Iran's Chabahar vs Pakistan's Gwadar

Chabahar port in Iran is only about 100 miles from Gwadar port in Pakistan. Both are natural deep sea ports in the Arabian sea.

Gwadar Extends into Deep Sea with East & West Bays


Eastern Half of Gwadar Port 


Gwadar port's planned capacity when it is completed will be 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually.  It is comparable to the capacity of all of India's ports combined annual capacity of 500 million tons of cargo today.   It is far larger than the 10-12 million tons cargo handling capacity planned for Chabahar.

Completed Gwadar Berths & Cranes





To put Gwadar's scale in perspective, let's compare it with the largest US port of Long Beach which handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar will handle upon completion of the project. Gawadar port will be capable of handling the world's largest container ships and massive oil tankers.



Gawadar port is being built in Pakistan by the Chinese as part of the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will eventually serve as Hong Kong West for  growing Chinese trade with the Middle East and Europe.  CPEC will also enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan to trade with Central Asia through China across China's borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Gwadar Port Authority Building

Chabahar is ostensibly an Indian effort to build a port in Iran to bypass Pakistan for India's trade with landlocked Afghanistan and other Central Asian states.  Prime Minister Modi has committed $500 million investment in Chabahar, a tiny fraction of the Chinese commitment for Gwadar. A trilateral agreement was recently signed in Tehran by Indian Prime Minister Modi, Iranian President Rouhani and Afghan President Ghani.

Trade with Afghanistan through Afghan-Iran border in the West will probably remain a pipe dream given that 1) most of Afghan population lives in east and south close to the border with Pakistan and 2) Afghanistan has very poor infrastructure making it very difficult to move cargo across land from west to east and south of the country.

Big Chinese Ship Docked at Gwadar

Pakistan suspects that India's real objective in Iran is to locate its intelligence agents under the cover of Chabahar port construction workers to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and support Baloch insurgency to destabilize Pakistan. These suspicions were strengthened when Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, operating under the fake name Husain Mubarak Patel, was arrested in Balochistan in March this year. Yadav confessed he was operating as an undercover RAW agent from his base in Chabahar, Iran.

If Iran does nothing to stop Indian covert activities from its soil against Pakistan, Iran-Pakistan relations could suffer irreparable harm. Efforts to sabotage CPEC will not please China either, and the Chinese are far more important to Iran as trading partners than India. This should give pause to hardline anti-Pakistan sectarian elements in Tehran.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsYDpMY35U8





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Saleem Safi of GeoTV on Gwadar

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#US on the eve of #Modi's visit: #India's 12m slaves, rights abuses, gender violence. civil society under attack

http://scroll.in/article/808967/what-explains-india-getting-such-a-public-lashing-from-us-lawmakers-on-the-eve-of-modis-visit

Days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fourth visit to the United States, its senators painted a dismal picture of India as a land of 12 million “slaves”, human rights abuses, gender violence and a country where civil society is under constant attack.

They said India was deliberately targeting Christian organisations and their “researchers” by harassing them, denying them visas and revoking their licenses. Religious intolerance and sectarian tensions in the country are increasing.

In equally harsh terms they dismissed Modi government’s economic reforms as inadequate and not truly “free market”. They complained about red tape, high tariffs, lack of market access for American companies, and inadequate protection for intellectual property.

Even India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group came in for criticism as Senator Ed Markey claimed an exemption for India would further “infuriate” Pakistan into making more nuclear weapons. There were also probing questions on India getting too close to Iran since Modi was just in Tehran.

Timed for maximum impact

It was not the kind of build-up New Delhi had anticipated for Modi’s visit but American lawmakers seemed determined to deliver a hard blow. Senator after senator rained down on Modi’s record just as the prime minister was marking his two years in government.

The questions were directed at Nisha Biswal, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, who was testifying at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Indo-US relations. Biswal defended the relationship and tried to push back but it seemed the senators were determined to embarrass both the State Department and the Indian government.

Not for the last 15 years has India taken such a bashing on Capitol Hill, the home of the US Congress. It was reminiscent of the early 90s when the US Congress regularly attacked India for alleged human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, largely at the behest of Pakistan’s lobbying.

To say the negative tone and content of the hearing were a surprise would be an understatement given the largely positive narrative of Indo-US relations. Officially, the two countries have a mature, strategic and full relationship covering just about every aspect of human endeavour.

But clearly not all is well. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its powerful Republican chairman, Bob Corker, sent a very public message: India’s domestic climate stinks with all the reported incidents against women, Dalits, Christians and Muslims.

The hearing was timed for maximum impact – exactly two weeks before Modi’s arrival in the American capital and on Capitol Hill.

Bubbling anger

According to a Congressional source, anger has been bubbling over the past year as reports kept surfacing about incidents of communal tension, lynchings, hangings and sedition charges being filed against students in India.

“Is this 2016 and a democracy with which we share values? Ford Foundation is in trouble. Greenpeace has been kicked out,” the Congressional aide continued. “If the State Department wants to hide things, it doesn’t mean the Congress will too,” he said, adding that pressure had come from constituents and the human rights community to raise questions on India’s record.

New Delhi’s recent decision to deny visas to members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a quasi government body, to visit India also shaped senators’ thinking. It bolsters the feeling that the Indian government is uncooperative on a range of human rights issues, the aide said.

New Delhi doesn’t help even in “child abduction” cases. These cases mostly affect Indian American couples where a spouse flies off to India with the child and disappears to escape American courts and custody battles.
Riaz Haq said…
A newer and increasingly common option in conventional power projects involving Chinese contractors is a project finance structure
such as a BOT (build-operate-transfer). Under a BOT, developers set up and arrange loans to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in the host country. Some 70-80% of the capital costs of construction will come from these loans, and the remainder will be provided by the developers through equity and / or other loans.

The SPV then enters into all the contracts needed for the project, including an engineering procurement construction (EPC) contract with the contractor. If the funding is from China, this EPC contract will almost always be with a Chinese contractor.

Conventional power projects are seen as particularly 'bankable' BOT projects, because the technology is usually tried and tested and there is a high likelihood that performance requirements will be met. These projects also do not generally require significant land acquisitions, or need extensive underground works, reducing the risk of delays and unforeseen problems. Many jurisdictions, in fact, now have standard form power purchase agreements and implementation agreements that offer to allocate project risks between the offtaker, the government and the developers in a split that is attractive to many lenders.

It has taken Chinese contractors some time to get used to EPC contracts under project financed structures, as these tend to be tough on the contractor. Rates of delay and performance liquidated damages, and the caps on these, are generally much higher, and the contractor's rights to additional time and cost are limited. Many of these rights have to match the power purchase agreement that the SPV has negotiated with the offtaker. However, the upside for the contractor is that the developers are often willing to pay a higher contract price in return for the contractor taking on these additional risks.

Where the finance for the project is coming from Chinese banks, the Chinese contractor may enjoy stronger bargaining power, although that is not always the case. There are plenty of Chinese contractors with the skills needed to build these power stations, and developers will often use the threat of switching negotiations to a competing contractor to get their way in negotiations.

Evolution to investment

Even before the launch of OBOR, the larger and more experienced Chinese contractors had begun the transition from a traditional contractor business model to a 'contractor plus investment' model. Now, the signs are that a significant proportion of OBOR projects will involve Chinese contractors making investments in the projects that they are engaged to construct, and conventional power projects have been among the first to use this structure.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been among the first to see innovative project structures. The Thar Coal Block II project involves the development of an open pit coal mine and 660MW mine mouth power station through two SPVs set up by a consortium of Pakistani and Chinese investors, including a major Chinese contractor who will act as both EPC contractor and SPV equity participant. Project finance loans, including conventional RMB and Rupee Islamic tranches, are provided by syndicates of Pakistani and Chinese lenders including Habib Bank, United Bank, China Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Construction Bank of China.

- See more at: http://www.conventuslaw.com/report/chinas-one-belt-one-road-policy-increasing-the/#sthash.3Jx66DDF.dpuf
Riaz Haq said…
#Asia's new Great Game. #Modi #Afghanistan #India, #Pakistan #Iran #China #US #Chabahar #CPEC #CentralAsia


http://www.dawn.com/news/1264242

By Munir Akram


With a population of only around 50 million, Central Asia will not become a huge market for manufactured goods. It will be twice as expensive for India to send goods to Central Asia through Chabahar than it would be overland across Pakistan. Indian goods are thus unlikely to be competitive against Chinese products shipped overland.

Also read: Lessons from Chabahar

The strategic advantages for India are also questionable. Its influence in Afghanistan will be more dependent on Iran. Pakistan’s cooperation will continue to be essential to restoring peace in Afghanistan. Indian shipping lanes to Chabahar will be vulnerable to disruption. India’s limited influence in Central Asia will not dent that of Russia and China.

The new Great Game will increasingly revolve around China’s One Belt, One Road vision of land and sea connections between Asia, Europe and beyond. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the first component of this ambitious project.

In comparison to the Chabahar route, the strategic and economic implications of CPEC are enormous. It will transform China from a one- to a two-ocean power; enable a part of its $4000 billion annual trade to circumvent the Malacca straits and other potential choke points in the Indian Ocean and shorten China’s supply lines to the Gulf, West Asia and Africa. For these reasons, if no other, China has a vital stake in Pakistan’s strategic stability and socioeconomic development. The Chinese commitment of $46bn for CPEC projects is but the first instalment of the massive capital which China is prepared to deploy in Pakistan.

