Pak-China Relations (Important Articles)
Developments in Pak-China Strategic Alliances
PAKISTAN-CHINA NUCLEAR DEAL &
Syed Shahid Hussain Bukhari
Flaws in Zardari’s China modelApril 13, 2012
President Asif Ali Zardari flew to India at a time the relationship had some of its lights flickering and a wind, albeit weak, in its sail, evident from the tuning down of shrill rhetoric over the last two years and progress in trade relations. The ostensible purpose of Zardari’s visit was to pay respects at the mausoleum of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer, prompting a few to see immense symbolical significance in his decision. Sufism is perceived to represent a more humane version of Islam, extolled as much for propagating equality as it is for its flexibility and eclecticism. It was consequently asked: wasn’t the Pakistani President through his visit to India underscoring his ideological opposition to militant Islam? To those who throng dargahs, such profound questions are irrelevant, for their motivation for undertaking pilgrimage is often temporal. No wonder, the attempt to perceive Zardari’s trip beyond the apparent — a thanksgiving for the fulfilment of mannat his wife had asked at the Ajmer shrine on her visit here in 2005 — had a wit quip, “Jo paata hai woh jaata hai” (Those who receive are those who visit).
Ironically, in the days preceding Zardari’s arrival in Delhi, we Indians could have been forgiven for believing that Pakistan was still in thrall to militant Islam. This perception gained ground because of the US’s injudiciously timed decision to announce a whopping $10 million bounty on Jamaat-ud-Dawa ameer Hafiz Saeed, thereby rekindling the blood-soaked memory of the terror attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008. Saeed had been accused of masterminding the assault on Mumbai, presumably at the behest of the jihadi rogue elements in the ISI. This view gained credence as Saeed was set free after a brief spell of incarceration.
With him billed as India’s Osama, Washington’s decision to announce a bounty on Saeed stoked hopes that perhaps he could now be brought to justice. But such optimism soon segued into disappointment as the irrepressible Saeed thumbed his nose at the Americans and Indians and issued defiant statements. Indians looked askance at Islamabad as it too harped on the necessity of securing prosecutable evidence to arraign Saeed in court. This seemed a lame excuse to most Indians who are accustomed to South Asian states, including their own, routinely violating due process.
Most Indian newspapers devoted pages on trying to fathom Saeed’s pathological hatred for India, and detailing the role of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba in several terror attacks in India. Even before April 8, to defuse public pressure, Indian officials declared that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would indeed discuss Saeed with his Pakistani guest. The issue of terrorism — and therefore Kashmir — returned to the top of the agenda of a visit self-avowedly portrayed as a tryst with Sufism.
It took nature’s cruelty to remind us about the absurdity of certain issues dogging Indo-Pak relations. A day before Zardari arrived in India, a massive avalanche buried 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians deployed on the Siachen glacier. This tragedy could as well have befallen India. The 135 deaths are indeed a severe indictment of Indian and Pakistani leaders who have been unable to demilitarise Siachen and remain eyeball-to-eyeball on the frozen desert.
In his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Zardari reportedly expressed his willingness to emulate the ‘China model’ in his conduct of foreign policy towards India. The eponymous paradigm refers to the stance India and China adopted towards each other at the turn of this century — keeping aside their differences over the border issue, and despite periodically sniping at each other, the two countries resolved to improve trade relations, and coordinate their activities on international issues pertinent to them. Indo-China trade registered an astonishing growth, rising to over $70 billion from less than $1 billion in 2011.
But then, the nature of relationship between India and China is remarkably different from India-Pakistan. Unlike China, India and Pakistan were once one entity; unprecedented bloodshed accompanied their separation. In contrast, the emergence of People’s Republic of China had the Indian leaders raising toast, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru publicly hoped its liberation would set an example for other countries then still groaning under the colonial yoke. And though animosity seeped into the relationship because of the Indo-China conflict of 1962, history was not provided an overhang as the Chinese returned the Indian territory they had so swiftly occupied.
The overhang of history indeed poses gargantuan problems for India and Pakistan. You can grasp this from comparing India’s stance on Tibet, as against Pakistan’s on Kashmir. India considers Tibet as an inalienable part of China. India neither supported the Tibetan uprising before the 2008 Olympics, nor did it criticise Beijing for brutally crushing it. In fact, Delhi took stringent security measures to ensure Tibetans did not disrupt the ceremony surrounding the Olympic torch relay in Delhi, as it had happened, for instance, in Australia. Even the 30 self-immolations in China over the last few months have not elicited a response from the Indian foreign office.
Will Zardari or political rivals remain silent should such types of protest rock Kashmir? Let us face it: Tibet is neither an emotional nor an electoral issue in India. It does not agitate most Indians. In contrast, Kashmir touches the heart of people in the subcontinent; it is a perennial card in the hands of the politician.
A German cultural institute had once held an essay competition on “How to liberate the present from the past and the future from the present”. Without wrestling with the sinister shadows of history, Indian and Pakistani leaders cannot usher in everlasting peace, until we redefine the word to mean a quieter border, and long periods of darkness interspersed with days of light.
The author is a Delhi-based journalist
Pakistan-China business relationsApril 17, 2012
By: Masood Khan
For me, business is a comprehensive term that includes production, contracts, joint ventures, equity participation, direct investment, financial and banking linkages, and trade. This kind of business between Pakistan and China is going to increase exponentially in the years to come.
