Digital Silk Road upgrade
Pakistani newspaper Dawn in June “publicly disclosed for the first time” details from documents that set out the long-term plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose major element is a transportation link between far western Xinjiang Province in China and the port of Gwadar in south-western Pakistan. CPEC is a long-planned project that has become one of the key elements of the Belt and Road initiative. Much of the analysis of CPEC has seen it as primarily a means for China to gain access to an Indian Ocean port, but the plans Dawn revealed also include an agreement for China to lease “thousands of acres of agricultural land,” and to install “a full system of monitoring and surveillance…in cities from Peshawar to Karachi, with 24-hour video recordings on roads and busy marketplaces for law and order.”
After further analysis of source documents, Dawn now reports on the “CPEC plan for Pakistan’s digital future,” which envisions a project set for completion in 2030:
•A “new, upgraded fibre optic cable network” that covers Pakistan and “crosses the border to connect directly with China” following the route of the Karakoram Highway.
•The new network will improve communications between the two countries, and allow them to avoid routing data through Europe, the U.S., and India.
•Dawn says that “China also has in mind its own increasing international telecommunications service demands,” which will necessitate additional international bandwidth.
•The new network should improve internet penetration and speed in Pakistan, as well as provide landlocked central Asian countries with alternative communication routes.
•The new China-built networks will, of course, also give the Chinese government enhanced surveillance capacity, not only in Xinjiang, but over all countries that use Chinese optic fiber to connect.
Source: SupChina “Optic fiber on the Karakoram Highway – China’s latest top news”
Note: This is SupChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In my post “China Stupid if It Started a Border War with India” on August 12, I said that China and Pakistan’s “Iron Buddy” relationship and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor regarded by China as a key project in China’s Silk Road economic belt initiative makes India fear that it is encircled by China and Pakistan, its long-term enemy.
To counter the encirclement, India wants to establish close ties with the US and Japan and hopefully the combined navies of the three nations may encircle China and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean.
I said in my post:
A modern war is fought for achieving a political goal which we regard as the strategic goal of a war. A country is a loser in the war if it wins the war without attaining its strategic goal but it is the winner if it attains its strategic goal even though it loses the war.
From that we see Indian Prime Minister Modi’s shrewdness. He knows well that India army is no match to Chinese army but he provoked China to fight and win a war with India so that he may attain the goal of developing close alliance with the US and Japan to counter-encircle China and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean.
China’s strategic goal must be resolution of its border dispute with India to turn India into its friend instead of enemy. China has been making great efforts in doing so. What can China attain even if it wins a border war with India now? It will turn India into its dead enemy if the war is a large-scale one like the countless border wars between France and Germany that gave rise to the two world wars.
Therefore, I said that China is stupid if it start a border war with India as China will get the opposite of its strategic goal while enable India to attain its strategic goal.
True enough, according to Reuters’ report “India and China agree to end border standoff”, the two nations have found solution to their border standoff and will both retreat.
India sent its troops to provoke China and China responded by sending troops there. Now India agrees to withdraw its troops so that China can withdraw hers.
Chinese leaders are wise enough to avoid military conflict with India in spite of India’s provocation.
The end of the standoff is obvious India’s failure in provoking China and China’s success in maintaining peaceful relations with India. That is very clearly shown in Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:
India and China agree to end border standoff
Sanjeev Miglani and Ben Blanchard August 28, 2017 / 2:56 PM / 11 hours ago
NEW DELHI/BEIJING (Reuters) – India and China have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops in a disputed border area where their soldiers have been locked in a stand-off for more than two months, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations – a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa – in China beginning on Sunday, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.
Indian and Chinese troops have been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan, and China, in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades along their disputed Himalayan border.
The Indian ministry said the two sides had agreed to defuse the crisis following diplomatic talks.
“In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam,” the ministry said in a statement.
“On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going,” it said in a statement.
It did not offer more details of the terms of disengagement from the area which had raised fears of a wider conflict between the Asian giants who fought a brief border war in 1962.
China said Indian troops had withdrawn from the remote area in the eastern Himalayas. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Chinese troops would continue to patrol the Doklam region.
“China will continue to exercise sovereignty rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance with the rules of the historical boundary,” she said.
The Chinese defense ministry said troops would remain on a state of alert.
“We remind the Indian side to learn the lesson from this incident, earnestly respect the historical boundary and the basic principles of international law, meet China half way and jointly protect the peace and tranquillity of the border region,” spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.
“The world is not peaceful, and peace needs to be safeguarded. The Chinese military has the confidence and the ability to protect the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Wu added.
The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.
India said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity there was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.
