China and US Battle For Influence in Pakistan

Top US and Chinese diplomats have visited Pakistan to meet with the country's new prime minister Mr. Imran Khan within days of his assuming office. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the first to call on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. Pompeo's visit was soon followed by a three-day visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status, according to the US-based Wall Street Journal.

There is a lot of speculation in the western media about the objectives of Pakistan policies being pursued by the two great powers and their impact on the US-China competition for world dominance. Such speculations have centered on the debt related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the US leverage in potential IMF bailout of Pakistan.

American business publication Wall Street Journal has produced a short video explaining how its staff sees what it describes as "US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan". What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status. Here are the key points it makes:

1. The US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan is about global dominance sought by the two great powers.

2. If China succeeds, it could become the new center of global trade. If the US wins, it could frustrate China's push to become a global power. The impact of it will be felt around the world for decades.

3. China has already surpassed the United States as the world's biggest exporter of goods and services.

4. The biggest project in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in which China is investing heavily and providing massive loans.

5. China could use the infrastructure built in Pakistan under CPEC to gain access to the Indian Ocean and supplant the United States in Pakistan.

6. CPEC-related spending is sinking Pakistan deeper in debt to China. It could force Pakistan to seek $8 billion to $12 billion bailout by IMF where US is the biggest shareholder with veto power.

7. US does not want the IMF bailout money to be used to repay Chinese debt. Not bailing out Pakistan is not an option because it could cost US an important ally in the region.

8. US could, however, use IMF bailout to limit what Pakistan can borrow from China. Such a condition will achieve the US objective of significantly slowing down CPEC and BRI.

9. Pakistan's dilemma is that it needs both the infrastructure improvements financed by China and the IMF bailout to ease pressure on its dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

10. Whoever wins in Pakistan will become the number one global superpower.


Can US "Spend Them (Chinese) Into Oblivion"?

Here's the Wall Street Journal video:

https://youtu.be/wvw-85CC1t4




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring Balance of Payment Crisis?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Pakistan's IT Exports Surging

Can Indian Economy Survive Without Western Capital Inflows?

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Chinese Yuan to Replace US $ as Reserve Currency?

Remittances From Overseas Pakistanis

Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?

China to Expand Manufacturing in Special Economic Zones

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#China, #Pakistan agree to open economic corridor to #investors from other countries to ease concerns about the strategic intent behind its vast #infrastructure push . #UnitedStates #India #CPEC #BRI https://sc.mp/2CPkfgJ via @SCMPNews

The agreement was reached during a meeting in Islamabad between Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khursro Bakhtiar.

In a statement released after the meeting on Sunday, Pakistan’s planning and development ministry said the country had introduced new socioeconomic targets for the project, and agreed to establish a mechanism for third-party participation.

On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed the decision, saying the two sides would open up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to other countries and that it would benefit the whole region.


The move is the latest sign of Beijing trying to adjust its approach amid a series of setbacks in countries involved in its “Belt and Road Initiative”. The economic corridor is a flagship project under that strategy, which aims to build a huge trade and infrastructure network spanning Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Beijing wanted involvement from “countries friendly to both Pakistan and China because it wished to steer clear of adverse criticism, particularly from the US and India”.

China, Pakistan can resolve investment problems, but ‘belt and road’ concerns should not be ignored, experts say
Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the move was an effort to address the backlash over China’s activities in the region.

“Inviting a third party will help to ease concerns and the view that there is strategic intent behind the cooperation between China and Pakistan – in particular concerns held by India,” Zhao said.

He added that inviting third countries to take part would also help to improve the global standing and recognition of the projects.

Sun Shihai, an expert in South Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was learning lessons from recent setbacks but that overall its global infrastructure push was on track.

“China needs to reflect on the problems that have emerged as it makes progress with the belt and road,” Sun said. “The uneven distribution of benefits among different provinces and regions in Pakistan may have caused some grievances and scepticism within Pakistan – China can make adjustments and address these issues.”

The US$60 billion Gwadar port deal is one of the projects that has drawn criticism. The US and India see the port project as China seeking to extend its geopolitical influence, while there have been warnings from the International Monetary Fund and others that Chinese infrastructure investments will create a debt trap for Pakistan.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the economic corridor.

But the day before, the Financial Times quoted Abdul Razak Dawood – the Pakistani member of cabinet responsible for commerce, textiles, industry and investment – as saying that companies from Pakistan had been put in a “disadvantaged” position. He suggested that Pakistan should “put everything on hold for a year” and even “stretch CPEC out over another five years or so”.

Facing a trade war and bumps along the belt and road, China may have to revisit the cost of its grand plan
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng denied Pakistan was seeking to delay or extend the project, saying “Pakistan-China relations are impregnable and the government’s commitment to the CPEC is unwavering”.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan keen to start #CPEC’s next phase. #China has invited Prime Minister #ImranKhan to attend the China International Import Expo as the guest of honor at the conference to be attended by members of Belt and Road Initiative. #BRI #trade #exports
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1803731/1-pakistan-keen-start-cpecs-next-phase/

The Chinese government has invited Prime Minister Khan to attend the China International Import Expo. Pakistan is the guest of honour at the conference to be attended by members of the Belt and Road Initiative.

It added that the joint working groups meetings were planned to be convened in October. There are five working groups: planning, energy, transport, Gwadar and industrial parks.

Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan gave an overview of the ongoing projects and rundown of the schedule of the upcoming events, leading to the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC).

The cabinet committee endorsed the government’s new priority list of CPEC. The committee decided to prioritise development of Gwadar, Special Economic Zones, Pakistan Railways $9 billion Main Line 1 project, inclusion of social sector development and third-country participation in CPEC, according to the official handout

The committee – the highest bilateral decision-making body – has planned to hold its 8th meeting in the first week of December in China, declared the planning ministry.

The PTI government has undertaken an internal review of CPEC aimed at making it more representative of the aspirations of the people.

Also, the Chinese ambassador on Friday met PM’s Adviser on Textile and Industry Razak Dawood. Both the sides agreed to work more closely to build a brighter and prosperous future for the region, according to a statement issued by the minister’s office after the meeting.

----
Meanwhile, the 8th JCC will review progress on the implementation of decisions taken during the 7th JCC that was held in November last year.

The officials said progress could not be made on most of the issues that had been decided in the last JCC meeting.

At present, 22 projects worth $28.6 billion are under various phases of implementation under CPEC. They include energy projects estimated at $34.8 billion, road projects at $5.8 billion, ML-1 at $9 billion and Gwadar port and city projects.

The 7th JCC meeting had agreed to resolve the issue of the revolving fund, which was to be set up to make energy payments to Chinese investors. However, the issue remains unresolved till date.

In a related development, the Pakistan Private Infrastructure Board extended the deadlines of a few projects that were falling behind schedule.

The deadlines on ML-I project could not be met. Both the sides agreed to finalise the preliminary design of the project by November 2017 that remains outstanding.

Progress on four provincial road projects – Mansehra-Muzaffarabad-Mirpur Motorway, Gilgit-Shandur-Chitral Road, Naukundi-Mashkhel-Panjgur Road and Keti Bandar port development – could not be made either.

The greater Peshawar Mass Transit Circular Rail and the Quetta Mass Transit projects also remained on papers during the past one year.

The resolution of the Gwadar Water supply scheme of five million gallons per day had been declared an urgent priority by the 7th JCC. So far, no tangible progress has been made.

Bottlenecks to the construction of 300 megawatts Gwadar coal-fired power plant could not be removed, and Pakistan now wants to address it during the prime minister’s visit.

China and Pakistan had also agreed to start construction on the New Gwadar International Airport within six months of signing of the implementation agreement. But work on the project has yet to be started.

However, a Chinese delegation is expected to visit Pakistan soon to discuss the airport project, the officials said.

Similarly, four out of nine prioritised Special Economic Zones have also remained stuck for the past one year.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's army chief Gen Bajwa visits #Beijing after 'Silk Road' tension. He is most senior figure to visit staunch ally #China since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August. #CPEC #BRI https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-china-military/pakistans-army-chief-visits-beijing-after-silk-road-tension-idUSKCN1LW0PR

Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed.

Bajwa may be hoping in Beijing to smooth out any Chinese alarm at comments last week by Pakistan’s commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, who suggested suspending for a year projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan leg of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that includes recreating the old Silk Road trading route.

Bajwa, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), regularly holds meetings with world leaders due to the Pakistan armed forces’ outsize influence in the nuclear-armed nation, where the military controls security and dictates major foreign policy decisions.


“During the visit COAS will interact with various Chinese leaders including his counterpart,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, the military spokesman, tweeted late on Sunday.

Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project.

Dawood, in an interview with the Financial Times, also suggested the CPEC contracts had been unfairly negotiated by the previous government and were too favorable to the Chinese. Later he said the comments were taken out of context, but did not dispute their veracity.