Pakistan-China friendship is the stuff of legends. In interstate relations, the strength, longevity and resilience of our relations are cited as a model. Our strategic partnership is the backbone of these relations. But the relationship of the two countries will continue to flourish with full vigour if we ensure fusion of all the three pillars of our relations – strategic, economic and people-to-people exchanges. I am confident that our business relations are going to be as robust as our strategic partnership.
My optimism is based on the following reasons:
One, because of our unanimity on regional and international issues there is an excellent enabling environment for businesses on both sides.
Two, during the frequent high level visits, economic and trade relations are put on top of the bilateral agenda. Every time there is a high level visit, the decision making machineries of the two sides are mobilised to complete existing projects and identify new ones. For instance, a long-term roadmap for cooperation was developed during the recent visits of President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Three, the two sides have developed a good working architecture for economic relations. We have a bilateral Five Year Development Programme for Trade and Economic Cooperation. The first five-year programme has been completed. The second, which starts this year, undertakes 36 projects with planned investment of approximately $14 billion. This programme is run by a ministerial level Joint Economic Commission (JEC) and Economic Cooperation Group (ECG).
Free Trade Agreements on goods, investment and services are stimulating economic and trade ties. Till 2008, in the past 57 years, the cumulative volume of our export to China was $1 billion. In the past three years, Pakistani exports have doubled to $2.2 billion. This is a good trend. We should build on it.
The Joint Energy Working Group, established last year, will oversee development and implementation of hydro, thermal, geo-thermal, coal-fired, solar, wind, biomass, and civil nuclear power projects.
We also have a longstanding protocol for cooperation in the field of science and technology.
The central banks of the two countries last year signed Pak Rupee-Renminbi Currency Swap Arrangement. This should enable traders and investors to settle their transactions in their national currencies. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has opened its branches in Islamabad and Karachi.
A Pakistan-China Joint Investment Company, supported by China Development Bank and Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance, was launched in 2008. Its paid up capital of $200 million needs to be increased.
Four, since the early 1960s, Chinese officials, engineers, bankers, financiers, and corporate leaders have worked in Pakistan. In 1976, former President Jiang Zemin worked in Pakistan to supervise a project. Chinese business leaders know Pakistan’s economic landscape very well. Likewise, Pakistani officials and professionals of several generations have dealt with their counterparts in China. What is more, the leading entities of the two countries have collaborated and even developed common platforms.
If these are the strengths, are there areas where we need to work harder to speed up our business ties? The answer is yes.
First, I would say that although Pakistan and China are close friends, we should try to know each other better. Here the role of universities and research institutions is crucial. We have to understand how business fits into the overall fabric of our societies, as well as into the evolving regional and global scenarios.
In this context, it would be a good idea to establish Pakistan-China centres in all key Pakistani universities. Some have already moved in that direction. We should also reinforce the trend for learning Chinese language and culture in Pakistani schools and colleges. This would produce a new generation of Pakistanis equipped with the skills to deal with China more productively. In China, Pakistan Study Centres are housed in four prestigious Chinese universities – Peking, Tsinghua, Sichuan, and Fudan.
Second, our economic teams and business leaders should learn how to do business with China. Although the world is globalised, the template of doing business with the Western countries would not entirely work in China. For instance, we need to understand a bit deeply, why would a Chinese corporate leader first assess a negotiator’s personality before doing business with his company? What is the relevance of consensual decision making, long-term relationships and win-win solutions in China?
Third, we must focus on youth because they have to inherit this relationship. This is already happening. Hundreds of young students and professionals are exchanging visits each year. This figure should move into thousands and then into millions. I can testify that there is a strong aspiration for that on both sides.
The establishment of a Pakistan-China Young Entrepreneurs Forum will be a good initiative in this context.
Pakistan and China are joined by mountains and rivers. But our most valuable asset is the respect and love our two peoples have for each other. Our proud nations are inheritors of ancient civilisations, which have been influencing each other for millennia. We are doing business today and we did business thousands of years ago through the Silk Route. Now we are making an effort to revive that route.
In the years to come, economic relations are going to get stronger. In Pakistan, expectations have been rekindled to look towards East, especially China, and work with its immediate neighbours. China is developing its Western regions, particularly Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan. Pakistan will be a participant in and beneficiary of that development effort. Both the governments are examining proposals on transportation and energy corridors, as well as transborder and transregional economic zones. They have a huge potential.
Over time, Pakistan will turn into the most important westward artery for China’s exports, as it builds a Eurasian bridge. The ports of Pakistan will shrink distances between China and the Middle East and Africa. The distance from Dubai to Khunjerab is 3,300 miles; from Dubai to Shanghai via the Indian Ocean is 9,000 miles. The advantage is evident.
Simultaneously, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is fostering connectivity among the East, Central and South Asian neighbourhoods. Pakistan is an observer of the SCO and hopes to be its member soon.
Pakistan and China will continue to work together to fight terrorism. Security and stability are must for economic development and growth of businesses. Pakistan provides the best protection for Chinese workers and businesses, which have steadfastly maintained and expanded their presence. We will not lower our guard.
Terrorism is not going to be there forever. In five years time, we will see a different world. The Pakistani nation will soon overcome its current difficulties, realise its full economic potential and emerge as a regional business hub.