But China has said India had no role to play in the area and insisted it withdraw unilaterally or face the prospect of an escalation. Chinese state media had warned India of a fate worse than its crushing defeat in the war in 1962.
Indian political commentator Shekhar Gupta said there was too much at stake for the two countries to fight over a small piece of territory.
“Hopefully, Doklam is a new chapter in India-China relations. Too much at stake for both big powers to let legacy real-estate issues linger,” he said in a Twitter post.
India and China have been unable to settle their 3,500-km (2,175-mile) frontier and large parts of territory are claimed by both sides.
Lin Minwang, an India expert and the deputy director of the Center for South Asia Studies at China’s Fudan University, said the detente would ensure a smooth BRICS meeting.
“Both sides should be happy. Modi is also happy. They can conduct a meeting smoothly and naturally. If there was still a stand-off, how could they meet?”
Compared with narrow-minded India, China seems too broad minded. Just as described in Reuters’ report “India’s ‘new Silk Road’ snub highlights gulf with China” on May 20, China has failed to attract Indian leader to attend its OBOR summit.
India will certainly be much benefited if it joins China’s Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road or OBOR) plan by attracting Chinese investment and the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
China certainly will also be benefited by the connection to South Asia; therefore, it has tried hard to attract India into its OBOR. However, it depends on India’s willingness to put aside its disputes and conflicts with China and Pakistan and turn a new page in its relations with its two large neighbors.
India Prime Minister Norandra Modi attached great importance to India’s relations with China when he was just elected, but under the influence of popular enmity against China and fear of China’s rise, Modi has obviously changed his mind. He now seems to have regarded China as his enemy. It is certainly a stupid strategy to maintain instead of removing hostility with India’s large and strong neighbors China and Pakistan but narrow-minded India is too strategy illiterate to see the necessity in conducting friendly diplomacy with its neighbors. That is why Reuters mentions in its report some Indian experts’ view on India’s risk in being isolated, but Modi does not seem to realize that.
For China, however, winning over India serves its best interests. It has made great efforts to resolve its border disputes with India. Now, Reuters says in its report that China has tried hard in vain to have Modi and Indian high officials attend its OBOR summit.
However, supporting Pakistan has long been China’s strategy to reduce border threat from India. China loses nothing if it cannot win over India. On the contrary, India’s opposition will push Pakistan closer to China and facilitate the success of China-Pakistan win win cooperation to make both countries richer and stronger.
Perhaps, India is confident that it will grow stronger than China in the long run, but can it attain that goal in isolation?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-india-idUSKCN18H01L.
In its report “Pakistan signs nearly $500 million in China deals at Silk Road summit” yesterday, Reuters quotes Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif as saying to Chinese President, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core component of your visionary initiative of the ‘One Belt-One Road'”.
In my post “The Conundrum of China’s New Silk Road Plan” on April 20, I said that China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) aims at establishing alternate land routes for its national security and expanding its trade with other countries. China is not rich enough to share the bounty of its economic development and to fund infrastructure gaps irrelevant to its national security or economic growth.
Sharif is wise to see the vital strategic importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in China’s OBOR so that he describes it as the core of Xi Jinping’s OBOR initiative.
The Corridor will facilitate Pakistan’s and Western China’s economic development and strengthen China’s and Pakistan’s defense in their border with India. Moreover, China will have a shortcut in its trade with the Middle East through the corridor.
Due to the strategic importance, Xi and Sharif signed $500 million deals for CPEC in addition to the $57 billion already pledged for its projects. Pakistani troops are active in ensuring the safety of those projects due to their importance to Pakistan’s and China’s national security.
In fact, the core projects for OBOR are but those in Pakistan, Central Asia and Russia for China’s trade to the Middle East and Europe, especially the access to oil and gas resources there.
It is Xi’s wise idea to describe OBOR as a global initiative involving lots of countries that in fact are not along China’s Silk Road in order to attract other countries’ investment and construction industries to the projects that benefit China. Japan and South Korea are interested in the infrastructures in Southeast Asia, which though is included in China’s OBOR initiative, is really not along China’s Silk Road as China’s trade routes to the Middle East, Europe and Africa through Southeast Asia have yet to go through the Indian Ocean with the risk of being cut by not only US but also Indian navy.
However, the infrastructure developed by whatever countries China, Japan, South Korea or others will facilitate rich overseas Chinese’ business in the region and thus expands China’s influence there.
As for the US, Japan and South Korea’s competition with China in developing infrastructures in Central Asia, China certainly welcomes such competition as the infrastructures will first of all be exploited by China in its trade and investment there. I do not see the wisdom in such competition as the infrastructures are in countries under Russian military dominance.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-pakistan-idUSKBN1890KD.
