Monday, June 12, 2017

Will India’s hedge-and-engage approach against China’s work?

It is possible to understand why India did not participate in the Belt and Road forum in May. However, its absence does not necessarily suggest that its relations with China will sour immediately.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 9 (PTI)

Updated: Jun 12, 2017 13:28 IST

By Kawashima Shin

In May 2017, China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRFIC) in Beijing. Beginning with this forum, the Chinese government appears to be preparing for upcoming high-profile events, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s annual meeting in June, the annual strategic talks and a summit meeting with the US in July on the strength of the political achievements made by Xi Jinping both at home and abroad over the past five years, toward autumn of this year, when he is set to be re-elected as president.

The BRFIC serves as a key diplomatic policy in the Xi administration, which has succeeded the peripheral diplomacy promoted by his predecessor Hu Jintao. However, the policies contained in this Initiative remain unclear in many ways, lacking specifics about the future action plans and members or participating countries in the project, while only supervisory administration offices have been designated for the initiative.

China invited a number of leaders and government officials to the forum from countries around the world, and consequently succeeded in presenting an outline of the project while making it clear that the Initiative will provide opportunities not only to promote infrastructure projects and other economic cooperation but also to bring regional stability.

Japan and the US, which had remained rather indifferent to this Initiative, sent their delegates to the forum. Nikai Toshihiro, secretary general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party was sent to attend the forum in Beijing, where he was given prime minister-level treatment. Imai Takaya, Prime Minister Abe’s executive secretary, was also sent to attend the event, seeking to meet with high-ranking Chinese officials to pave the way for improved bilateral relations. Given this situation, it appears that the strained relations between the two countries are beginning to show signs of recovery.

In contrast, India did not participate in the forum in May. The Indian government did not send its leaders or government officials to the event. According to the media, India did not participate in the forum over criticisms of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, that does not seem to be the only reason for its absence. I believe that India’s criticisms of China’s Belt and Road Initiative are based on other more fundamental reasons.

The Belt and Road Initiative is referred to as an attempt to build a modern day Silk Road by land and sea. China probably has no choice but to remain cautious while developing the land transportation corridor, because it will pass through territories or domains under strong Russian influence. Moreover, it will not be a simple task for the Beijing government to get easily along with countries in Central Asia in the face of controversial issues with them.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Silk Road project consists of large-scale infrastructure investments related to the ports and harbors in Brunei and Sri Lanka, pipelines connecting Myanmar and Pakistan and bridges in Brunei and Maldives, creating an ocean route for the Chinese Navy between the South China Sea and its naval base in Djibouti. Furthermore, efforts are underway by China to secure a shipping lane for importing crude oil from Nigeria and Angola.

Obviously, China’s maritime expansion associated with the ocean route initiative is bad news for the Indian government due to concerns about sovereignty in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Indian government seems concerned about China’s influence growing even stronger, particularly in neighbouring countries around India, given that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is aimed at establishing a link between the land route and China’s maritime expansionism in the Indian Ocean.

Based on the points mentioned above, it is possible to understand why India did not participate in the Belt and Road forum in May. However, its absence does not necessarily suggest that its relations with China will sour immediately.

India and Pakistan will be accepted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which will hold a summit meeting in June. Until recently, it was often understood that the policies undertaken by the SCO were consistent with those of the Belt and Road Initiative, while it seems possible that the two high-profile initiatives driven by China will play different roles in the international arena, depending on India’s actions in the coming years.

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On one hand, India seems to engage with China, but on the other it expresses criticism toward China’s approach in trying to establish regional stability. This policy undertaken by India against China could be interpreted as a hedge-and-engage approach. How will this approach work for India with respect to its relationship with China? Future developments in India’s diplomatic strategy will be worthy of attention along with the SCO.

Kawashima Shin is professor, University of Tokyo

The views expressed are personal

Pentagon says China's PLA expanding its global footprint

By ANI | Jun 13, 2017, 09.09 AM IST



WASHINGTON DC: The Pentagon released its annual report to the US Congress entitled Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2017 on 6 June. The highlight of this report is that in the Pentagon's view the People Liberation Army ( PLA ) is expanding its global footprint. 

China's expanding global economic interests make this inevitable, and it will do so "in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries," the report says. 

Indeed, Gwadar in Pakistan is touted by many as the likely location of a second Chinese base after one currently under construction in Djibouti, although the Pentagon report did not mention Gwadar by name at all. 

Certainly, the report underscores China's movement towards, and beyond, the Indian Ocean. Work on China's base in the Horn of Africa commenced in February 2016 and should be finished "within the next year". 

The report elaborated that Beijing may opt for "a mixture of military logistics models, including preferred access to overseas commercial ports and a limited number of exclusive PLA Navy [PLAN] logistic facilities - probably collocated with commercial ports..."

The Department of Defense (DoD) document added, "A more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure would also be essential to enable China to project and sustain military power at greater distances..." 

However, China will face headwinds in creating a global network of bases for it "may be constrained by the willingness of countries to support a PLA presence in one of their ports". 

While the report is a handy compilation serving as a good go-to guide on China's military developments, it did not meet everyone's expectations. Some thought it did not go far enough, while China bitterly complained it went too far. 

Shephard Media, a United Kingdom-based defense publisher, was critical, saying it contributed "few points of importance or shock value". An article summarizing the report said, "With its non-offensive pastel maps and cover pages, the overall feeling is that China is cozy like a teddy bear...Since the report's creation by the US National Defense Authorization Act in 2000, it has become increasingly weak and soft, like the soft tissue of a leech." 

While a couple of new items were added to this year's edition, Shephard was critical because these issues have been widely reported on for years by academia, think tanks and media. One example was the first ever reference in the report to the China Maritime Militia (CMM), an armed reserve force that the military can mobilize for support and coercive duties, such as has occurred in the South China Sea to harass foreign vessels. 

Highlighting the importance of this "state-organized, state-developed and state-controlled force operating under a direct military chain of command to conduct Chinese state-sponsored activities", Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy at the US Naval War College, wrote: "Together with the world's largest coast guard, and with China's navy backstopping in an 'overwatch' capacity, China's maritime militia plays a central role in maritime activities designed to overwhelm or coerce an opponent through activities that cannot be easily countered without escalating to war." 

Erickson continued, "Here's why the Pentagon's publicizing of China's maritime militia matters: it is strongest - and most effective - when it can lurk in the shadows..." He added, however, "By revealing the maritime militia's true nature and 'calling it out' in public, the US government can remove the force's plausible deniability, reduce its room for maneuver and reduce the chances that China's leaders will employ it dangerously in future encounters with American and allied vessels at sea." 

The question is why has it taken so long for the Pentagon to highlight the role of the militia? This question is especially pertinent given the close link between the PLA and CMM. 

Another area where the report lags is in detailing the tremendous gains that China has made to retake Taiwan by force. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense has already acknowledged that China has the ability to conquer offshore islands such as Matsu and Penghu. It has noted that China will have the airlift and sealift capability to invade the island in 2020, and enjoy complete domination of the air and sea domains for both the east and west coasts by 2025. 

Yet the US report only uttered bland generalities such as this: "A PLA invasion of a medium-sized, better-defended island such as Matsu or Jinmen is within China's capabilities." 

While there was a whole chapter on Taiwan's dilemma, far less attention was paid to India. One paragraph described China-India border tensions, including mention of a September 2016 incident when an "Indian patrol observed that more than 40 Chinese troops had set up a temporary shelter within Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh". 

