and gathering evidence by recording video footage. It is of no small significance that these proper legal procedures have been confirmed through joint training.

Two high-ranking Philippine officials, who have received training on a Japan Coast Guard Academy vessel, boarded one of the patrol boats provided by Japan to take part in the joint training.

Officials from the international information sharing center on pirates also participated. This center was established in Singapore in 2006 as a way to deal with pirates in the Strait of Malacca.

By carrying out the recent joint training, it may be said that the cooperative relationships Japan steadily built up with each nation have been deepened.

The background to these problems is that China has clashed with neighboring nations by insisting on territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Even after being definitively denied its sovereignty claim over the South China Sea by an international arbitration court last July, China has gone ahead with building an artificial island and other facilities there. In cooperation with the United States, Australia and other countries that value the South China Sea as their sea lanes, Japan must call on China to exercise self-restraint.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are scheduled to work out a code of conduct as early as August, with a view to preventing disputes in the South China Sea. It is imperative to formulate a code that will rein in China’s self-centered actions.

To maintain maritime order in the South China Sea, Japan, the United States and others must assist the coast guards of Southeast Asian nations to help close the gap in equipment and capability between them and China.

Unpacking China’s White Paper on Maritime Cooperation under BRI

Abhay Kumar Singh

Abhay Kumar Singh is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile

June 28, 2017

The revival of the centuries-old ‘Silk Road at Sea’ into a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is an integral part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It has been flagged by China as a Chinese solution to global economic revival. The Silk Road Economic Belt on land connects China to Europe through Central Asia, while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) at sea connects China to the European Market through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. In keeping with the proclaimed tenor of the BRI initiative, on 20 June 2017, China unveiled a white paper on “Vision towards enhancing maritime cooperation in building a peaceful and prosperous 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. The vision document, prepared by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Oceanic Administration (SOA), outlined that “China is willing to work closely with countries along the Road, engage in all-dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation and build open and inclusive cooperation platforms, and establish a constructive and pragmatic Blue Partnership to forge a “blue engine” for sustainable development.”1Notwithstanding constant reiteration from China about the centrality of the economic dimension in the Belt and Road initiative, there has been a constant focus by commentators about its sublime geostrategic design.2

The vision on maritime cooperation outlined by the White Paper (MSR Vision 2017) is largely a reiteration of the vision for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road proclaimed in March 2015 (BRI Vision 2015).3 However, MSR 2017 also contains several new elements. This article unpacks the Chinese proposals for enhancing maritime cooperation along the MSR. “Blue Economy” and “Sustainable Development” are largely advertorial embellishments in the document. The vision document considers maritime security cooperation as a lynchpin in the MSR and attempts to redesign the existing maritime security architecture in the oceanic arena of MSR. The proposed Asia Africa Growth Corridor, a joint initiative of India and Japan, needs to take into account the extant Chinese vision on maritime cooperation in order to provide a viable alternative.

Expanding Maritime Horizon of Belt and Road Initiatives

The original blueprint for the belt and road initiative had just one belt on land and one road at sea. The belt provided connectivity between China and Europe through Central Asia while the maritime road catered for oceanic connectivity of China, Africa and Europe through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. The white paper on Maritime Cooperation under BRI envisages three oceanic passages, which include: the originally envisaged China-Indian Ocean-Africa- Mediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage; the blue economic passage of China-Oceania-South Pacific travelling southward from the South China Sea into the Pacific Ocean; and, a future blue economic passage to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.

In addition to these are the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). both connected with China-Indian Ocean-Africa- Mediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage. Thus, the 21st century Maritime Silk Road has a much larger oceanic canvas than originally envisaged. The linking of CPEC and BCIM within the wider framework of the Maritime Silk Road has been objected to by India,4 which had earlier boycotted the inaugural Belt and Road Forum due to sovereignty concerns given that CPEC transits Indian Territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.5

Focus on Sustainable Blue Enterprise – Rhetoric or Reality

A focus on sustainable development and environmental protection in planning major industrial and infrastructure projects is mandatory due to concerns about climate change. The BRI Vision 2015 has also articulated similar phraseology of sustainable and environment-friendly approach for the projects envisaged under the initiative’s auspices. The extant vision on maritime cooperation under BRI has been embellished with phrases such as ‘blue economic passage’, ‘developing the blue economy’, ‘blue economy partnership’, ‘blue partnership’, ‘blue engine for sustainable growth’, ‘blue carbon ecosystem’, ‘blue carbon forum’, and ‘blue carbon report’. The word count of ‘Blue’ is the second highest at 30 in the document and the most repeated word is ‘Economy’ or its variations at 34 times. In essence, it indicates the Chinese commitment for the environment in the envisaged economic outreach in the maritime arena.

