Thursday, June 1, 2017

OBOR & India: Is China serious?

Asian Age

May 22, 2017, 12:47 am IST

Columnist | Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Opinion , Oped

Sovereignty to them meant “sovereignty for their own self and own state”, and the rest did not matter.

As much as we may hate, curse or criticise our former colonial masters, the Western imperial powers who once ruled over our land and much of our continent, at one level some among us also — usually covertly — admire them, look up to them and often wish we could be more like them. Why? Because they showed us the way, laid down the precedents on how to get their own way, profit at the expense of others, and exercise dominance over all those weaker than themselves.

The Western imperialists may have long gone, but they left worthy successors in place, who imbibe their sprit, imitate their actions, implement their thoughts and beliefs and try replicate their economics and commercial models for profit. They have closely studied the paths taken by the departed Western masters and are now busy trying to step into their shoes for “trade” and “shared prosperity”. Having shed their socialistic past, their role as the champions of the proletariat, they now speak the language once spoken by the colonial merchants, soldiers and administrators from the West who too had in their heyday assiduously set up the empire of “One Belt, One Road”, through land and sea, from Bombay to Peking, Cairo to Canton; the Cape of Good Hope to Calcutta; Darwin to Delhi, Mesopotamia to Madras and Suez to Shanghai. They themselves lacked the manpower to battle their adversaries, but mastered the art of hiring fighters of vassal rulers and states to throttle opponents, and possessed sea power to choke anyone, anywhere.

Sovereignty to them meant “sovereignty for their own self and own state”, and the rest did not matter. Liberty, equality, fraternity were applicable only for the West operating in the Orient. Any claim by the Orient for sovereign rights and territorial integrity were treated as good only in theory; but in reality the Orient had to act “subservient” and “share territory” for business and commerce; all in guise of economic development and the “greatest happiness for the greatest (Western) number”.

Taking their cue from past masters, the modern Chinese have understandably learnt the importance of speed — it saves time, and time saves money and enhances profit. Speedily, China wants all “inferiors” around Asia (to begin with), in which it includes India, to join and back their endeavour. All for “profit of collective prosperity” — even if it comes as a crumb or morsel. And all at the expense of self-respect and trampling of sovereignty.

Look at this “advisory” from a Chinese “expert” at the World Bank: “If you are poor, what is the point of being secure” and sovereign, with your own independent state in place? Just don’t bother — join the “club for cash” and ignore all “sovereignty” issues.

No wonder then that the non-participating Government of India had directed all state-run units and autonomous bodies to seek clearance before accepting any invitation to the OBOR Forum that was held in Beijing last week. It was crystal clear that OBOR, that comprises the Belt Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, was nothing but a means to achieve the “grand land-sea strategy” of a “resurgent” China, which is still smarting from its “humiliating history” — when past rulers in Beijing in the 19th and 20th century (1839 to 1949) kowtowed to the West. For China, it was time to seek “revenge”, a challenge to reverse the history of Han humiliation and subjugation. In this process, however, China, wittingly or unwittingly, appears to have fallen into the trap by turning into a carbon copy of the West’s imperial past.

An aspiring China’s restlessness is visible in the midst of the world’s unusually protracted volatile economics. Market demand is erratic. Manufacturing, that over the past two-plus decades has been China’s forte, is facing uncertainty. Terror from the Middle East, and now with Donald Trump in charge in Washington, means more woes for Europe, which has been so far one of the most compact, prosperous, single-point mega markets among all continents. Not any more, as the scenario still looks hazy. Australia may be a good market, but with a small demographic base. Latin America is promising in parts, but still remains a backyard of the United States. Africa has resources and potential, but faces internal feuds and inadequate external assistance. That brings China to Asia, with the most densely inhabited demographic base.

Asia has everything: material, money, markets. No one knows this better than Beijing. China cannot take on South Korea or Japan, irrespective of their small size. Southeast Asia has territory and water issues with China. Central Asia is vast for trudging Beijing’s rail rolling stock, but the real market, if any, is still at a distance. India is potentially Beijing’s high-profit consumer market worth $85 billion, but tense bilateral ties could affect progress as the sovereignty of Indian territory appears to be of little concern in China’s single-point economic expansion drive through land and sea.

China prefers not to understand either the law or Indian compulsions, feigning ignorance of internationally accepted legal definitions: “Territory is a geographical area included within a particular government’s jurisdiction... in a state’s exclusive possession and control.” China is supersensitive over Tibet, Taiwan, Diaoyu and Uyghur, but simply doesn’t care about Jammu and Kashmir, which acceded to India legally in October 1947. India did not trample upon J&K the way China seized Tibet in the 1950s. China “forgets” that Tibet revolted and the Dalai Lama escaped. Taiwan refused to join Communist China and Diaoyu traditionally belongs to Japan. China also “forgets” the term “state sovereignty”, which means “the supreme political authority of an independent state” — the state itself.

China needs to be sensitive and take the necessary steps first to desist from violating India’s sovereignty and territory if it really wants India to play a meaningful and constructive role in Beijing’s OBOR/BRI/CPEC endeavour. That is the bottomline. One-way traffic in sovereignty and territory is not a good idea. All the more as the Indian position can be likened to a Latin legal term “occupavit”, which means “a writ to regain possession to land or a tenement from which one was ejected in time of war”, the territory through which the CPEC passes legally belongs to India. One can only hope that Beijing understands the fundamentals before doing a diplomatic drama to expand its economic sphere of influence

OBOR : Required constitutional and international structures and change

The implementation of OBOR requires a legal and constitutional structure that is suited to the complex and un-precedented issues that arise in such a cross-border and international undertaking.