Power projection is most definitely a focus for the PLA, with the Pentagon saying, "China's leaders remain focused on developing the capabilities to deter or defeat adversary power projection and counter third-party intervention - including by the United States - during a crisis or conflict." 

New warships for the PLAN continue to churn out at a prodigious pace, including Type 052D destroyers, Type 054A frigates and Type 056 corvettes. While the DoDmentioned the Type 055 cruiser, it failed to acknowledge that at least four of these 10,000-ton ships are already under construction at two shipyards. 

The report summarized, "This modernization aligns with China's ongoing shift from 'near sea' defense to a hybrid strategy of 'near sea' defense and 'far seas' protection, with the PLAN conducting operational tasks outside the so-called 'first island chain' with multi-mission, long-range, sustainable naval platforms that have robust self-defense capabilities." 

Indeed, Beijing "expects significant elements of a modern conflict to occur at sea". A second aircraft carrier should be ready around 2020, and the current fleet of 63 submarines will grow to 69-78 by 2020. The PLAN will begin constructing the next-generation Type 096 ballistic-missile submarine by the early 2020s, and the new Type 093B nuclear-powered attack submarine will be armed with land attack cruise missiles "over the next decade". 

However, the report contained outdated information. It failed to confirm that the J-20 stealth fighter is already in low-rate initial production for the PLA Air Force (PLAAF). It pointed out that a new-generation bomber will debut around 2025, and "will have additional capabilities with full-spectrum upgrades over the current bomber fleet, and will employ many fifth-generation technologies in their design." 

In summary, Asia's largest air force with more than 2,700 aircraft "continues to modernize and is closing the gap rapidly with Western air forces across a broad spectrum of capabilities. This development is gradually eroding the significant technical advantage held by the United States". For example, improved early-warning aircraft and fighters are strengthening an air defense system offering "credible" coverage more than 500km from China's shores. 

Missile development shows no sign of diminishing pace either. The PLA Rocket Force began fielding the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile last year, apparently. Alatent ballistic missile defense system will include both ground- and sea-based assets, including a midcourse interceptor identified as the HQ-19. The DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, meanwhile, "gives the PLA the capability to attack ships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific Ocean". 

This year more information was included about the PLA's Strategic Support Force, whose function and structure remain rather shadowy. In 2016 the report allocated just 30 words to this force encompassing space, cyber and electronic warfare (EW) realms. This time it stated, "China believes its cyber capabilities and personnel lag behind the United States. To deal with these perceived deficiencies, China is improving training and domestic innovation to achieve its cyber capability development goals." 

It added, "PLA writings suggest EW, cyberspace, deception, counter-space and other operations during wartime could deny an adversary's use of information." Indeed, the PLA would seek to use cyberwarfare to collect data for intelligence and cyberattack purposes. This would "constrain an adversary's actions by targeting network-based logistics, communications and commercial activities" and "serve as a force-multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks during times of crisis or conflict". 

The DoD noted that US government computer systems worldwide continued to be targeted by China-based intrusions in 2016. China is also pursuing quantum communications satellites, with the world's first example launched last August, which will afford cryptographic and secure communication capabilities. 

Unfortunately, the Pentagon report failed to include many of the space and counter-space specifics revealed by Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 23 May 2017. China's civil space program, for instance, is solidly intertwined with and even subservient to the PLA's space program. Instead, the DoD just skimmed the surface. It did not go into any detail about soft-kill and hard-kill anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, for instance. 

If people want to learn more about space capabilities, the recently released Senate Armed Services Committee statement for the record entitled 'Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community' is a better bet. 

It revealed that, due for development completion in "the next several years" are Russian and Chinese ASAT weapons. Also, "Ten years after China intercepted one of its own satellites in low-earth orbit, its ground-launched ASAT missiles might be nearing operational service within the PLA. Both countries are advancing directed-energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT systems that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors." 

Furthermore, China continues to conduct sophisticated on-orbit satellite activities, such as rendezvous and proximity operations. This poses a threat, for, "Such missions will pose a particular challenge in the future, complicating the US ability to characterize the space environment, decipher intent of space activity and provide advance threat warning," warned US intelligence agencies. 

Interestingly, returning to the Pentagon report, it calculated that China's 2016 defense budget exceeded USD180 billion, as opposed to Beijing's announced figure of USD144.3 billion. However, the department offered no methodology on how it reached this figure. 

The DoD document addressed defense exports too, with China emerging as the world's fourth largest defense equipment supplier in 2011-15 with sales of about USD20 billion. It assessed, "From the perspective of China's arms customers, most of which are developing countries, Chinese arms are less expensive than those offered by the top international arms suppliers. They are also of lower quality and reliability, but they still have advanced capabilities." 

Sadly, some information in the Pentagon dossier was out ofdate even before publication. Cuts and changes in the PLA's group armies, for example, were totally ignored.There are errors in it too, with Defense News noting "two of the navy's key air bases on the island of Hainan [were] omitted while another navy air base for special missionaircraft in China's Northern Theater Command was wrongly identified as an air force bomber base". 

For all its softness, China responded angrily to the report's release. Zhao Weibin from the PLA Academy of Military Sciences complained it was "full of cliches in exaggeration and criticism about China's normal military development". 

Zhao specifically complained about the USA hyping territorial and maritime rights disputes; subjectively assuming invisible military spending; slandering China by accusing it of stealing foreign technologies; and distorting normal foreign military exchanges into an opportunity for expansion. 

China's MND also accused the report of being speculative. MND spokesman Wu Qian said, "China is committed to peaceful development and defense-oriented security policies" and that it "neither seeks military expansion nor a sphere of influence, and [it] will always be a firm force in maintaining world peace". 

"We hope the US will view China's defense construction and military development in a rational and objective manner," Wu pointedly concluded. 

Like it or not, however, the report warned, "Over the last decade, China has increased its capability to address regional and global security objectives beyond its continued main emphasis on Taiwan contingencies. PLA ground, naval, air and missile forces are increasingly able to project power through peacetime operations and are expanding capacity to contest US military superiority in the event of a regional conflict." 

The report makes this clear, even if some hawks believe the Pentagon did not go nearly far enough

China's new Silk Road sparks international student’s MBA dream

Jacimovic Andjela, a Serbian student from Xi’an Jiaotong University, poses in front of a photo featuring the Chinese words for New Silk RoadCREDIT: YANG YANG / CHINA DAILY

12 JUNE 2017 • 3:45PM

Yang Yang

Serbian student Jacimovic Andjela has been inspired to study in China after hearing President Xi's proposal for the Belt and Road Initiative.

Jacimovic Andjela, a Serbian student studying at Xi’an Jiaotong University, first learnt about China from Chinese companies investing in her home nation, which prompted her to dream of studying in China.

“China has been developing so fast the past few years, and there are so many Chinese companies in Serbia. I often heard about China from them and was fascinated about it. I wanted to know how China was able to develop so fast, and so I decided to study for an MBA here,” she said.

Jacimovic said she had always dreamt of studying economics, and chose to come to China because of its great business co-operation potential with Serbia after Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative.

“We all know about Beijing and Shanghai, but when I researched about universities I found out Xi’an was the capital of 13 dynasties, with great political and economic importance in Chinese history,” she said. “That's why I decided to come to Xi’an Jiaotong University.”