Instead of being distracted by the moves of its adversaries, Pakistan must remain focused on the implementation of CPEC. This strategic enterprise should not be allowed to be stalled or delayed by external pressure or internal politics, inefficiency or corruption. It would be wise to create a separate and independent CPEC Authority which can be a ‘one-stop-shop’ entrusted with achieving CPEC’s enormous potential for Pakistan’s development. CPEC projects must go beyond infrastructure development to encompass manufacture, consumer goods, housing, health, textiles, finance and other sectors. To this end, the interaction between Pakistani and Chinese private- and public-sector companies must be actively expanded and intensified. Some of the externally imposed limitations on CPEC investment projects, such as restrictions on ‘sovereign guarantees’ for debt finance, need to be removed expeditiously.

CPEC faces threats from Pakistan and China’s adversaries. These will have to be met forcefully.

India’s opposition has been announced openly. New Delhi will continue to utilise Afghanistan as a base to destabilise Pakistan and undermine CPEC. The recent spate of attacks on Chinese workers in Pakistan is no accident. Pakistan will have to further enhance security for them and consider direct action to remove the Afghan-based threat from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Iran has assured that Chabahar is not designed to compete with Gwadar or CPEC. Pakistan and Iran can cooperate for mutual benefit: to end terrorism in Balochistan, expand trade, and construct the Iranian gas pipeline and a Gwadar-Chabahar economic corridor. However, Tehran often wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. Some recent events have sent disturbing signals which Pakistan cannot ignore.

To balance the growing Indo-Iranian relationship, Pakistan must maintain and reinforce its relationship with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It would be in Pakistan’s interest to help in giving substance and form to the ‘Islamic coalition’ hastily formed by Riyadh. It should also convince the GCC states of the benefits of CPEC as a path to their closer connection with China.

America is and will remain a major player in the new Asian Great Game. ...
Riaz Haq said…
$46 billion #CPEC: Projects worth $30b already under way, says Minister Ahsan Iqbal. #Gwadar #Pakistan

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1113820/46-billion-cpec-projects-worth-30b-already-way-ahsan-iqbal/

Projects worth $30 billion out of a total portfolio of $46 billion have been initiated in the last one year, said Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, adding that there was no bureaucratic hurdle in the implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) schemes.

The financing arrangements for $30 billion CPEC projects are either finalised or are at various stages of approval, said Iqbal while addressing a press conference a day after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

The minister said that most of the $30 billion active portfolio is in the private sector while financing agreements of road infrastructure projects of the public sector have also been signed.

Iqbal said that making $30 billion CPEC portfolio active in a limited period of one year was a big success for the country and it shows that there were no bureaucratic hurdles in the way of swift implementation.

Govt accused of not sharing details of CPEC projects

Iqbal’s comments came amid pressure to set up a CPEC authority for swift implementation of the projects that started under Chinese president’s strategic initiative, One-Belt One-Road.

The purpose of the proposed CPEC authority is said to fast-track approvals and monitoring of these schemes. However, the federal government has already turned down the request on the ground that it would add another bureaucratic layer.

Iqbal said that Gwadar port projects including New Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway have been forwarded to the Chinese side for financial approval. He hoped that this process would be completed in the next three months and work would begin soon.

According to Iqbal, the government has allocated Rs125 billion ($1.2 billion) for carrying out work on CPEC schemes during the new fiscal year 2016-17. “However, the allocations remain far less than the actual requirements.

“An amount of Rs60 billion has also been allocated for two LNG-fired power plants being set up in Punjab,” Iqbal added, hoping that these two projects would be completed by May next year.

He said in the last three years, 610 projects costing Rs747 billion have been completed. The minister said that the 1,320MW Port Qasim power project would be completed by September next year while the Thar Coal mining projects would be operational by 2018.

To a question whether Chahbahar Port of Iran was a threat to Gwadar port, the Minister said that Pakistan does not feel threatened by any project.

PSDP review

For the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government had allocated Rs700 billion for PSDP spending while the four provinces allocated Rs814 billion, bringing the total outlay to Rs1.514 trillion. However, the Planning Commission on Monday informed the NEC that the spending would remain close to Rs1.401 trillion.

Iqbal insisted that the Rs114 billion lesser spending than approved budget was not actually a cut but a result of administrative weaknesses, legal issues and capacity constraints. Contrary to this claim, the International Monetary Fund had reported about a year ago that the federal PSDP spending would remain lower than the Rs700 billion allocation.
Riaz Haq said…
I hear a lot of big container ships sail back empty out of US ports. http://www.wsj.com/articles/at-u-s-ports-exports-are-coming-up-empty-1444768094

One of the fastest-growing U.S. exports right now is air.

Shipments of empty containers out of the U.S. are surging this year, highlighting the impact the economic slowdown in China is having on U.S. exporters. The U.S. imports more from China than it sends back, but certain American industries—including those that supply scrap metal and wastepaper—feed China’s industrial production.

Those exporters have suffered this year as China’s economy has cooled. In September, the Port of Long Beach, Calif., part of the country’s busiest ocean-shipping gateway, handled 197,076 outbound empty boxes. They accounted for nearly a third of all containers that moved through the port last month. September was the eighth straight month in which empty containers leaving Long Beach outnumbered those loaded with exports.

The empties are shipping out at a faster rate at many U.S. ports, particularly those closely tied to trade with China, while shipments of containers loaded with goods are declining as exporters find it tougher to make foreign sales. That’s at least partly because the strong dollar makes American goods more expensive.

Normally, after containers filled with consumer goods are delivered to the U.S. and unloaded, they return to export hubs. There, they typically are stuffed with American agricultural products, certain high-end consumer goods and large volumes of the heavy, bulk refuse that is recycled through China’s factories into products or packaging.

Last month, however, Long Beach and the Port of Oakland both reported double-digit gains in exports of empty containers. So far this year, empties at the two ports are up more than 20% from a year earlier.


Long Beach’s containerized exports were down 8.2% this year through September, while Oakland’s volume of outbound loaded containers fell 12.7% from a year earlier in the January-September period.

“This is a thermometer,” said Jock O’Connell, an international-trade economist at Beacon Economics. “The thing to worry about is if the trade imbalance starts to widen.”

Trade figures released Tuesday in Beijing underscored China’s faltering demand. China’s imports fell 20.4% year-over-year in September following a 13.8% decline in August.

As of June, U.S. exports of scrap materials were down 36% from their peak of $32.6 billion in 2011.

The diminished demand for the industrial material reflects economic weakness that goes beyond China, said Paul Bingham, an economist with the Economic Development Research Group Inc. It also suggests slowing consumer demand in Europe, he said.

The U.S. trade gap has expanded sharply in recent months as exports have slipped, growing 15.6% in August to a seasonally adjusted $48.3 billion, according to the Commerce Department. U.S. exports fell 2% in the month to their lowest level since October 2012.

Outbound empties have mounted this year at other big gateways, too. In August, the Port of Los Angeles, the country’s largest single container port, handled more than 225,000 empty outbound containers, counted in twenty-foot equivalent units, a standard maritime industry measure. That was 21% more than a year earlier. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expanded its empty-container exports nearly 31.5% in the first eight months of this year, and empties outnumbered loaded container exports over that time.
Riaz Haq said…
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS
Pakistan, China ink agreements worth $4.2b

As per the contracts, China would provide a concessionary loan of $1.3 billion for the 120-kilometre long Thakot-Havelian section of Karakoram Highyway-II (KKH-II) and $2.9 billion for the 392-kilometre Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi motorway.

------

Since China is providing concessionary loans for both projects, the contracts have been awarded on a government-to-government basis, waiving the condition of international competitive bidding.

Out of the $46 billion CPEC investment package, roughly $11.5 billion is reserved for the road and railways infrastructure. China has promised to give concessionary loans for four infrastructure projects. Two of these projects will get interest-free loans.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/1096762/cpec-eastern-alignment-pakistan-china-ink-agreements-worth-4-2b/

From Business Recorder:


China would extend assistance to Pakistan at 1.6 percent interest rate for infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it is learnt. Member, Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity of Planning Commission Malik Ahmad Khan confirmed that China would extend assistance to Pakistan at 1.6 percent interest for infrastructure projects under CPEC. "We wanted China to reduce this rate from 1.6 percent to 1 percent. And the Finance Division is making efforts in this regard," he added.

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Projects (CPEC), China has promised to invest around $11.8 billion in infrastructure projects and $33.8 billion in various energy projects which will be completed by 2017 at the latest. According to sources, the corridor is a 2,700-kilometre highway that would stretch from Kashghar to Gwadar through Khunjrab. The CPEC will integrate the economies of the two friendly countries; it envisages several economic zones.

http://www.brecorder.com/market-data/stocks-a-bonds/0/1223449/
Riaz Haq said…
#China-Led #Infrastructure Bank AIIB Starts With $509M in Loans 4 Projects: #Bangladesh #Indonesia, #Pakistan #CPEC

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/world/asia/china-led-development-bank-starts-with-509-million-in-loans-for-4-projects.html

BEIJING — A new Chinese-led international development bank announced its first four loans on Saturday, pledging to lend $509 million for projects to spread electric power in rural Bangladesh, upgrade living conditions in slums in Indonesia, and improve roads in Pakistan and Tajikistan.