The critical comments were published just after China’s top diplomat, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, visited Pakistan and the two sides reaffirmed the mutual benefits of the Beijing-funded projects.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s government said it wanted CPEC to include more projects with a focus on socio-economic development, something which would align more with the populist agenda of Khan’s new administration.
Riaz Haq said…
#China says #military ties 'backbone' to relations with #Pakistan. Belt and Road initiative (#BRI) should be a benchmark for China-Pakistan ties. #CPEC https://reut.rs/2PHj04s

Military ties between China and Pakistan are the “backbone” of relations between the two countries, a senior Chinese general told Pakistan’s visiting army chief, days after a Pakistani minister stirred unease about Chinese Silk Road projects.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the most senior Pakistani figure to visit ally China since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August, and his trip comes a week or so after a senior Chinese diplomat visited Islamabad.

Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed.

Bajwa may be hoping to smooth out any Chinese alarm at comments last week by Pakistan’s commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, who suggested suspending for a year projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Pakistan leg of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that includes recreating the old Silk Road trading route.

On Tuesday, Zhang Youxia, a deputy chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission which President Xi Jinping heads, reiterated to Bajwa that the two countries are “all weather” strategic cooperative partners.


“China-Pakistan military ties are an important backbone of relations between the two countries,” said Zhang according to a statement by China’s Defence Ministry late on Tuesday.

“The two militaries should further pay close attention to practical cooperation in all areas, keep raising the ability to deal with various security risks and challenges, and join hands to protect the common interests of both countries.”

However, Zhang cited Xi as saying that the Belt and Road initiative should be a benchmark for China-Pakistan ties.

He said China appreciated the new Pakistan government’s platform of fully promoting the relationship and that China was willing to work with the new government to push construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project.
Riaz Haq said…
Reform the IMF to reflect new economic landscape
From Kavaljit Singh, Director, Madhyam New Delhi, India
an hour ago
Martin Sandbu rightly warns about the diminishing role of the IMF as a crisis manager ( Free Lunch, September 19). The challenges faced by the fund are much bigger than its lack of financial resources to put out fires.

The current financial market turmoil in Argentina shows the IMF’s standby loan of $50bn — the largest ever credit line in IMF history — has failed to provide an effective anchor for addressing financial vulnerabilities and bolstering market confidence. The immediate disbursement of $15bn (30 per cent of the total IMF loan) to Argentina did not help in averting currency collapse or arresting capital flight.

These developments in Argentina may deter other emerging market economies to seek financial support from the IMF as its ability to provide the missing anchor for financial stability has been seriously undermined.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, new bilateral and regional mechanisms for crisis management have emerged, but they have remained largely untested. Hence, there is a need to implement quota and voice reforms at the IMF to better reflect the new economic landscape. In addition, the IMF should move away from the orthodoxy in terms of economic thinking and adopt a more nuanced approach towards capital controls that have proved to be effective tools in curbing capital outflows.

Kavaljit Singh
Director, Madhyam New Delhi, India
Riaz Haq said…
Free Lunch: The good, the bad and the ugly in structural reform
IMF finds no productivity gain from labour market deregulation
MARTIN SANDBU

https://www.ft.com/content/e9c6e16e-e349-11e4-9a82-00144feab7de

Not all reforms are created equal

"Not helpful" was then-commissioner Olli Rehn's reaction a few years ago when the International Monetary Fund realised - and duly publicised - that it had underestimated the harm fiscal austerity inflicted on growth. The rest of us may beg to differ: it's a good thing when a large economic research and policy institution improves our knowledge and even better if policies improve as a result. The implication of the new take on fiscal multipliers was that the eurozone and the IMF had made the recession worse by overdoing the fiscal belt-tightening.

The IMF is being helpfully unhelpful again. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the fund's World Economic Outlook, in particular its Chapter 3, which analyses the worldwide fall in productivity growth. But the most interesting bits were only hinted at in chief economist Olivier Blanchard's presentation on Tuesday. A blog post by Francesco Saraceno proves that it pays to read until the end of the WEO Chapter 3. Tucked away in the last pages (Box 3.5, p104), is a short study on how productivity is affected by structural reforms.

To point out the obvious, this is particularly relevant to the eurozone, where structural reforms are imposed on the weakest members, bought from stronger countries in return for extended deadlines on deficit reduction, and insisted on by the ECB as the counterpart for its doing the monetary heavy lifting. So you might think Europeans would be particularly keen to find out if reforms achieved their promise.

The IMF estimates the effect of labour market reforms and product market reforms separately. Product market liberalisation - reforms that increase competition in the sale of goods and services - have a positive effect on productivity, especially in the service sectors, but the short-term effect is negative. Meanwhile, labour market deregulation does not help productivity at all, and even has negative effects in the short run. The figure below summarises the findings:

https://www.ft.com/__origami/service/image/v2/images/raw/http%3A%2F%2Fim.ft-static.com%2Fcontent%2Fimages%2Faf0857a8-e356-11e4-9a82-00144feab7de.png?source=next&fit=scale-down&width=600


Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/e9c6e16e-e349-11e4-9a82-00144feab7de

I'll write that again. Product market liberalisation is good for productivity in the long run but costly in the short run. Labour market deregulation shows only bad effects on productivity. Blanchard's euphemism is that "structural reforms are no miracle cure - the effects are very often uncertain". Indeed. You might think that in a rational world, better knowledge about what works and what doesn't would inform policy decisions and help us move on from the generic call for "reform". You might even hope that it would inform the current stand-off in Greece, whose government says it is keen to weaken product market monopolies but undo some of the labour market reforms (on collective bargaining and minimum wages) enforced by creditors.

Riaz Haq said…
#China's top diplomat says plots to disrupt ties with #Pakistan will fail. #CPEC #BRI #US #India http://po.st/n8y86Y via @ChannelNewsAsia

Any plots to sow discord in China's ties with Pakistan will not prevail, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Tuesday, as Beijing fends off criticism of its economic projects in Pakistan and a clampdown in China's western Xinjiang region.

China has pledged US$57 billion (£43 billion) to build power stations, major highways, new railways and high capacity ports along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road plan to further tie China to Eurasia.

The sustainability of Chinese projects has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July warned that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan's troubled economy should not be used to pay off Chinese lenders. Both Beijing and Islamabad say the loans are sustainable.

China welcomes the good start made in its "all-weather" partnership with Pakistan following the election of the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan, State Councillor Wang Yi told Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

But "any conspiracies attempting to incite disharmony or interfere in China-Pakistan relations will not prevail," Wang added, without elaborating, according to a statement released by China's foreign ministry on Wednesday.

China and Pakistan should continue to make "all-out" efforts to promote the economic corridor, expand trade and reduce poverty to bring more benefits to the ordinary people of Pakistan, Wang said.

The relationship between China and Pakistan will not change, regardless of circumstantial changes, Qureshi told Wang, according to China's statement.

The corridor is "extremely important" to Pakistan and has brought "deep impact" for jobs, development and livelihood, and Islamabad will take effective measures to ensure the security of the entire route, he added.

Beijing has faced growing international criticism from rights groups, some western nations and United Nations human rights experts over its sweeping security crackdown in the far western region of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.

Islamabad, like most governments of majority Muslim countries, has so far remained silent on the issue, but a group of Pakistani businessmen whose Chinese wives and children have been trapped in Xinjiang are lobbying the new government to help pressure Beijing into allowing their release.

Beijing says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in Xinjiang and has rejected accusations of mistreatment.


Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/china-says-plots-to-disrupt-ties-with-pakistan-will-fail-10758750
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan, #Russia ink deal for feasibility study on $10b offshore #gas pipeline.The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (#CPEC) has now entered the industrialization phase and needs gas for duty and tax-free Special Economic Zones (#SEZs). https://tribune.com.pk/story/1812965/2-pakistan-russia-ink-deal-feasibility-study-10b-offshore-pipeline/

Pakistan and Russia signed a deal on Thursday for conducting feasibility study on a planned $10-billion offshore gas pipeline, an idea coined by Moscow to capture the energy market of Pakistan.
Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) Additional Secretary Sher Afgan and Deputy Energy Minister of Russia Anatoly Yanovsky signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for undertaking the study.

Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) Managing Director Mobin Saulat was also present at the ceremony. On the occasion, the two sides expressed interest in enhancing bilateral relations in the energy sector.
ISGS – a state-owned Pakistani company established to handle gas import projects which is already working on schemes like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline – has been designated by Pakistan for executing the pipeline project along with Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

Gazprom will conduct the feasibility study and bear its expenses in order to assess economic viability and cost of the project.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now entered the industrialisation phase and needs gas for duty and tax-free Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The offshore gas pipeline will meet energy needs of the industries being set up in the SEZs along the CPEC route.

According to officials, the pipeline will connect Pakistan and Russia and act as an energy corridor between the two countries.

“Strategically, it is a very important project as the two countries will come closer to each other,” an official said. “At the same time, Pakistan will gain access to the Russian market in order to boost its overall exports which remained stagnant during five-year tenure of the PML-N government.”

Russia has nominated Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom for implementation of the project. Pakistan’s cabinet has permitted the company to conduct the feasibility study at its own cost and risk.

Separately, ISGS is working on the $10-billion Tapi gas pipeline which will connect South and Central Asia. Construction work on the scheme in Pakistan is planned to start in March 2019.

These projects are termed game changer for Pakistan as they will not only lead to regional connectivity, but will also meet growing energy needs of the country.