The environment commitment is further asserted through a focus on scientific research cooperation with littoral countries along the road as well as the setting up of regional institutions for marine environment protection and monitoring. Thus, the vision states that China has proposed “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Blue Carbon Program to monitor coastal and ocean blue carbon ecosystems, develop technical standards and promote research on carbon sinks, launch the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Blue Carbon Report, and to establish an International Blue Carbon Forum and cooperation mechanism.”

This promise of environmental protection in the BRI is certainly in line with China’s voluntary commitments undertaken as part of the Paris Climate Change agreement. However, Chinese practices in the recent past have indicated scant regard for environmental concerns in domestic developmental activities, reclamations in the South China Sea and overseas investment. The Hague Tribunal, in its ruling on the South China Sea, had castigated China for causing severe harm to the coral reef environment as well as for violating its obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems and the habitat of depleted, threatened, or endangered species.6 China’s island-building spree and its mobilisation of its ravenous fishing fleet have resulted in the deliberate destruction of the marine ecosystem and impaired the long-term sustainability of the marine environment around the South China Sea.7 China’s domestic policies have prioritised development over environmental concerns with harrowing results.8

China’s investments in Africa are concentrated in sectors which are environmentally sensitive (such as oil and gas exploration, mining, hydropower, and timber), and the resultant environmental damage has drawn sharp criticism.9 With the tightening of the domestic law on pollution, China may even incentivise the relocation of its most polluting industries to Africa where enforcement of environmental measures is weak.10 A Chinese scholar has justified such export of pollution and recommends that “Energy-hungry and polluting manufacturers may well be the first to move from China to Africa.”11 Whether the environmental friendly assurance of the vision in implementing envisaged maritime projects will become a reality can be assessed only when projects are implemented on the ground. However, there exist sufficient reasons for healthy scepticism in this regard at present.

Encouragement to Chinese Enterprises

The Silk Road Vision document aims to promote the participation of Chinese enterprises in maritime infrastructure projects, industrial parks and trade cooperation zones in the littoral countries along the maritime Silk Road. The Belt and Road Initiative has been proclaimed as a stimulus for global and regional economic growth. However, it has been argued that this initiative could be seen as an attempt to redirect surplus capital and industrial overcapacity in order to solve the prevalent structural problem of the Chinese economy.12 Several studies have also questioned the economic viability and pointed to the associated political risks of the belt and road initiative.13 This apparent promotion of Chinese enterprises in the maritime cooperation vision document could be for two reasons. One, the productive use of surplus capital and industrial overcapacity. And two, it aims to address the growing risk aversion plaguing Chinese institutions in investing in far-flung projects with uncertain financial returns and political risks.14

Networks for Perception Management

Perception management for “garnering public support for intensifying ocean cooperation” seems to be an important area in the maritime cooperation vision. Key activities in this area include a network of Chinese and regional research institutions and think tanks, a “circle of friends” in media, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), and liaison networks for maritime law enforcement agencies. These networks would facilitate research cooperation, training and education, cultural exchanges, cross-border interviews through funding from China. The vision document elaborates detailed programmes for the development of these networks. A collaborative approach is aimed to lay a solid foundation of public support for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. China aims to promote Matsu Folk culture for the Maritime Silk Road’s spirit of friendly cooperation.

Maritime Security Assurance –The Lynchpin

The vision document identifies maritime security as a “key assurance for developing the blue economy” and aims to promote “the concept of common maritime security”. Four areas of maritime security cooperation in the vision document are:-

Cooperation on Maritime navigation security to combat non-traditional security issues such as crime at sea.Cooperation with littoral countries in the application of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and remote sensing satellite system has also been proposed.Conducting joint maritime search and rescue missions to enhance capacities in dealing with emergencies at sea including major disasters and security threats to tourists.Cooperation on Marine disaster warning and mitigation through “setting up of marine disaster warning systems in the South China Sea, the Bengal Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden” and development of “marine disaster warning products for transportation, escort, disaster prevention and mitigation.” (Emphasis added).