At the first of the annual general meetings of the institution, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, said the projects were financially sound and environmentally friendly and had been accepted by the people in the project areas.

The projects of the 57-member bank, founded last year as an effort by China to both challenge lending institutions and cooperate with them, are relatively modest.

The road in Tajikistan is just three miles long, but it will help clear traffic congestion on an important trading route near the capital, Dushanbe. A $100 million loan to Pakistan is for 40 miles of highway in Punjab Province that would complete the last section of a national artery, the M-4, the bank said.

Three of the projects are being financed with other institutions — the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — an approach that allowed the new bank to begin the projects quickly. The bank’s $165 million loan to expand electricity in rural areas of Bangladesh is its only stand-alone project.

By financing projects with long-established institutions, the Beijing-based bank was able to move quickly because work on meeting environmental standards and procurement policies had been completed, staff members at the bank said.

Although the new bank was China’s idea, it is intended to operate as an international bank dedicated to improving the basic structures and facilities needed to stimulate development across Asia, Mr. Jin said at a news conference on Saturday. Unlike the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank places less emphasis on the reduction of poverty, he said.

The bank “was born with the birthmark of China, but its upbringing is international,” Mr. Jin said. Referring to the three other institutions that will finance the projects, he said, “We can work wonderfully together.”
Riaz Haq said…
#China Grants $260m for #Gwadar International Airport in #Pakistan #CPEC http://crss.pk/story/china-grants-260m-for-gwadar-airport/ …

China is granting Pakistan some $260 million for the construction of the Gwadar International Airport on the Arabian Sea, national media reported Tuesday.
Government officials shared this information with the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in a recent meeting at Islamabad, the daily Express Tribune said. The entire amount of $ 260 million is a grant from the Chinese government, the parliamentarians were informed. (http://tribune.com.pk/story/1136476/infrastructure-gwadar-airport-cost-260m/)
Gwadar, also being developed as a deep-sea port, is the culmination of the CPEC – the first initiative under China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) trade connectivity plans – that will connect Kashgar in west Chinese province of Xinjiang through a nearly 3000 km route.
Gwadar is located in the ethnic Baloch part of the southwestern Balochistan province, where a low-intensity Baloch nationalist movement has been stoking unrest.
This airport would be able to handle the largest of passenger planes including the A380 Air Bus and Boeing 747-400.
Additionally, the Chinese government has given another grant of $10 million for the construction of the Pakistan-China Vocational and Technical Training Institute to help locals acquire skills.
These grants are part of $ 46 billion infrastructure investment and communications’ development plan under the CPEC. It includes construction of highways, industrial zones, and energy projects across Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#China urges #Pakistan to let #Pak army, with its decades of infrastructure dev experience, lead #CPEC work https://www.ft.com/content/5eea66c0-4ef9-11e6-8172-e39ecd3b86fc


Frustrated with the slow progress on a sprawling, $46bn infrastructure project stretching from China to south Asia, Beijing is seeking to give Pakistan’s army a lead role.


Its desire to enlist Pakistan’s military is a sign of the challenges facing a crucial plank of President Xi Jinping’s signature One Road One Belt initiative. It was designed to increase China’s influence along the Silk Road and help the country export some of its excess industrial capacity.

Mr Xi made Pakistan an early stop on that road last year with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $46bn bundle of road, railway, electricity, oil and gas projects that marked the largest foreign investment in the nuclear-armed south Asian state.

But progress has stalled as the two sides work out how to turn the proposals into concrete projects, said Victor Gao, a former Chinese foreign ministry official, with some blaming Pakistan’s competing ministries.

“On the Pakistan side there is uncertainty about which entity wants to take leadership or ownership of the corridor projects,” he said. “There is a big debate internally [in Pakistan] over whether the government should take ownership or the military should take ownership. This is what is holding the whole thing up.”

The Pakistan military, which has detachments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, has had decades of experience with large infrastructure projects and analysts say the army is well placed to supervise the corridor.


But some politicians warn that military involvement will expand the army’s footprint on civilian matters and give the armed forces an even greater say in policymaking.

Security along the route, which traverses many volatile regions, is also a factor. “Because this project runs from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar, the CPEC’s route is very long and high-risk,” said Huang Rihan at the Center for China and Globalisation.

A 15,000-strong army-led security force has already been deployed to protect Chinese personnel assigned to the project.

Ultimately the new Silk Road will connect China’s western region, including the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province, to the Chinese-funded Pakistani port city of Gwadar and significantly reduce the travel time between China and the Middle East.


“Pakistani politicians have squabbled over the route for the CPEC and this may have made people nervous in Beijing,” said a Pakistan government official. “Pakistan is a noisy place politically while the Chinese are not used to harsh disagreements, especially over such a vital project.”

Others attributed the hold-up to the long-term nature of the CPEC. “These projects will take many years to be completed, beyond the tenure of any one government,” said a foreign ministry official in Islamabad. “China wants to make certain that these projects will be completed as per plan”.

China is focused on securing a route to the Indian Ocean that would reduce dependence on the choke point of the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Zaffar Hilaly, a former senior Pakistani diplomat and now commentator on national and security affairs, said: “The Chinese consider the Pakistan army a central player [for the country]. They see the army’s involvement with this project as a guarantee of its success.”

Pakistan’s armed forces have established close ties with Beijing as primary customers of China’s defence hardware, raising concerns in Delhi and Washington over a Sino-Pakistani military axis.
Riaz Haq said…
Modernising #Pakistan through #China. #CPEC by Farhan Bokhari

http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/modernising-pakistan-through-china-1.1870853

Reality check long overdue

While Pakistan’s civil institutions responsible for public work increasingly show a dismal performance, the Pakistan army continues to remain responsible for a variety of construction-related mega projects in otherwise inaccessible areas.

This follows more than five decades of experience by the army in undertaking challenging assignments including the Karakorum Highway or KKH, the road built with Chinese assistance, which links China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan province and onwards to the country’s plains. At the outset with the CPEC too, the army’s promise to provide a full security cover for Chinese workers in Pakistan, marked the critical element that buttoned up this project.

In the long term, Pakistan’s ruling politicians may have a valid point in seeking to lead the CPEC initiative. And yet, that ambition needs to be built with a long overdue reality check. The country’s civilian authorities need to embark on an internal reform plan first rather than seek to block the army from assuming a lead role in the execution of the CPEC.

Such a plan must be built upon three equally vital aspects. First, there needs to be a complete political consensus over the geographic layout of the CPEC and its associated projects. Signs of infighting between different political groups have in fact harmed the view of Pakistani politicians, reinforcing their image as a short-sighted warring bunch rather than a mature and politically responsible community.

Second, it’s vital to put safeguards in place for a radical improvement in the performance of key civil institutions, enabling them to take greater responsibility for the execution and eventual management of CPEC related projects. The total work cut out under this initiative will likely continue till the end of the next decade if not beyond. This creates a sufficient time frame for the army to first take charge of this valuable initiative and hand over responsibilities for its eventual management to Pakistan’s civilian infrastructure following a set of robust reforms.

Finally, it’s important for Pakistan’s ruling politicians to consider different types of fallouts from antagonising the armed forces, all in the name of promoting democracy. In the case of the CPEC, some politicians have eagerly pushed for exclusive civilian control on this project as a step towards strengthening Pakistan’s democratic evolution. Yet their initiative will only be an exercise in futility until such time that they reconcile themselves with Pakistan’s fundamental realities.

For now, General Raheel Sharif and the Pakistan army exclusively remain the main guarantors for the success of what is set to transform Pakistan as never before.
Riaz Haq said…
Li Ka-Shing’s 2nd #Pakistan Container Terminal to Start Operations at #Karachi Port Soon http://bloom.bg/2bcCjyH via @markets

Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd. is set to start its second Pakistan terminal after a five-year delay, giving mega vessels access to the coastal city of Karachi for the first time.
Hutchison’s terminal operations in South Asia’s second-largest economy will commence before the end of this year, as agreed with the Karachi Port Trust, the company said in an e-mailed reply to questions on Monday.
Li’s company, a unit of his Hong Kong-based flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., is tapping into expanding growth in Pakistan as China plans investments valued at $46 billion in power plants and road projects. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is targeting an annual growth rate of 7 percent next year as the country is set to complete an International Monetary Fund loan program next month.
“Pakistan has been lagging behind big time and now we are moving into the future with this terminal being one of the deepest in the region,” Abid Butt, chief executive officer of Karachi-based freight company e2e Supply Chain Management Ltd., said by phone. “The port can become a transshipment location given India is congested and located better than Dubai’s Jabel Ali.”
Hutchison Port shares gained 1.2 percent to 0.440 Singapore dollars as of 9:01 a.m. in Singapore trading. The stock was down 18 percent this year as of the close Monday.
Karachi Delays
More than half of the nation’s total trade is done through transshipment, said Butt. However, roads around the port in Pakistan’s biggest city will need to be expanded to accommodate cargo from the world’s largest ships, he said.
South Asia Pakistan Terminals Ltd. will handle as much as 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units a year and increase the nation’s container handling capacity by more than half, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the plans are private.
Hutchison’s port will begin operations in the last week of October and will aim to handle 250,000 twenty-foot equivalent units in the first year of operations and increase that to more than 2 million in five years, the person said.
The commercial operations of the terminal with a depth of 16 meters was initially expected to start in 2011, four years after the agreement. Bureaucratic wrangling and a slowdown in road construction and dredging delayed the port operator’s plans, the person said. Some road works and dredging are still not complete, the person said.
‘Leftover Dredging’
“Most of the work is done and the leftover dredging and road work will be complete before the launch,” said Shafiq Faridi, spokesman for the Karachi Port Trust said by phone.
Pakistan handles about 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent, including Hutchison’s first venture Karachi International Container Terminal that started in 1998.