One set of questions concerns the constitutional and international structures and changes that may be necessary to facilitate the success of the initiative.

✔Are the constitutional orders of the many nations involved suited to the level of international cooperation required by the initiative?
✔Do those constitutional orders share the common aims and objectives necessary for the initiative?
✔How do international standards affect the constitutional orders and traditions of participating states?
✔These are examples of the many interesting and complex issues for research and discussion.

PM Modi in Russia: How fastracking North-South corridor will help India counter Chinese OBOR

INSTC is a 7200-km-long proposed multi-modal (ship, rail and road) transportation system connecting Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran to Russia and North Europe.

By: FE Online June 1, 2017  5:34 PM   

PM Narendra Modi pays homage to World War II victims at the Piskarovskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday. (Twitter/NarendraModi)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Russia at a time when Delhi-Moscow relationship appears to have taken a dip. Modi faces two-pronged challenge. First, to strengthen the confidence India and Russia have enjoyed as strategic partners for decades. Second, take measures to bring Moscow out of the worrisome China-Pakistan-Russia triangle, more so after the start of Beijing’s imperialistic ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project.

While reports say that the highlight of Modi’s Russia visit would be the signing of an agreement to build the last two units of the Kundankulam nuclear power plant with Moscow’s help, there is another project — International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) — that India wants to fastrack along with Russia to present a counter to OBOR.

Much before the launch of China’s OBOR, India, Russia and Iran had signed an agreement to establish the INSTC in September 2000. It entered into force on May 16, 2002 following ratification by the three countries. Later, 11 other countries joined the project. They are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria (observer status), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

INSTC is a 7200-km-long proposed multi-modal (ship, rail and road) transportation system connecting Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran to Russia and North Europe. If complete, the INSTC would allow faster movement of goods from India to these countries.

According to ‘Russia & India Report’, the INSTC project was first proposed at the start of 21st century, when the three countries– India, Iran and Russia — discussed the possibility of reviving the ancient transport route.

The report says that “the main ITC route begins in the ports on the west coast of India (particularly Mumbai), passes along the sea to the Iranian ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, and from there by land to Iran’s Caspian Sea coast and beyond – or across the Caspian Sea to Astrakhan, or overland to Central Asia or the Caucasus to Russia and northern Europe.”

Here are some important features of INSTC:

INSTC will provide India speedy access to central Asia, Europe, and Eurasia.The route of INSTC passes through Iran’s Bandar Abbas port, which can later be linked to Terhran’s Chabahar Port, where India has set up some major infrastructure projects.INSTC will help connect India with five central Asian countries and also to the Eurasian nations, helping in improving India’s trade with countries like Kazakhstan, Turmenistan and Uzbekistan.INSTC can aslo be aligned with Trans-Afghan rail line being developed by India, Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Seventeen years have passed since the start of the project but it is yet to be started. While the scale of China’s OBOR is bigger than INSTC, the latter, coupled with the proposed Asia-Africa sea corridor by India and Japan, would help New Delhi present an effective counter to China’s OBOR.

Reports say that India is also exploring the possibility of developing a 700-km rail line between Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat in Afghanistan. This will help link central Asia with Chabahar. It is believed that India aims to use Chabahar port in Iran in the same way as China wants to use Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is just 72 km east of the Iranian port. Considering the rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the world, India needs to take steps for the faster completion of the ambitious INSTC project



Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | Deepak Sinha | in Oped

Analysts may be right to suggest that India cornered itself by not attending the OBOR meet. But it national identity considerations are important. Sometimes, one has to suffer to uphold prestige

There is more than a little irony to the fact that it has taken just about a 100 days for the institutions of democracy, that were built over approximately 250 years ago, to start showing signs of serious wear and tear. All of this, thanks to the shenanigans of Donald Trump, the US President. An alleged megalomaniac and congenital liar, as per a Washington Post report, he has misrepresented the truth or lied 589 times, and has little respect for due process and rule of law. He has been called worse. Well-known American documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, famously referred to Trump on his website as “wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath”.

That he finds himself bogged down in a pretty dangerous political mine field is no thanks to either his party colleagues, (most of whom seem to have nodded off) or the Democrats who lack the required legislative strength in Congress. It is wholly due to a vigilant and independent judicial system and a robust and combative media that refuses to be cowed down by threats. That he is also considered the de facto leader of the free world, given the US’s pre-eminence, is disturbing to say the least, especially if he actually manages to overcome the domestic turbulence he presently faces.

Closer at home, this must be causing some alarm for our diplomatic establishment and political leadership, as they would find it difficult to gauge as to what to expect from Trump’s constant and unexpected policy flip-flops. Take for instance, his outlook on China. As President-elect, he shocked the Chinese leadership by telephoning President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, thereby putting in doubt the four-decade long policy on ‘One China’  which involves officially recognising China and not Taiwan. This, along with his earlier accusations against China’s trade and currency manipulations, were expected to make his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the US, in his own words, “a very difficult one.”

However, by the end of it he waxed eloquence and suggested: “We have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China… We will be making additional progress. The relationship developed by President Xi and myself, I think, is outstanding.” Most importantly, he overturned decades old bipartisan policy of not linking trade with the North Korean problem by stating to the Wall Street Journal, “We have tremendous trade deficits with everybody, but the big one is with China. And I told them, ‘You want to make a great deal?’ Solve the problem in North Korea. That’s worth having deficits. And that’s worth having not as good a trade deal as I would normally be able to make.”

With regard to the subcontinent, he had this to say on his campaign trail, “I am a big fan of Hindu. I am a big fan of India”, and called Pakistan “the most dangerous country in the world today, the only country that can check Pakistan is India.” Yet, there are doubts whether he will actually shape policy and follow up on what he had said. In our context it seems unlikely that he will not continue to strengthen the two-decade old strategic engagement or reverse Barack Obama’s commitments on Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership and a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), though there is a possibility that he may not accord them the same priority as analysts like Karan Thapar suggest.