In China, you cannot expect businessmen to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ immediately after a meeting

Jacimovic has been in Xi’an for about eight months, and has found the ancient city has an amazing history and much modern technology. She said she would recommend that her friends visit her favourite spot in Xi'an-Dayanta, Qujiang district, where people are able to “travel through time” while experiencing modern life.

“China is an amazing country and if you don’t visit you cannot understand it,” she said. “Now I am here, I have learnt a lot about cultural differences of doing business in China and Serbia. If you want to run a successful business, you need to know the culture of your business partner.”

Jacimovic said one of her biggest culture shocks while living in China has been the difference in business arrangements and agreements.

“In China, you cannot expect Chinese businessmen to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ immediately after a meeting. They won’t promise anything, only knowing you for a short while, but will say ‘maybe’,” she said.

“In Serbia, however, if you agree with something after a meeting, they will say, ‘It’s a deal’, which means they agree or promise.”

In addition, Chinese people look for long-term business relations, from five to 10 years or even longer, while Serbian businessmen are more likely to have a business plan of one or two years, said Jacimovic. She added there was still a lot more to find about Chinese culture and how to do business.

People-to-people connections have also been an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative, with participating countries making big efforts to build the educational Silk Road and the health Silk Road.

Every year, the Chinese government provides 10,000 scholarships to countries participating in the initiative, according to President Xi Jinping, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in May.

Jacimovic, who received a scholarship to study in China, will be one of the international students who benefit from the educational programmes of the initiative.

Jacimovic Andjela prepares green bean cake for the Dragon Boat Festival in Xi’an in the north-western Chinese province of Shaanxi CREDIT: CHINA DAILY

In addition to tuition fees, accommodation and health insurance, Jacimovic will also receive 3,000 yuan (almost £350) per month to spend. Jacimovic was one of three students who won this scholarship this year, and five or six have received similar scholarships in previous years at the University John Naisbitt in Belgrade, the Serbian, she said.

“About 30 to 40 international students are studying at the Xi'an Jiaotong University school of management, and the total number of international students in the whole university is predicted to be 200,” Jacimovic said.

“I can feel Serbian students’ interest in studying in China is growing because of the amount of people inquiring about it.”

After being a Silk Road journalist at the 2017 Silk Road Expo, Jacimovic has further identified many new business opportunities between the two nations. She has dreamt of following the Silk Road spirit at the start of the Silk Road in Xi’an, and stimulates business communications between China and Serbia.

“I wish my international experience and knowledge I am gaining here on master’s studies in Xi’an will bring a huge contribution to future co-operation between Serbia and China,” she said.

“I also hope I will have an opportunity to make better connections between our two cultures by being an ambassador of my culture to Chinese people and vice versa.”

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

Chinese working on CPEC to be protected: Ahsan

June 13, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has yesterday said that Chinese citizens working on CPEC projects are our national guests and Pakistani nation considers their security as a national duty.

"Pakistan will leave no stone unturned for protection of workers on CPEC projects", Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform (PD&R) remarked while presiding a high-level meeting here to review progress on CPEC projects.

He said that the year 2017, an important year for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, would enable Pakistan to witness new era of development with completion of CPEC early harvest projects.

The meeting was attended by officials of the Federal Ministries, provincial governments and officials from Chinese Embassy.

“A number of mega projects in infrastructure and Gwadar are breaking ground this year” Ahsan Iqbal said.

Officials from line Ministries briefed about progress on the ongoing projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in various sectors including communication, Railways, infrastructure, energy, Gwadar Port and special industrial zones.

Ahsan Iqbal expressed satisfaction over the progress on CPEC projects.

He said that current year is important for CPEC as a number of early harvest project are achieving its commercial operation date in 2017.

“Sahiwal Coal Power project has been completed much a head of its stipulated time, starting generation of 1330 MW of electricity” Minister said, adding, a number of energy project under CPEC and non CPEC will enable us to overcome the challenge of loadshedding.

He said that construction work on a number of projects in transport infrastructure sector is going on in full swing.

“These road projects would ensure not only connectivity within Pakistan and well being of the people belonging to the underdeveloped areas but in the whole region, paving grounds for sustainable growth and inclusive development.”

Minister said the timely completion of these projects would be a success for the people of Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan and China have signed framework agreement of Pakistan Railway Main Line-1 project, an initiative which would revolutionise transportation system in the country.

This mega project, beginning this year, would completely upgrade rail system and the main track from Karachi to Peshawar, allowing Pakistanis to enjoy modern transport facilities, he said.

He further maintained that new technologies were being introduced in infrastructure, transportation and engineering sectors due to CPEC projects.

“The Economic Corridor is helping Pakistan open new avenues of knowledge based economy as it has great opportunity to learn the state-of-the-art knowledge and technologies in transport sector,” Ahsan Iqbal remarked.

He said that Pakistani universities and research institutes should tap those opportunities by making comprehensive planning in this regard.

He directed the Higher Education Commission to ensure immediate introduction of academic programmes in the sector of transport engineering.

He emphasised that universities should establish linkages with Chinese institutes to ensure transfer of knowledge in this important field.

About Gwadar project, Minister instructed to fast track work on a number important mega projects.

Framework agreement of Gwadar Eastbay Express way and grant agreement of international airport has been signed between China and Pakistan, he said.  He said that fully fledged construction work would commence on these projects within months.  Minister directed to speed up work on water supply project in Gwadar to address the drinking water issue.

He also instructed official of Gwadar Development Authority to work for revitaliSing the existing desalination plant at Karwat so that it can provide water to the local population during the summer season.

He further stated that contract of the Gwadar Master City Plan has been signed. "This project would develop Gwadar at par with international modern port cities like Singapore and Hongkong"

Minister said that Chinese citizen working in Pakistan on CPEC projects are our national guests who are busy in development of Pakistan.

"Pakistani nation considers security of Chinese workers as a national duty", he added. Minister said that Pakistan will leave no stone unturned for protection of workers on CPEC projects

Pakistan’s embrace of Russia

Pakistan’s position as a country permanently stuck between rocks and hard places was further cemented last week when long-time strategic ally Saudi Arabia took the lead in isolating gas-rich Qatar. As has been argued ad nauseam by every shade of thoughtful Pakistani, maintaining a robust impartiality in the quarrel between the GCC states is absolutely essential. However, if we feel flustered by the challenge of simultaneously maintaining a measure of equilibrium between traditional ally Saudi Arabia, ‘it’s complicated’ status friend UAE, and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supplier, Qatar, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

At Astana, India and Pakistan were welcomed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On one hand, this represents a brilliant coup for Pakistan – confirming its indispensable strategic importance to various world capitals, despite the agony that reverberates through South Block – where Indians, both Nehruvian and Hindutvavadi, convulse at the sight of Pakistan being taken seriously, anywhere, ever.

On the other hand, the SCO is just another multilateral forum. Pakistan has consistently managed to turn the advantages of multilateralism (such as UNSC resolutions favouring Pakistan’s position on Occupied Kashmir) into disadvantages (such as UNSC resolutions’ listing of various Pakistan-based groups like the LeT and JuD as UN-sanctioned terrorist groups). What indications exist that Pakistan will manage to get its membership in SCO just right, and not end up being singled out eventually for the various things it does in pursuit of its strategic and tactical objectives? The record Pakistan has built up is not enviable. It routinely ends up paying the price for the sins of others and, often, for its own virtues – a principled position on Occupied Kashmir, hosting five million Afghan refugees over three decades, fighting Al-Qaeda and Daesh. Even when Pakistan does the right thing, it gets tagged with the burden of failure.