Riaz Haq said…
Published: 27 Jun 2016
Pakistan Vision 2025 seeks to enhance the national transportation infrastructure by establishing an efficient and integrated transportation and logistics system. Establishing industrial parks and developing SEZs along the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will strengthen the transportation network and logistics infrastructure. Road freight transportation contributed over 90% of the goods transported by land. Rail freight is likely to gain share due to modernization and expansion. High priority is given to road network development. Private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum, and transportation and warehousing are likely to lead logistics industry growth during 2016–2020.

The potential opportunities in the logistics industry in Pakistan, is estimated at approximately US $ 30.77 billion in 2015. Key targets set in the national development initiatives for the transportation sector include reduction in transportation costs, effective connectivity between rural areas and urban centres, inter-provincial high-speed connectivity. Also high priority is given for the development of integrated road/rail networks between economic hubs (including air, sea and dry ports) and high capacity transportation corridors connecting with major regional trading partners

Up-gradation of all major airports to trans-shipment hubs, development of cargo villages, modernization of rail transport, E-commerce, CPEC related investments in industrial centres and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will serve as primary macro drivers for logistics sector growth. CPEC related projects intend to upgrade and modernize road transport and related logistics infrastructure such as logistics park and establishment of cargo villages at major airports. Hence, high priority is given for road network development; private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum.

Storage and Warehousing demand from CPEC related industrial corridors are likely to derive increased storage and warehousing requirements including cold chain logistics, establishment of Cargo Villages Ports will facilitate goods traffic to central Asian countries and evolve as a major transhipment hub in the region.

Freight forwarding opportunities expected to increase due to increasing trade activities through Karachi and Port Qasim. Trade reforms expected to increase volume of trade with increase in inter and intra-regional trade. Development of new port at Gwadar generates demand for warehousing, special economic zone, road and railway infrastructure network. As the connectivity and linkage improves, this port will emerge as one of the major transhipment hub in the region - transhipment goods to China, Central Asian countries

Energy and Transportation sectors are expected to see high growth due to increased investment relating to CPEC and National Transportation Plans between 2016 and 2020. This is expected to growth of transportation and warehousing segments between 2016 and 2020.

http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=9AB2-00-57-00-00&src=ww2
Riaz Haq said…
#China and #Pakistan pin hopes on Arabian Sea port of #Gwadar. #CPEC https://www.ft.com/content/06388212-855b-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5 … via @FT

From the window of his plush office, Dostain Jamaldini, the moustachioed chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, looks upon the mostly deserted, three-berth deep seaport that he argues could one day rival Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Presently, no cargo ship is visible in the tranquil Arabian Sea waters — just the small fishing trawlers.

But Mr Jamaldini says the empty port, built with Chinese financial and technical help at a cost of $248m, finished nearly a decade ago and barely used since, will buzz with traffic by December 2017. By that time, Gwadar should be linked by road to the rest of Pakistan, a key part of the plan to create a vibrant and bustling hub.

“Gwadar has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest ports,” he says. “Once we have connectivity, the port will see traffic. We are now waiting for the road.”

The long-anticipated road is slated to be a modern highway network that seamlessly links Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang province, giving the landlocked Chinese region access to the Indian Ocean. A train should run alongside and Beijing also wants to build oil pipelines from Gwadar to western China, potentially a quicker and easier route for supply from the Gulf.

Yet realising this ambitious vision requires extensive ground infrastructure in Balochistan — one of Pakistan’s poorest, most troubled provinces, with a long history of armed separatist insurgency. Analysts say the region’s volatility could prove an obstacle to realising the $46bn China-Pakistan economic corridor.

In August, Quetta, Balochistan’s provincial capital, was rocked by a sophisticated suicide bomb that killed 70 people, many of them lawyers. Pakistan — which has established a 15,000-man security force to protect the infrastructure and the Chinese engineers — publicly called the attack an attempt to disrupt the massive development.

------
Prime minister Narendra Modi electrified Indians — and raised the hackles of the Pakistan establishment — in August when he proclaimed New Delhi’s moral support for residents of Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province.
Islamabad has long accused its rival, India, of covertly assisting Balochistan’s separatist insurgents. But former US officials say Washington has never found evidence of Indian military aid beyond New Delhi’s hospitality for Baluchi leaders. Speculation is mounting that New Delhi could be poised to do what Pakistan has always suspected — as it seeks a new, more muscular approach to a neighbour that it blames for numerous terror attacks on its soil.
But security analysts say the prospect of Indian aid for Baluchi rebels is limited by its lack of direct access to the territory. “Actual physical assistance is going to be incredibly difficult,” says Sumit Ganguly, an Indiana University professor. “Geography imposes a certain kind of constraint.”
Chinese analysts also play down the likelihood of India deliberately targeting a Chinese-developed infrastructure project. “It is unlikely that India will act to directly disrupt the CPEC,” Mao Siwei, China’s former consul-general in Kolkata, told the Financial Times. “But strained India-Pakistan relations are extremely detrimental.”
Riaz Haq said…
#India and #Iran Slow to Develop #Chabahar Port as #China Builds Rival Hub at #Gwadar. #CPEC http://bloom.bg/2dHPVbw via @markets

When the leaders of India, Iran and Afghanistan gathered in Tehran in the spring for a ceremony marking India’s development of a strategic Iranian port, they recited Persian poetry and said their partnership would “alter the course of history.”
On a recent visit, roughly 13 years after India first agreed to develop the port of Chabahar, a single ship floated at the main jetty. Most of the cargo containers scattered in an asphalt lot bore the logo of the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. In an adjacent harbor, a dozen wooden dhows, or traditional fishing boats, bobbed in the water.
Months after the ceremony in May and pledges by India to inject $500 million into the project, the much-heralded port of Chabahar remains a sleepy outpost – as well as a shadow of the Chinese-built port of Gwadar, 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the east across Iran’s border with Pakistan.
“What you’re seeing is the problem with many of the Indian commitments abroad,” said Sameer Patil, an analyst at Gateway House, a research organization in Mumbai. “Once a prime minister makes that commitment, the parties find it difficult to move the process forward. The Indian bureaucracy takes its sweet time.”

Chabahar was supposed to be an easy win: India would bankroll a hub to rival the China-Pakistan partnership at Gwadar, Iran would get a major ocean port outside the Strait of Hormuz and spur growth in its poor eastern region, and Afghanistan would gain road and rail links to a deep-water port that could boost its war-ravaged economy. But more than a decade on, the strategic asset is languishing, even as China sinks $45 billion into the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that winds down to Gwadar.

“The slowness comes from these small things,” said Mosadeghi, who heads the economic section at Iran’s embassy in New Delhi. “Both sides want to expedite this.”
For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chabahar could aid his goals of integrating South Asia’s economies and boosting India’s stature in the region. However, the slow pace of its development has drawn criticism.
“With China and Pakistan developing Gwadar just a few kilometers away, India cannot afford either delay or inattention to this vital port,” said Shashi Tharoor, a lawmaker with India’s opposition Congress Party and chairman of a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs.
Chabahar could be a linchpin for the region’s economy. It’s close to the western Indian ports of Kandla, Mundra and Mumbai and could help India’s farmers get cheaper access to fertilizers and other commodities from central Asia and beyond.
Riaz Haq said…
GWADAR: First Chinese ship finally arrived at Gwadar port that is center of $46 billion China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) project between Beijing and Islamabad, Samaa reported Sunday.
The project is the beginning of a journey of prosperity of Pakistan. The economic corridor is about 3000 Kilometres long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to rest of the world through Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
To strengthen economic activities at the port, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently unveiled five developmental projects for Gwadar.
These are Free Trade Zone, Business Complex of Gwadar Port Authority, Pak-China Government Primary School Faqir Colony, Sawar and Shadikor dams and Gwadar University.
Gwadar, the nerve centre of CPEC, is fast transforming into an international city. Gwadar has the potential to become a world class sea port and a place which is not only important for Pakistan, but also for the region and the world. – Samaa

http://www.samaa.tv/economy/2016/10/first-chinese-ship-docks-at-gwadar-port/
Riaz Haq said…
Fast track completion of CPEC projects to change the infrastructure development landscape of the country

Western Route of China-Pakistan Economic will be completed by 2018. Gawadar-Quetta Road will be completed by next month, ahead of its scheduled time. Now Gwadar is connected with Quetta, Afghanistan, Central Asian states and rest of the country through this route. Work on Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta Road has also been initiated. Dera Ismail Khan-Burhan Road will be completed by year 2018. Special attention has been given to Sindh and Balochistan in CPEC projects.

http://www.radio.gov.pk/07-Nov-2016/fast-track-completion-of-cpec-projects-to-change-the-infrastructure-development-landscape-of-the
Riaz Haq said…
#Chinese ship with 300 containers to depart from #Gwadar Port on Sunday. #Pakistan #CPEC https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/163792-Gwadar-Port-opening-on-Sunday …

The civil and military leadership of China and Pakistan will open international port at Gwadar on Sunday. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif will see off Chinese containers leaving for Africa.