All of this is, off course, only of academic interest because it is high time we face the fact that big boys have to fight their own battles. Whatever are our issues with China or Pakistan, there is only so much that the international community can do to help and we will have to confront them on our own and resolve issues to the best of our abilities.

In the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, for example, let’s not be under any misapprehension that our approaching the International Court of Justice, while fully justified, can do anything other than delay his execution, if he has already not been murdered. Its prevention can only be achieved by the range of actions if we are willing to adopt those. It is in this context that we should examine China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and its centre-piece the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have little choice but to deal with its impact by facing off squarely on our own.

Respected analysts have suggested that we have pushed ourselves into a corner and isolated ourselves from the world community by our refusal to attend the recent meeting hosted by President Xi at Beijing. The complete absence of any respect for our claims by China on Gilgit-Baltistan, through which the CPEC runs, the main reason for our absence, has been completely ignored or belittled since we are unlikely to get back this territory any time soon. They have further suggested that because of envy, we have missed out on the long-term economic benefits that are bound to accrue if the project is successful.

They may be right in what they suggest, but it seems foolish to ignore that national identity and prestige are just as important as they are in our own personal lives and sometimes you have to be willing to suffer to uphold your prestige and honour. No other nation that attended the conference have probably faced the sustained and protracted hostility that we have been subjected to by China over the past seventy years.

It is a matter of record that false histories and maps have been manufactured by China to further its claims on our territorial integrity. That it has nurtured Pakistan’s ambition and provided it with nuclear and missile technology over the years to constrain Indian influence beyond a certain region is also no secret. In fact, its opposition to our claims to join the NSG or for a seat at the UNSC as well as its support for Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups and factions such as the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) are serious impediments to our developing a mutually beneficial partnership.

There are also serious doubts about the CPEC itself, given the revelations of Chinese plans for it in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. If even partially true, the vision enunciated suggests that

🔴 Pakistan would be used as a source of crops, raw material and minerals — all of which would be carried out by Chinese companies with Pakistani labour. In return, China would provide Pakistan with finished value added products at rates it would fix. All of this, off course, would require Pakistan to provide guarantees so that Chinese investments are safe. All of this certainly draws comparisons to the fate that befell the subcontinent under the East India Company, the Chinese project appears to go one step beyond colonisation to assimilation.

Grabbing thousands of acres of arable land, visa free travel for Chinese, linking the Pakistani currency to the ‘Renminbi’ and establishment of tourism and entertainment zones along the Arabian sea can mean nothing else. Unlike most analysis who suggest that the CPEC provides China with an alternative option to avoid what has been termed as the “Malacca Dilemma”, the land appropriation for agriculture seems to be the essence and driving force for the project. This is understandable given the fact that China has only 105.7 million hectares of arable land compared to 156 million hectares in our case,  despite having a total land area of around nine million square kilometres, while we are just about a third of that.

Given all this, it is unlikely that turbulence within Pakistan will reduce even if the CPEC achieves a modicum of success and leads to prosperity. As we have seen in Myanmar, where Chinese projects abound, the local population is likely to be further marginalised while politicians, middle men and the Chinese make a fortune. Whatever be the end result, it is unlikely that we will see any improvement in the security environment we are dealing with, even if we had, like good little boys, been present for the OBOR conference.

(The writer is a military veteran and consultant with the Observer Research Foundation

Russia Never Viewed AIIB as Alternative for IMF, World Bank – First Deputy PM

19:59 01.06.2017Get short URL

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Russia has never considered AIIB as a substitute for the World Bank or the IMF, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.


ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — Russia has never considered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a substitute for the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.

"Russia has never seen AIIB as an alternative for the World Bank and the IMF. We do not think so," Shuvalov said, adding that the AIIB is an important institution and its development will be a great success for the world financial system.

Shuvalov explained that Russia is participating in the AIIB and plans close cooperation with China on the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

"President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin took part at the summit in Beijing. We have agreed that it is a project of interfacing the development of the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU] and the One Belt, One Road Initiative, and we will move further on," Shuvalov said.

SPIEF kicked off on Thursday in Russia’s St. Petersburg and will continue through Saturday. The Sputnik News Agency is the official media partner of the forum

ICST urges increase in fund allocations for CPEC in budget

Islamabad: The Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Thursday said CPEC is one of the biggest achievements of the government and allocation of Rs180 billion in the federal budget should be revised upward so that the project could be completed without any delay.

Emerging challenges and conspiracies of the enemy countries to destabilised Pakistan and derail China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) demand hefty increase in the defence budget which has been increased by only seven percent, it said.

Gwadar will see completion of 31 projects in this year therefore government should take all necessary precautions to make it a success, said ICST Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt.In a statement issued here today, he said that July-April imports have touched mark of $37.8 dollars in which the machinery imported for economic corridor holds good share which is encouraging.