Owing to a long-running tussle with Europe and the US over the annexation of Ukrainian region of Crimea, Russia is looking for alternative markets and wants to capitalise on increasing energy demand in South Asia.
Riaz Haq said…
392 km #Sukkur-#Multan section of #Peshawar-#Karachi Motorway to open for traffic August 04, 2019. 69% of total work has been completed. #Pakistan #CPEC #China https://pakobserver.net/multan-sukkur-motorway-project-to-be-completed-before-time/ via @pakobserver

The 392-kilometer Sukkur-Multan section of Peshawar-Karachi Motorway is likely to be opened for traffic by May next year, two months ahead of the given schedule of August 04, 2019, General Manager of the project, Arbab Ali said. ‘At present 69 percent of total work has been completed, out of which 392 kilometer roadbed and culvert passage, and other structures are about to be competed (99%). Up to now, all the bridges are near completion, and asphalt pavement works are advancing at full speed, and the building construction and ancillary works also being implemented actively,’ he said while talking to a group of media in Multan.
He said this section was part of the mega China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He informed that on May 26 this year, a 33 km section (Multan-Shujaabad) in the north end of the project was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, however it could not be opened to traffic due to incomplete work of the section. ‘This section will be opened to traffic by March next year’. Pakistan’s PKM project starts from Karachi via Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan, Islamabad, Lahore and other cities ends in Peshawar with a total length of 1,152 kilometers.
Sukkur-Multan has a design speed of 120 km per hour, and it is a two-way six-lane road with a contractual value of USD 2.889 billion (excluding $180 million tax exemption). The Export-Import Bank of China provides loan support, and China State Construction Company Limited (CSCEC) is responsible for construction on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) basis. With a contract period of 36 months (including design period of four months), the project officially started on August 5, 2016.
Meanwhile CEO of CSEC Mr Zong informed that majority of the investment by China was based on soft loan (with a markup rate of only 2.2%) while the rest was based on commercial loans. He said that in this project, a total of 101 bridges, 1503 structures, 11 interchanges, six service areas, five rest areas, and 22 toll plazas will be constructed. ‘The whole project is divided into seven sections, each of which is about 54-59 kilometers long and all seven sections are constructed simultaneously,’.—APP
Riaz Haq said…
#Japan is countering #China’s Belt and Road Initiative (#BRI) with a whirlwind of Japanese visits and #investment announcements from Southeast Asia to #Pakistan to the Baltics in recent months. #CPEC https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/2132811/japan-takes-lead-countering-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative via @scmpnews

Sri Lanka, after Pakistan, is one of the clearest examples of how China’s ambitious infrastructure development plans – known as the Belt and Road Initiative – are spooking neighbours who worry about Beijing’s rapidly increasing influence and military reach.

Those fears were made manifest late last year, when Sri Lanka handed over the port of Hambantota to China to cover its debts to Beijing.

The kerfuffle over Hambantota helps explain why Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono made a point of ending his visit with a tour of Sri Lanka’s other big port, Colombo, announcing plans to help build a natural gas import terminal.

It was just one of a whirlwind of Japanese visits and investment announcements from Southeast Asia to Pakistan to the Baltics in recent months.
Japan, faced with the abrupt disengagement of an inward-looking United States under President Donald Trump, now finds itself playing the leading role in pushing back against China’s grand plans to extend its influence throughout Asia and into Europe.
To do so, Tokyo is increasingly joining up with other countries and especially India, launching a US$200 billion infrastructure plan, and even boosting its military efforts in the broader Indian Ocean area in what is seen as a deliberate bid to counter Beijing’s growing heft.
The effort even extends as far afield as Eastern and Central Europe, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit just last month.

Japan – if not India – even suggests periodically it could end up joining the Belt and Road at some point.
Seen from Islamabad, the biggest beneficiary of the Belt and Road thanks to the US$60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), not even Japan and India’s partnership represents a serious threat.
“India and Japan can collaborate, but the Belt and Road is too big to be countered by them, and that is why they are keeping open the option to join sooner or later,” said Ahmad Rashid Malik, the director of the China-Pakistan Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.
Riaz Haq said…
Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Deng Xiaoping's comments in Beijing to Albanian Communist Party's visiting delegation in 1962 (as quoted in China’s India War, 1962 as quoted in"Bulletin: Inside China's Cold War" 2007:

"During the last two years it is clear that the American imperialists are helping two forces in Asia: Japan and India. These two forces have yet to form completely. The attempts by the American imperialists to increase the power of India are due to the fact that India is very populous, while Japan is both populous and technologically advanced. Of course, lesser countries of South Asia and Indochina are also included in this plan. Their specific measures are intended to help India become a great power, but its body is very weak. In other words, they are trying to shift India from a policy of neutrality to the side of the American imperialists. Should something like this come to fruition, it would be a blow not only to China, but to the Soviet Union as well. When they help India, they offend Pakistan. The public opinion in Pakistan is now on the side of a change in the government policy, and now Pakistan has a good position towards us. This has yet to be achieved completely. It would take a long time to achieve it."

https://books.google.com/books?id=7mgRckgFXoUC&pg=PA240&lpg=PA240&dq=%22The+public+opinion+in+Pakistan+is+now+on+the+side+of+a+change+in+the+government+policy,+and+now+Pakistan+has+a+good+position+towards+us.+This+has+yet+to+be+achieved+completely.+It+would+take+a+long+time+to+achieve+it.%22&source=bl&ots=FFQavaIEaO&sig=ACfU3U3NFaCMUDhrcKfxzTMMR5-3z80X6g&hl=en&ppis=_e&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjnh63Hov7lAhWBu54KHZ4bBaYQ6AEwAXoECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22The%20public%20opinion%20in%20Pakistan%20is%20now%20on%20the%20side%20of%20a%20change%20in%20the%20government%20policy%2C%20and%20now%20Pakistan%20has%20a%20good%20position%20towards%20us.%20This%20has%20yet%20to%20be%20achieved%20completely.%20It%20would%20take%20a%20long%20time%20to%20achieve%20it.%22&f=false
Riaz Haq said…
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration on Thursday sought to bring
Pakistan back into its sphere of influence by offering new business
opportunities with US for Islamabad alongside a lengthy critique of the
country’s engagement with Beijing through the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor.


https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/us-warns-pakistan-about-china-projects-in-effort-to-regain-lost-ground/articleshow/72188925.cms


The US push to regain ground it has lost to China came on the heels of
President Trump’s phone call to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan,
ostensibly to thank him for Islamabad’s efforts in facilitating the release of
two Western hostages in Afghanistan. A White House statement said the
two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the USPakistan trade relationship as well as investment and people-to-people “potentially at an unsustainable cost to Pakistan.”
“Inflated pricing of power & development projects isn’t good for the Pakistani people. CPEC almost always takes the form of
burdensome loans or financing with Chinese state-owned enterprises and the Chinese government profiting. This is hardly the
'peace and win-win cooperation' OBOR is supposed to facilitate,” US Assistant Secretary of State for South Central Asia Alice
Wells tweeted ahead of a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she said Pakistan faced longterm economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
“While the world’s economies certainly benefit from initiatives that promote sustainable global investment & trade, OBOR is far
from responsible in its economic practices. OBOR lacks transparent financing practices. Failure to repay can lead to
unsustainable debt burdens, which can result in surrendering of assets and diminishing sovereignty,” Wells warned.
Wells also argued that CPEC also relies primarily on Chinese workers and supplies rather than giving that business to Pakistani
companies and workers. She contrasted CPEC with the US-Pakistan business partnership which she said "contributes to
sustainable growth and expertise that builds capacity for local communities and by bringing superior quality & technology,
drives productivity gains in Pakistan."
“Unlike the Chinese government, the US doesn’t tell businesses where to go; they go where they see the greatest
opportunities. There are countless commercial connections between US & #Pakistan leading to thousands of jobs for
Pakistanis,” Wells said, adding that the US culture of corporate social responsibility also provides models for creating jobs and
opportunities.
Pakistan though remains in thrall of Beijing, even though the Trump administration has twitted it by highlighting China’s poor
treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang province to prick its conscience. China though is reported to be unhappy with the pace of
implementation of CPEC projects, resulting in a recent ministerial reshuffle by Prime Minister Imran Khan to address Beijing’sies between the two countries.
Trump had earlier cut off aid to Pakistan in keeping with his distaste for doling out American freebies, but he has repeatedly
said he is in favor of greater trade with all countries as long as it is on a level playing field. Pakistan too has come around to
saying it prefers to grow through trade rather than aid.
Trump’s phone call came even as a senior US official critiqued Pakistan’s economic engagement with China under the One Belt
One Road (OBOR) rubric, warning that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the main initiative under OBOR, comes
Riaz Haq said…
US Ambassador Wells said there was potential for “ever deeper” relationship with Pakistan.