Heads of the armed forces, diplomats, chief ministers of Balochistan and other provinces and other dignitaries will be invited for this event in the next 48 hours.

Defying designs of India and its allies, loading of 300 containers will be completed on Saturday and they will depart from the port the next day.

To counter Gwadar, India has invested $12 million in Iran’s Chaubahar port, which is no match to Gwadar port. Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri is going to China on invitation next month.

Riaz Haq said…
#Chinese ship at #GwadarPort carrying containers headed to #Africa #MidEast via #Pakistan land route. #CPEC #China http://www.smh.com.au/world/new-silk-road-first-large-chinese-shipment-passes-through-key-pakistani-port-20161113-gsohoi.html
"Pakistan is located at the intersection of three engines of growth in Asia - South Asia, China and Central Asia," Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said at a ceremony on Sunday.
"CPEC will help in integrating these regions into an economic zone offering great opportunities for people of the region as well as investors from all over the world."
A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart, at Gwadar port.A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart, at Gwadar port. Photo: AP
Army chief General Raheel Sharif also attended Sunday's ceremony at the port, which is expected mostly to see imports of building materials in the next year before eventually becoming a gateway for goods from western China's Xinjiang province.
Chinese Container Ship Cosco Wellington left Gwadar today. Ship details:
IMO: 9484417
MMSI: 477004600
Call Sign: VRME3
Flag: Hong Kong [HK]
AIS Vessel Type: Cargo
Gross Tonnage: 40465
Deadweight: 49959 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 261.1m × 32.25m
Year Built: 2013
Status: Active

http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:684942/mmsi:477004600/imo:9484417/vessel:COSCO_WELLINGTON

Riaz Haq said…
#Iran, #India trade charges on delay of #Chabahar port. #Gwadar #Pakistan #Afghanistan http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/iran-india-trade-charges-on-delay-of-chabahar-port/articleshow/56990454.cms … via @economictimes

The Budget may have allotted Rs 150 crore for the development of Chabahar port in Iran, but it may not be enough to bring the long delayed project back to life as Tehran has not yet submitted a proposal for release of the fund despite several reminders, some officials say.

Indian government had set aside $235 million, or about Rs 150 crore, line of credit for the project since 2015 but is unable to release the first tranche of $150 million, they said.


"The funds cannot be released without paperwork and this has not yet reached the Indian government. Even reminders from EXIM Bank to Iran have not helped," a person familiar with the matter told ET.

"There are apparently no reasons behind Iran's delay in submitting the proposal for the release of loan," the person alleged.

Iranian government sources, however, told ET that the Indian side is delaying work on the project, but did not explain reasons for delay. The project was earlier delayed when the Iranian side unilaterally changed terms and conditions on the eve of the signing of MoU in 2015 by introducing a local stakeholder without consulting India, Indian sources said.
Riaz Haq said…
It seems that only small European or island nations like Britain, Spain and Portugal focussed on building navies for "exploration" and "trade" that later led to colonization of America, Asia and Europe.

Henry Kissinger in his book "On China" explains why China failed to rule the world in spite of having a long coast and a large fleet in 1400s.

Kissinger traces this failure to the decision under a Ming ruler to disband its massive Navy in 1433 that was built by a Muslim Chinese Admiral Zeng He.

Here's an excerpt of "On China" by Henry Kissinger:

"Zeng He was a singular figure in the age of exploration: a Chinese Muslim eunuch conscripted into imperial service as a child, he fits no obvious historical precedent. At each stop on his journey, he formally proclaimed the magnificence of China's new Emperor, bestowed lavish gifts on the rulers he encountered, and invited them to travel in person or send envoys to China. There, they were to acknowledge their place in the Sinocentric world order by performing the ritual "kpwtow" to acknowledge the the Emperor's superiority. Yet beyond China's greatness and issuing invitations to portentous ritual, Zeng He displayed no territorial ambition. .....Zeng He's expeditions abruptly stopped in 1433, coincident with the recurrence of threats along China's northern frontier. The next Emperor ordered the fleet dismantled and the records of Zeng He's voyages destroyed.

The expeditions were never repeated. Though Chinese traders continued to ply the routes Zeng He sailed, China's naval abilities faded---so much so that the Ming rulers' response to subsequent menace of piracy off China's southeast was to attempt forced migration of the coastal population ten miles inland."


https://books.google.com/books?id=4pFfYliTIMkC&pg=PT19&dq=chinese+admiral+zheng+he+kissinger+on+china&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0pP3W6KbSAhUFMGMKHYj4CjAQ6wEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=chinese%20admiral%20zheng%20he%20kissinger%20on%20china&f=true
Riaz Haq said…
#Land rush around #Pakistan's #Gwadar port triggered by #Chinese investment | Reuters #CPEC

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKBN16215Q
Pakistani real estate giant Rafi Group made a ten-fold profit last year from its sale of hundreds of acres of land in the remote fishing town of Gwadar, acquired soon after the government announced plans for a deep-sea port there.

The windfall came after 12 years of waiting patiently for the Gwadar port to emerge as the centrepiece of China's ambitious plans for a trade and energy corridor stretching from the Persian Gulf, across Pakistan, into western Xinjiang.

"We had anticipated the Chinese would need a route to the Arabian Sea," Rafi Group Chief Executive Shehriar Rafi told Reuters. "And today, all routes lead back to Gwadar."

Gwadar forms the southern Pakistan hub of a $57-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure and energy projects Beijing announced in 2014.

Since then, land prices have skyrocketed as property demand has spiked, and dozens of real estate firms want to cash in.

"Gwadar is a 'Made in China' brand and everyone wants a piece," said realtor Afzal Adil, one of several who shifted operations from the eastern city of Lahore in 2015.

Last year, Pakistan welcomed the first large shipment of Chinese goods at Gwadar, where the China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd took over operations in 2013. It plans to eventually handle 300 million to 400 million tons of cargo a year.

It also aims to develop seafood processing plants in a nearby free trade zone sprawled over 923 hectares (2,281 acres).

The route through Gwadar offers China its shortest path to the oil-rich Middle East, Africa, and most of the Western hemisphere, besides promising to open up remote, landlocked Xinjiang.

Last year, the Applied Economics Research Centre estimated the corridor would create 700,000 jobs in Pakistan and a Chinese newspaper recently put the number at more than 2 million.

Authorities have completed an expressway through Gwadar, which has a 350-km (218-mile) road network. A new international airport kicks off next year, to handle an influx of hundreds of Chinese traders and officials expected to live near the port.

The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan's largest real estate database, Zameen.com, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month.

"It's like a gold rush," said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan. "Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar."

Prices, which have risen two- to four-fold on average, are climbing "on a weekly basis," said Saad Arshed, the Pakistan managing director of online real estate marketplace Lamudi.pk.

Regional fishermen have held strikes during the last two years, to protest against being displaced by the port.

To keep pace with the interest, urban officials are struggling to computerise land management and record-keeping. "We are trying to upgrade as fast as we can," said Zakir Majeed, an official of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).

But Gwadar lacks basic education and health facilities, in contrast to the gleaming towers and piped drinking water of the "smart city" envisioned by the GDA.

"For commercial projects, things are moving fast," Lamudi's Arshed said. "But people actually living there, that will take a long time."

Port officials expect the population to hit 2 million over the next two decades, from about 185,000 now.
Riaz Haq said…
Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of #CPEC

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1341071/gwadar-china-build-automobile-city/

Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

According to a private news channel, sources linked to CPEC project stated that the Chinese authorities have already initiated paperwork on said projects, which reflects their seriousness.

Analysts have advised owners of local automobile industry to start joint ventures with Chinese as this would help in transfer of technology as well as boost the local industry. Earlier, China announced to set up a steel factory under CPEC apart from various other projects.

China is developing the Gwadar port as a strategic and commercial hub under its ‘One-Belt One-Road’ initiative that promises shared regional prosperity. CPEC is one of many arteries of the ‘One-Belt One-Road’

In 2013, Pakistan handed over the Gwadar port to the Chinese company by annulling a deal with a Singapore company that could not develop the port after taking over in 2007. The ECC further approved amendments in the Gwadar Port Concession Agreement for operating and developing the Gwadar port and free zone.


On October 31, hundreds of Chinese trucks loaded with goods rolled into the Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan as a multibillion-dollar project between Pakistan and China formally became operational.

The corridor is about 3,000-kilometre long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through Gwadar port.
Riaz Haq said…
Karachi port is the world's 4th busiest trans shipment port in the world, after Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_busiest_transshipment_ports
Riaz Haq said…
India shouldn’t drag China into dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir: Expert

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/india-shouldn-t-drag-china-into-dispute-with-pakistan-over-kashmir-expert/story-r03UI9SKyLs4nBIwfbjXEL.html

China needs to have access to ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to move its huge shipments of cargo to other parts of the world, said Wang Zhan, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament, and president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

“I know India has lot of disagreements with the CPEC to Gwadar port. But if you are Chinese, considering (the situation in) Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, you would be looking for alternative passageways. We have so much cargo, we surely need the ports. We have to pass by the Indian Ocean to reach Europe,” he said.

Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the just-concluded NPC session, Wang said: “I know India and Pakistan have a dispute over (Kashmir.) If we go through the Kashmir area, which belongs to India, its a problem of sovereignty (for India) but now Pakistan has the right of administration (over PoK). So, it’s a problem between India and Pakistan and doesn’t relate to China.”

Wang, who is also managing director of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said China wasn’t the first country to bring up the Silk Road plan to connect regions and continents.

“Japan brought up the Silk Road in 1990s, an American Harvard professor brought it up in 2005, and Hillary Clinton brought it up in 2011. They all brought up the Silk Road concept earlier than China,” he said, adding some proposals were north to south and China’s east to west.

“If all the projects in these plans could be realised, the countries touched in the plans would definitely develop, and the economic development would decrease the element of war and chaos,” he added.

Wang said China’s increasing investments in infrastructure, such as ports, in South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka is purely for economic reasons.

“For sure it’s for economic reasons. You can know the answer by the map. India is a peninsula, the trade between Europe and China have to pass by the sea near India and Sri Lanka. It’s decided by geography. We can’t go by Antarctica. If you think from China’s view, you will do the same,” he said.

Referring to China’s objections to India drilling for oil in the South China Sea, Wang blamed Vietnam for the confusion.

“In the 1970s, the Vietnamese had completely agreed that South China Sea belongs to China. Later, they occupied 29 islands and built infrastructure. India drilled for oil in the same area, so we protested. The South China Sea is China’s lifeline. It’s not necessary for India to get involved in the South China Sea disputes,” Wang said.
Riaz Haq said…
Feature: Port co-built with China fuels Pakistan's economic engine
Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-03 17:05:20|Editor: ying

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-04/03/c_136180263.htm

by Liu Tian
ISLAMABAD, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Gwadar, an poorly-known port town previously in Pakistan has been becoming a new economic engine for the country with the construction of a free zone co-built with China.
"We have finished 60 percent of the first-phase construction for the port's free zone, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, one year earlier than we planned," Hu Yaozong, deputy general manager of the Gwadar Free Zone Company, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Chinese engineers and their Pakistani counterparts are working around clock in the construction site with the hope of seeing the free zone is open to operation as early as possible.
The free zone is a key step towards developing the Gwadar port into an important regional hub that will benefit not only south Asia, but also the countries in central Asia and the Middle East.
The free zone, which covers about 923 hectares of land and will be developed in four phases. It is designed to take advantage of Balochistan's rich fishery and mineral resources to develop relevant industries for overseas market and to develop light industry for the domestic consumption.
As a part of the light industry plan, China's Linyi overseas market, a comprehensive shopping mall project, will soon be introduced into the free zone.
"It is quite alike the renowned Yiwu small commodities market in China. The Linyi market in Gwadar will develop an overseas warehouse so as to make their goods not only available in the Pakistan market, but also in markets around the region," said Hu.
According to Hu, the first round of investment has almost completed with projects on fishery and electric motors settled and business center enterprises moved in.
The second-phase construction of the free zone is featured with a huge stainless steel factory, which, Hu added, would create a considerable number of jobs for locals in Gwadar, which has a population of less than 100,000.
With the further development of the port and free zone, work forces in other villages around Gwadar are expected to flow into Gwadar.
According to the deputy general manager, a training school donated by China will be completed soon. After short-term training, local people are expected to find a position in the developing Gwadar, he said.
Munir Ahmad Jan, director general of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), also shows high expectations on Gwadar's future.
Besides Chinese and Pakistani investors, a lot of investors from other countries have come to the GPA to consult on business opportunities in the free zone, he said.
In 2016, the Pakistani government issued a financial act which ensured a 23-year tax exemption policy for the Gwadar free zone in a bid to attract more international investors.
Jan said that as businesspeople have seen the bright future of the Gwadar port, a lot of Pakistani real estate investors came to Gwadar to purchase land.
He said the land prices now in Gwadar are increasing fast and real estate related industries have witnessed real momentum in the small city.
Riaz Haq said…
Feature: Port co-built with China fuels Pakistan's economic engine
Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-03 17:05:20|Editor: ying

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-04/03/c_136180263.htm

Jan said that as businesspeople have seen the bright future of the Gwadar port, a lot of Pakistani real estate investors came to Gwadar to purchase land.
He said the land prices now in Gwadar are increasing fast and real estate related industries have witnessed real momentum in the small city.
"We feel that Gwadar's free zone area needs further expansion and we have requested for more area," said the official.
"China and Pakistan have an equally long history, but China developed rapidly due to sincere Chinese leadership and now it has become the leading economy in the world. We shall try to maximize our experiences, cooperation and assistance from China to develop our own country and improve common people's lives," Jan told Xinhua.
The development of the Gwadar port is not only in the economic field, but also at a broader social level.
A vessel carrying construction material from a China-donated emergency center reached Gwadar in March.
The medical center, which will come into service as early as in May, is designed to carry out basic diagnosis and treatment, conduct small surgeries and emergency rescues.
It will initially be operated by Chinese medical teams and be gradually handed over to the Pakistani side in the future.
In September last year, a China-donated primary school came into use in Gwadar. The school had planned to enroll about 150 pupils, but more than 300 students of different grades attend the school as many locals believed that the school had better teachers and facilities.
"We are very thankful to the Chinese people who have long been very active in Pakistan's infrastructural development. I think our relationship will be further strengthened with the passage of time because of the sincere leadership on both sides," Jan concluded.
Riaz Haq said…
3 Options For India In Saving Kulbhushan Jadhav by Mani Shankar Aiyar


http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/3-options-for-india-in-saving-kulbhushan-jadhav-1682241

We have already spread the word around the world about how Pakistan is a global terrorism sponsor, how there is a "Deep State" in Pakistan that is unrestrained in the nefarious work it does, that the formal government is complicit in all this underhand activity, that it is not the government but the army and intelligence that determine Pakistan policy, that the whole world is threatened by this "failed state", that a peculiarly barbarous version of Islamization is Pakistan's motivating ideology, and that it is, therefore, incumbent on the international community to isolate Pakistan and, Inshallah, promote such regime change as would make Pakistan a fount of sweet good sense.

The world has politely listened. And gone about its own business. They have other interests that go back to the last phase of the twin movements for Independence and Partition. The British establishment believed their crowning achievement to have been the unification of a congeries of disparities into a single nation; the British defence authorities were, however, much more concerned with the military opportunities that a divided sub-continent would offer British global interests. They argued that British geo-political hegemony in the region stretching from Afghanistan through Iran to the Gulf to Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Israel crucially depended on granting Pakistan a separate state because that state would be happy to offer the West military facilities that Nehruvian India would doubtless deny them. The Defence view won out and Pakistan was granted. In the last 70 years, Pakistan has thwarted India and cocked its snook at us precisely because its geo-strategic position makes it vital for the West, and now, the Russian Federation, to cultivate our neighbour,

while China uses its vice-like grip on Pakistan to outwit India. It is unlikely that any of them will be moved by the brilliant forensic and persuasive diplomatic arguments of our Foreign Office to save Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (retd).

So, if neither unanimous domestic outrage in India nor the stern reach of international law nor the global outreach of our well-travelled Narendra Damodardas Modi can rescue Kulbhushan, is there no hope for him? Oddly enough, yes. For there are at least three options we have that might yet save the young, 46-year old former naval commander who has been under Pakistani incarceration since April 2016, that is, since about one whole year........ Our mission in Islamabad and our formidable bank of international law experts might perhaps be leveraged to see how our poor retired naval commander, who for a decade or more has been running an innocent business at Chahbahar and Bandar Abbas ports in Iran, might be rescued through top-class legal intervention. The excellent relations that both India and Pakistan enjoy with Iran make me inclined to believe that an outstanding Iranian law team, rather than an attempt to cobble together one in the British Inns of Court, might provide the answer.
Riaz Haq said…
Exclusive: CPEC master plan revealed

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333101

In any plan, the question of financial resources is always crucial. The long term plan drawn up by the China Development Bank is at its sharpest when discussing Pakistan’s financial sector, government debt market, depth of commercial banking and the overall health of the financial system. It is at its most unsentimental when drawing up the risks faced by long term investments in Pakistan’s economy.

The chief risk the plan identifies is politics and security. “There are various factors affecting Pakistani politics, such as competing parties, religion, tribes, terrorists, and Western intervention” the authors write. “The security situation is the worst in recent years”. The next big risk, surprisingly, is inflation, which the plan says has averaged 11.6 per cent over the past 6 years. “A high inflation rate means a rise of project-related costs and a decline in profits.”

Efforts will be made, says the plan, to furnish “free and low interest loans to Pakistan” once the costs of the corridor begin to come in. But this is no free ride, it emphasizes. “Pakistan’s federal and involved local governments should also bear part of the responsibility for financing through issuing sovereign guarantee bonds, meanwhile protecting and improving the proportion and scale of the government funds invested in corridor construction in the financial budget.”

It asks for financial guarantees “to provide credit enhancement support for the financing of major infrastructure projects, enhance the financing capacity, and protect the interests of creditors.” Relying on the assessments of the IMF, World Bank and the ADB, it notes that Pakistan’s economy cannot absorb FDI much above $2 billion per year without giving rise to stresses in its economy. “It is recommended that China’s maximum annual direct investment in Pakistan should be around US$1 billion.” Likewise, it concludes that Pakistan’s ceiling for preferential loans should be $1 billion, and for non preferential loans no more than $1.5 billion per year.