Here are some ideas to strengthen Pakistan-China relations.
First, Pakistan’s manufacturing capacity has to be improved. The reason that we cannot export as many products to China as India is because we run out of exportable surplus. Besides, we sell raw materials or semi-finished goods. We need China’s assistance in vocational and educational training in value added textiles, gems and jewellery, light engineering, ceramics and surgical instruments.
Second, the visa regime for Chinese businesses has been made efficient and user-friendly. We hope that the expanding Pakistani business community will be able to obtain multiple entry visas for China with greater ease.
Third, more official purchase missions should visit Pakistan to identify Pakistani products for Chinese markets.
Fourth, the Chinese side may fast track concessional loans that have social development dimension. Pakistan, on its part, may streamline and expedite approval of the Chinese-funded corporate projects.
Fifth, China has encouraged its private enterprises to invest in Pakistan. Some have already done so. Others are looking at our market. This is a good opportunity to lock in Chinese private enterprises’ interest by partnering them with Pakistani public and private entities.
Sixth, universities and institutes, working with the corporate sector, should task researchers to produce studies in areas where Pakistan can find its niche. In fact, they could project Pakistan as an attractive destination for Chinese investment. They should go into specific areas such as oil, gas, solar power, wind power, coal, steel, cement, port development, highways, hybrid seed, and mechanised farming. The ultimate strength of this effort would depend on the data they would use and synthesise, as well as the support they may get from some of the leading Chinese capital investment corporations.
Seventh, collaboration in the fields of science and technology and industrial application is important. In China, many universities are the nurseries for industry. Some have their own industrial plants. Thus, leading Pakistani universities should emulate this model.
Three more thoughts:
In all these efforts, priority areas for collaboration are: science and technology, energy, infrastructure, and telecommunication. There is already agreement, in principle, that China will help Pakistan to enhance its capacity in science, technology and management. Let’s take full benefit of this opportunity.
Chinese businesses in Pakistan must be profitable for both Pakistan and China.
Pakistan-China economic cooperation will not be exclusive or isolationist. It will be designed to feed, bolster and expand regional economies.
n The writer is Pakistan’s Ambassador to China. This article is based on his key note address delivered at Pakistan-China Business Forum organised by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) in Islamabad on April 15, 2013.
Pak-China ties changing?April 21, 2012
One constant in our foreign relations since the early 1960s has been our singularly positive relationship with China, unlike our ties with other countries, which have had their highs and lows. But how well we manage this relationship will determine whether it proves to be an all weather highway or something more mundane.
While our geostrategic value to China is self-evident, especially our ocean frontage, which would give them commercial access to the sprawling Indian Ocean and the countries on its rim, yet there are challenges to be met before that can be turned into a reality.
The problems are numerous, like religious extremism that has made us particularly inhospitable to foreigners; congenital political infighting; gross economic mismanagement and a serious erosion of state authority and state coherence. Another problem has been the mediocrity of our leaders who are totally unschooled in foreign affairs. If these problems persist, China may conclude that we are too big a risk for them to make grandiose long-term investments.
And that’s not all. Our international isolation is another risk that might make China cautious about strategic investments which would increase its dependence on us while exposing them to danger and uncertainty. All of this may cause China to revise its thinking and adopt a much less ambitious approach – not withstanding all the gibberish about our friendship being ‘higher than K-2 and deep than the Indian Ocean’.
Hence, there was alarm when the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman praised Zardari’s trip to India. Not just that. He also accused ‘a country in South Asia’, for providing sanctuary to six Muslim Uighur leaders of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement who ‘not only threaten China’s national security’ but, according to the official Xinhua news agency, ‘poses the most direct and real safety threat that China faces.’ Xinhua also made brief references to how important India-Pakistan normalisation is for China today because Beijing sees subcontinental stability to be in its strategic interest.
Such candour from the reticent Chinese is unusual but unique when directed at Pakistan, even if it is insinuated. Though implicit the message seems clear enough: our very special relationship is losing its lustre and restoring it will now require a new perspective and an updated mindset on our part in a vastly changed environment.
Of course, Pakistan has not connived in the Uighur rebel presence on our soil. And yes, the Chinese have been remiss in their handling of the Muslim Uighurs, a proud and independent people, who once had their own country (East Turkestan Republic or permutations of that) even if briefly.
The Uighurs face religious discrimination in China. They resent being forced to use a state approved version of the Holy Quran. And they have other gripes such as control of mosques and additional restrictions. Competing with other ethnic groups especially the more dominant Han Chinese is another source of tension and misgiving.
But tolerating a separatist movement on our soil is an entirely different matter. No one tolerates separatism or the training of armed separatists on foreign soil. Our own conduct is a good example of our intolerance of such separatism directed at us. Besides, in Xinxiang’s case, we are not looking simply at separatism but also at armed religious extremism (Al-Qaeda backed) who are using ethnic nationalism for ulterior motives and that too in a province of China where the Uighurs themselves, separatists and non-separatists alike, are not in the majority to begin with.
And lest some forget, China has a valid historical claim to Xinjiang. It rightly fears that the independence movement of the Uighurs, which is partly funded if not led by outside sponsors, who seek to grievously weaken China and set back the rapid economic progress that Xinjiang, has made over the past two decades. Besides, internal stability is China’s key concern, especially now that it is on a self-sustaining economic growth trajectory. So it can be expected to react very strongly to any such threats.