It has been argued that the Belt and Road initiative is primarily driven by broad geostrategic aims15 and China is using economic power in pursuit of geopolitical objectives in this initiatives.16 However, the broad contours of maritime security cooperation in the Silk Road vision clearly indicate China’s willingness to use its maritime power for the protection of its expanding maritime interests and sea lanes, albeit in the extant case, under the guise of enhancing maritime cooperation on non-traditional issues.

China’s naval strategy has progressively evolved from a “near-coast defence” strategy prior to the mid-1980s to a “near-seas active defence” after the mid-1980s, and then to the advancement of a “far-seas operations” strategy by the mid-2000s.17 Hu Jintao provided the concept of ‘New Historic Mission’ which argued that the PLA must go beyond its previous mission of safeguarding national “survival interests” protecting national “development interests”.18 China’s Military Strategy 2015 provided greater emphasis on “open seas protection" and highlighted “long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.” The role of the PLA-Navy was augmented to include “participation in both regional and international security cooperation and effectively secure China's overseas interests”.19 The contours of the burgeoning Chinese military presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has been evident through the near permanent presence of PLA Navy in the Gulf of Aden, deployment of submarines, the under construction naval base at Djibouti, and the planned deployment of Marines at Gwadar and Djibouti. The vision provides a broad design for the further expansion of China’s maritime power in the IOR and beyond.

Contrasting Visions: Maritime Silk Road vs Asia Africa Growth Corridor

During the recently held annual general meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at Gandhinagar on May 24, 2017, India and Japan unveiled the vision document for an “Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC)” which aims to enhance growth and connectivity between Asia and Africa with a focus on four areas: Development Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Skills, and People-to-People Partnership. Priority areas for development cooperation include health and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-processing, disaster management and skill enhancement.20 The AAGC seeks synergy between India’s “Act East” Policy and Japan’s “Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure ” in order to improve growth and interconnectedness between and within Asia and Africa for realising a free and open Indo-Pacific region.21 Japan’s contribution to the project will be its state-of-the-art technology and ability to build quality infrastructure, while India will bring in its expertise of working in Africa. The private sector of both countries is expected to play a big role by coming together to form joint ventures and consortiums and take up infrastructure, power or agribusiness projects in Africa.22This Indo-Japan initiative is being seen as a counter to the Belt and Road initiative. AAGC is being presented as a “distinct initiative” borne out of a consultative process which would be profitable and bankable, unlike the “government-funded model” of Belt and Road initiatives.23

The vision document of both initiatives explicitly covers the same ground, viz., economic connectivity through maritime infrastructure, pairing of ports for mercantile trade, environmental friendly approach, sustainable development goals, institutional connectivity, people to people contacts, etc. However, unlike the near global vision of the Maritime Silk Road, AAGC is limited in its geographical span. The AAGC espouses the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in contrast to the government funded approach of the Maritime Silk Road. Unlike the encouragement to Chinese Enterprises in the Maritime Silk Road, the AAGC vision document does not mention any preferential treatment to Indian or Japanese enterprises. And, the Chinese vision document is more detailed in terms of specific activities and programmes envisaged in comparison to the AAGC vision document which has a rather broad brush approach.

One of the crucial missing links in the AAGC vision document is the aspect of maritime security cooperation even though the India-Japan Joint Statement of November 11, 2016, placed at the appendix of the document, acknowledges the imperatives of maritime security cooperation. It is apparent that the consultative approach of the AAGC vision has not included the views of experts from the maritime security domain. It is hoped that the Research Support Unit assigned for the preparation of the Asia Africa Growth Corridor Study between 2017-2018 would include aspects of enhancing maritime security cooperation within the ambit of AAGC along with a more detailed exploration of projects envisaged.