The SCO window has not opened up because Pakistanis are a nation of jolly, good looking and generous people. It has opened up because Chinese and Russian interests have converged enough to make Pakistan useful to both of them, for different reasons. As it has done repeatedly for the US – which now openly flirts with the same language for Pakistan that is used by cancerous Hindutvavadi internet trolls, and Saudi Arabia (which thanks Pakistan for helping build the kingdom by repeatedly pressing it to engage its neighbour Iran in sectarian conflict) – Pakistan has a never shied away from being a partner for countries seeking to expand their strategic influence, and tactical capacity far beyond their borders. In signing up to the Sino-Russian camp, Pakistan is doing what comes naturally to us: pursuing short-term gains without serious deliberation or public debate about longer term implications.

China’s endorsement of Pakistan as its principal partner in the One Belt, One Road initiative, through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is without doubt a unique and unprecedented opportunity for Pakistan to transform the core infrastructure of the country. It is, however, important to note facets of CPEC that should comprise a legitimate debate within Pakistan and between Pakistan and China – but don’t.

First, the obligations on Pakistan that stem from CPEC should be clear, and have parliamentary sanction. Concerns about future streams of loan repayments and the quality of analysis, forecasting and planning that has gone into Pakistan’s negotiations with China for CPEC do exist. Second, the rhetoric of the Pakistan-China friendship far outstrips the reality of it. People-to-people contact is limited and Pakistan enjoys negligible, if any, public diplomacy advantages in China. This represents a threat to CPEC and to the strategic relationship between the two countries.

Third, Chinese strategic thinking is very different from the binaries and zero-sum gamesmanship Pakistan is used to with other strategic partners like the United States, or Saudi Arabia. Case in point: China has been a most robust advocate of better Pakistan-India relations, despite having tensions with India. China can cling to a dispute whilst simultaneously increasing trade with a foe. The Muslim Zion (to borrow Faisal Devji’s brilliant framing) often acts in stark contrast to this go-along, get-along Chinese ethos. Despite all this, China is, now and for the foreseeable future, a partner unlike any other for Pakistan. It is not China’s job to think of Pakistan’s long-term needs, and constraints. This is something Pakistan must do for itself.

If thinking and planning for Pakistan’s interests with respect to China is important, it is absolutely imperative with respect to Russia. Over the last decade, Russian and Pakistani contacts have been increasing with reasonable consistency. Russia has traditionally been, at best, a distant foe. Today, however, Russia is cited as a guarantor of Pakistan’s resistance to global isolation. How did Pakistan go from a relative also-ran in Moscow to a country that is actively been courted by President Putin? To understand Putin’s appetite for Pakistan, we need to zoom out. Russia’s broader ambitions in Europe and the Middle East notwithstanding, two clues about Russia rest in places well known to Pakistan.

In Turkey, Russia has swallowed a number of bitter pills against every historical and cultural prejudice, to build a fast-growing strategic alliance that is on the one hand, a formidable regional partnership, and on the other an irritant for Nato, and the European Union. Putin ignores many of Turkey’s actions in Syria that run against Russian interests, and has forgiven the downing of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey last year, to secure this alliance.

In Afghanistan, Russia has seemingly forgotten the humiliation of its withdrawal from Kabul at the hands of the predecessors of the Taliban to forge a growing relationship with anti-American forces in Afghanistan to ostensibly help broker a credible and lasting peace in the country. It has already hosted three major multilateral meetings on solving Afghanistan, and was reportedly behind the surge in Taliban firepower that helped the insurgents overrun Kunduz in 2015.

To the Russians, Syria is for the Middle East what Afghanistan is for Central Asia. A collapse of Syria opens the door and excites the imagination of all manner of wild-eyed terrorist groups, many of Central Asian extraction, and many of whom speak Russian fluently. Russia’s gamble in Syria therefore is one that privileges order and coherence in Syria. To achieve this, Russia has cooperated with any and every actor it has needed to – notwithstanding the scepticism of Americans still obsessed with Nikita Khrushchev’s abrasiveness. US-Russia cooperation on Syria is the most obvious example, but it is the courting of Turkey that reflects the longer-term stability that Putin seeks in that region – with the obvious benefit of Russia coming up aces in the bargain.

In Afghanistan, Russia has seen the Americans struggle to even define a clear objective, what to say of achieving any kind of victory. The vacuum created by the US ceding of coherent leadership in Afghanistan was long thought to be one that the Chinese could fill – but the Chinese seem to have soured on the prospect after having been stung by the sputtering nature of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG). More importantly, Afghanistan is still a kinetic battlefield, and the Chinese interest in Afghanistan is not in war but in peace.

Russia, on the other hand, is run today by many of the men and women that were involved in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The threat posed by Daesh to Afghanistan could realistically metastasize and consume stability not just in Afghanistan, but northward, through Uzbekistan and beyond. Only one country in the region has the kinetic battlefield experience of victory against Daesh types. That country is Pakistan. Not only does Pakistan have a robust and battle-tested military, it also has been traditionally the most sympathetic to Afghanistan’s parties to conflict: from the Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, to an alphabet soup of other Afghan groups over the years.

As Afghanistan grows more hopeless, the Russians correctly see Pakistan as being critical to any long-term solution in Afghanistan. They also probably see India as a spoiler, and provocateur of Pakistani insecurities in Afghanistan. Optimists will see Pakistan’s joining of the SCO as the crescendo of a long process of Russian intimacy with Pakistan.

This would be a mistake. Other countries – including the US – have, very recently, placed their bets on Pakistan as the game-changer in Afghanistan. Officials from those countries now routinely spew venom about Pakistan’s duplicity. History has shown that attempting to play guarantor has not gone well for Pakistan.

Pakistan should carefully consider both the short-term gains to be won from its embrace of President Putin, and the medium and long-term costs. Having jumped into bed with world powers before, and still suffering the illnesses contracted from them, this country should tread with caution and care. Our embrace of Russia is a good thing, but it is not unqualified and unconditional love.

The writer is an analyst and commentator.

India’s China Policy: Face the Dragon with Self-Confidence

India should not become a US lackey if Pakistan becomes a Chinese surrogate. (Photo: Rhythum Seth/ The Quint)



| 5 min read

Subir Bhaumik

Yesterday, 4:30 pm


Pakistani political economist S Akbar Zaidi’s damning indictment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at a recent public lecture at the Calcutta Research Group (on 9 June) vindicates serious concerns many have about Beijing’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. Zaidi titled his talk ‘Has China taken over Pakistan?’ and produced details to back his claim.

In fact, there is more to the CPEC than the ‘sovereignty issue’ that apparently prompted India to oppose it and avoid participation in the OBOR conference in Beijing in May. Zaidi raised the spectre of Chinese colonisation, pointing to a wide range of issues, ranging from lack of transparency in the cost of projects to manning of surveillance networks in CPEC ‘smart cities’ to preferential treatment for Chinese capital to the use of Chinese labour for CPEC projects. Zaidi pointed to Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and many African countries as cases of “Chinese investments gone sour” where land had to be given to Chinese companies in lieu of unpaid loans.