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/china-not-%E2%80%98real-player%E2%80%99-afghanistan-development-wells

Wells also spoke about the US relationship with Pakistan, saying as “Pakistan takes steps to move away and to restrict the ability of non-state terrorist proxies, the potential for our relationship to grow ever-deeper is there.”
Riaz Haq said…
Steve Coll quoted Ex Vice President Joe Biden as saying: "Pakistan is 50 times more important to US than Afghanistan"

Later in the interview, Coll acknowledged that there are several ungoverned areas like Somalia and weak states elsewhere from where Al Qaeda and other Islamic militants operate. However, he said Afghanistan is different because it's next door to Pakistan which has nuclear weapons. It's important to US because Islamic militants in Afghanistan threaten Pakistan's stability and security of its nuclear weapons that could fall into the hands of terrorists.

Coll's statements beg the following question: Are the US actions contributing to Pakistan's stability?

He answered it partly when he volunteered that Pakistan was a safe place when he traveled extensively throughout the country and covered Pakistan for Washington Post before 911.

He also said the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) cam close to marching to Islamabad in 2009 after they took over Swat.

Coll also said that Pakistan will not be persuaded by Trump's argument that the US is prepared to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to "win" .

https://ww2.kqed.org/forum/2018/02/09/steve-coll-on-american-military-involvement-in-afghanistan-and-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
#US sending 15 #trade delegations to #Pakistan next year: says Sec Alice Wells after her speech critical of #China and #CPEC - Newspaper - http://DAWN.COM

https://www.dawn.com/news/1519260


The paper, now posted at the US State Department’s official site, says that the US Commerce Department has “already stepped up its activity in Pakistan with 15 trade delegations planned for the next year”.

And once the new expanded Deve­lopment Finance Corporation (DFC) is up and running, “Pakistan is going to be a country of great interest”.

According to the paper, the DFC will have more than double the investment cap than the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), increasing from $29 billion to $60bn. OPIC is a US government agency which mobilises private capital for overseas investments.

Document suggests US-Pakistan ties are going to expand

The paper argues that doubling the cap would enable investment in projects that have high standards and are financially sustainable over the long haul.

While urging Pakistan to benefit from these additional US resources, Ms Wells reminded Islamabad last week that “true sustainable development is really a marathon and not a sprint. It requires the development of effective regulatory framework, strong rule of law, fiscal health, and an enabling business climate”.

She recalled that during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the United States in July, President Donald Trump was “extremely enthusiastic about the potential for increasing and expanding our US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship. And both our governments are working very hard to find practical ways to do that. We commend Pakistan for surging 28 slots on the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business ranking and being highlighted as one of the top ten reformers globally,” she added.

The paper also highlights some commercial connections between the United States and Pakistan such as, the US firm Excelerate is prepared to potentially invest more than $300 million to upgrade a floating storage regasification unit in Pakistan’s first LNG terminal.

ExxonMobil has been working to support Pakistan’s ambitious effort to access new LNG supplies.

Over the last five years PepsiCo has invested $800m to expand its infrastructure and diversify products, and Coca-Cola has invested $500m in the last couple of years, providing thousands of jobs for Pakistanis.

Uber Technologies entered the Pakistani market in 2016 and currently operates across nine cities, providing employment opportunities for thousands of Pakistanis.

The paper argues that US corporate social models are outstanding vehicles that create jobs and opportunities for communities associated with these foreign investments.

So, the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, for instance, fosters cooperation between American and private sector, Pakistani private sector, to mentor women and girls. Another American brand, KFC, supports the education of children with hearing disabilities and other underprivileged young people, partnering with schools throughout Pakistan.

Proctor & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme has provided 875m litres of clean drinking water to Pakistani communities in need.

Noting that US companies bring superior quality and technology, the paper points out that Pakistani leaders often praise US companies like Cargill and Corteva, that are passing critical technology and driving “enormous productivity gains in Pakistan’s huge agricultural sector”.

The US has also helped establish some of Pakistan’s most prestigious educational institutions and centres including Lums, IBA, JPMC and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy at Nust.

“And just to be crystal clear, the US-Pakistan development partnership has primarily taken the form of grants — not loans,” said Ms Wells while adding that such links “offer a sense of the direction that we envision”.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan revives Belt-and-Road projects under Chinese pressure 
https://www.ft.com/content/ab809f2c-1101-11ea-a7e6-62bf4f9e548a

Islamabad calls in senior military official after economic crisis stalled investmentsShare on Twitter (opens new window)Share on Facebook (opens new window) 
 SaveStephanie Findlay in New Delhi and Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad 3 HOURS AGO
Pakistan has bowed to pressure from China to revive a string of Beijing-backed infrastructure projects that have run aground, appointing a senior Pakistani military official to streamline decision-making over the multi-billion-dollar investments. 
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a key part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which Beijing sees as a 21st century Silk Road to connect Asia, Africa and Europe. But only half of the announced $62bn-worth of projects in Pakistan are under way as Islamabad scales back its financial commitments while it implements a $6bn IMF bailout package. 
 Beijing is frustrated with the slow pace of the initiative, which is supposed to be a shining example of China’s economically transformative investments, and has put pressure on Islamabad to put the military in charge. 
 Last month retired lieutenant general Asim Saleem Bajwa was appointed chairman of a new CPEC authority, reinforcing the military’s grip on the project and insulating it from prime minister Imran Khan’s fractious government. 
 “The job of the CPEC authority will bring focus to this vast project,” said a senior government official in Mr Khan’s office. “General Bajwa will also take care of the security aspects.” 

But even though the military is assuming greater control, analysts said Pakistan’s economic crisis will continue to constrain work on CPEC. 
 Islamabad has slashed imports, depreciated the rupee, decreased development spending and raised taxes in an effort to cut its substantial fiscal and current account deficits. Gross domestic product growth has tumbled from 5.8 per cent last year to a forecast 2.4 per cent this year. Exports are flatlining. 

Large-scale manufacturing production fell 5.9 per cent year on year in the three months from July to September, with some industries, including cars and pharmaceuticals, suffering double-digit decreases in production.Pakistan is now worried about falling into a debt trapHusain Haqqani, the Hudson Institute© Bloomberg 
China has long faced criticism that its BRI projects burden fiscally weak countries with unsustainable debt. Islamabad is expected to pay $40bn in debt repayments and dividends to China over the next two decades. 
Sakib Sherani, former adviser to the Pakistani finance minister, told the Financial Times that CPEC-related debt is “not unmanageable” but cautioned that Pakistan’s ability to meet its debt obligations hinges on increasing exports.“There is a disconnect. CPEC-related debt eventually must generate enough exports to be able to deal with the repayments,” he said. 
Last month US ambassador Alice Wells warned that “China is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy”. She added: “Even if loan payments are deferred, they’re going to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing prime minister Khan’s reform agenda.” 
Riaz Haq said…
The West is competing with #China and #Russia for influence in #Afghanistan & Pakistan while #India’s case against #Pakistan is being viewed as having become weaker thanks to the many controversial decisions by #Modi . #Kashmir #CAB2019 http://www.ecoti.in/eTwNia via @economictimes

While Moody’s Investors Service lowered India’s credit rating from stable to negative last month, it raised Pakistan’s rating from negative to stable last week. ‘The rating affirmation,’ said Moody’s, ‘reflects Pakistan’s relativelylarge economy and robust long-term growth potential, coupled with ongoing institutional enhancements that raise policy credibility and effectiveness, albeit from a low starting point.’

-------------

It shows a poor understanding of global geopolitics for any one to imagine that western powers — not to mention China that now chairs FATF — are prepared to put Pakistan in the same box as Iran and North Korea.

The US, in particular, has vehemently opposed the latter and their nuclear capability while happily doing business with nuclear-armed Pakistan. The world seems to have come around to the view that after the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, there has been no major cross-border terror attack on any civilian target in India, and that the cross-border attacks on military installations are part of an ongoing undeclared war between the two neighbours.

Given recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir terror attacks, they will increasingly be viewed by world opinion as ‘locally staged’, if incontrovertible evidence to the contrary is not provided. All this will reduce the pressure on Pakistan to improve its behaviour.

Riaz Haq said…
#CPEC has strategic implications for #China-#Pakistan, China-#India, India-#US, and US-China relations. #Washington's targeted support to Pakistan could prevent Pakistan’s dependence on China, mitigating some of the most negative effects https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/12/16/strategic-implications-of-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-pub-80611 via @CarnegieEndow

by JAMES SCHWEMLEIN

Great power politics is resurgent in South Asia today. China’s growing military ambition in the region is matched in financial terms by its Belt and Road Initiative, the largest and most advanced component of which is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. What remains unclear is how the United States should navigate the new dynamic. This report, which is based on research and consultations with experts worldwide, addresses the question of how the India-Pakistan rivalry will play into the emerging great power competition.