He said that all the efforts in the backdrop of CPEC are encouraging but it is now going down well with some nations therefore defence allocation and steps to safeguard life and property of Chinese should be revisited.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that CPEC is an import part of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Project which is connecting 68 countries around globe.Some countries are opposing this project but their designs will never succeed as the process of development is irreversible while China is a great economic and military power, he observed. He said that China is investing $150 billion on OBOR project and so far it has invested over one trillion dollars and there is no power on earth which can force her to abandon this project.The business leader said that CPEC and OBOR are realities and it would be in fitness of things for all the nations to join it for rapid economic and social development

OBOR initiative

Fri June 2, 2017  |  Updated 08:42 AM IST  

Posted on 2/06/2017 by Dailyexcelsior

Rattan Saldi
The large participation in the May 14-15 Beijing summit on One Belt One Road, OBOR, indicates the desire for good infrastructure at home and for greater access to markets abroad.   A flagship project of OBOR initiative is China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir, POK which, India says, is its integral part. China is also working to extend the Pakistan corridor to Afghanistan and beyond.
Protagonists of the CPEC claim that the Corridor would bring economic prosperity to the region but critics aver that it would mainly benefit Beijing firstly by helping it transport Gulf crude to mainland China at much less cost and secondly by giving it  access to coal, natural gas, oil and mineral resources of Balochistan and PoK.
The CEPC project details are still shrouded in a mystery wrapped in Dragon ware but Pakistan’s leading daily, Dawn’s investigative reports show that thousands of acres of land would be leased to Chinese entrepreneurs to set up their business ventures that range from solar power to agriculture farms.   This could be the reason for the publicly visible opposition to CPEC in Balochistan and POK. Locals are worried that the Chinese would over run their culture and exploit their   natural resources like the British East India Company did in undivided India for long years.
Both Balochis and the PoK people are disturbed by the ethnic cleansing China has mounted in Muslim majority Xinjiang province that borders six countries including Pakistan and India. Their worry: How can we trust China which is not allowing beards, hijabs, Ramadan prayers, and even names like Mohammad, Haji, Azhar, Wahhab, and Madina for the newly born Muslim children in Xinjiang?
Sri Lanka’s experience with Chinese loans also is giving nightmares to several sections of Pakistanis and their worry is about the danger of Pakistan dependent on IMF loans getting sucked into a new debt trap.
China has not, going by media reports, succeeded in winning over its Pakistani critics, whose number is increasing. Nevertheless, it is projecting CPEC as the magic wand that would provide greater connectivity and that more access would translate into prosperity in restive Balochistan, backward PoK and insurgency hit Xinjiang province.
While this appears as a mirage at present, diplomats and strategic experts hold the view that Beijing would station Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops to provide a security cover to its workers engaged in troubled and trouble prone zones. Remember the anti-terrorism policy drafted by China last year authorizes intervention outside its borders in the Chinese national interest.
Gwadar, the port on the Arabian Sea coast in Balochistan that CPEC would connect with Kashgar in Xinjiang has already witnessed a spate of violent attacks on Chinese workers. A Chinese couple were kidnapped in mid-May and they are still untraceable.  Flip-side of PLA deployment will be that the beneficiary will end up as China’s protective colony.
The OBOR beneficiary countries must, therefore, ensure that there is transparency in the Chinese projects and that there are no strings attached.  Simultaneously, these countries must invoke their anti-dumping laws to check the swamping of their markets by low – cost, poor – quality – mass produced Chinese goods. Otherwise they must be ready to pay the cost – political as well as economic.
Put simply, countries joining the OBOR band wagon and those shunning it should weigh their national interests.   Also judge OBOR utility vis-à-vis linkages offered under existing regional groupings.
Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN, is a quite successful grouping in the region but other initiatives such as the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and the 21-nation Indian Ocean Rim Association are still to tap their potential for regional cooperation. The eight- nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SAARC, has fared no better. Many regional issues remain unresolved as Pakistan has been playing spoils sport.
SAARC had proposed in 2014 a Motor Vehicles Agreement that allows free movement of vehicles across South Asia. But it became a victim of Pakistani intransigence. This prompted the establishment of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal regional Forum, BBIN, and the new grouping paved the way for connectivity through vehicular movement. Bhutan has, however, failed to ratify the Treaty citing environmental issues. The other three countries, Bangladesh, India and Nepal are going ahead with enhancing logistics efficiency. So what began as an eight nation plan is about to end up as a three-nation wonder.
BIMSTEC represents Bangladesh,  Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan and Nepal.  It is engaged in enhancing cooperation in trade, energy, investment, technology transfer and tourism besides connectivity.  Senior officials of these countries met in Kathmandu a few days ago. Now the Foreign Ministers are slated to meet in June. The Bimstec summit may take place towards the year-end in the Nepalese capital.
Well, OBOR is different from these regional blocks. It is the brain child of President Xi Jinping, who has been pushing for it for the past three years. It is China – centric and China – driven with manpower, material power and money power provided by China.  President Donald Trump, after startling the world with his ‘America First’ policy, has given fresh lease in his maiden budget to two old initiatives- the New Silk Road, a public private initiative with India as an important player and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with South East Asia. The American initiatives are still economical on details.
China is going ahead with its OBOR at jet speed. It has identified 270 deliverable goals across Asia, Europe and Africa. But has set up no institutional framework. Beijing holds the OBOR Forum baton till 2019 when the next summit is planned. It means that Beijing will have no incentive to not make the OBOR an extension of its foreign office.
Not a good news for countries which do not want to be client states of the Dragon. And also to all countries who cherish their sovereignty


The only “well begun, half done” story that the Chinese Government could speak of in favor of OBOR was the preliminary success of CPEC in Pakistan. It is an ambitious stance, but one with considerable credibility.

June 02, 2017

On May 12, 2017, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with heads of 27 states reached Beijing to attend the World Forum on One Belt One Road Initiative.
China is implementing its vision of leading global trade and the underlying argument is prosperity through connectivity and cooperation.
The OBOR initiative, as the name indicates, is still in the phases of being rolled out.
The only “well begun, half done” story that the Chinese Government could speak of in favor of OBOR was the preliminary success of CPEC in Pakistan.
It is an ambitious stance, but one with considerable credibility.
CPEC is a display of commitment by President Jinping.
That is why presence of Pakistan was so critical to the success of OBOR forum.
However, it would be more than prudent to differentiate between the goals and prospects of CPEC and OBOR separately.