Also Read: India’s Snub to China on OBOR: Unwise to Ignore Economic Interests

Staying Away from OBOR Conference Didn’t Achieve Goals

Surely, India cannot join OBOR if that means Chinese control over assets it creates in other countries through funding them. Zaidi pointed to Bangladesh as one successful case of negotiating Beijing, in how Dhaka has forced Beijing to heed their environmental concerns in Chinese projects which are usually flouted. So there is a strong case to challenge Beijing’s OBOR narrative and in exposing what it seeks to conceal.

But that objective is not achieved by staying away from a conference that was attended in some strength even by the US and Japan – a move that MEA officials admit shocked their bosses. The US was represented by Matt Pottinger, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, while Japan's delegation was led by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party. Not to talk of all of India’s neighbours except Bhutan.

India should have attended the conference under protest on the sovereignty issue – of the proposed CPEC passing through a part of Kashmir which Pakistan controls but India claims.

And it should have taken the opportunity to raise uncomfortable issues linked to OBOR ,and forced (or exposed) Beijing on its lack of transparency on issues linked to the initiative – from financing of projects to future command-control mechanisms, to repayment issues and much more. China is keen on Indian participation and says it is prepared to walk the extra mile to get India into the OBOR. But having missed an opportunity to raise uncomfortable issues , and rueing the possible isolation it now regrets, India is now left with the option to either stay out of OBOR or join it.

It has lost the opportunity to question it in a forum that would have clearly thrown the Chinese off balance.

Also Read: GSLV Mark III: Still a Long Way to Go for India’s ‘Baahubali


Click here to collapse

Akbar Zaidi’s damning indictment of the CPEC raises serious sovereignty issues for Pakistan 
Zaidi says Pakistan’s fate may be worse than Sri Lanka, Tajikistan or some African countries who have suffered from the Chinese embraceIndia should have joined the OBOR conference in Beijing to raise not just ‘sovereignty issues’ (CPEC passing through Kashmir) but also more substantive objections now articulated by Zaidi

So, What Now?

For the moment, the MEA should sit back, coolly analyse the fallout and work harder to understand the Chinese designs, taking a clue from Zaidi. Some suggestions have already surfaced that if the Chinese are setting up military bases in Pakistan, India should allow the US to set up military bases in India. Nothing could be more suicidal for India. We already have the LEMOA agreement with the US, which allows mutual use of military bases – so in a worst case scenario, deployment of US military assets is always possible. The fact that the Pentagon is floating the information about Chinese plans for bases in Pakistan may be aimed at creating a favourable climate for US military bases in India.

If India prides itself on its independence, it would do well to exercise its strategic autonomy and avoid going the Pakistani path, both in dealing with foreign powers and in handling internal polity.

If political Islam has failed Pakistan, political Hinduism will be no better for India. To undermine Pakistan and the two-nation theory it was founded on, India has to revert back aggressively to the inclusive nationalism of Subhas Chandra Bose, not go the saffron way of divisiveness that will weaken the country. And as Zaidi said at the Calcutta lecture, Pakistan’s long pandering to US interests, then allowing the Saudis to interfere in domestic issues, and finally prostrating before China makes it the least acceptable model for any country, especially India.

India needs a certain level of confidence to handle China, a certain self-belief. The Indian system, built on democracy and mixed economy, gives it a level of flexibility not available to the Chinese, who are losing sleep to harmonise the most ‘antagonistic of contradictions’ in trying to create a super-capitalist economy within the structure of a one-party state. The OBOR, though projected as a grandiose geo-economic plan, may just be an attempt to externalise China’s internal economic problems crisis. It can fail like Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” or “Cultural Revolution”. Countries of Africa and Latin America and some in Asia are already bitter with the Chinese embrace – many more will follow when they suffer loss of sovereignty to pay for unpaid loans.

Nepali editor Kanak Dixit roundly summed up the appeal of India at the end of Zaidi’s Calcutta lecture when he attacked India for ‘unleashing blockades’ but hastened to add:

My articles against the blockades are published in the Indian media, will I get that chance in China?

India remains a credible model for the developing world so long as it does not compromise on its democracy and strategic autonomy – not by becoming a US lackey if Pakistan becomes a Chinese surrogate.

Also Read: India’s Assertive New Pak Policy Reflects Changing Regional Trends

(The writer is a veteran BBC journalist and an authorThis is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same

Corridor of economic uncertainty

Written by Christophe Jaffrelot |Updated: June 13, 2017 4:57 Am

China presents the BRI, also known as the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), as a connectivity project — hence, the reference to the old Silk Road and a new maritime silk road. Illustration by C R Sasikumar

Last week, the Pentagon’s annual report to the Congress forecast that China will build a military base in Pakistan in order to have in the subcontinent facilities akin to what Beijing is developing in Djibouti. These plans are well in tune with the proposals presented last month during the Belt and Road Forum (BARF) in Beijing in the presence of 29 heads of state. India skipped it because a section of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), infringes New Delhi’s sovereignty as it passes through Kashmir. But the CPEC probably affects Pakistan’s sovereignty even more, since this project is more than a corridor; it is an expansionist plan, as the military base singled out by the Pentagon also suggests.

China presents the BRI, also known as the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), as a connectivity project — hence, the reference to the old Silk Road and a new maritime silk road. But it is more than that, at least in the case of the CPEC. The CPEC does certainly imply the building of roads, railways and pipelines along corridors. The most well-known of these roads — that uses the Karakoram Highway — is already in operation between Kashgar and Gwadar. Six months ago, trucks began plying over the 3,200 km-long distance between the two cities for the first time.

But building roads, ports and railway linkages accounts for only $11 billion of the CPEC project; a small part of the $46 billion announced in 2016 when the first MoUs between China and Pakistan were signed (the total amount involved in the project seems closer to $57 billion today). In fact, energy, with $34 billion, gets the lion’s share of the CPEC — hence, the nickname, China Pakistan Electric Cooperation. Out of the $11 billion mentioned, besides the $1 billion grant dedicated to Gwadar port (and airport), $10 billion will come, not from FDIs, but through loans. The same ratio, it seems, will apply to the energy sector where dozens of thermal power plants (using coal mostly) will be built.

China may offer concessional rates to Pakistan, but Islamabad could still find the final debt unsustainable. Recently, Sri Lanka has alienated its financial independence along somewhat similar lines. Pakistani economists have come to the conclusion that over the next 30 years, the cost of the CPEC for Pakistan may amount to about $90 billion. It may still be the best way for Pakistan to develop infrastructure, given the small amount of money left for this in the country’s budget, after the deduction of the already enormous debt servicing and the funds allocated to the army.

But other implications of the CPEC need to be factored in. First, 29 exclusive economic zones situated in the corridors have apparently been reserved for Chinese companies. In March, for instance, the building of the Gwadar 300-megawatt coal power plant was awarded to a Chinese company without any bidding procedure. The master plan that was leaked to the Dawn goes even further. This long-term plan (LTP) was prepared in 2015 by the China Development Bank. It was revised in 2016 under the framework of the Joint Economic Cooperation Meetings, but the final version is not publicly available yet. Even if the old version is not fully accurate, it is at least revealing of the initial plans of the Chinese.

