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Showing posts from November 1, 2018

Book Launch: Invitation

Trouble at the Pakistan-Iran Border

In this July 19, 2011 file photo, a group of Iranian border guards march at the eastern border of Iran near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province. Image Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi The Baloch-dominated border area used to be a source of cooperation for Islamabad and Tehran. What went wrong? By  Muhammad Akbar Notezai October 30, 2018   It is increasingly apparent that all is not well between Pakistan and Iran, despite the fact that the two countries officially use every chance to deny that there is friction. In mid-October,  it was reported that around a dozen Iranian security personnel were kidnapped along the border with Pakistan’s Balochistan province. After that, Iran not only sought help from Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to recover the kidnapped guards, but also fired mortar shells into a bordering town in Chaghi district called Talaap. Thankfully, there were no causalities. It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time Iranian sec

Beyond Gwadar

Some analysts view the project as a Saudi version of ‘One Belt One Road’ because the project is likely to connect Gwadar with Saudi Arabia’s Jizan city Dr M Babar Chohan NOVEMBER 1, 2018 In the aftermath of the Saudi bailout package, according to media reports, connecting Gwadar with Oman through a bridge or under sea tunnel could be a future multi-billion dollar mega infrastructure project. Some analysts view the project as a Saudi version of ‘One Belt One Road’ because the project is likely to connect Gwadar with Saudi Arabia’s Jizan city, some 2463 kilometre from Muscat via road. It is because the Saudi government, as reflected in their official documents such as Vision 2030, is increasingly focusing on non-oil economic growth prospects as a long term strategy. For this purpose, they are also focusing on multi-route trade by acting as an economic hub among Europe, Africa and Asia. According to a research paper titled ‘Vision 2030 and Saudi Arabia’s Social Contract: Austerity and

Five labourers shot dead in Gwadar

October 31, 2018   Samaa Digital File Photo At least five labourers were shot dead at a construction site near Jiwani area of Balochistan on Wednesday. Three workers were critically injured. The attack occurred in the area between Gunz and Pishukan in Gwadar. According to a police official, gunmen riding on a motorcycle opened fire on them and fled the scene. The injured have been shifted to Gwadar. The deceased have been identified as Naeed Amed and Hunzullah from Karachi, Irshad Ali, Muhammad Shakir from Multan, Shams, and Raheem. No group has claimed the responsibility as yet. On May 4, unknown gunmen shot dead six labourers in a remote southwestern Pakistani town. The murders took place overnight in Lajjey, about 170 kilometres (105 miles) southwest of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.   Reporting by Sharif Ibrahim.

Spotlight on CPEC projects, IMF bailout as Imran Khan all set to embark on maiden China visit

By PTI | Nov 01, 2018, 08.35 PM IST The cricketer-turned-politician, during his first visit to China, is also expected to seek more Chinese loans to avoid approaching IMF for a bailout package. BEIJING:  Imran Khan  will arrive here Friday in what is termed as the most significant visit to  China  by a Pakistani Prime Minister in recent years as the all-weather allies grapple to iron out differences over the CPEC and Islamabad approaching 'friendly nations' to seek an  IMF bailout. ADVERTISEMENT During his four-day visit, Khan is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier  Li Keqiang  and expected to sign several agreements. Khan is also one of the heads of countries who would attend the inaugural meeting of China's biggest international import expo to be held in Shanghai from November 5. While it is a routine for a new  Pakistan  Prime Minister to visit China considering the iron brother relationship between two countries and militaries, K

Pakistan takes U-turn; says Saudi won't be part of CPEC

By PTI | Updated: Oct 03, 2018, 02.06 PM IST Last month, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Saudi Arabia is the third "strategic partner" of the CPEC. In a U-turn, Pakistan has announced that its close ally  Saudi Arabia  would not join the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, days after Islamabad said Riyadh will be the third "strategic partner" of  China 's flagship project, the Belt and Road Initiative. ADVERTISEMENT The  CPEC  is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of President  Xi Jinping  aimed at enhancing China's influence around the world through China-funded  infrastructure projects. Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar told media on Tuesday that the cash-rich kingdom's proposed investments would fall under a separate bilateral arrangement, Dawn news reported. " Saudi Arabia is not to become a collateral strategic partner in the CPEC.

It's a (Debt) Trap!

Managing China-IMF Cooperation Across the Belt and Road Oct. 29, 2018|By Dylan Gerstel Photo credit: ROMAN PILIPEY/AFP/Getty Images Five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his flagship foreign policy project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Currently, total Chinese BRI investment is estimated at over $1 trillion,  more than eight-times  the size of the Marshall Plan in today’s dollars. When it was launched, China heralded BRI as a “golden opportunity” to “revitalize” the region. Today, many countries are wary about China’s intentions. Unlike the Marshall Plan, which mainly dispersed aid in the form of grants that did not have to be repaid, China uses loans that often come at commercial interest rates. While the BRI provides vital infrastructure funding to developing countries, it also leaves many with unsustainable debt. For example, China is funding a high-speed rail line in Laos that will cost equivalent to  half the country’s GDP . The International Monetary F

TRIVIUM CHINA: The Tip Sheet, know china better

TRIVIUM CHINA HEARD IN BEIJING "Downward economic pressure has increased." - Politburo Readout Some context:  The Politburo met on Wednesday to discuss the economy's trajectory. Things are not looking good, and the Politburo wanted to signal support. But there was little new in terms of policy. More in the Tip Sheet below. The pressure to grow the Tip Sheet audience has increased. Help us out by passing it on to friends and colleagues who  can click here to subscribe . And as always  – keep the great comments, questions, tips, and complaints coming.   THE TIP SHEET DRIVING THE DAY 1. Politburo signals more support for the economy, sort of The Politburo convened yesterday for its quarterly economic review. The meeting was highly anticipated  – businesses and markets have been anxious to see how China’s leaders would respond to the further slowing of the economy. The readout acknowledged that things aren't going well: “Downward economic pressure has increas

Xi's AI dream

TRIVIUM CHINA The Politburo identified one big reason that the economy is struggling: “The external environment has experience profound changes.” What that means in plain English: We are in a trade war with the United States. And they are restricting us from buying technology or investing in high-tech companies abroad. This has China’s top leaders freaked.  They are now determined to develop core technologies domestically and reduce dependence on foreign technology. So it came as little surprise  that the Politburo held a study session on artificial intelligence yesterday. Xi sees AI as core to China’s future: “Artificial intelligence…will have profound and far-reaching effects on the international political economic structure.” “Accelerating development of next-generation artificial intelligence is an important strategic starting point for our winning the initiative in international technological competition.” Xi told his fellow Politburo members that they all need to do their pa