To begin with, it is clear that CPEC is a significant part of initiating OBOR.
From a broader perspective, OBOR is China’s grand Geo-Political strategy to transform the World Order as we know it OBOR, ambitious project that seeks to connect the People’s Republic of China with countries of Europe, Asia and Africa through land and sea routes.
The primary objective is to capture a larger share of global trade and commerce.
Secondary objective is to flood Chinese exports in the newly developed land and sea routes.
The third is maintaining a means to acquire cheap oil and gas back and forth as and when required by the expanding giant of an economy that is China.
There are 6 routes in all that are to be coordinated simultaneously as follows:

           China–Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan

           China–Mongolia–Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia

           China–Central Asia–West Asia Corridor, running from Western China to Turkey

           China–Indochina Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Singapore

           New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from Western China to Western Russia

           Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast over Singapore to the Mediterranean.

All these make up the OBOR initiative in its entirety.
It is evident from the above that CPEC is the flagship project and one small portion of the gigantic enterprise that is OBOR.
In total, over 60 countries will be directly connected to China, becoming reliant on its goods and services.
In exchange of this reliance, China will be willing to offer development in infrastructure, trade, commerce and mutual benefits through exchange.
After being formally unveiled by Xi Jinping in October, 2013, OBOR is being praised by economic experts in China unanimously.
Gwadar has taken center stage in the CPEC portion of OBOR as it touches the Maritime as well as the Land Silk Route.
The distance that Chinese exports have to travel before reaching warm waters has been reduced by over 12 thousand kilometers.
China seeks to attain the same competitive edge through all other 5 routes that are under development.
All this is happening when China’s economy began to slow down after a double digit growth in GDP over the last ten momentous years.
From a point of view of National and Organizational theory, after reaching a particular point in development and maturity curve, the graph either goes down or reenergizes itself through innovation and clever restructuring.
OBOR is that very readjustment and modernization.

CPEC and OBOR complement each other not just for the sake of trade and commerce but also in socio-political aspects.
Pakistan is a long-standing ally with a common border.
The Pakistan army is heavily engaged in fighting off militant organizations that allegedly have contacts with hostile neighbor India.
From a realist perspective, it would only be a matter of time before the fire of terrorism spreads from Pakistani borders to Muslim majority areas in China.
India being a direct economic competitor in the region would surely benefit from disruption in Chinese development and progress.
CPEC has political objectives as well as economic.
A developed and stable Pakistan would be a bastion against spread of violence and militant organizations.
It would not be a difficult task to fan anarchy in a Communist state that discourages all sorts of religious beliefs.
Pakistan with a strong Government would make sure that external interference in the region is kept under check, whether coming from American controlled Afghanistan or Indian guided covert operations.
On the other hand, industrial and commercial success in Pakistan has been hampered by insufficient infrastructure and power shortage.
CPEC would eliminate these two complications thereby giving the Pakistan economy the boost it has needed for decades.
It would mark as a shift in diplomatic and economic independence, out of the clutches of Washington based organizations like World Bank and IMF.

Another influential aspect of OBOR is the presence of Putin at the Forum and the absence of Donald Trump.
The politics of isolation and protectionism is taking over significant Western countries.
Britain decided to part ways with the European Union and the United States is putting America first and calling NATO to be out-dated.
Donald Trump’s campaign of building walls instead of bridges has given an involuntary nudge to OBOR.
Finally, the United States has lost the advantage that kept it in the lead.
For the past 60 years, the Americans actively supported open, fair and free trade.
World Trade Organization, IMF and the World Bank championed the cause of fair capitalism.
It was advocated that the free market and fair competition can fix the evils of economic disparity.
The relevant policies put countries like the United Kingdom and the United States as world leaders.
As of 2017, these two countries have decided to look inwards instead of outwards.
China has aptly taken advantage of the situation.
President Jiping is now the champion of global trade and mutual cooperation.
OBOR is the spearhead of China’s vision to take over as the world leader.
Asia has gained what Western countries have lost in the past few years.

Hand in hand with the success of CPEC is the promotion for OBOR.
It is not surprising that the worth of projects under CPEC has been enhanced from 42 Billion Dollars to 54 Billion.
For Pakistan, this is the time to form strong bonds and fulfill the commitments made as per the MoUs signed with the Chinese diplomats.
The Chinese Government and its vision of expansion are too grand to be interrupted by trivial administrative and domestic complications.
There is a lot to gain for both China and Pakistan.
CPEC is the largest investment that Pakistan has ever attracted since independence and OBOR is the largest trade and diplomatic expansion project that the Chinese people have ever sponsored

Balochistan is no Bangladesh

Sushant Sareen

Sushant Sareen is Consultant, Pakistan Project, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

January 19, 2010

The separatist sentiment sweeping through the province of Balochistan has led many in Pakistan to draw parallels with the situation that prevailed in East Pakistan and which ultimately culminated in the formation of an independent state, Bangladesh. But such parallels, while they sensationalize the issue of Balochistan and help to draw attention to it, tend to gloss over some very critical differences between the situation that existed in the erstwhile East Pakistan and what obtains in today’s Balochistan. More than the similarities, which are many, between East Pakistan of yore and Balochistan of today, it is the differences that stand in the way of Balochistan becoming another Bangladesh.