The LTP suggests that agriculture will be a major component of the CPEC. Thousands of acres of land were indeed supposed to be leased out to Chinese enterprises of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region for modernising Pakistani agriculture — and benefit from it too. Another sector in which companies of Xinjiang — the landlocked province Beijing wants to develop thanks to the CPEC — intend to invest in Pakistan is textile, in order to get raw material (including cotton). The LTP even refers to culture. It envisages the expansion, in Pakistan, of the bandwidth between both countries in order to use digital television terrestrial multimedia broadcasting as a cultural transmission carrier.

Opposition politicians have reacted to what one of them called the making of another East India Company. But this offensive has hardly made any difference. The PML(N) government is presenting the CPEC as one of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s main achievements, evident from the way the MoUs signed by Sharif and Xi Jinping in Beijing on the side of the Belt and Road Forum were publicised.

More importantly, the army, which is in the driver’s seat, is killing not two but three birds with this project. First, the CPEC makes it legitimate for the army to grow more. A new division, the Special Security Division, has been created. Fifteen thousand men have been recruited and deployed to provide security to 34 projects, something the Chinese were asking for after the targeting of some of their engineers and workers (already, 10,000 Chinese work in Pakistan), in Balochistan in particular. Second, the CPEC allows the Pakistani army to relate even more directly to the Chinese government not just for security reasons, but also for economic matters. Third, the army can use the CPEC for developing what Ayesha Siddiqa has called the Milbus — the military business complex that gained momentum under General Pervez Musharraf and after. Civilians are resisting this development, but whether the government and business people supporting it can benefit from the CPEC as much as they expect remains to be seen. The army may also repress the Baloch nationalists even more forcefully in the name of economic security under the CPEC’s umbrella.

While the Chinese protectorate over Pakistan that is in the offing will probably affect the economic independence of the country and strengthen the army’s role in the public sphere, it may be a blessing in disguise as far as the Islamist threat is concerned. The jihadist connection of the Uighur Islamists is today one of Beijing’s obsessions. China may, therefore, use its growing influence over the Pakistani army for eliminating groups with which it had been complacent till now. This approach may even result in additional interventions by Beijing in Afghanistan, a country in which China is also interested because of its mineral resources. After all, the BRI has been presented as being motivated by the quest for regional prosperity — the full name of the recent forum was Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

But this regional ambition will remain a dead letter if India is not on board. Xi has tried to defuse the apprehensions of China’s neighbours, including India, by referring to the Panchsheel of the 1950s in his address to the BARF. But this overture would be more meaningful if Beijing recognised New Delhi’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, stopped its incursions in the Himalayas, supported India’s candidacy to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and endorsed, in the UN, the India-supported resolution designating Masood Azhar as a terrorist.

The writer is senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian politics and sociology at King’s India Institute, London

Balochistan: All Schools ate turned into Millitary camps

Daughter of A Provincial Minister Promoted From Grade 17 To 19 Overnights

QUETTA: In an example of nepotism at University of Balochistan (UOB), daughter of a provincial minister was promoted from grade 17 to grade 19 overnights.

Bakht Zareen daughter of Abdul Rahim Zairatwal who is provincial minister for Information, Parliamentary affairs and Information technology received the promotion in UOB. Mr. Zairatwal is also parliamentary leader for Pashtunkhaw Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) in Balochistan assembly.

According to UOB sources, Miss Zareen was serving as a Museum curator in botany department of UOB with 17 grade pay scale on Ad Hoc basis. Last week, she was regularized and promoted to grade 18 in violation of the rules of UOB.

This week, she was promoted to grade 19 and appointed as a regular Assistant Professor in Botany Department.

This news was confirmed by an official of UOB who talked to The Balochistan Point on condition of anonymity. Administration of UOB was not available for a comment on this matter.

Student organizations have protested several times about nepotism and violation of merit in UOB.

“This is a prime example of how much this government cares about merit,” said a student of UOB.

China will never bow to terrorism

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/9 5:58:32

According to a Reuters report quoting the Islamic State's Amaq news agency, ISIS has killed the two Chinese citizens it kidnapped in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province on May 24. Chinese Foreign Ministry responded early Friday morning, "We have taken note of relevant reports and we express our grave concern... The Chinese side is working to learn about and verify relevant information through various channels."
The two Chinese citizens, Li Xinheng and Meng Lisi, were Chinese-language teachers at a local private school. Some news sources have reported that they were in a relationship together while other sources have said they were just colleagues.

The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan issued an emergency alert when the two were first reported missing. The Pakistan government has also pleaded that it will do all it can to save the two Chinese teachers.

Baluchistan province is an unstable region in Pakistan. The country has had to establish strict security measures to ensure the safety of Chinese engineers employed there. In recent years, there have been incidents where Chinese citizens were kidnapped and later rescued, but there have also been instances where kidnapped Chinese were later killed. The private education institution where the two Chinese teachers worked is considered to be an area with less stringent security measures.

With more Chinese now traveling abroad than ever before, with even some venturing to unstable countries and regions, ensuring safety has become a massive challenge for China's national security efforts. In fact, it has now become an even more challenging task as Chinese citizens can be found throughout various parts of the world.

China and its citizens have normally not been the targets of international terrorist forces because the country is not deeply involved in the conflicts within the Middle East, nor is it in the habit of interfering with the internal affairs of other countries.   

However, as China's influence has risen upon the world stage, some terrorist groups have begun targeting Chinese nationals in order to gain higher ransom rewards or achieve a greater level of sensational notoriety, and both have been contributing factors in the increase of kidnapping incidents among the Chinese.

As an important country along the “Belt and Road", Pakistan has become an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers. Given Pakistan's complex security situation right now, authorities from both countries need to establish a more comprehensive security and safety program that encompasses all Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

The Chinese have shown their bravery and courage by traveling abroad to unstable regions. Although their reasons for venturing to such locations vary, many of them are pioneers who represent the national interests of China. 

These intrepid pioneers are scattered throughout any number of foreign work environments, education facilities and living areas. It is now of utmost urgency for the Chinese citizens living in unstable locales to enhance their abilities to protect themselves and avoid danger at all costs, in addition to utilizing the security measures imposed by authorities.
If indeed the latest news from Reuters is confirmed, the nation will be deeply saddened by the loss of two young Chinese lives. The violent acts carried out by terrorist groups should be strongly condemned, and indeed they will be. Their continued acts of murder and execution will never lead to anything good. Most of all, the Chinese government and its society will not bow to terrorism under any circumstances

Concerns that CPEC will result in colonialism in Pakistan by China are not new and still wrong

Concerns that CPEC will result in colonialism in Pakistan by China are not new and still wrong

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/12 22:28:39


People often use warnings from history, but those warnings can sometimes be misplaced. The allegation that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - a flagship project under the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative - would be a new form of colonialism seems to be an obvious example of the deceptive use of history.

Pakistani political economist S. Akbar Zaidi said in a lecture on Friday that Pakistan will become a colony of China once the CPEC is ready, alleging that "it will enslave Pakistan and undermine its sovereignty," according to a report by The Economic Times on Monday.

Zaidi further claimed that during the CPEC process, China's "blueprint will ensure complete control over Pakistan." 🔴 Zaidi is not the first and probably won't be the last person to raise such concerns, even though there are no facts to support his theory.

Of course, only time will tell whether or not there will be a repeat of colonialism under the B&R. But irresponsible use of history is misleading for the public's understanding of the CPEC. So far, at least based on what China has done in Pakistan, it is hard to link the CPEC project with China trying to exploit Pakistan economically. It's also hard to understand how some infrastructure projects could threaten a country's sovereignty.