SUMMARY
China’s changing role in Pakistan offers an opportunity to examine China in a learning mode, in a challenging environment, and as an actor in the decades-long rivalry between Pakistan and India.
China’s long-term investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be explained in at least three ways: to demonstrate China’s attractiveness as a partner; to prove that China’s development model can be exported; and to use Pakistan as an element of its strategic competition with the United States and India.
Pakistan’s hopes for CPEC are mitigated by China’s apparent lack of interest in establishing an overland transit corridor and counterterrorism concerns, which are likely to be a persistent liability in the years ahead.
There is a growing potential that China’s surge into Pakistan could increase the threat that Pakistan poses to India, particularly if China expands its military position there and if Pakistan does not curtail its use of militant proxies. The resulting dynamic could prove a further impetus toward deepening the U.S.-India partnership in the face of a common threat from China and Pakistan.
The ultimate success of China’s investments will continue to be threatened by political and economic instability in Pakistan and the country’s ongoing support for terrorism.
The United States could offer targeted support to help Pakistan determine how best to use Chinese infrastructure to grow its economy, which could contribute to improving and stabilizing Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
While #US and #India held 2+2 talks in #Washington, the #Russian Naval chief was in #Pakistan and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief in #China. #geopolitics? #realignment? #CPEC

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/2-2-updated-with-trump-s-meeting-with-jaishankar-and-singh-and-other-developments/story-ZzeZBqXn3kgUKGbo5KN0jL.html
Riaz Haq said…
Without #Afghanistan, #Pakistan and #UnitedStates need a new basis for relationship. Under this arrangement, "We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger." #economy #trade #FDI https://thehill.com/opinion/international/477903-without-afghanistan-pakistan-and-the-us-need-a-new-basis-for#.XhyYHjMtuvs.twitter

Pakistan’s population is in the same league as other democracies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The United States has security ties with each of these democracies, but it also has economic ties, people-to-people ties, and ties in technology, education, and innovation. We should have similarly broad and deep relations with Pakistan.

Although there are valid criticisms in the United States of Pakistan, we need to engage the country in a more rounded way. A broader, more comprehensive engagement would likely require Pakistan to also have a more comprehensive vision of its own role in the world — one also less-viewed through the prism of a single country, namely, India. Pakistan places a disproportionate lens on its military and defense, it spent 4 percent of its GDP on the military in 2018. In contrast, Pakistan only spent 2.9 percent of GDP on education in 2017.


Pakistan’s Potential

Pakistan could become another Argentina or Ukraine in terms of agricultural potential. Agriculture accounts for 20 percent of Pakistan’s GDP and employs 43 percent of its workforce. Agriculture also plays a huge role in Pakistan’s exports, accounting for about 80 percent. But Pakistan’s agricultural productivity currently only ranges between 29-52 percent and could be much higher, with broader use of improved seeds and farming techniques.

Pakistan also has very significant tourism potential. It is best known for its ancient historical and religiously significant buildings, such as the Madshahi and Grand Jamia Mosque. It also has immense natural beauty, such as the Hunza Valley and Desoi National Park. However, Pakistan is one of the least competitive countries in South Asia in regard to travel. Pakistan had 1.7 million visitors in 2017, compared to Sri Lanka’s 2.3 million and Jordan’s 4.2 million. Introducing a recent e-visa program was a great start to opening the doors for tourism but much more needs to be done.

Pakistan has significant hydropower potential but has only developed one-tenth of its 60,000 MW potential. If this resource were properly tapped, it could play a huge role in tackling the power deficit in Pakistan and the broader region.

What would a reframed relationship with Pakistan look like?

On the U.S. side a reframed relationship would require a broader and larger set of stakeholders. We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger.

Most members of congress who had an interest in Pakistan — especially outside of the military relationship — have left politics, so a new coalition in Congress needs to be rebuilt. The relationship is poisoned by disappointments, accusations, fear and distrust.

----------------

Education is also key to reframing the relationship. Student exchange programs are beneficial in improving relations between countries. In 2016, the last year for which we could find numbers, there was an 8.5 percent increase in the number of Pakistani students studying in the United States — which is still just 11,000 Pakistani students. That is half of the 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China.

The United States must revisit its foreign aid program to support Pakistan in reaching its full potential. From recent informal conversations, it’s clear that neither OPIC, now the USDFC, nor EXIM Bank have sent a mission to Pakistan for many years. That needs to change. Our foreign aid has dropped drastically and is at levels far below what’s required, given the challenges. Creating a new relationship could take as a long as a decade but must begin now.
Riaz Haq said…
CPEC and Beyond: China and the US Fight For Influence In Pakistan
Beijing and Washington tussle to have their way with Islamabad’s foreign policy decisions.


https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/cpec-and-beyond-china-and-the-us-fight-for-influence-in-pakistan/



On Monday, the U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, in a statement said that a number of firms blacklisted by the World Bank had received contracts in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In her renewed criticism, Wells, who is on a four-day visit to Pakistan, noted that the lack of transparency in the existing deals and the financial conditions imposed by China have increased Pakistan’s overall debt.

This not the first time that Wells has criticized the CPEC. In November last year, Wells warned that the Chinese loans are “going to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister [Imran] Khan’s reform agenda.”

Broadly, CPEC has come under U.S. criticism due to its wider linkage to China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project. While Washington’s overt criticism of the project continues, it has also continued to insisted that Pakistan is a sovereign state that can make any trade deals that the country’s leadership finds suited to its interests. After Wells’ recent criticism of the project, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W. Jones explained that Wells’ “remarks were meant to generate a debate.”

------------------

it’s unlikely that Washington’s criticism of CPEC will wear out in the coming months or years. Arguably, policymakers in Pakistan are wary of Islamabad’s growing financial reliance on China but at the same time they have been unable to win any significant financial support from Washington. Khan’s government demanded a major review to CPEC projects when it came to power in 2018. However, to Khan’s frustration, Beijing was only willing to review projects that had not started yet. Reportedly, the matters were settled after Pakistan’s top military leadership intervened and assured China of Islamabad’s commitment.

Arguably, CPEC has emerged as the next battleground for the United States and China’s economic rivalry. Both countries’ warnings and counterwarnings are coming at a time when Pakistan is looking for financial assistance from both countries. Pakistan may not like China’s financial terms, but there is no other major investor willing to assist Islamabad at a time when the country is stuck in a major financial crisis.

Moreover, while the United States has assured Pakistan that it is greatly enhancing trade with the country, it’s unlikely that Islamabad will win Washington’s economic support at a level even close to Beijing’s financial commitments. However, it remains to be seen if Washington can allow Beijing to completely wipe out its ability to influence Pakistan’s policymakers.

It’s unlikely that Islamabad is going to be able to balance its relationship between China and the United States in the coming months or perhaps years as both countries compete for influence in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
What Would #US-#Pakistan War Look Like?
One word: Hell! #India could help with runways for US warplanes. US would assume some #Pakistani #nuclear weapons would survive sustained air campaign to destroy them & then used against #American forces or targets. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/what-would-hypothetical-us-pakistan-war-look-141072

In the U.S. television series Homeland, the United States and Pakistan are brought to the brink of war. In real life, the two countries are allies, albeit strained ones at that, and many Americans believe Islamabad often actively works against Washington’s interests. If the relationship turned poisonous, how would the United States prosecute a war against Pakistan?
--------

A U.S. war with Pakistan would be extremely difficult to wage and fraught with difficulty. It would also be forced to proceed under the assumption that some Pakistani nuclear weapons would survive a sustained effort to destroy them, to be used against U.S. forces or targets in some way later in the campaign. This is the sort of uncertainty that can veto military action and makes a war between Washington and Islamabad an absolute conflict of last resort.

------------------

Of course, there is one regional power that can provide everything the U.S. needs, including local air bases and a large army, navy, and air force, already positioned in the theater with well-sketched battle plans: India. India could help with an air campaign, providing runways for U.S. fighter bombers to operate from, or even contribute its own airpower. Indian ground forces have a far shorter route to Islamabad and overmatch Pakistani forces on the ground.-----------


In order to proceed, let’s sketch out two war scenarios. In one, we’ll assume that the United States is pursuing an air-only campaign, in order to punish the country or strip it of some vital capability—nuclear weapons being a prime example. In the second scenario, the United States seeks to topple the country’s government entirely, including the occupation of the capital, Islamabad.
----------------

An air campaign against Pakistan would be slower and more fraught with difficulty than past campaigns. Pakistan’s Air Force has nearly four hundred fighters, including American F-16 Fighting Falcons, and would need to be quickly destroyed. U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft could see their first significant air to air combat since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

An all-out invasion of Pakistan would be much more difficult, bordering on impractical. An invasion would require securing the city of Karachi, a coastal city of 14 million, then a march upcountry of approximately 700 miles. Securing Karachi alone would be an immense effort dwarfing efforts to secure Baghdad in the late 2000s, one that required more than 100,000 U.S. troops and the cooperation of local militias.

----------------

Another power that could join such a conflict is China. China and Pakistan enjoy warm relations, and the rhetoric between the two countries suggests a relationship nearing that of a mutual defense pact. But it isn’t, and it’s not clear that China would risk direct conflict with the United States if Pakistan in some way overreached. China might, on the assumption that a U.S. puppet state in neighboring Pakistan would diminish China’s power and influence abroad. It’s worth remembering that the last time Chinese forces fought Americans was after the U.S.-led United Nations forces advanced into a state neighboring Beijing.
Riaz Haq said…
How #UnitedStates Should Deal With #China in #Pakistan. #US would be better off grappling with complexity of the challenge posed by China’s growing influence especially in the context of #India-Pakistan regional stability. #CPEC https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/04/08/how-united-states-should-deal-with-china-in-pakistan-pub-81456 via @MarkeyDaniel

U.S. policymakers are correct to sense that under CPEC’s surface lies a degree of frustration, uncertainty, and reduced ambition in both Islamabad and Beijing. Even if Trump administration officials only aim to give voice to concerns quietly shared by many Pakistanis, however, Washington’s approach has been too heavy-handed, tone deaf to the political and diplomatic exigencies facing Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders.