It advises its own enterprises to take precautions to protect their own investments. “International business cooperation with Pakistan should be conducted mainly with the government as a support, the banks as intermediary agents and enterprises as the mainstay.” Nor is the growing engagement some sort of brotherly involvement. “The cooperation with Pakistan in the monetary and financial areas aims to serve China’s diplomatic strategy.”

The other big risk the plan refers to is exchange rate risk, after noting the severe weakness in Pakistan’s ability to earn foreign exchange. To mitigate this, the plan proposes tripling the size of the swap mechanism between the RMB and the Pakistani rupee to 30 billion Yuan, diversifying power purchase payments beyond the dollar into RMB and rupee basket, tapping the Hong Kong market for RMB bonds, and diversifying enterprise loans from a wide array of sources. The growing role of the RMB in Pakistan’s economy is a clearly stated objective of the measures proposed.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian media on Bunji and Bhasha dams in Gilgit Baltistan:

China To Invest $27 Billion In Construction Of Two Mega Dams In Pakistan-Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan

https://swarajyamag.com/insta/china-pakistan-plan-for-construction-of-two-mega-dams-in-gilgit-baltistan

China and Pakistan have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state that remains under latter’s illegal occupation. The MoU was signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Beijing for participation in the recently concluded Belt and Road Initiative.

The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha hydroelectricity projects, will have the capacity of generating 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will fund the construction of the two dams, investing $27 billion in the process, a report authored by Brahma Chellaney in the Times of India has noted.

According to Chellaney, India does not have a single dam measuring even one-third of Bunji in power generation capacity. The total installed hydropower capacity in India’s part of the state does not equal even Diamer-Bhasha, the smaller of the two dams.

The two dams are part of Pakistan’s North Indus River Cascade, which involves construction of five big water reservoirs with an estimated cost of $50 billion. These dams, together, will have the potential of generating approximately 40,000MW of hydroelectricity. Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration would oversee the financing and funding of these projects.
Riaz Haq said…
Kulbhushan Jadhav continues to provide 'crucial intelligence', says FO spokesperson

https://www.dawn.com/news/1336142/kulbhushan-jadhav-continues-to-provide-crucial-intelligence-says-fo-spokesperson

Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav continues to provide crucial intelligence with regard to recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told DawnNews on Monday.

Jadhav's death sentence was stayed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague on May 18, following proceedings in which Pakistani and Indian lawyers argued over the legitimacy of the death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court.

Insisting that Pakistan held enough evidence to prove that Jadhav was a spy, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf during an exclusive interview to DawnNews said that Pakistan has information on Jadhav that could not be disclosed due to the security reasons.

He said, "The evidence would only be presented before the ICJ once it resumes the hearing."

He said the ICJ's procedural order of May 18 was neither Pakistan's defeat nor India's success and emphasised that when the case re-starts, "Pakistan would be on solid ground to win".

Responding to a question regarding the constitution of a new legal team, Ausaf said that there were no plans to change the team, however, he said it would be "expanded".

When asked why he did not represent Pakistan at the May 15 hearing at the ICJ, Ausaf disclosed that he "knew prior to the judgement that the ICJ is going to announce the provisional order".

Jadhav, who was tried by a Pakistani military court under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act of 1923, confessed before a magistrate and court that he was tasked by Indian spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for the restoration of peace in Balochistan and Karachi, the ISPR had maintained.

A the ICJ, India blamed Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav while Pakistan insisted that was not eligible for consular access and that the ICJ does not have the adequate jurisdiction to give a judgment on the case.

Rejecting Pakistan's argument that the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter, the court reasoned it could hear the case because it involved, on the face of it, an alleged violation of one of the clauses of the Vienna Convention, which both Pakistan and India ascribe to and whose interpretation falls under its purview.

"[Meanwhile] Pakistan should take all measures to ensure that Jadhav is not executed till the final decision of this court," the court said.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's plan to develop #Iran's key #Chabahar port faces #US headwinds. #Gwadar #CPEC #Pakistan http://reut.rs/2sL5iTx via @Reuters

Western manufacturers are shying away from supplying equipment for an Iranian port that India is developing for fear the United States may reimpose sanctions on Tehran, Indian officials say, dealing a blow to New Delhi's strategic ambitions in the region.

Lying on the Gulf of Oman along the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz, the port of Chabahar is central to India's hopes to crack open a transport corridor to Central Asia and Afghanistan that bypasses arch-rival Pakistan.

India committed $500 million to speed development of the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted following a deal struck between major powers and Tehran to curb its nuclear program in 2015.

But the state-owned Indian firm that is developing Chabahar is yet to award a single tender for supplying equipment such as cranes and forklifts, according to two government sources tracking India's biggest overseas infrastructure push.

U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the nuclear agreement on the campaign trail, and since taking office in January has accused Iran of being a threat to countries across the Middle East.

Swiss engineering group Liebherr and Finland's Konecranes (KCRA.HE) and Cargotec (CGCBV.HE) have told India Ports Global Pvt Ltd, which is developing the deep water port, they were unable to take part in the bids as their banks were not ready to facilitate transactions involving Iran due to the uncertainty over U.S. policy, the two officials said in separate conversations with Reuters.

These firms dominate the market for customized equipment to develop jetties and container terminals. One official said the first tender was floated in September, but attracted few bidders because of the fear of renewed sanctions. That fear has intensified since January.

"Now the situation is that we are running after suppliers," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of matter.

A Konecranes spokeswoman declined to comment beyond confirming the company was not involved in the project.

Cargotec and Liebherr did not respond to requests for comment.

------

prodded in part by China's development of Gwadar port, which lies barely 100 km (60 miles) from Chabahar on the Pakistani coast, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has unveiled massive investment plans centered around the Iranian port, offering to help build railways, roads and fertilizer plants that could eventually amount to $15 billion.

So far, even an initial credit line of $150 million that India wants to extend to Iran for development of Chabahar has remained a non-starter as Tehran has not been able to do its part of work.

"They have not sought the loan from us because they haven't awarded the tenders, either because of lack of participation or banking problems," said the second government official.

Ambassador Kumar said the Iran had indicated it would be sending proposals shortly to tap the credit line.

Meena Singh Roy, who heads the West Asia center at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a New Delhi think-tank, said increasing tension between Washington and Tehran would have an impact on the port project.

"The Chabahar Project has strategic significance for India," she said. "However ... nothing much seems to be moving due to new uncertainties in the region."
Riaz Haq said…
#India journalist Thapar's tough questions re #KulbhushanJadhav: fake name #passport, #India's #Iran abduction claim

The mysterious Mr Jadhav
The case of the Indian sentenced in Pakistan offers more questions than answers

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-mysterious-kulbhushan-jadhav-death-sentence-by-pakistan-double-passport-hussein-mubarak-patel-spy-4621558/

First, why does Jadhav have two passports, one in his own name and another in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel? According to The Indian Express, the second passport was originally issued in 2003 and renewed in 2014. The passport numbers are E6934766 and L9630722. When asked, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson would only say that India needs access to Jadhav before he could answer. But why not check the records attached to the passport numbers? Surely they would tell a story?
Additionally, The Times of India claims that since 2007, Jadhav has rented a Bombay flat owned by his mother, Avanti, in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel. Why would he use an alias to rent his own mother’s flat?
Perhaps Jadhav changed his name after converting to Islam? But then, why did he deliberately retain a valid passport in his old name? Indeed, why did the government let him, unless he deceived them?
Second, the government claims Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran and forcibly brought to Balochistan. A former German ambassador to Pakistan, Gunter Mulack, at least initially suggested this was true — but has the government pursued the matter with Mulack?
If it has, that hasn’t been reported, nor has what he revealed.
However, we did pursue the matter with Iran, but, as the MEA spokesperson admitted, they don’t seem to have responded or, perhaps, even conducted an investigation yet. We seem to have accepted that.
Odd, wouldn’t you say?
If Pakistan did abduct Jadhav, don’t we need to ask why? Doesn’t that raise the question of what was so special about him that made them do this? After all, there are 4,000 Indians in Iran — and no one else has been abducted.
Third, both The Indian Express and Asian Age suggest that Jadhav has links with the Pakistani drug baron Uzair Baloch. Did he play dirty with him and get caught in a revenge trap set by the drug mafia? Given that Jadhav was arrested a month after Baloch, this could be part of the explanation.
Finally, The Indian Express has reported that between 2010 and 2012, Jadhav made three separate attempts to join the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). The paper suggests he also tried to join the Technical Services Division. What more do we know about this? Even if the media doesn’t, surely the government does? A. S. Dulat, a distinguished former chief of R&AW, has unhesitatingly said Jadhav could be a spy. As he put it, if he was the government, he would hardly admit it.
Just a few days before Jadhav’s sudden conviction and death sentence, the Pakistani media claimed a retired Pakistani army officer, Lt. Col. Muhammad Habib Zahir, had gone missing in Lumbini, close to the Indian border. The Pakistani media is convinced he’s been trapped by R&AW. Was Jadhav convicted and sentenced to preempt India from claiming it had caught a Pakistani spy? And now, is an exchange of ‘spies’ possible?
I’m not sure who will answer these questions, and perhaps it would not be proper for the government to do so, but whilst they hang in the air, the mystery surrounding Jadhav will only grow.
Riaz Haq said…
Iran and Pakistan: An Interview with Alex Vatanka

, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy and American Influence


https://lawfareblog.com/iran-and-pakistan-interview-alex-vatanka


So much of U.S. policy in South and West Asia has been determined by Washington’s relationship with two countries: Iran and Pakistan. But the relationship between these two regional powers has been in many ways as influential as their swings from allies to frenemies to adversaries with the United States. The ties between Iran and Pakistan run deep, and have shifted over time from a deep affinity to regional rivalry and proxy conflict. Underneath it all has been the two countries’ pragmatic self-interest. “Neither country has ever genuinely considered optimum relations as an end in itself,” Alex Vatanka writes in the introduction to his book, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy and American Influence. “For both Iran and Pakistan, bilateral closeness was always meant to reap something strategically larger.” But over the past seven decades, since Pakistan’s inception, their relationship has been buffeted by global and regional competition, by the Cold War, the scramble for Afghanistan, and the Iran-Saudi rivalry.

