Skip to main content


Showing posts from August 28, 2018

As cash-rich China pushes 'Belt and Road Initiative', Sushma Swaraj highlights India's 'Sagarmala' project

PTI | Updated: Aug 28, 2018, 06:39 PM IST India is now devoting more resources and assigning greater priority to building connectivity in its immediate neighbourhood, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said, amidst cash-rich China pushing its 'Belt and Road Initiative' in the region. Addressing the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference here in the Vietnamese capital, Swaraj said that in an inter-dependent world characterised by enhanced economic and trade linkages, the importance of sustainable use of the ocean resources cannot be overstated. She said India considers the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) as an important instrument for achieving peace and security in the region. Elaborating India's approach, she said it focuses on developing hinterland linkages and regional connectivity. "Under our Government's 'Sagarmala' project, initiatives we have taken include building new ports and modernising old ones, developing inland waterways and hinterlan

Is the Belt and Road Initiative Too Big to Fail? Pt. 1

Posted by  Guest Author What could and should the United States do if the Belt and Road Initiative collapses?  By Tuan Pham and Grant Newsham More and more China Watchers, to include these two observers in Japan, are having increasing doubts about the  Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing’s trillion-dollar wide-ranging infrastructure enterprise that spans across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas to elevate Chinese global economic and political standing. The grandiose national plan seeks to make a lot of money, acquire more resources, gain additional power, and expand influence to advance Beijing’s strategic ambitions of national rejuvenation (the  Chinese Dream ) and ultimately global preeminence – or even better, dominance. So what if these pundits are correct and the possibly over-leveraged BRI continues to underperform and not deliver the promised returns , receive increasing  political backlash (buyer’s remorse over crushing  debt burdens ), and eventually coll

How India can use 'Sagarmala' to counter China's Belt and Road initiative

The country's advantage is its strategic position which gives it the influence and leverage to make a difference. MAKARAND R PARANJAPE   @makrandparanspe Hanoi, the capital of Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a country of some 95 million people, is the host of the  3rd Indian Ocean Conference . I have just returned to the conference after a visit to the most important monument in the country, at the Ba Dinh Square, dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh. It was at this site that Minh, that President of the Communist Party of Vietnam (1951-69), read out the declaration of independence on September 2, 1945. The mausoleum, inspired by Lenin’s in Moscow, took nearly two years, from August 1973 to September 1975, to build. The mausoleum, is inspired by the one built in Lenin's memory in Moscow. (Photo: Reuters) Within Vietnam This massive and impressive grey granite building overlooks a big square, with extensive gardens. Hundreds of visitors line up, walking nearly half a kilomet

Ahead of India-US 2+2 dialogue, China says India natural partner in BRI

By  Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury , ET Bureau | Aug 29, 2018, India has stayed out of BRI and opposed its flagship project CPEC as it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and therefore violates sovereignty. China has sought to woo India just days ahead of the maiden Indo-US 2+2 dialogue, which will aim to strengthen bilateral partnership in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, by describing the country as a natural partner in its Belt and Road Initiative ( BRI ). Besides, China has attempted to allay India’s apprehensions on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by saying that India should not be paranoid about this project since it won’t affect China’s neutral stance on Kashmir issue. “Historically, India was an important country on the ancient Silk Road and it is fair to say that India was a natural partner in the ancient (Silk Road) and (is one) in the Belt and Road Initiative,” China’s assistant foreign minister Zhang Jun said in Beijing on Monday night. “China has repeatedly

CPEC offers win-win situation for ‘iron brothers’

By Zamir Ahmed Awan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/28 19:43:39 Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being widely discussed and covered in the media, but the relations between Pakistan and China go much further than the CPEC. We are strategic partners and our relationship has a long history. Chinese traders used to pass through Pakistan several thousand years ago.  Previous generations of leaders in both countries laid strong foundations of friendship. It is our moral duty to carry on this precious friendship and transfer it to our next generation. Our relationship is above just materialistic interests. Actually, we are "iron brothers." The economies of Pakistan and China complement each other and the two countries support each other in domestic and international issues. At the UN and other international platforms, we show solidarity.  Right after the  Belt and Road  (B&R) initiative was proposed in 2013, Pakistan immediate


POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS: Natural gas in Iran — U.S. sanctions open the pipes to China  China gets another shot at Mideast energy after Total leaves Iran  / Bloomberg (porous paywall) “Total SA’s withdrawal from Iran’s giant South Pars gas field has given China another chance to secure a stake in the world’s most coveted energy assets: abundant and low-cost Middle Eastern oil and gas… The resumption of sanctions by the U.S. on Iran has presented new opportunities, starting with the option to take control of South Pars after Total failed to secure an exemption from the U.S. penalties” New Zealand The China Council surveys New Zealanders  / Croaking Cassandra A caustic analysis of the results of a survey on “perceptions of China” among New Zealanders. Xinjiang re-education camps China is treating Islam like a mental illness  / The Atlantic This is not the first time China has used medical analogies to suppress a religious minority. “Historically, it’s comparable to the strateg

The China Council surveys New Zealanders

August 28, 2018   Michael Reddell China Late last week the New Zealand China Council released its first  Perceptions of China   survey.  The  China Council , you will recall, was established by the previous government, largely paid for with taxpayer money, with boards and advisory committees stuffed full of retired and current politicians, heads of government agencies, even an active journalist, and business people with interests in China to try to keep public opinion on side, and not worry their heads about the way successive governments cosy up to a heinous regime in pursuit of another dollar, another deal.  They have a hired gun –  a former MFAT diplomat – as Executive Director, who is never shy of articulating a pro- (People’s Republic of) China story, or of downplaying or attempting to trivialise any concerns about the nature of the regime, or its activities in countries like New Zealand.  I  attempted to unpick  one of his speeches a few months ago.   The PRC embassy in Welling

China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness

The country is putting Muslims in internment camps—and causing real psychological damage in the process. SIGAL SAMUEL AUG 28, 2018 A woman stands behind a pillar during the Eid al-Adha festival at a Chinese mosque.JASON LEE / REUTERS One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to  estimates  cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have  told reporters  that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day. There are media reports of inmates being forced to  eat pork and drink alcohol , which are forbidden to Muslims, as well as  reports of   torture and death . The sheer scale of the internment camp system, which according to  The Wall Street Journal  has doubled  in China’s northwestern Xinj

China Gets Another Shot at Mideast Energy After Total Leaves Iran

By  Mohammed Sergie August 28, 2018, 2:30 AM GMT+5:30 Middle East accounts for more than 40% of China’s oil imports China National Petroleum is partner in Iran South Pars project Total SA’s withdrawal from Iran’s giant South Pars gas field has given China another chance to secure a stake in the world’s most coveted energy assets: abundant and low-cost Middle Eastern oil and gas. Chinese companies have invested in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Iran in recent years, and have expressed interest in oil and gas projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The resumption of sanctions by the U.S. on Iran has presented new opportunities, starting with the option to take control of South Pars after Total failed to secure an exemption from the U.S. penalties. Chinese companies are also interested in a $1.5 billion  refinery  upgrade in Iran. Read: U.S.-Iran Sanctions Give China Lead in World’s Top Gas Field The tilt east has been in the making for more than a decade as China’s economic expa

China’s growing military footprint

A few stories in the news today about the multifront expansion of the People’s Liberation Army: China has started building a training camp  for Afghan troops in the remote  Wakhan Corridor , which connects the two countries. The South China Morning Post  says Beijing is “fully funding” the camp to boost Afghan counterterrorism efforts. Type 001A, the first aircraft carrier  to be built wholly in China, has begun sea trials,  according to the South China Morning Post . “Papua New Guinea  port plan stokes fears of China military build-up” is the headline of a  story in the Australian (paywall). China is “potentially in line” to fund the port, but there does not seem to be any actual evidence of any Chinese intent. —Jeremy Goldkorn

JSMM is organizing a protest demonstration on August 31st, 2018 at Lafayette Square, Washington DC