The Chinese government statement also suggests that Beijing takes a neutral stance on the India-Pak Kashmir dispute and is more interested in an amicable solution than continued feuding. The India-Pak hostility once served as an opportunity for China to develop a special relationship with us in order to bog down India in the subcontinent, but the situation has changed vastly.
China and India are no longer regional powers with purely localised preoccupations. China is, and India aspires to be, a world power and their interests are far more wide ranging. Indeed, learning to live with their unresolved border disputes and keeping their rivalry within manageable limits has displaced the old world syndrome in which they once lived.
In other words, China believes that stability in the subcontinent is much more in its interest than backing us against India, or letting its bilateral issues with India get out of hand.
Actually, China now regards India as being among the key players on the international economic scene with whom it shares a similar agenda for reform of global financial institutions. Their membership of BRICS, a new global grouping of emerging economies, is a significant illustration of Beijing’s new orientation.
China, therefore, like other countries, is constantly readjusting/recalibrating its strategic perspective and its regional diplomacy and we should be doing the same thing rather than continue clinging on to old perspectives, policies, prescriptions, and hang-ups.
That simply won’t do because our situation too, whether internal or external, has also changed greatly. For a start we are virtually isolated regionally and internationally. Even the special relationship with China is fading. So our foremost concern must be with internal recovery (jobs, countless other things, including bijli, pani, and countless other things) for which an enabling environment is needed.
Much will therefore depend on our relationship with India and finding a way out of the Afghan imbroglio.
A start with India can be made in the aftermath of the Siachen tragedy by finding an interim solution that puts an end to military confrontation on that glacier where even the endangered snow-leopards dare not go, not to mention the abominable Himalayan snowman. We also need other mutually reinforcing steps to steadily turn the relationship around.
Alas, for us, so much has changed around us, and so much more may change in the years just ahead that we cannot continue to pursue old world ambitions especially with old world mindsets. We are in serious danger of being left so far behind that catching up may become an impossible task – just survival alone will become our daily grind.
Decades have passed, yet Pakistan and India are virtually where they were on almost all issues. It’s high time they embraced a dynamic approach and realised that absolute solutions of their complicated problems are best left to the next generation – who hopefully will be less Kautilayan than ours.
Old style nationalism and the ‘nation state’ with its militaristic culture, historical distortions, machismo, etc, are passé. That has become a big drag. Though still important, the ‘nation state’ concept needs a makeover in order to make it more relevant.
In the final analysis, it’s the jihadist mentality that has stalled our progress and brought us to such a sorry pass. And it’s them and the victims of their political influence, both within and outside our establishment, who continue to enjoy the upper hand, while most people, including the Chinese (and others in the outside world) wait for signs of stirring and rejuvenation.
We cannot risk losing our special relationship with Beijing, which we will if we can’t make the transition from the old world to the new one, both with its opportunities and challenges.
The writer is a former ambassador. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
An all-weather friendshipMarch 18, 2013 . 5
President Asif Zardari telephoned new Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, and congratulated him on his assumption of office on March 14. It was right that he should do so, for the two countries have a dynamic all-weather friendship, and the conversation was not limited to diplomatic platitudes, but also included discussions of substantial issues, which reflect the strength of the relationship, which has been characterized as an ‘all-weather friendship’. According to presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar on Sunday, the Pakistani President spoke about the takeover by a Chinese firm of the maintenance and operation of Gwadar port, which was awarded the contract only recently, after the original operator, the Port of Singapore, backed out. Gwadar also gains significance from the fact that Iran has agreed to build an oil refinery there. As China is a major importer of Iranian oil, it is obvious where this refinery’s products would go.
However, though Gwadar indicates how the relationship will develop over time, it does not define the relationship. That is built on China understanding clearly Pakistan’s developmental needs, and its attempts to meet them. China has never played politics with Pakistan’s needs, even if they have included its defence needs, and has not behaved like other world powers, which have always tied strings to whatever help they would offer. It is also worth noting that China has followed Pakistan in resisting Indian propaganda on Kashmir.
China has its own problems in its south-west with India, and thus has had experience of Indian duplicity of its own, making it realize that Pakistan’s claims of it are correct. However, it is not a one-way friendship, for as the JF-17 project has shown, Pakistan also contributes its share in this friendship.
While President Zardari not just invited President Xi to Pakistan, but also mentioned how he had made his own nine visits since taking office. This is healthy, for at this juncture, Pakistan needs to grow even closer to its friends. As Pakistan is also a friend on which China relies, its friendship has become more important at this juncture, when it is surrounded by challenges.
Gwadar handing over: Strategic and economic advantages
Col (Retd) Muhammad Hanif
As reported in a national daily, the Pakistan Government has formally awarded a multi-billion dollars contract for construction of more berths and operation of Gwadar port to a state-run Chinese firm namely China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC). According to the contract the Port will remain the property of Pakistan and will be further developed up to 20 berths as well as operated by the COPHC. Previously, the contract to operate the Port was given to the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).