Like in East Pakistan, the alienation of the people in the Baloch populated areas of Balochistan with Pakistan appears to be near total. There is an accumulated sense of grievance that is increasingly being expressed in the desire for seceding from the federation. Political formulas for granting greater autonomy, fiscal resources, control over the natural resources of the province, the freedom to decide development priorities, a greater hold over the security forces operating in the state to quell the insurgency no longer seem to hold any attraction for the disaffected Baloch. If anything, efforts on the part of the federal government – the new National Finance Commission award, the holding of a cabinet meeting in Gwadar, the announcement of the Aaghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan package (that includes stopping the construction of cantonments, pulling out of the Pakistan army from parts of the province, release of ‘missing persons’ etc) are all probably a case of too little too late.

As far as the Baloch are concerned, even after all the pious declarations by the federal government, nothing has changed on the ground: activists continue to go missing or are found dead, replacing the army by the Frontier Corps has only increased the indignities to which the Baloch are subjected. FC troops, mostly Pashtun or Punjabi often stop people on the road and force them to shout slogans like Pakistan Zindabad, play songs like ‘dil dil Pakistan...’ on street corners, and carry out ‘full pat–down searches’ of any Baloch who is found to be wearing Baloch-style baggy trousers. Incidentally, even as the Pakistani leaders fulminate at the US for ‘enhanced screening’ at American airports, there is not a peep out of them over the ‘racial profiling’ that leads to ‘enhanced screening’ of fellow citizens on the streets of Balochistan.

The brutal repression, extra-judicial killings, summary executions of Baloch activists, forced disappearances, harassment and mistreatment of ordinary people have only fuelled the disaffection with Pakistan. The sense of deprivation, exploitation, powerlessness and marginalisation that pervades the Baloch consciousness has a remarkable resemblance to how the Bengali’s perceived their state in Pakistan. If it were only public opinion that would settle matters, then perhaps Balochistan today would choose a path similar to that of East Pakistan and secede from the federation. But the problem in Balochistan is that apart from public sentiment there is little else that is common between Balochistan and Bangladesh.

Unlike Bangladesh, where the public sentiment was harnessed by a political leadership and transformed into a mass-movement, in Balochistan there is only a groundswell in favour of separatism but no political direction to translate this into reality. One glaring obstacle in the path of a national movement in Balochistan is the structure of society. Despite the fact that the insurgency is today more bottom-up rather than top-down like in the 1970’s, the tribal chiefs continue to be one of the biggest obstructions in the path of the aspirations of the people. While some of the tribal chiefs – most notably, Brahmdagh Bugti, Hairbyar Marri and his brother, Ghazain – are believed to be in the vanguard of the movement, or are at least poster boys of the separatists, the ballast for Baloch nationalism is coming from the middle-classes.

The trouble is that while many of the tribal Sardars, in their hearts might be supportive of the Baloch cause, or are being forced by public sentiment as well as the circumstances on the ground to pay lip-service to the aspirations of the Baloch people (for example, Akhtar Mengal insisting on a dialogue with the Pakistani authorities under the aegis of the UN!), they are not willing to put aside their personal egos in the service of Baloch nationalism. Their personal ambitions, feuds, rivalries, a desire to be one-up on their fellow sardars makes it impossible for all of them to come together for the larger cause of their people.

Take the case of Sanaullah Zehri. He became the home minister of Balochistan in Jam Yusuf’s government in 2002 but resigned a few months later by taking a stridently nationalist position and revealing that he was totally powerless on when it came to issuing directions to the law enforcement agencies. He merged his party with the National Party, which had a middle class leadership. But just few days back he joined PMLN, which is a Punjabi-dominated mainstream political party. The reason that some observers give for this volte-face by Zehri is that all his contemporary sardars have become chief ministers and his best chance was to join the PMLN which is widely perceived to have the best chance to form the next government in Islamabad, whenever that is. And as it so happens, the government in Quetta is almost always decided not so much by the votes of the people of Balochistan as by the powers that be in Islamabad. Even more difficult for the sardars is to let a middle-class person, who is probably more articulate, better educated, much more committed to the cause, to lead or represent the Baloch movement.

On their part, the middle-class leaders are not willing to either trust or follow the sardars beyond a point. Many of these leaders feel that the sardars (even those who have been declared Public Enemies by the Pakistani authorities and anchorocracy, i.e. TV anchors) could at the end of the day sabotage the movement by cutting deals with the Pakistani establishment and leave them in the lurch, as they have done in the past. Some time back, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood, held a jirga in which all the sardars were present. A decision was taken in this jirga to raise the case of Balochistan in the International Court of Justice. But within weeks, some of the sardars who endorsed this decision were sitting in the lap of the Pakistani establishment – Zulfikar Magsi became governor of Balochistan, Aslam Raisani the chief minister. Clearly, for the sardars their class interests dominate everything else and this is something that the middle class activists are not willing to accept unquestioningly anymore. After all, if the middle class has to once again kowtow to the sardars, then they might as well become subsidiaries of the Pakistani establishment, as indeed many of them have.

The middle class leaders have another legitimate grouse against the sardars. They point out that when the sardars are targeted, the middle class agitates on their behalf, but when middle class activists are gunned down by the intelligence agencies, the sardars are quite mealy mouthed in their protests. The irony is that despite the role of spoiler that the sardars play, Pakistani commentators often toe the establishment line and disparage the Baloch movement by blaming the sardars for the backwardness and disaffection in the province, not realising that if the powers of the sardars was finished, it would actually be a shot in the arm of Baloch nationalism. If anything, the Baloch sardars play the role that the rulers of Indian states played during the British Raj in undermining the movement for independence. Unlike Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who because of his own middle class background had deep antipathy for the feudal Sardars and tried to undercut their power, the wily Asif Zardari understands the social structure of Baloch society well enough to overturn many of Musharraf’s steps and restore the power of the sardars.