I recently finished reading Vatanka’s book and had the opportunity to discuss the history of the Iran-Pakistan relationship with him by phone. “In this relationship, for the United States watching is not an option,” he told me. “This is a relationship involving two large countries, one is already nuclear armed, one is a threshold nuclear-armed state, combined something like 300 million people, almost the size of the U.S. population. It's a big market potentially if we wanted to integrate them. There are a whole host of areas where we can cooperate in terms of counterterrorism, trying to bring some sort of stability to Afghanistan. If you let the diplomats, perhaps, and economic entry have a bigger say and not look at the relationship purely through the security prism, which is where we are now, then this relationship can improve and become more healthy than it is today. It's clearly unhealthy today.” Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.



Could you start by explaining why you wanted to focus on Iran and Pakistan?

Almost for the last 20 years, I've been covering Iranian affairs—domestic, foreign, and a lot of regional dynamics involving Iran and it's neighbors. When you look at Iran's immediate neighborhood, including its 15 immediate neighbors (if you include its land and maritime neighbors), there’s plenty of literature on most of the neighbors' relations with Iran. Certainly among those neighbors, we'd consider them the big neighbors, Saudi, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan—Pakistan stands out as one that hasn't really been tackled in the context of its relations with Iran. So I thought, here's a gap, here's a deficiency, and why not try to see if we can find out more about it. That was really the beginning of that research idea, project, and the subsequent book that came out of it.

I think the history alone is really interesting, and there's a lot of that in the book, but I think there's a lot more to it than just the historical narrative. I think if you look at these two large countries, as they sit in Asia, anyone who wants to figure out how the large power politics, the race for influence in this part of the world happened, needs to take into account what drives Iran and Pakistan and where they come from in term of their past, where they are today, and where they are likely to go forward.
Riaz Haq said…
Iran and Pakistan: An Interview with Alex Vatanka

, Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy and American Influence


https://lawfareblog.com/iran-and-pakistan-interview-alex-vatanka


You also discuss the growth of anti-Shia sectarianism in Pakistan and the transition from Zulfikar Bhutto to Zia ul-Haq. Can you explain that a little bit?

Zulfikar Bhutto is a Pakistani Shia himself. He's not interested in the sectarian dimensions of this at all. In fact, when I studied Iranian-Pakistani relations from the 1940s all the way up to the present, you have to travel to the late 1970s—almost 40 years go by where the Sunni-Shia issue isn't mentioned at all in any of the cables coming out of London and elsewhere. It's a non-factor. Nobody cares.

It becomes an issue when Gen. Zia ul-Haq takes over and decides to Islamize Pakistani society the way he thinks it should be done, which is the hardline Sunni version of Islam, which in turn creates fear among the large (about 20 percent) Shia minority in Pakistan. But remember, Zia ul-Haq takes over in '77 and the Shah falls in '79, and if you look at that two-year period and say, how much fear and anxiety did ul-Haq's policies about becoming more of a Sunni state create in Tehran? The answer is, very little. What the Shah worries about is that Zia ul-Haq turns to the Gulf Arab states for patronage or guardianship, whatever you want to call it. It is only after Khomeini comes to power in Iran in '79 and who also plays the sectarian card that you see an element of sectarianism becoming more of a practice.

But again, I want to emphasize, even when Khomeini was alive in the 1980s, this is largely limited. When we think about 20 percent of Pakistan's Muslims are Shia, that you have a couple thousand that are joining radical groups doesn't tell me that sectarianism was the number one item on the agenda.

Why would Bhutto in the early 1970s turn to the Gulf Arab states? This is important. He's a Shia Pakistani leader. He's not driven by the fact that he shares being Shia with the Shah of Iran; in fact, he falls out with the Shah of Iran. Why? Because he sees the Shah of Iran looking down on Pakistan increasingly after Pakistan's defeat against India in 1971, and Zulifikar Bhutto feels the Shah thinks he is by nature going to lead the regional hegemon. Pakistan is not happy with that and when the Iranians start basically echoing what the Americans are asking the Pakistanis to do—primarily American demands that Pakistan cease any efforts in pursuit of nuclear weapons—when the Shah echoes that American line, from Zulfikar Bhutto’s point of view, then the Shah is no longer a partner as such, but somebody that's basically conveying Washington's concern to him.

So what does he do? Zulfikar Bhutto turns to the emerging oil-rich Gulf states—the Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. The fact that he was Shia had nothing to do with it. Bhutto is focused about India: Who can come to my aid, who can foot the bill for my nuclear program that I need to build up because I know that India is just about to get their hands on a nuclear weapon and I cannot lose that military competition on that front? There is no mention from the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Qataris—all of these famously Sunni nations—oh, we don't like Bhutto because he's Shia, you know? There's no sign of that. This sectarianism is something that unfortunately becomes much bigger of a player in the foreign relations of everybody in the last 15, 20 years because of a lot of other factors.

Riaz Haq said…
Chilling account of captured spy’s fate
Aradhika Sekhon

An Indian Spy in Pakistan
by Mohanlal Bhaskar. Translated by Jai Rattan. Shrishti. Pages 329. Rs 295.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040222/spectrum/book8.htm

AN Indian Spy in Pakistan is the true account of Mohanlal Bhaskar, a spy and an Indian espionage agent in Pakistan. In his preface, Khushwant Singh says, "Not all the wealth of the world would persuade me to undergo what Mohanlal Bhaskar had to go through in the jails of Lahore, Kot Lakhpat, Mianwali and Multan. It is a miracle that after all that he lives to tell his tale, retain his sanity and teach in a school"

Bhaskar was on a mission to find out information about Pakistan’s nuclear bombs. Betrayed by one of his colleagues — a double agent who was also subsequently arrested and had to face his own demons. "Would he (Amrik Singh) be able to go back to his own country alive? And even if he succeeded in doing so would life be worth living? Would the Indian Government spare him? Such thoughts had driven him mad. The hunter was caught in his own net."

However, Bhaskar was condemned to prison and torture in an alien country where he was to spend 14 years of his life. Perhaps he would not have been allowed to emerge alive. His salvation came when he was exchanged for Pakistani spies held by India.

The novel, originally in Hindi, has been translated into English by Jai Rattan. Says Khushwant Singh "Jai Rattan’s translation from the original Hindi reads very well. I can recommend it to readers who have the stomach to take in suspense and horror"

Bhaskar got initiated into the profession of espionage when, fired with patriotism in 1965, he quoted the following lines in a speech on Bhagat Singh:

"We have eaten the grain cultivated with your blood,

It has nurtured the seeds of martyrdom in us"

While the audience applauded vociferously, one man questioned his sentiments to which Bhaskar responded, "If it’s a question of serving my country I will not be found wanting. I’m prepared to serve with my life and soul in whatever capacity you want me" And so silently that not even his family got to know of it, Bhaskar "quietly underwent circumcision and became a Muslim convert`85.even my wife was not aware of this momentous fact"

The novel is set at the time when "Ayub’s swagger had lost some of its bounce. Bhutto’s star was in ascendancy`85he had won over the people of Pakistan to himself, and was now hanging like Damocles’ sword over Ayub’s head`85martial law was proclaimed and the jails filled in no time`85It was during this period of turmoil that I had started making incursions into Pakistan"

The novel is full of descriptions of the torture that Bhaskar and other prisoners had to undergo at the hands of the Pakistani police and army. However, these accounts of inhuman torture are interspersed with descriptions of the many interesting people that Bhaskar came across in the Pakistani jails. People who were sadistic and cruel and people who showed unexpected kindness. For example he writes of Havaldar Abdul Rahman Khatak "who even in prison had helped me to keep up my morale`85his love and affection were like a fountain a desert which sprays cool, life giving water`85there was no hatred for me in his heart`85when I think of him my head is bowed in gratitude."

Another fact that Bhaskar brings to light time and again is the shared lineage and heritage of the people of the two warring nations. Raja Gul Anar Khan, who was considered to be "a living terror" traced his history back to Chandravanshi Rajputana while certain others had Sikhs as their forefathers but in turbulent times converted to Islam either by choice or necessity.


These and many other such colourful characters pepper the pages of the book, which in spite of its many printing errors, is an easy read.

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