According to media reports PSA had abandoned the project for the reported reason that Pakistan had failed to meet its obligations under the agreement although it was highlighted in the media reports that PSA failed on its commitment of investing an amount of $525 million in the project in five years on the excuse that its demand of providing land worth Pakistani Rupees 15 billion was not met. Under this back ground, in 2012 the Supreme Court of Pakistan had issued a stay order on the contract of Gwadar Port constraining PSA on transferring immovable property of the Port to a private party. The Supreme Court also allowed the Government of Balochistan to become a party to the case.
In view of Supreme Court’s decision on the subject, based on an offer made to the Balochistan Government in 2010 by China that if given contract of the Port it will construct 20 more berths and make it fully operational, and considering huge economic benefits for Pakistan, China and other regional countries for transportation of trade able goods and hydrocarbons if the expansion and operation of the Port was hastened and made more robust, the contract of the Port has now been awarded to the COPHC.
Awarding of contract of Gwadar Port to COPHC has caught lot of media attention both in Pakistan and abroad. While in Pakistan wide number of members of media, think tanks, business community, government officials and civil society have largely appreciated Government’s this decision due its potential substantial economic benefits for the country, some of the foreign government representatives, think tanks and commentators have shown apprehensions that probably China was interested to use the Port for projecting its naval power in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in the coming decades. As published by the Express Tribune, Pakistan of 18 February 2013, the Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony commented on 6 February 2013 that India was concerned on Pakistan’s decision of handing over operational control of Gwadar Port to China which has interests in a string of other ports encircling India. According to the New York Times of 31 January 2013, some US strategists have described the importance of Gwadar Port for China as the westernmost link in the “string of pearls”, a line of China friendly ports stretching from mainland China to the Persian Gulf, that could ultimately ease expansion by the Chinese Navy in the region, with Gwadar being close to Strait of Hormuz, an important oil- shipping lane. Andrew Small said that most likely Gwadar Port will be developed by China for naval use.
In fact, as is being understood in Pakistan and China, such perceptions and apprehensions have no relevance since development and use of Gwadar Port is basically meant for trading activities directed to the benefit of all mankind in the region around Pakistan and other regions interested to trade through this Port. In an article written by Declan Walsh, published in the New York Times dated 31 January 2013, Assistant Professor of Asian history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Hasan Karrar says, “There may be a strategic dimension to the management transfer of the Gwadar Port to China, where the Chinese want to mark their presence in an important part of the world, I would not go so far as saying this implies a military projection.”
In the real sense the development of Gwadar Port by China for commercial purposes is an indicator that both Pakistan and China prefer the policy of primacy of geo-economics over geo-politics in this part of the world. In this respect it is being thought by both countries that expansion and smooth operation of the Gwadar Port carries major economic benefits not only for Pakistan and China but also for other regional countries such as Central Asian states and even Russia. Therefore both countries’ keenness in Gwadar Port is meant to advance their commercial interests and strengthen their economies. Pakistan is more inclined to draw economic benefits out of operation of this Port quickly with a view to addressing its already fragile economic situation. Therefore for advancing their economic interests both Pakistan and China are aspiring to strengthen regional peace and stability.
For this common objective in mind both countries are interested to develop this Port as an economic hub of the region and not as a naval base. That is the reason that in his remarks at the occasion of contract signing ceremony President Zardari expressed that award of contract to china was a major development in Pakistan-China relations adding that the decision would create new economic opportunities for Pakistan and Balochistan.
The analysts are of the view that the expansion and efficient management of Gawder Port carries lot of advantages for Pakistan and China. Development of the Port and infrastructure around it will create lot of jobs for the people of Balochistan. It will also provide business opportunities for transport, construction and hotels management sectors of Pakistan.
However real benefits could be earned only if the Port city can be connected with country’s main road and rail net works by developing communication infrastructure up to Quetta and Indus Highway. While these projects will provide wider opportunities for investment to China there will also be a requirement to complete the planned widening of Karakoram Highway and construction of railway line from Chinese border to Hasan Abdal.
The completion of expansion of the port and communication infrastructure will also open up lot of vistas for Pakistan’s domestic trade and trade with China’s Xingjiang province and also trade with Central Asian states and Russia as well. Gwadar will be very beneficial for trade of western part of China with the western part of the world since, as compared with the distance of about 10000 kilometers from Gwadar to Arumqi via Straits of Malacca and Shenghai, distance from Gwadar to Arumqi via Gilgit, Pakistan is only approximately 2500 Kilometers. While the development projects related to Gwadar can bring massive China’s investment in Pakistan it will also open up immense commercial activities to the benefit of Pakistani people.
A fully developed Gwadar Port and related infrastructure will provide full impetus to international trade passing through this Port to and from Pakistan, China, Central Asia and Russia providing substantial trade transit revenues to Pakistan which will facilitate its economic development. However for these plans to succeed there will be a need to bring an early peace in Afghanistan and Balochistan.
As an immediate measure Pakistan will have to make fool proof measures for the security of the Chinese citizens working on Gwadar Port as well as on other related development projects in Pakistan.
Since peace talks with the Afghan Taliban are already in progress it is hoped that peace will come in Afghanistan leading to sustainable stability in that country and Pakistan which will facilitate economic development in both countries and also open up trade avenues for the regional countries.
(The writer works for Islamabad Policy Research Institute)
The next logical step
April 07, 2013
The new Chinese government is firmly in power. President Xi Jinping’s government has taken its first tangible and decisive steps in the international arena.