As we all know, the CPEC is a collection of projects mainly focusing on the connectivity of infrastructure such as transportation networks, energy projects and special economic zones. It should be made clear that the construction of infrastructure is aimed at actually facilitating Pakistan's modernization and industrialization instead of exploiting or dumping surplus Chinese goods in the local market. For instance, energy projects backed by Chinese operators will not only provide employment opportunities for local people, but will also help Pakistan modernize its energy sector and meet its growing energy needs.

Zaidi also said that Pakistan should be alert to the debt risks brought by Chinese investment, which🔴 "turned sour in Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and several parts of Africa." 

The accusation is essentially a conspiracy theory which, without any foundation, presents China as an evil investor and treats the countries relying on Chinese investment to prop up the local economy as brainless recipients. Connectivity is critical for the success of the B&R, which means that if Pakistan wants to achieve industrialization with China's help, it also needs to make adjustments on its own toward the goal.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Petroleum Ministry proposes Rs 190 million two projects for Balochistan




June 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has proposed two new projects of worth Rs 190 million for coal exploration and evaluation in different localities of Balochistan besides carrying out a survey for underground water in Quetta.

“Out of total Rs 190.033 million estimated cost, an amount of Rs 88.023 million has been proposed for next fiscal year to carry out two new unapproved schemes for coal exploration and evaluation in Nosham and Bahlol Areas of Balochistan, and the underground water survey,” official sources said.

Answering a question, they said the ministry would spend Rs 554.291 million under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2017-18) to execute four ongoing and two new projects to step up exploration activities of natural resources for achieving self-reliance in the energy sector.

An amount of Rs 415.807 have been earmarked to acquire four drilling rigs and their accessories for the Geological Survey of Pakistan.

While Rs 37.977 million would be spent on appraisal of newly discovered coal resources in Badin and its adjoining areas of Southern Sindh.

The funds amounting to Rs 8.992 million would be utilized in exploration and evaluation of metallic and minerals in Bela and Uthal areas of district Lasbella, Balochistan.

Similarly, Rs 3.492 million have been reserved for exploration of Tertiary Coal in the Central Salt Range of Punjab

Grave concern' over Chinese teachers reportedly killed by ISIS in Pakistan


Two teachers were kidnapped on May 24


Posted: Jun 09, 2017 12:57 PM CDT

Updated: Jun 09, 2017 11:54 PM CDT

(CNN) - China has expressed "grave concern" over reports that ISIS has killed two Chinese teachers kidnapped in Pakistan.

The man and woman, said by Chinese media to be a couple, were kidnapped by armed men on May 24 from the city of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, on May 24 on their way to teach a Chinese language class, a senior security officer told CNN last month.

Amaq, a news agency affiliated with ISIS, said Thursday that Islamic State fighters had killed two Chinese teachers who were being held in the Mastung, Balochistan. The group also released a video, which showed two bodies shot and bleeding on some grassy ground.

"China resolutely opposes all forms of kidnapping of civilians and opposes all forms of terrorism and extreme acts of violence," said Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Friday.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was "working to confirm authenticity of the reports of killing of two Chinese nationals, kidnapped in Quetta."

The deaths underscore the risks of China's growing international reach and influence. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said that guarding Chinese nationals overseas had become a new and serious challenge for national security.

"As China's international influence is growing, terrorist organizations target Chinese for ransom or just to create a sensation. Cases of Chinese being kidnapped have increased," the paper said in an editorial.

Chinese nationals have settled in Pakistan in greater numbers since the announcement of a $46 billion investment plan known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2015 -- part of China's One Belt One Road initiative.

"Given Pakistan's complex security situation, both sides need to study and formulate a more comprehensive security plan to fully cover Chinese in Pakistan," the Global Times added.

Rescue attempt

Hua said authorities had been trying to rescue the hostages.

Pakistan's military said Thursday that its security forces conducted an operation from June 1 to 3 in Mastung, where it said it killed 12 terrorists with links to ISIS that had been hiding in caves but didn't mention the abducted Chinese teachers.

Balochistan is home to the Gwador Port Complex, a flagship project of the economic corridor, but has been plagued by violence by different militant groups including the Pakistani Taliban and a separatist movement.

Pakistan views CPEC, a combination of infrastructure projects ranging from road networks, a fiber optic cable project, railway lines, a deep-sea port, coal mines and solar farms, as a huge opportunity to develop its economy.

Pakistan is home to roughly 20,000 Chinese, according to Mustafa Hyder, chief executive of the Pakistan-China Institute

China to review stance on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood?


Published : Jun 12, 2017, 12:37 am IST

Updated : Jun 12, 2017, 12:38 am IST

India hopes Chinese snub to Pak at Astana may change situation.

 Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: India is now hoping that the Chinese snub to Paki-stan at Astana, Kazakhstan, will lead to a re-think by Beijing on blocking UN sanctions on Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar. This comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly snubbed Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif by not having a bilateral meeting with him after two Chinese nationals, including a woman, were abducted and killed by extremists in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.

New Delhi is now of the view that Beijing could now do a rethink on its dogged opposition to proposed UN sanctions agai-nst the chief of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Masood Azhar in view of the outcry in China after its two nationals were mercilessly killed, sources said, adding that Pakistan has failed to act against all terrorists in its country while selectively aiding some.

It was China which had single-handedly ensured the entry of its “iron brother” Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

With New Delhi attaching enormous significance to China’s snub to Pakistan, the reading in government circles now is that the killing of the two Chinese nationals is “ominous”, coinciding as it did with Islamabad’s SCO entry at the just-concluded SCO meet in Astana.

After consistently blocking Indian moves for UN sanctions against Masood Azhar, Beijing, in February this year, had even blocked a move by the new Trump administration in the US for UN sanctions on Azhar. But the killing of Chinese nationals has now come as a rude shock to Beijing.

China is undertaking massive investment on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a land route going right down to Gwadar port in Balochistan. This Chinese exercise has meant that Chinese nationals are now living and working in Balochistan, which is witnessing insurgency and extremism


 JUN 12 2017  

Stephane Yas—AFP


The Islamic State militant group has claimed the killing of two Chinese nationals, a boy and a girl, after kidnapping them from Quetta on May 24. Announced through Amaq, the militants’ official news agency, the murders raise significant questions about the security situation in restive Balochistan and its neighboring regions.

According to Afghan commentators, I.S. in South Asia is primarily based in two districts of Afghanistan as compared to the Taliban, who now control nearly half of the country. The militants have been making inroads into Balochistan province, which has been a ‘no-go’ area for non-Baloch for decades, and has lately become a playground for global and regional forces opposed to Pakistan. I.S.’s recruitment in Pakistan has tended to focus on forming alliances with established militant groups, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. Using these links, I.S. has claimed several brutal attacks across Pakistan, even as Islamabad downplays or remains uncertain about its penetration into the country. The militants primarily target the Shia minority and so-called secularists, and reportedly use money and ideology to attract Pakistani recruits.

The killing of the two Chinese nationals appears linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project and should provoke alarm as its $54 billion program includes an unprecedented infrastructure spread in Balochistan. Why were the two teachers allowed to refuse guards while going out for a cup of a tea in Quetta? Given that the Balochistan capital has been a killing field for a variety of terror groups for years, it is even harder to justify how such a security lapse was allowed to occur. Not helping matters is the likely funding of extremist forces by Pakistan’s enemies who are out to defeat Islamabad’s strategic partnership with Beijing. An Indian spy in Pakistan’s custody has allegedly confessed to India hiring terrorists to destabilize Pakistan.