Moving forward, Washington’s policy should take two ground realities into account. First, Pakistani leaders—like those across Asia—have no particular desire to take a side in the brewing geopolitical competition between the United States and China. Self-interested more than ideological, they would prefer to extract benefits from both Beijing and Washington, even to play them off of each other. Moreover, many Pakistanis tend to question U.S. motivations, doubting Washington’s noble, liberal rhetoric about freedom and assuming those words mask ulterior aims, from safeguarding commercial and security interests to practicing outright imperialism. To be sure, Chinese rhetoric about noninterference in the sovereign affairs of other states strains credulity for many Pakistanis, but in the aftermath of a terribly fraught two decades of dealing with the United States, Washington’s claims of beneficence ring equally hollow.

Second, U.S. policymakers should keep in mind that CPEC is only one slice of the China-Pakistan relationship. Moreover, different infrastructure projects are likely to have different political consequences. Rather than framing the U.S. policy response as a narrow competition over the commercial and economic issues of “cost, debt, transparency, and jobs,” U.S. policymakers should train their focus on three broader aspects of China’s relationship with Pakistan.

The first and most immediate concern should be with respect to China’s impact on regional stability, especially between India and Pakistan, but also in the context of U.S. plans for a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Second, now and for the foreseeable future, Washington should come up with more effective ways to compete with Beijing’s growing political influence, including its role in strengthening repressive, illiberal governance in Pakistan. Third, over the long run, the United States will want to weigh the geopolitical implications of the China-Pakistan defense partnership, including how China’s presence in Pakistan will better enable it to project military power into South Asia and the Middle East.

REGIONAL STABILITY
Over the past year, India and Pakistan have again reached the brink of war. Another India-Pakistan military crisis may be brewing this summer. Even as Trump administration officials perceive China as a global competitor, they would also be smart to appreciate Beijing’s role as a potential diplomatic partner when it comes to restraining India and Pakistan from war. If tensions in China-U.S. relations inhibit cooperation in the midst of a South Asian crisis, all sides will lose.

At present, U.S. and Chinese officials appear to hold different views on how to assign responsibility (and blame) for tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad......
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan moves to save face as #coronavirus hits Belt and Road. "The world....will be a different place by the time the pandemic is over. Investment flows will shrink, and China will be one of the very few countries with available capital" #China #CPEC https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Pakistan-moves-to-save-face-as-coronavirus-hits-Belt-and-Road2

The government of Pakistan has ordered the resumption of all infrastructure and energy projects that are part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, but experts believe the move is a matter of face-saving.

Work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a major piece of the Belt and Road, stopped when the novel coronavirus started to spread in Pakistan in February. According to Johns Hopkins University data, Pakistan has confirmed 9,216 cases as of Tuesday, including 192 deaths.

Naghmana Hashmi, Pakistan's ambassador in Beijing, told Pakistani media on Sunday that a number of mechanisms have been established to complete all corridor projects within the prescribed time frame. But analysts say restarting the projects at the height of the pandemic is meant to spare Beijing and Islamabad embarrassment.

----------------

Amid the economic crisis, some have questioned the economic viability of Belt and Road projects. According to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the country's top development planning body, Chinese skilled laborers are paid 1,300% more than Pakistani laborers for the Main Line 1 (ML-1) railway project, a discrepancy it says must be rationalized.

The commission has also asked Pakistan Railways to evaluate the impact of a huge Chinese loan of almost $9 billion for the ML-1, which is the single largest infrastructure project for the corridor in the country. Pakistan expects 90% of the funding for the ML-1 to come from the Chinese loan. The commission fears the terms may saddle the country with heavy debt if it is not looked into now.

On the other hand, there are bullish voices who say that resuming Belt and Road projects is worth the risk.

Hasaan Khawar, a public policy analyst based in Islamabad, believes the corridor's special economic zones can help Pakistan solve its economic woes. "The world is changing fast, and it will be a different place by the time the pandemic is over. Investment flows will shrink, and China will be one of the very few countries with available capital," Khawar said. He added that the corridor and the zones provide a ready framework for Pakistan to attract Chinese capital and should, therefore, be a priority for Pakistan.

Malik believes that the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis will leave China better positioned as a global power and savior of a world in deep crisis. After this, the world will see a continuation and expansion of Belt and Road projects, he says.

Kugelman sees the corridor as the most concrete and active part of the Belt and Road and says its trajectory will be shaped to a great extent by how the corridor develops. He adds that if corridor projects are put on hold until the pandemic has ended, the Belt and Road as a whole could take a pause. If they move ahead, that portends more forward movement for the initiative in the near future, Kugelman says.
Riaz Haq said…
“Because technology is the key weapon in the fight for control of the industries of the future and in combating pandemics, the US private tech sector will become increasingly integrated into the national-security-industrial complex.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/29/ten-reasons-why-greater-depression-for-the-2020s-is-inevitable-covid
Riaz Haq said…
#US urges #China to waive #Pakistan’s #debt. “At a time of crisis like Covid-19, it is really incumbent on China to take steps to alleviate the burden that this predatory, unsustainable and unfair lending is going to cause to Pakistan” #CPEC #PMLN #COVID https://tribune.com.pk/story/2225775/1-us-urges-china-waive-off-pakistans-debt-amid-covid-19-crisis/

The United States on Wednesday urged China either to wave off or renegotiate what it called “unsustainable and unfair” debt of Pakistan as it once again raised serious questions about the lack of transparency in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“At a time of crisis like Covid-19, it is really incumbent on China to take steps to alleviate the burden that this predatory, unsustainable and unfair lending is going to cause to Pakistan,” said Alice Wells, the outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.

“We hope China will join in either waving off debt or renegotiating these loans and creating a fair and transparent deal for Pakistani people,” Ambassador Wells said while addressing a farewell news briefing through a video link attended by journalists from South and Central Asia.
This was not the first time the US and Wells in particular publically questioned the viability of CPEC. Wells in the past also expressed similar views, declaring CPEC detrimental to Pakistan’s economy.

China always dismissed the US claims and instead challenged Washington to match its economic assistance to Pakistan.

Ambassador Wells, who is retiring this week, said the US supports CPEC and other development projects as long as they meet international standards, uphold environmental and labour standards.

“I enumerated my concerns and the United States government’s concerns over CPEC, over the lack of transparency involved in the project, over the unfair rates of profits that are guaranteed to Chinese state organisations to the distortions it caused in the Pakistani economy including by the massive imbalance in the trade Pakistan now has with China,” she argued.

Pakistan has been seeking debt relief from G20 countries to offset the negative fallout of coronavirus on its economy.

----------------

The top US diplomat also spoke about President Trump’s South Asia strategy, which according to Wells, brought fundamental change in approach towards Pakistan.

She said that Trump’s strategy had made it clear that Pakistan had to take decisive action against terrorist and militant groups that supported conflict in Afghanistan.

The suspension of security assistance by President Trump in January 2018 was a demonstration of that resolve to hold Pakistan accountable for the alleged presence of terrorist groups on its soil, she added.

According to Wells, since then Pakistan had taken “constructive steps” to advance Afghan peace process. She said Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad had developed “solid cooperation” with Pakistan civil and military leadership.

The US senior diplomat also praised Pakistan’s steps to eradicate threat posed by terrorist groups to regional stability.

“Pakistan is also taking initial steps towards curtailing other terrorist groups that threatened the region such as arresting and prosecuting Laskhar-e-Tayaba leader Hafza Saeed and beginning to dismantle terrorist financing structures.

“And as Pakistan’s commitment to the regional peace grown, we see initial growth in our relationship with Pakistan as well particularly in trade,” she further said.
Riaz Haq said…
EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell: “Analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century....This is now happening in front of our eyes” #US #China #Europe #America #Asia #COVIDー19 #Coronavirus https://www.newsweek.com/pressure-choose-sides-us-china-eu-diplomat-josep-borrell-coronavirus-warning-1506325

Pressure to choose sides between the U.S. and China is growing amid the arrival of an "Asian century," a top European diplomat said today.

Europe is facing an "existential crisis" sparked by the COVID-19 crisis, which could be a catalyst in the demise of an American-led system, according to Josep Borrell, a vice president of the European Commission branch of the European Union (EU).

The diplomat, who also serves as the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told virtual participants of the German Ambassadors' Conference 2020 that the pandemic could be considered a "great accelerator of history."

Borrell claimed that in the world that emerges Asia will be increasingly important, while noting that China is fast becoming "more powerful and assertive."


Ads by scrollerads.com
"Analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century. This is now happening in front of our eyes," he said. "If the 21st century turns out to be an Asian century, as the 20th was an American one, the pandemic may well be remembered as the turning point of this process."

His comments were first reported by the Associated Press.