These steps indicate a continuation of policies to further strengthen the economy. They acknowledge too the potential implications of the US strategic pivot to the Asia Pacific and the economic and strategic connotations of the possible closure of the Malacca Straits. This highlights the Chinese need to diversify and secure their future supplies of fossil fuels and mineral resources ‘independent’ of this significant maritime bottleneck.
Not surprisingly, Russia was the first port of call of President Xi, followed by a trip to Africa that culminated in the BRICS summit.
Russia is emerging as a major energy supplier to China.
The Chinese have a projected gap of 150 bcm of gas in 2020. The current deals with Russia would bring in about 30 bcm with an option to increase it to 60 bcm. Russia will increase its oil supplies to a million barrels per day. While China will invest in the development of coal resources and related infrastructure in East Serbia and the Russian Far East.
China signed scores of deals with the Republic of Congo and Tanzania that generally covered oil and untapped mineral resources.
The Chinese, however, could further secure their energy and mineral supplies from the South-Central Asian Region (SCAR) and the Middle East too.
The CARs, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan are abundantly rich in energy and mineral resources. The latter two have huge mineral resources albeit untapped. The Chinese have the financial resources (China Development Bank), the need and the will to exploit these energy and mineral resources for mutual benefit.
China is already financing the Kazakhstan-China oil as well as the Trans-Asia gas pipelines. Russia will also be constructing a cross-frontier oil pipeline. Iran could supply additional gas and oil to Xinjiang Province through Pakistan. Thus, a substantial part of China’s fossil fuel requirements could be met independent of the Malacca Straits.
The mineral reserves of Afghanistan and Pakistan could meet most of China’s industrial requirements. Afghan mineral wealth has been estimated at between $1-3 trillion with enormous reserves of lithium, in particular. Pakistan’s mineral riches may be even higher. These have, however, attracted the unwarranted attention of some US Congressmen whose actions have generated trouble in Balochistan. Their intentions have so obviously been to first create troubled waters and then fish in them.
Vast deposits of fossil fuels, copper and gold and many other rare ones have been discovered at Saindak, Reko Diq and other unexploited sites. Pakistan and China could exploit these riches to meet their mutual requirements for the long run.
Pakistan also has over a billion tons of coal deposits at Thar, Sindh. This could be used to generate enormous amounts of electricity, industrial activity and exports.
The Makran Coast and its hinterland must be developed under a long-term, two-pronged vision; it should aim to first develop critical infrastructure in Balochistan extending road and rail networks westwards, northwestwards and northwards; then it must aim to invite foreign and domestic investment to exploit the natural riches of Pakistan for common benefit. Robust economic activity should bring in a peaceful environment dealing a death blow to militancy and terrorism and even help defeat foreign meddling in Balochistan in particular from the CIA-MI6-RAW-Mossad-NDS combine.
Pakistan and China must decisively develop Gwadar, Ormara, Pasni, Jiwani, Port Qasim and Karachi as world class ports of immense economic and strategic significance.
The Arab States, Iran, Turkey, China, Russia and CARs could be encouraged to invest in the development of the infrastructure of the hinterland with power plants and a vast network of roads and railways linking the Makran coastline to Iran and Turkey one the one hand, and the CARs and Russia on the other. A separate north-south trade corridor staying west of the River Indus (road, railways, oil and gas pipelines) could be created between China and Pakistan linking the Xinjiang province with the Makran hinterland. The New Silk Road Project must of necessity swing south and connect itself with the Makran coastline.
Keeping in mind the vast amounts of minerals in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a series of special economic and industrial zones could be specifically created in the Makran hinterland for China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Arab States, etc. These industrial and economic zones should be required to only export value added products to the whole world. The first right to jobs must of necessity go to the people of Balochistan, who should have been already trained for the specific purpose of working in these economic zones.
This matter could also be broached at the SCO forum if need be!
The Makran hinterland should also be developed into a trading hub for fossil fuels. Oil and gas pipelines must converge onto in Gwadar and surrounding areas from the Middle East, from Iran and the CARs. Thence, they should travel to China and even India. (The Indian Minister has recently shown a desire to rejoin the IP gas pipeline project. Pakistan must only allow India to rejoin this and other projects - “if the price is right.” Else they can watch the world go by from the sidelines. Period).
The IP and TAP (I-?) gas pipelines must of necessity be converted into an IPC (I-?) and a TAPC (I-?) pipeline. Iran has already announced the establishment of an oil refinery at Gwadar. The Arab States and CARs must also be encouraged to do likewise. The CARs should be encouraged to refine and export their fossil fuels through the various ports on the Makran Coast. Similarly, Russia’s historic quest for all-weather warm water ports be fulfilled by encouraging it to use the Makran Coast for its substantial exports and imports.
A planned and visionary development of the Makran hinterland could bring in limitless prosperity to the peoples of Pakistan, Afghanistan, the region and beyond.
Pakistan and China’s interests converge here massively. They must be manifested in the rapid development of the Makran hinterland for mutual and regional benefit.
The writer is a retired brigadier and a former defence attaché to Australia and New Zealand. Currently, he is on the faculty of NUST (NIPCONS). Email: email@example.com
Sino-Pak naval cooperation reiterated
S M Hali
The history of Pakistan’s relations with its friends is replete with concrete examples of the contribution of People’s Republic of China towards building a strong and robust Pakistan, enabling the latter to stand on its own feet.