Beyond the semantic embroidery of collaborative development for a Blue Economy, China’s vision document on maritime security cooperation under BRI contains an even more expanded 21st Century Maritime Silk Road which now expands beyond the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea to include the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. However, at the core of the vision lies an elaborate framework of a cooperative maritime security architecture for protection of sea lanes of MSR. Through the assurance of maritime security under a cooperative framework as an ‘international public good’, China aims to solve its vexing strategic challenge of securing its expanded sea lanes. China’s expanding maritime influence in the IOR certainly poses a challenge to prevailing regional maritime security mechanisms (viz., IORA, IONS, BIMSTEC etc.) in general and to India in particular. The extant vision envisages promotion of the Chinese Baideu navigation system. A network of ocean observation systems along with the creation of a liaison network for maritime security further accentuates this strategic concern. The Chinese vision document on maritime cooperation broadly confirms the assessment about the country’s intention to further militarise economic policy in order to defend its ambitious global outreach, which is, as of now, being marketed as as a benign endeavour.24

India has been proactively engaging with countries in its maritime neighbourhood at bilateral and multilateral levels. There is growing recognition of its role as a ‘net security provider’ in the IOR. India has clearly informed China about its sensitivities regarding CPEC and has objected to the linking of CPEC and BCIM corridor with the MSR. However, it must be noted that India’s maritime outreach will progressively face even bigger competitive challenges from Chinese initiatives under MSR not only in the economic arena but also in maritime geopolitics. India certainly needs a whole of government approach and proactive engagement with like-minded countries to evolve a suitable strategy to ensure a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

1.“Full Text of the Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative,” June 20, 2017, Chellaney, “China’s Imperial Overreach,” Project Syndicate, May 24, 2017, Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of, and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road,” National Development and Reform Commission, March 28, 2017, of External Affairs, Government of India, “Transcript of Media Briefing by Official Spokesperson (June 22 , 2017),” of External Affairs, Government of India, “Official Spokesperson’s Response to a Query on Participation of India in OBOR/BRI Forum,” Court of Arbitration, The Hague, “Press Release - The South China Sea Arbitration,” July 12, 2016, Batongbacal, “Environmental Aggression in the South China Sea,” Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, May 7, 2015, C Economy, “The Great Leap Backward?,” Foreign Affairs, September/ October 2007, H. Shinn, “The Environmental Imact of China’s Investment in Africa,” Cornell International Law Journal, 49 (2016), p. 25.10.Peter Bosshard, “China’s Environmental Footprint in Africa,” China in Africa Policy Briefing, 3 (2008),’s-Environmental-Footprint-in-Africa.pdf11.Tang Xiaoyang, China-Africa economic diplomacy and its implications for the global value chain (中非经济外交及其对全球产业链的启示) (Beijing: World Affairs, 2014). See also, a short review of the book at China Dialogue website, Liu Qin, “Book: China’s Most Polluting Manufacturers Likely to Shift to Africa,” Chellaney, “China’s Debt-Trap Diplomacy,” Project Syndicate, January 23, 2017, Economist Intelligence Unit, Prospects and Challenges on China’s ‘one Belt, One Road’: A Risk Assessment Report (Economist, 2016), See also Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, “UN Warns about Financial Risks in China’s One Belt One Road Project,” The Economic Times, May 25, 2017, Michael Meidan, China’s New Global Investment Strategy: The Challenges Facing China’s Belt and Road Intiatives (Copenhagen: Danish Institute of International Studies, February 2016),“Chinese Firms Wary of Political Risks on Xi’s Belt and Road,”, May 22, 2017, Cai, Understanding China’s Belt and Road Initiative (Sydney, Australia: Lowy Institute for International Policy, March 2017), Baru, “China’s One-Belt-One-Road Initiative Is Not Just about Economics,” The Economic Times, April 25, 2017, C. Saunders et. al., The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles (Government Printing Office, 2011), pp. 109-11.18.James Mulvenon, “Chairman Hu and the PLA’s ‘New Historic Missions,’” China Leadership Monitor, 27 (2009), pp. 1–11.19.“Full Text: China’s Military Strategy - Xinhua |,” and Information System for Development Studies, Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, and Institute for developing Economies Japan External Trade Organisation, “ASIA AFRICA GROWTH CORRIDOR: Partnership for Sustainable and Innovative Development A Vision Document,” May 24, 2017.21.Ruchita Beri, “India’s New Initiative in Africa: The Asia–Africa Growth Corridor," IDSA Comment, June 13, 2017, Sinha, “Asia- Africa Growth Corridor: Can It Be a Game Changer?,” June 5, 2017, Nair, “To Counter OBOR, India and Japan Propose Asia-Africa Sea Corridor,” The Indian Express, May 31, 2017, V. Pant, “How China Is Expanding Its Military Capabilities across the Globe,” Daily O, June 25, 2016,