Dear Friends, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (abbr. as JSMM) is organizing a protest demonstration on August 31st, 2018 at Lafayette Square, Washington DC ( ). The agendas of this demonstrations are as below 1. The national independence of oppressed historic secular nations of Sindh, Balochistan, and Pahstunistsn from the fascist imperialist chains of theocratic pan-Islamist state of Pakistan (Punjab). 2. Stop Pakistan from enforced disappearing, persecuting secular Sindhi, Pashtun, Baloch political activists, progressive writers, human rights defenders, and intellectuals.   All the international friends and supporters of Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nations, humanitarian political activists, human rights defenders, writers, intellectuals, journalists and conscious citizens of the USA are appealed and invited to attend the demonstration.  Awaiting your kind participation in this noble cause. Date: August 31st, 2018 Venue: Lafayette Square, Washington D

Current Balochistan: Conflict updates from the ground

28/8/2018 KECH:- Pakistani military forces startee a military conducted an operation in Kolowah Sagak & Balor, with large numbers of Army personnels, violent military personnel are torturing women & children looting houses. For more updates be await. 28/8/2018 MASHKEY:- Today pakistani army started a military operation near Tank river with more than 15 vehicles. Comrades and residents must be alert. For more updates be await. 28/8/2018 AWARAN:- According to social media updates Baloch freedom fighters successfully attacked on military checkpost in Kolwa Parag an area of district Awaran. 28/8/2018 MASHKEY:- During military operation in Mashkey, Tank  Pakistani army abducted Shabeer S/o Sheer Mohammd R/O Tobba Mashkey. 28/8/2018 KHUZDAR:- Baloch freedom fighters attacked on pakistani military forces convey Near khuzdar Zero'point, According to updates heavy losses occurred to pakistan forces, after the attack pakistani military forces conducted search operation

The lesson of the Pakistan suicide attack: China will have to pay a high price for its infrastructure plan

China’s greatest security problem in strife-torn Pakistan is that it is increasingly becoming the focus of separatists’ attention, Raffaello Pantucci writes Raffaello Pantucci UPDATED : Sunday, 26 Aug 2018, 9:54PM  19 The attempted suicide bombing against a bus carrying Chinese engineers in Dalbandin, Balochistan highlights the complexity of the security problems China faces in Pakistan. The attack was a rare suicide bombing for the Balochistan Liberation Army and was specifically targeting China. It showed how Beijing is finding itself dragged into a clash whose answer lies in the resolution of fundamental issues within Pakistan. In February this year,  The Financial Times  ran a story which claimed that Chinese officials had been negotiating for years with Baluchi separatists. At around the same time, the Chinese ambassador to Islamabad gave an interview to BBC Urdu in which he proclaimed that Baluchi separatists “were not real Pakistanis” and did not pose a threat to the Chin

Pride and politics will push Turkey to recession Oxford Analytica Thursday, August 16, 2018 A sudden deterioration in US-Turkish relations has plunged Turkey into a debt and liquidity crisis Source: Bank for International Settlements; Central Bank of Turkey; Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance; Thomson Reuters Datastream; Oxford Analytica Outlook President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking an increasingly defiant stand, imposing tariffs on imports of US cars, cigarettes and alcohol and recommending citizens replace their iPhones with non-US phones. The situation has deteriorated beyond being reversible by raising interest rates. Approaching the IMF looks out of the question. Capital controls are being mooted. They would stop savings escaping abroad, but they would not solve Turkey’s over-reliance on portfolio inflows, which financed nearly 20% of the 7.9% of GDP first-quarter current account deficit and over 50% of last year’s 5.5% deficit. Controls or no controls, descent into recession is likely; internal and ext


HEARD IN BEIJING “Building the Belt and Road…is in keeping with the Chinese people’s caring for distant peoples, and the  tianxia  concept.   - Xi Jinping , CCP General Secretary Some context:  Xi said that at a symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Monday. It recalls the ancient imperial tribute system and is the clearest sign yet that Xi sees himself as restoring China's centrality in Asian – and world – affairs. More in the Tip Sheet below. THE TIP SHEET DRIVING THE DAY 1. Xi addresses concerns about Belt and Road On Monday,  Xi Jinping spoke at a high-level symposium to review the first five years of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The big news was that Xi seemed to acknowledge some recent backlash against the initiative  (SCMP): “'The Belt and Road Initiative is an economic cooperation initiative, not a geopolitical or military alliance,' Xi said during the seminar.” “It is an open and inclusive process, and not about creating exclusive circles