The Sardars are only one part of the problem affecting the Baloch movement. A bigger problem is that the Baloch nationalism is an ‘insufficiently imagined’ movement. There is a lot of rhetoric that is mouthed ad nauseam by those who are in favour of an independent Balochistan. But once you cut through the rhetoric, you realise that they all these people are offering is slogans. There is no over-arching vision of what sort of a state they want, no road map on how they propose to achieve nationhood, no thinking of how the state will be run, what sort of government it will have, how they will utilise the natural resources of the province for the welfare of the people, what sort of developmental model the new state will adopt, will the new state be a tribal confederacy in which the tribal order and customs will rule supreme or will it be based on rule of law and progressive ideals, what will be the status is women in the new state (will honor killing be acceptable or will it be treated as murder, will women be allowed to study and work, or will they be cloistered behind the walls of their houses and bought and sold like chattel? There are innumerable such issues over which there is total obfuscation by the Baloch nationalists and separatists. So much so that there is not even any consensus on what are the areas that will constitute the Baloch state. Clearly then, it is one thing to whip up passions which have already been aroused by decades of marginalisation, and start an aimless insurgency, and quite another thing to put in place the political, ideological and military structures that will deliver nationhood.

To the internal problems that afflict the Baloch national movement and are preventing it from achieving its goals can be added an external environment that is still not sympathetic to the Baloch cause. Notwithstanding the self-serving accusations levelled against India for fuelling the insurgency in Balochistan, both the Pakistani authorities as well as the Baloch separatists know perfectly well that there is practically no interference from India in Balochistan. In any case, unlike Bangladesh which India liberated by sending in its army, such a possibility doesn’t exist as far as Balochistan is concerned. Iran remains implacably opposed to all manifestations of Baloch nationalism. And given that the government in Afghanistan is unable to extend its writ in Kabul, to expect it to fund and arm the Baloch separatists is nothing but a flight of fancy. As for the Americans, their involvement is probably more in their joint venture with ISI in funding the Jundullah rather than in any support to Baloch separatists in Pakistan. The assassination of Balach Marri by NATO is a stark example of what side the Americans are backing.

As things stand, unless the Baloch nationalists are able to get their act together and set aside their petty differences in pursuit of ‘achievable nationhood’ within Pakistan or without, it will be only a matter of time before this latest upsurge in Balochistan will be brutally crushed. Given the demographics of the area which are loaded against the ethnic Baloch, and the growing attraction as also inclination of sections of Baloch youth towards radical Islamic groups like Jundullah, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Deobandi Jihadi groups, not to mention the active encouragement to such groups by Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, there might never be another uprising for attainment of Baloch national rights. From wanting to become a nation, the Baloch will almost certainly end up being reduced to being a minority ethnic group in their own land – a South Asian version of the Red Indians

Pakistan Army Conducts Ruthless Operation In Different areas of Mastung and Kalat

Balochistan, 1 June 2017: A fresh military offensive has been reported by locals from different areas of Kalat and Mastung districts of Balochistan.

According to local witnesses for the last two days Pakistan army has been conducting an offensive in Johan, Narmuk, Kabo, Dilband, Thalkhavi, Dashthdi, Sarshaar, Esplinji, Koh-a-Sia, Koh-a-Maraan and other mountainous region of Kalat and Mastung.

Today Pakistani arms forces have commenced indiscriminate shelling of the rural villages in the region because of it countless homes were destroyed, many persons were killed and injured, including children and women.

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BLF pays rich tribute to nation's martyrs, Commander Chakar Josh and Abdul Salam Baloch

(Sangar News)
Balochistan Liberation Front spokesman Gwahram Baloch in his statement, paid rich tribute to Commander Chakar Josh and Abdul Salam Baloch.

On Sunday, Chakar Josh and Abdul Salam Baloch were on routine patrol in Kaleeru and Krostank areas of Dasht district Kech, Balochistan, when they came face to face with the occupying Pakistani forces and engaged in a fierce battle.

Commander Chakar Josh and Abdul Salam embraced martyrdom and inflicted heavy losses to the occupying forces of Pakistan.

He added, Chakar Baloch was an educated youth, his sacrifice in the frontline during the war is an inspiration for the young fighters. Commander Chakar  was a nationalist poet, his poetry spread national awareness in every youth and taught us to love our  country and national identity.

Chakar joined BLF in 2009, took civic responsibilities and performed valuable services, where he inflicted heavy losses to the occupying forces through his best fighting skills. In 2014 he made the mountains his home. He had defeated enemy in dozens of war fronts. BLF offers rich tribute and red salute to the great Commander Chakar Josh. His efforts in the national liberation struggle are considered as national assets and an enlightenment for the fighters.

18 years old fighter, Abdul Salam picked up weapon to defend his country against the occupying forces of Pakistan.

He received martyrdom in the defense of his motherland. Young Martyr was associated with BLF for a short period of nine months but he never stepped back from this conscious awareness and revolutionary process. We offer rich tribute and red salute to Abdul Salam Baloch.

Gwahram Baloch further added,  the Dedicated and full of spirit Baloch fighters are sacrificing their lives for national independence. We appeal the Baloch nation to stay away from the enemy forces and state agents.

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Top Miner Sees ‘Huge Demand’ Boost from China’s New Silk Road


David Stringer

June 1, 2017, 9:13 AM GMT+5:30June 1, 2017, 12:01 PM GMT+5:30

China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative can deliver a major boost for commodities and will add about 150 million tons to global steel demand, according to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner.

The plan to develop infrastructure and rebuild ancient trading routes from China to Europe overland and by sea has seen projects initiated worth about $1.3 trillion, according to Melbourne-based BHP, the biggest exporter of coking coal and the third-largest iron ore supplier. Investments worth $313 billion to $502 billion could be funneled to 62 Belt-Road countries over the next five years, Credit Suisse Group AG said last month.