Pakistan and China enjoy diverse and intimate relationship since their creation six decades ago. Throughout this period, China has remained a steadfast ally of Pakistan and has extended assistance in all fields, including defence that commenced in the mid-sixties. The naval collaboration got off to a rather belated, but steady start.
Following the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Sino-Pak naval cooperation grew multifold due to Western sanctions on the latter. The Pakistani navy, comprising vintage colonial era warships and lacking effective and agile naval platforms, was at the mercy of the Indian navy’s fast missile and gunboats in the conflict.
To plug this capability gap, China proceeded to supply naval craft of various types to Pakistan, which joined its navy in batches throughout the 70s and early 80s. These included Huchuan class fast attack hydrofoil craft, Hainan class submarine chasers, Shanghai-II class fast patrol/gun boats, Huang Fen class fast attack missile craft and Hegn class fast attack missile craft. They added a new dimension to the Pakistan Navy (PN) fleet and enabled it to effectively carry out surveillance of its southeast sector along the Pakistani coast whose vulnerability was exposed during the 1971 war.
In June 1978, China’s Vice President, along with his delegation and President of Pakistan, visited the PN fleet and witnessed firepower display of Chinese crafts in open sea. By 1984, the entire flotilla of promised Chinese ships had been integrated into the PN and was employed for surveillance and patrolling off our ports and coastal cities of Bin Qasim, Pasni and Gwadar.
The successful experience of Chinese naval platforms reiterated the PN’s confidence in China’s naval hardware, prompting Pakistan to venture into acquisition of larger naval vessels. A bilateral agreement was, therefore, signed with it for the construction of 20,000 tons fleet replenishment tanker in early 1986. The ship was constructed according to the navy’s requirements and commissioned as PNS NASR in August 1987, which still continues to provide sterling service.
In the 1990s, the slapping of Pressler Amendment on Pakistan by the US impelled its defence planners to seek further Beijing’s assistance and cooperation in the field of naval construction and aim for indigenisation. So the construction and induction of missile craft, PNS JALALAT and later PNS SHUJAAT in late 90s, bore fruitful results.
Besides undertaking bilateral naval visits, the relationship blossomed in 2005 when the deal to acquire four F-22P frigates under Transfer of Technology (ToT) package was signed with China. Under this agreement, three ships were to be constructed in China, while the fourth one in Pakistan with Chinese assistance. The arrangement have gone ahead as planned and to-date three frigates have been commissioned and integrated into the PN fleet, while the fourth one, constructed by Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, is scheduled to be commissioned this month. These state-of-the-art ships are designed to operate in multi-threat environment and are fitted with sophisticated sensors suite and weapons.
They also carry Z-9EC helicopters that have been delivered to the PN, optimised for anti-submarine warfare operations. Our navy’s experience of F-22P ships and Z-9EC helicopters has been an unqualified success that has encouraged it to enter into various major acquisition projects with China.
In the same context, PN signed a deal under ToT with China in 2011 for the construction of two fast missile crafts. They were to be constructed one each at China and Pakistan and would also carry advanced missiles capable of hitting targets at extended ranges with precision.
In addition, it has signed a deal with China for the induction of radar controlled guns and low level air defence radars for the terminal air defence of its vital installations. It will not only boost the PN’s quest to attain self-sufficiency in the construction of naval hardware, but also provide it with quality equipment to address its shortfalls.
The high point of Sino-Pak relations has culminated in China’s assistance in the construction of the first phase of Gwadar port, while its administrative control has also been acquired by it.
Sis by side, the People's Liberation Army Navy’s regular participation in bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with Pakistan Navy have enriched the experience of both navies in meeting maritime challenges and reiterates naval cooperation.
The writer is a former group captain of PAF, who also served as air and naval attaché at Riyadh. Currently, he is a columnist, analyst and host of programme Defence and Diplomacy on PTV. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter@nairangezamana
Maritime challenges of 21st century and Sino Pak friendship
A perpetual transition is one of the prominent attributes of the international political system. The conversion occurs because of the interplay of several factors. The alterations in the characteristics of revisionist and status quo powers nonetheless play significantly in this endless change.
Consequently, states directly experience impact of international political order on their economic and strategic environment from time to time, leading to convergence or divergence of interests between states. Accordingly, in international relations, today’s foe could be friend tomorrow and vice versa. It is under this pattern of a system characterized by varying state-interests that statesmen govern foreign affairs and craft foreign policies of their states. Therefore, the only key to successful and reliable state to state relations is mutual convergence of interests. Only convergence of interest can ensure the possibility of long-term and trust worthy relationships among states.
The coming of twenty-first century has witnessed an intense rise in pressure of growing trade, energy transit and other economic activities between states. Growing dependency of international trade and other economic activities on sea-routes has made state-to-state maritime relations even more crucial. Moreover, a proportional rise in illegal activities on sea domain such as piracy, drug/human trafficking terrorism, environmental issues have added to maritime security challenges. The intensity of the issue demands a proper code of conduct to be followed, in order to ensure secure and safe maritime domain for economic activities. Although this is a matter of global concern, however; keeping in view the peculiar nature of South Asian environment, a rational response from Pakistan was obvious.