Unfortunately, economically neglected Balochistan has also been subject to a local Baloch insurgency since 1947. Pakistan has been unable to disarm the rebellion through economic development. Perennial political instability coupled with politicians devoted to toppling elected governments has not helped. Nor has a weak writ of the state, which allows offended neighboring states to intervene. Chinese projects in Balochistan have always been under attack; the recent killing of 10 laborers in Gwadar was a signal that Pakistan shouldn’t have ignored

Two Chinese nationals abducted from Balochistan were 'preachers', says interior ministry

By News Desk / Reuters

Published: June 12, 2017

Interior minister directs to investigate the matter and ensure that no misuse of business visas occur in future

ISLAMABADTwo Chinese nationals abducted from Balochistan last month were preachers who abused the visa system, the interior ministry said on Monday.

The ministry identified the two as Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26. It said the two had entered Pakistan on business visas. But instead of doing business, they had gone to Quetta, where they pretended to learn the Urdu language from a Korean business owner but “were actually engaged in “preaching”.

The ministry did not say what kind of preachers they were.

The two were abducted by armed men pretending to be police personnel on May 24 in Quetta.

Last week, Islamic State’s Amaq news agency said its members had killed but officials have not confirmed if the two are dead. No bodies have been found but China said information provided by Pakistan suggested the two were probably dead.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar directed the ministry to review, regulate and streamline the process of issuance of visas to Chinese nationals following the killing.

He was chairing a meeting to review issuance of visas to the Chinese and the progress on the registration of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) under the new policy.

Pakistan beefs up security for Chinese officials

According to the minister, there is a need to review the process of issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals coming to Pakistan for various projects and simultaneously to maintain a data-bank of them present in various parts of the country.

On the security of Chinese nationals present inside the country, Nisar observed that ensuring the security of foreign nationals was a shared responsibility.

Where the government makes every effort to provide security to foreigners, he said, they are equally bound to abide by the terms and conditions of their visas. Foreigners should also inform local authorities about their movement and activities keeping in view the security requirements, if any, he added.

The minister lamented that a misuse of the terms of business visa contributed to the unfortunate incident of abduction and subsequent murder of two innocent Chinese nationals. He directed the secretary interior to investigate the matter and ensure that such misuse does not occur in future.

China has pledged to invest $57 billion in Pakistan in projects linked to its “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan aimed at linking China with the Middle East and Europe.

Streamlining visa process

The minister observed there is a need to regulate the process of granting of visa extensions to ensure the facility is not misused.

Police investigating Islamic State claim of Chinese citizens’ ‘killing’

Taking serious note of the laxity often shown by Pakistani missions abroad relating to business visas to foreigners, the minister said they are bound to undertake proper scrutiny of application forms and get all necessary details.

He directed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be taken on board and their input be included while formulating new visa policy guidelines for issuance of visas to the foreigners on categories.

Registration of INGOs

The meeting also reviewed the progress in the registration of INGOs under the new policy framework devised by the ministry. It was informed that so far, 66 INGOs have been formally registered with the ministry.

Nisar directed the ministry to expedite process of obtaining required information from the INGOs who were yet to furnish complete information so a decision could be taken about their registration.

He directed that the process of granting formal registration to INGOs should be completed by the end of July

China says Xi-Sharif met several times at SCO, but mum over bilateral meeting

By PTI | Updated: Jun 12, 2017, 04.31 PM IST

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that "China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather strategic partnership".

BEIJING: China today rejected as "nonsense" reports about President Xi Jinping not meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Astana following the murder of two Chinese in Balochistan and said the two leaders met several times during the summit. 

"I can tell you that during the seventeenth SCO heads of state meeting, President Xi met with Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif several times," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said but did not say whether they had a bilateral meeting. 

"Some reports are just nonsense and unwanted. China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather strategic partnership," he said. 

State-run Pakistan news agency reported on June 10 that Sharif returned from Astana last week after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on the sidelines of which he met Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Russia. 

Conspicuously absent was a meeting with Xi. 

Chinese-state run media too highlighted Xi's meetings with Kazakhstan counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry website has photographs of Xi's bilateral meetings with other SCO leaders, including Modi but not with Sharif. 

"The summit has realised the first ever membership enlargement of the SCO. As you know India and Pakistan have got full membership," Lu said, adding that all the member countries "have agreed to build on the shanghai spirit to step up the cooperation between the old and new members". 

He also said the summit spoke highly of the Belt Road Forum (BRF) held at Beijing in May this year which was boycotted by India over sovereignty concerns relating to USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

Lu said the SCO has become an important platform and reliable support for the members to enhance mutual trust, deepen good neighbourly ties and friendship and expand political cooperation and uphold regional security and stability for the members. 

"This summit has helped to strengthen the cohesion of SCO members, charted the course for future development and also made new proposals for SCO cooperation," he said

US should support Baloch cause

For Baloch, success of CPEC is sucide, and a Geostrategic victory for China. China will gain foothold in strategic Gwadar port in Indian Ocean which will have immense value than the energy projects in Pakistan. Regional security challenges will compound further. Only sensible solution is to detach Balochstan within a period of 5 to 10 years. However,  to attain this insurmountable objective all Baloch groups should unite for a collective cause and make a strong case before world. US should play a key role in this regard by Supporting Baloch in UN HRC and  call Baloch leaders for Congressional hearing. 

There are many challenges for Baloch leadership to galvanize international support.

Weak and inarticulate leadership that do not talk beyond Human rights violations. They should start articulating and briefing world leaders and think tanks about Geostrategic implications of China in Gwadhar and in particular Indian ocean. The raise of Chinese Maritime Power and implications to regional powers need to be focused.

Tribal heads(Sardars) dominate the resistance groups and also pakistan Political landscape.

✔These Sardars are unpredictable and double faced hypocrites.

✔ Middle Class educated leaders are pushed aside and often discouraged to form their own Organizations. As of now only one group (BNM) is headed by middle class educated men with resistance group (BLF) by Dr.Allah Nazar.

✔With the discovery of new gas and coal reserves in Marri area , Pakistan and China are planning to start drilling soon.

✔ Unless Baloch groups are extended Support from US there is no hope. US should take proactive role from now on. One of the crown Jewel of Belt and Road initiative is Gwadhar port, only Baloch can undo this.

✔ US should start interacting with all groups to understand gravity of situation.

It's time for Baloch groups to campaign in US and lobby in Washington DC by hiring a top Lobbying firm. Baloch groups should actively seek help from Diaspora in gulf.

VBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch abducted from Quetta

(Sangar News)Voice For Baloch Missing Persons Chairman Nasrullah Baloch has been kidnapped from Quetta today.

According to the reports he was abducted by unknown armed men from a tailoring shop in Quetta.

Nasrullah Baloch and his organization have been actively raising voice for the recovery of Baloch missing persons and for this his organization also long marched from Quetta to Islamabad on foot.

Voice For Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) has been on hunger strike for 2698 days in order to raise the voice for Baloch missing persons .

Nasrullah Baloch has been on a peaceful struggle for years to recover all the Baloch missing persons.

His organization worked in accordance with international laws for justice.

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