Tensions have spiked between the U.S. and China in recent years,, with tit-for-tat trade tariffs being slapped on goods by both countries. U.S. officials have also complained about national security concerns linked to Chinese tech firms, and 5G.

This month, president Donald Trump told Fox Business that he didn't want to speak with China's leader, Xi Jinping, and suggested the U.S. may cut ties.

"We could cut off the whole relationship," he told Fox host Maria Bartiromo. "Now if you did, what would happen? You would save 500 billion dollars."

In April, Trump said in a briefing that "serious investigations" were being conducted into China's handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged America this year, causing more than 1.6 million infections and close to 98,000 deaths.

China has claimed its own virus infection and death rates have plunged, although official health statistics have been met with widespread scepticism.

"We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source, it could have been stopped quickly, and it wouldn't have spread all over the world. And we think that should have happened," Trump fumed.

Borrell said today that the need for multilateral cooperation has "never been greater" but raised concerns that leadership from the White House is lacking.

"This is the first major crisis in decades where the U.S. is not leading the international response," the EU diplomat said. "Maybe they don't care, but everywhere we look we see increasing rivalries, especially between the U.S. and China.

He added: "The pressure to choose sides is growing. As the EU, we should follow our own interests and values and avoid being instrumentalized by one or the other.
Borrell went on to say that U.S.-China rivalry is often having a "paralysing" effect on the multilateral system, fueling more arguments and vetoes than agreements.

According to the transcript, he said: "We need a more robust strategy for China, which also requires better relations with the rest of democratic Asia. That's why we must invest more in working with India, Japan, South Korea et cetera.

Riaz Haq said…
#US-#China #Tradewar sends Kearney #US Reshoring Index to record high. It compares US domestic manufacturing to imports with Manufacturing imports from 14 Asian nations including #Bangladesh, #India, #Pakistan. #Vietnam is biggest beneficiary. #COVID__19 https://apnews.com/PR%20Newswire/fc57a9d217e2fc9c38d311f322d13e64

US companies in 2019 sourced substantially fewer manufactured goods from 14 traditional Asian trading partners, apparently as a direct result of aggressive US government trade policies, according to the seventh annual Kearney US Reshoring Index.

The ongoing trade war sent the Reshoring Index to a record high in 2019.

The Reshoring Index compares US domestic manufacturing gross output to the level of manufacturing imports from 14 traditional Asian low-cost countries (LCCs): China, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.

Kearney, the global management consulting firm that calculates the index, attributes much of the big 2019 shift to a 17 percent decline in US imports of manufactured goods from China, which has long been the leading choice for offshore production. Intriguingly, manufactured imports from Vietnam and Mexico both increased last year, evidence that US companies were starting to significantly adapt their sourcing strategies even before the COVID-19 crisis began disrupting global supply chains early in 2020.

Big Jump in Reshoring Index
In 2019, US manufacturing was steady while imports from the 14 Asian trading partners notably declined. Imports of manufactured goods from the 14 Asian LCCs shrunk to $757 billion from $816 billion in 2018—a 7.2 percent decrease—while US domestic manufacturing output was $6,271 billion in 2019, virtually unchanged from 2018.

Consequently, the US market imported just 12.1 cents worth of offshore production from the Asian LCCs for every $1 of domestic manufacturing gross output in 2019, nearly a full percentage point decrease in corresponding imports from the previous year.

The US Reshoring Index is expressed in basis points (1 percent change = 100 basis points). A positive index number indicates net reshoring. The precise 2019 Reshoring Index calculation is: 2018 import/domestic manufacturing ratio of 13.058 percent minus corresponding 2019 ratio of 12.077 percent = 0.98 change, or 98 bps. The resulting Reshoring Index of 98 is by far the highest yet registered. The previous index high was 11 bps in 2011. The index came in as low as -112 bps as recently as 2015.

2019 Insurgents
US trade policies also appear to be changing trade dynamics among and between the various countries exporting manufactured goods to the US. While US manufacturing imports from China declined, imports from the other Asian LCC countries increased by $31 billion in 2019. Similarly, manufacturing imports from Mexico rose $13 billion.

“Much of China’s loss was Vietnam’s gain,” said Patrick Van den Bossche, Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “Of the $31 billion in US imports that shifted from China to other Asian LCCs, almost half (46 percent) was absorbed by Vietnam, which exported $14 billion more manufactured goods to the US in 2019 than it did in 2018.”

“The door for these insurgents was clearly opened by ongoing US–China trade disputes, as their gains were mainly in product categories impacted by tariffs,” observed Yuri Castano, Kearney manager and co-author of the study. “Apparently, the trade war jolted US companies to start rethinking and reshaping their supply networks.”

Costs, risk and resilience
“2020 dawned with a disruption of a new order of magnitude―COVID-19,” noted Brooks Levering, Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “We anticipate that the harsh lessons of this crisis will compel companies to go much further in rethinking their sourcing strategies― indeed, their entire supply chains.”
Riaz Haq said…
#China announces $178.2 billion #military budget. Premier Li dropped the use of the word “peaceful” when talking of reunification with #Taiwan. #US Def Sec Mark Esper reaffirmed that his country would stand by Taiwan #Asia #geopolitics #India #Pakistan https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/05/22/china-announces-1782-billion-military-budget/#.Xsx7vSEvR8A.twitter

China has announced a 6.6 percent growth in its defense budget for this year, its lowest rate of increase for almost three decades.

The growth in China’s defense budget would see spending rise from $167 billion last year to $178.2 billion, an increase of about $11 billion. The country has the second-largest defense budget in the world, behind only the United States.

Despite the growth of China’s defense budget being at its lowest, in percentage terms, since the early 1990s, the 6.6 percent figure only represents a slightly lower figure than the 7-7.5 percent growth many analysts estimated before the pandemic. In real dollar terms, the $11 billion increase in defense spending is the fifth-highest increase ever for the country.

It also shows that China is determined that the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, will remain insulated as much as possible from the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in China’s economy shrinking by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said as much during his speech Friday at the opening of the annual gathering of its largely rubber stamp parliament. He pledged that the PLA would not be worse off.

“We will deepen reforms in national defense and the military, increase our logistic and equipment support capacity, and promote innovative development of defense-related science and technology,” he told legislators at the opening of the National People’s Congress, which kicked off Friday at the Great Hall of the People in China’s capital, Beijing.

Li also touched on the issue of Taiwan during his speech, reiterating that China would “resolutely oppose and deter any separatist activities seeking Taiwan independence.” He also called on the Taiwanese people to “join the mainland in opposing Taiwanese independence and to promote reunification."

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province, with the self-governing island off its coast having formed its own government in 1949 when Nationalist forces fled there following defeat at the hands of Communists during China’s civil war.

Perhaps tellingly, Li dropped the use of the word “peaceful” when talking of reunification with Taiwan, a departure from decades of using it as the standard expression Chinese leaders used when addressing parliament and mentioning Taiwan. Although China has never renounced the possible use of force for reunification efforts.

Li’s call for reunification came as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper reaffirmed that the country would stand by Taiwan. Speaking on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Esper said the U.S. would “certainly live up to our commitments to Taiwan,” noting that it is also bound by the Taiwan Relations Act enacted by Congress, which pledges to supply Taiwan with weapons it needs for its defense.

Accordingly, the U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it has approved the sale of an additional 18 heavyweight submarine torpedoes to Taiwan for $180 million. The Mk 46 Mod 6 Advanced Technology torpedoes will equip Taiwan’s submarine fleet, and the approval follows another for 48 similar weapons in 2017.

Taiwan has reported that Chinese military activity around the island continues unabated throughout the ongoing pandemic, with Chinese naval vessels and military aircraft regularly operating in international airspace and waters around Taiwan.

China calls the movements routine training exercises. However, the island’s government sees these moves as part of an intimidation campaign against Taiwan and regularly publicizes PLA ship and aircraft movements in its vicinity.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan factor behind #India-#China stand-off in #Ladakh. “There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year... Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China.." #CPEC The Hindu https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-factor-behind-india-china-stand-off-in-ladakh/article31676271.ece


China’s heightened concerns over Aksai Chin and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is routed, in part, through Gilgit-Baltistan, may have set the backdrop for the ongoing stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.

“There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year and created the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India has always claimed Aksai Chin, but the issue appears to have been re-interpreted in China after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked,” says P. Stobdan, former ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, who specialises in trans-Himalayan studies.

Mr. Stobdan added that the CPEC — China’s strategic pathway to the Indian Ocean — which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan — has emerged as an entirely new factor, reinforcing and clubbing the already strong security relationship between China and Pakistan. “Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China as CPEC — which gives access to Gwadar port and helps Beijing reduce its vulnerability on the Americans who dominate Malacca Strait — is the gateway governing China’s international trade. The CPEC has imparted game-changing strategic ballast to the Sino-Pak relationship.”