In its report yesterday titled “China to gather friends for biggest summit of year on New Silk Road”, Reuters says, “While China has portrayed the New Silk Road as a genuine effort to share the bounty of China’s economic development and to fund infrastructure gaps, many Western countries are concerned about a lack of detail and transparency in the project and are suspicious about China’s broader political intents.”
China certainly is not so generous as to contribute billions of dollars to its New Silk Road projects for nothing in return. The sharing of bounty is but propaganda. China is simply not rich enough to do so. It has to first eliminate poverty at home and raise its own people’s living standards to a level similar to Western developed countries. To achieve those goals, China still has a long way to go.
Therefore, it helps other countries build infrastructures first of all for its own benefits, i.e. to provide alternative routes for import and export, which will facilitate not only its trade but also national security.
The most important are pipelines for import of oil and gas from Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The shipping route to the Middle East and Europe through Indian Ocean can easily be cut by powerful US navy. Russia and Central Asia offer alternative land routes, but the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be even better.
The roads, railways and pipelines to be built and expanded through the corridor will provide China with connections to the Middle East, Europe and Africa as there is military protection by Iran and Russia of the sea route from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port that China has been building. That trade route will facilitate the economic development not only in Pakistan but also China’s vast west.
In addition, China may move its labor-intensive industries to Pakistan to exploit the cheap labor there.
The New Silk Road projects are first of all for China’s own security and economic growth while enabling other countries along the road to become rich through win-win cooperation. Leaders of Western developed countries will not attend the New Silk Road summit as they do not think that their countries will be much benefited by the road. Only Italian Prime Minister will attend the summit as the sea route from Gwadar Port may connect to land route through Italy to Europe.
However, can China’s good relations with those small and poor nations along the New Silk Road in Asia enable China to replace the US as world leader? I don’t think Western leaders have such rich imagination as Reuters points out in its report.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-summit-idUSKBN17K0FL.
SCMP says in its report on November 13 titled “Chinese ship opens new international trade route via Pakistani port” that Pakistani civil and military leaders went to Gwadar Port to see off a Chinese ship that exported goods to the Middle East from the port that has been newly built with Chinese investment.
SCMP says, “Pakistani army has created a special force to guard port and new trade routes”.
That marked the beginning of China’s Silk Road economic belt in Pakistan called the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” where China is building a network of roads and power plants to facilitate shipping of Chinese goods through the corridor to the Middle East and Africa. The Corridor will also make great contributions to Pakistan’s economic growth.
China has developed its J-20 to have air superiority in the area around it to prevent attack by the US, but its trade lifelines through the oceans, especially the Indian Ocean may be cut by powerful US navy.
According to SCMP, “Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea and occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The port is also located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz.”
The port is therefore the key to China’s 21st century maritime Silk Road. As the sea route from Gwadar to the Middle East is protected by Pakistani and Iranian air forces, China now has a safe trade route through its Southwest China and Pakistan on land and the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz along Pakistani and Iranian coast instead of the Indian Ocean that may be cut by US or even Indian navy.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2045579/chinese-ship-opens-new-international-trade-route.
Pakistan’s army chief on Tuesday accused longtime regional rival India of seeking to undermine his country’s $46 billion project to build an economic corridor to transport goods from China’s western regions through the Pakistani deepwater port of Gwadar.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, speaking at a development conference on the impact of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said the significance of a Pakistan-China economic alliance had “raised eyebrows” in the region.
“In this context, I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative,” Sharif told the conference in Gwadar.
“I would like to make a special reference to Indian intelligence agency RAW that is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan. Therefore, it is important for all to leave behind confrontation and focus on cooperation.”
Indian officials could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday night.
RAW is India’s Research and Analysis Wing, its main external intelligence agency.
Last month, Pakistan said it had detained a suspected Indian spy for RAW in Baluchistan, the southwestern Pakistani province where most of the CPEC is taking shape.
India has confirmed that the man is a former Indian navy official but denied that he is a spy.
Majority Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan, once part of a vast British colonial holding, have fought three wars since they were partitioned upon independence in 1947, leading to a violent separation that has fed decades of mutual suspicion.
Pakistan believes India is supporting a separatist insurgency in resource-rich Baluchistan. It also accuses India of fuelling strife in the city of Karachi. India denies any such meddling.
India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian security forces in its part of the divided Kashmir region, of helping militants launch attacks elsewhere in India and backing the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Pakistan says it only offers diplomatic support to the Muslim people of Kashmir living under what Pakistan says is heavy-handed Indian rule. It denies backing militant attacks in India.
(Reporting by Kay Johnson; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Source: Reuters “Pakistan army chief accuses India of undermining China investment corridor”