“Everywhere where we see the infrastructure being built, on the back of that there will be economic development that will trigger copper demand, which will trigger energy demand,” BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen told reporters Thursday in Melbourne. “Steel produced in China will be used along the road, and that of course is good for demand for our commodities.”

BHP on Thursday lifted force majeure restrictions at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, where workers carried out a 44-day strike earlier this year, Balhuizen told reporters. Coking coal sales continue to be subject to restrictions following a cyclonein Australia in March, he said.

The producer declined 0.7 percent to A$23.73 on Thursday in Sydney, extending its decline this year to 5.3 percent.

The “One Belt One Road” initiative promises “huge demand for resources, services and technology,” and is “an opportunity like no other,” Balhuizen said earlier in a speech. BHP gets about 43 percent of full-year revenue from China and a total of at least 68 percent from Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China’s plan, lauded by President Xi Jinping as a "project of the century," has the potential to generate about 120 million tons of crude steel demand, according to Citigroup Inc. Increased appetite from infrastructure will support steel even as there’s a slowdown in China’s housing sector, Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius said last month in an interview.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for rural electrification, which aim to supply power to every citizen by 2019, and the drive to provide more affordable housing, will also boost commodities and are likely to “have a material impact on demand for coal, iron ore, copper and petroleum,” Balhuizen said in his speech.

BHP sees global demand for potash growing at 2 percent to 3 percent a year through 2030, as the world’s population rises and crop demand swells by 50 percent by 2050, he said. BHP may seek board approval for its Jansen potash project in Canada as early as next June,the producer said last month

Should the West heed China's siren call for 'Globalization 2.0'?

June 1, 2017 10:22 am JST

Jonathan Hillman

Sales pitch at EU-China summit comes amid concerns that China's Belt and Road pitch could fall short of goals

© Reuters

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is knocking on Europe's door with a seductive message and a bold sales pitch. The message is one of economic cooperation, and coming in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial visit to Europe, his participation in the EU-China summit on June 1-2 in Brussels could not be better timed.

The sales pitch is the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing's far-reaching vision for new overland and maritime connections. How this pitch is articulated, and whether European leaders are persuaded to support the effort, could help make or break China's bid to lead the next phase of globalization.

But what exactly is China's vision for globalization? It is easy to get lost in rhetoric promoting the BRI, which straddles the past, present and future. It invokes the ancient Silk Road, proudly adopts the recent arguments of Western globalists and yet promises to be something new. These are distinct concepts of global order, however, and the BRI cannot be all three at once. European leaders are right to greet these conflicting messages with some caution.

The first face of China's global vision looks backward to the ancient Silk Road, which is a brilliant marketing device. It is popularly remembered as an adventurous period of commercial and cultural exchanges. New trade routes emerged across the Eurasian landmass, carrying goods and ideas between civilizations. Quoting famous explorers like Macro Polo and Ibn Battuta, and showing images of camels and caravans, Chinese officials tap into this captivating myth.

The real Silk Road was vibrant but also violent. Life was much shorter, nastier and more brutish. Disputes were often settled through force. A move toward the ancient Silk Road would be a move away from institutions and international law. States would exercise power with fewer constraints. Informal and implicit rules would displace formal and explicit agreements. The risk of miscommunication, escalation and conflict would be higher. Despite its enduring imaginative power, the ancient Silk Road is a flawed alternative to today's rule-based international system.

The BRI's second face looks familiar at first glance. Remarkably, China has embraced the language of Western globalists while promoting a Sino-centric vision. In his opening remarks at the recent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about upholding the multilateral trading system, liberalizing investment and promoting transparent rules. "We should build an open platform of cooperation," he urged, "and uphold and grow an open world economy." Similar language fills speeches by the leaders of Bretton Woods institutions.

A new global model?

The challenge here is that these arguments are no longer sufficient. In the West, the idea that greater economic openness can leave everyone better off is under assault. With stagnant wages and widening inequality, many middle-class citizens resent being left behind. Technology has been a more disruptive force, but trade and globalization have been easier scapegoats. There is wide agreement that governments must do a better job of addressing these concerns, but there are no quick solutions. Put simply, the old model cannot continue unchanged.

That is why the BRI's third face claims it will succeed where the West's model has stalled. It has found an eager audience. Pointing to the backlash against globalization in the West, participants at the Beijing forum called for new approaches. "We have exhausted many former models and indicators of economic development," Russian President Vladimir Putin declared. Delegates from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America made similar statements. Seizing this opportunity, Chinese officials have cast the BRI as "Globalization 2.0."

Updating globalization is a tall order. A better approach would preserve the facets of globalization that have worked, while improving those that have not and filling gaps that have emerged over time. It would seek to simplify a complex web of trade, investment and transport agreements. It would adopt rules that promote digital commerce, help small businesses compete, and protect the environment. Alongside these international efforts, governments would do more domestically -- through worker training, education and tax reform - so that globalization is more inclusive

Nine trauma centres to be set up in Balochistan

Muhammad Akbar NotezaiPublished about 11 hours ago

QUETTA: Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch on Wednesday said that nine trauma centres were being built on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route passing through the province.

Talking to media persons, the minister said: “Trauma centres are being constructed along the CPEC route in order to provide immediate medical facilities in case of emergency or untoward situation.”

He said the health department was taking strict action against fake doctors across the province.

“The mafia of phony doctors exists in Balochistan, and action against them is under way,” he said. “We are also doing our best to provide basic health amenities to the people of the province.”


Mr Baloch claimed that Hepatitis B and C patients were being given free medicines for the first time in the province, adding that hospitals were provided with modern machinery as well