The CPEC is “too big to fail,” as China has already staked its prestige in the enterprise, which has been showcased as the flagship of the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The CPEC plan was robustly challenged in the aftermath of the August 5 change in the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir, which covers Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan, on the corridor’s route. Speaking in the Lok Sabha on August 6 last year, Home Minister Amit Shah unambiguously nailed India’s claims over PoK and Aksai Chin.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it,” he said. For the record, Mr. Shah was echoing a February 1994 unanimous Parliament resolution that categorically stated that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and that Pakistan must vacate parts of the State under its occupation. Besides, a Parliament resolution passed on November 14, 1962, commits India to recover Aksai Chin and other areas of J&K occupied/annexed by China.
Riaz Haq said…
Joe Biden’s China Journey
As a United States senator, he spoke of transforming China through trade. As a presidential candidate two decades later, he denounces it as a “dictatorship.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/06/us/politics/biden-china.html

Mr. Biden, leading his first overseas trip as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was also there in Beidaihe in 2001 to help usher in an important era in America’s relationship with China — the building of a commercial link that would allow the Communist nation entry into the World Trade Organization.

“The United States welcomes the emergence of a prosperous, integrated China on the global stage, because we expect this is going to be a China that plays by the rules,” Mr. Biden told Mr. Jiang, recalled Frank Jannuzi, the Senate aide who organized the trip and took notes at Mr. Biden’s side.

The senator traveled days later to a dirt-road village near the Great Wall. Seven thousand miles from Delaware, his adopted home state, Mr. Biden glad-handed bemused locals like a candidate, even taking holy communion from a Roman Catholic priest. He returned to Washington seeing more promise than peril, offering reporters the same message he had delivered to Chinese leaders: The United States welcomed China’s emergence “as a great power, because great powers adhere to international norms in the areas of nonproliferation, human rights and trade.”

Two decades later, China has emerged as a great power — and, in the eyes of many Americans, a dangerous rival. Republicans and Democrats say it has exploited the global integration that Mr. Biden and many other officials supported.

The 2020 election has been partly defined by what much of Washington sees as a kind of new Cold War. And as Mr. Biden faces fierce campaign attacks from President Trump, his language on China points to a drastic shift in thinking.

Mr. Biden calls Xi Jinping, the authoritarian Chinese leader, a “thug.” He has threatened, if elected, to impose “swift economic sanctions” if China tries to silence American citizens and companies. “The United States does need to get tough on China,” he wrote this winter in an essay in Foreign Affairs. Mr. Biden now sees the country as a top strategic challenge, according to interviews with more than a dozen of his advisers and foreign policy associates, and his own words.

Mr. Biden’s 20-year road from wary optimism to condemnation — while still straining for some cooperation — is emblematic of the arc of U.S.-China relations, which have deteriorated to an unstable, potentially explosive state. But as Mr. Trump denounces what he describes as failures by the Washington establishment on China, Mr. Biden, an avatar of that establishment, is not recanting his past enthusiasm for engagement.

-------------------

“There’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask students of China,” Mr. Biden said, according to Mr. Jannuzi, who is now the president of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. “The students of Tiananmen Square, were they patriots or traitors to the People’s Republic of China?”

There was silence. Then, a physics student, a scholar of Newton and Einstein, stood up.

“The students of Tiananmen were heroes of the People’s Republic of China,” he said. “Senator, change will come to China. But it will be we, the students of Newton, who determine the pace and the direction of that change, and not you or anyone else working on the banks of the Potomac.”
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Drifting Away From US Towards China: Defence Analyst

http://www.businessworld.in/article/Pakistan-drifting-away-from-US-towards-China-Defence-analyst/07-09-2020-317631/

Amid the drastic change in US-Pakistan's relationship, China is the only hope for Pakistan for economic assistance, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, said Ayesha Siddiqa, a defence analyst and South Asian politics scholar.
Speaking during an interview with The News International, Siddiqa said amid the fast-changing world dynamics wherein the coalition among the United States, India and Saudi Arabia gains strength, "Pakistan is drifting away from the US towards a potential alliance between China, Russia and perhaps Iran."
"The nature of US-Pakistan relations is changing drastically. Even though it has played a vital role in the US-Taliban negotiations, no one expects the continuation of American financial assistance to Pakistan. Islamabad joined the American alliance against the Taliban after 9/11," Siddiqa said.
"While the dominant narrative popularised by Islamabad was that it was forced into alignment, governments stuck to the narrow prism of extracting financial resources from the US, which also meant delivering reluctantly. The foreign policy debate in Pakistan is silent about our own responsibility in supporting the Taliban or keeping Osama bin Laden. Ultimately, the relationship collapsed at a point of overselling of our capabilities with limited capacity to deliver," she added.
The US-Pakistan relation has continued to be on a downhill as the latter has failed to take strong action against the terrorist groups emanating from its soil.
Due to the deteriorating ties, Siddiqa said, "China appears to be the only option. It may be Pakistan's only hope for economic assistance, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic... In the wake of the fast-changing world dynamics, as the coalition among the United States, India and Saudi Arabia gains strength, Pakistan is drifting away from the US towards a potential alliance between China, Russia and perhaps Iran."
She, however, noted that there are a lot of issues that still need to be worked out between these countries and Pakistan can benefit only "if it can do its homework and go beyond the idea of extracting limited benefits."
"There is an expectation that Pakistan and Iran will come close as a result of both being part of BRI, especially if Beijing and Tehran sign an agreement that is being talked about. Right now, we don't know if the agreement will get signed, but even if it does, I am not sure that we are domestically talking about the competition between Iran and Pakistan that will happen naturally. It was there even when both neighbours were once part of an American alignment," she said.
She further stated that Pakistan needs to improve its relations with its neighbours including India, Iran and Afghanistan.
While commenting on Pakistan's defence and foreign policy, Siddiqa said, "Pakistan's defence and foreign policy community lacks independent thinking and diversity of viewpoints. Over the years, alternative voices have been silenced. I was talking to a diplomat, who said that during her two postings to the country between 2016 and now, many people that she would talk to are no longer in the country. The security community that we have now comprising faculty at the known public sector universities and think tanks only preach to the choir by communicating dominant narratives of the establishment back to them through their reports. It is interesting to note that most of the think tanks are located on the Grand Trunk Road with little input from other parts of the country." (ANI)
Riaz Haq said…
In an interview with Pakistani journalist Israr Kasana that was published on YouTube on June 3, 2020,  (Indian Defense Analyst) Pravin (Sawhney) asserted that "Pakistan has never lost (to India) in any war, be it 1965 or 1971 or any other." "If Pakistan had lost, there would be no line-of-control or ceasefire line on the ground," he added.  Here's more from that interview:

"If Pakistan had lost we (India) would have erased the LOC...why do I say that? I have explained it in my book. Pakistan has been strong in the western sector. It's a myth that Pakistan is weak, a myth that Pakistan itself perpetrates...India says we (India) are strong when in fact it is not.....CPEC is extremely important...China will share a lot of military capability with Pakistan....China shares platforms and assures unlimited supply of spare parts which is crucial in war...China and Pakistan do frequent joint military exercises...to assure interoperability."



https://www.riazhaq.com/2020/09/defense-of-pakistan-day-has-pakistan.html

Riaz Haq said…
One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect. In recent years, many Americans have proudly proclaimed that America and India have a friendship built on a strong foundation since both are fellow democracies. This argument cuts little ice among thoughtful Indians since most of them remember well that America stood shoulder to shoulder with communist China and dictatorial Pakistan for several decades during the Cold War and beyond. One of the critical weaknesses of Washington, DC, is that the administrations and their officials change regularly; they have poor memories. Many Americans, like many of their fellow Westerners, have a higher degree of respect for Chinese civilization than they do of Indian civilization. Many Americans will deny it because it is an uncomfortable truth. They will proclaim loudly that they respect India as much as they respect China. But you cannot feign respect: it is best demonstrated not through words but in deeds. Every country in the world demonstrates its respect for another country by the amount of time and attention it gives to that country, and America has devoted far more time and attention to China than it has to India. If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India. Is it a result of a perception among Western scholars that Indian civilization is not as impressive as Chinese civilization? Is this a result of the fact that the American media has broadcast a steady stream of stories about poverty in India, so much so that just as Americans naturally associate Africa with poverty, they may also do the same with India? Or were America’s condescending cultural attacks a result of romantic fascination with British dramas set in British India, with Indian culture presented as inferior? Unless Americans reflect on the roots of their lack of respect for India, they will fail to develop a strong partnership of equals. The tragedy of this failure is that such a partnership would bring massive benefits to both countries. As the American century gradually fades away in the coming decades and an Asian century emerges in force, America will need to build bridges to engage the new self-confident Asian societies. Clearly, China cannot provide America a bridge to the new Asia as China will be perceived as the main challenger to America for the coming decades. However, India can, as there are several common links to build upon. The first is the exceptional success of the Indian community in America. America’s free enterprise system is, in many ways, the most competitive market in the world for human achievement as the best minds from nations all over the world migrate to America. The pool of migrants in America represents the highest achieving segments of societies around the world. When the best brains of the world compete on a level playing field, which ethnic community does the best? The data show it is the ethnic Indian community in America.


Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 239-241). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

Popular posts from this blog

Declining COVID19 Reproduction Rate in Pakistan Now Among the World's Lowest

Karachi's NED University Alum Raises $100 Million For Silicon Valley FinTech Startup

Antibodies Testing in Karachi Reveals COVID19 Exposure Runs in Double Digits