In the changing and competitive environment, Pakistan has a multi-layered national interest to protect. The shores of Arabian Sea have a major role in promoting its national interest. Its maritime routes impact several aspects of its national security and economic welfare of the state. Because of this significance of the country’s maritime domain, it was considered essential to build a strong indigenous naval capability to cope with the growing challenges and threats of twenty-first century. For time to time Pakistan has tried to secure its maritime domain from external threats and challenges yet the state cannot meet these challenges all alone. For this purpose, China was considered to be the most reliable source, and in a decades-long friendship, China has verily proven itself a reliable maritime ally. Of late, the evolving geo-political realities, regional challenges and shared perceptions has given a new impetus to this enduring partnership.
The Sino-Pak maritime relationship can be explained with reference to the aforementioned “mutual convergence of interest” frame of analysis. The relations between Pakistan and China are not only rooted deep in the region’s history but are founded on mutual trust underscored by commonality of interests. Both states share a particular geographical location and common perceptions on myriad regional challenges and threats. The leadership of both sides has always tried to enhance mutual cooperative ties in economic, defence and various other sectors.
Although Sino-Pak defense ties were established in mid 60s, cooperation in the maritime sector had to wait till after the war of 1971, when Pakistan Navy considered it critically urgent to review the naval strategy. An effort got underway to replace mostly WWII vintage ex-British warships. Since China as a policy then did not venture into Blue waters and remained restricted to operations in the coastal or brown waters, PLA Navy had not invested in heavy naval combatants capable of conducting sustained operations in deeper waters. Nonetheless China’s assistance came handy as induction of several Fast Patrol Boats in quick succession in mid 70s was followed by provision of a number of anti-submarine corvettes.
In 80s, PN acquired its first batch of missile boats from China. The era of 90s later saw a new boom in Pak-China maritime collaboration. A number of programs were inked between PN and PLA-N including port calls and bilateral training. Construction of missile craft PNS SHUJAAT and PNS JALALAT equipped with long range surface to surface missiles at KS&EW was also the result of this expanding collaboration. There has been no looking back since. With PLA- N discarding its early strategy of inshore operations and duly replacing it with operations in the wider and larger sea expanse of Pacific and Indian Oceans, its technology, weapon, sensors and construction of large ships skills and thinking has undergone massive shift. A key lesson drawn by Pakistan Navy both during and following the cold war era was that for provision of ships and advance technology necessary in naval warfare, it could not wholly depend on foreign equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The PN-PLA Navy have fortunately and triumphantly ushered into an era of collaboration which is marked by the construction of large surface combatants.
In 2005 a contractual deal with ToT was signed between PN and PLA Navy. According to the stipulations, four F-22 P class Frigates were to be delivered to Pakistan Navy. Out of these, three were to be constructed in Chinese Shipyard, while the fourth was to be constructed in Pakistan at KS&EW with Chinese assistance. While three Chinese built frigates have since become integral part of PN fleet, the last one PNS ASLAT, being built at the Karachi Shipyard is expected to be formally commissioned in the PN fleet in April, 2013.
From a pure strategic and economic perspective, the commissioning of PNS ASLAT while being a giant leap towards indigenization of warship construction in Pakistan, it also revitalizes and breathes a new life in KSEW to become a viable state enterprise capable of undertaking similar orders from regional countries in future.
PNS ASLAT had successfully gone through Harbour and Sea trials in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Outfitted with cutting edge combat system and technology, the ship is capable of multiple operations including anti-submarine and anti-surface. It has a Z9EC helicopter onboard which can conduct variety of operations. With the integration of four modern frigates, Pakistan Navy’s potential in securing national maritime interests in the far reaches of the western Indian Ocean has received a tremendous boost. It has also spiked the level of confidence in Sino-Pak maritime relationship and is a landmark achievement for both navies.
China’s regular participation in multinational exercise AMAN, organized by PN, since 2007 onwards; its role in construction of Pakistan’s deep water port Gwadar and later on acquiring its operational rights, and rendering technological and professional assistance in the construction of Fast Attack Missile Craft at Karachi shipyard, are also landmarks of Sino-Pak maritime cooperation.
Energy is going to be the most influential factor behind shaping and reshaping international relations in the twenty-first century. Because of energy reserves and its transit, the significance of maritime domain of the Indian Ocean, which Pakistan and China both share through the Arabian Sea, is going to rise further in this “energy-century”, leading to proportional increase in the significance of their maritime cooperation. World is gradually moving towards a multi-polar system, where there would be more than one centers of economic and military power. Such a change would require from smaller powers to align themselves with larger groups of states to serve their needs. Whereas, having uninterrupted supply of goods, oil, raw materials for economic needs and security of their strategic sphere would require from the major powers to have strong ties with neighbouring states. Moreover, to prevent high seas from anarchy, multilateral cooperation appears to be the only viable option.
Beijing and Islamabad thus share many areas of common interests which solidify their friendship and co-operation. The maritime domain is just one such area which highlights the depth and intensity of their friendship. Therefore, this possible scenario strengthens the hypothesis that the convergence of interest does help forging a long-term and reliable relationship between two states.
(UMM-E-HABIBA is MSc. IR and a research-analyst of Pakistan and global affairs specifically maritime affairs)
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