Iran says it has offered Pakistan and China participation in India’s Chabahar project

Shailaja Neelakantan
Updated: Mar 13, 2018, 15:28 IST

NEW DELHI: In what may come as a shock to India, Iran said yesterday it offered Pakistan and China participation in the Chabahar project, a port that is being built by India for the express purpose of bypassing Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported today that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday invited Pakistan to participate in Chabahar seaport project + and in the development of its link with the Gwadar Port “as he sought to allay concerns here (in Pakistan) over Indian involvement in the Iranian port.”

“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chabahar,” said Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said Dawn.

Chabahar is said to be becoming a success story in the India-Iran relationship. The first phase of the Chabahar port in south-east Iran, which India is developing, was inaugurated in December last year. The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan. It is expected to cut transport costs/time for Indian goods by a third and likely to ramp up trade among India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.

Given this context, India’s not likely to be pleased with the Iranian foreign minister’s comments. It’s possible though that Zarif was merely making conciliatory remarks. That’s because he went out of his way to assure Pakistan that its ties with India are not in conflict with Islamabad.

Zarif drew a comparison with Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia and said that just like that relationship does not tarnish Islamabad’s ties with Tehran, India’s and Iran’s relationship isn’t going to affect Pakistan negatively, reported Mehr News, an Iranian news agency. He added that the Gwadar port city in Pakistan and Chabahar transit agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan are “complementary” and not “competitive”.

Source: TIMESOFINDIA.COM “Iran says it has offered Pakistan and China participation in India’s Chabahar project”

Note: This is TIMESOFINDIA.COM’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Can Quad Encircle China when India is Encircled by China?

Today I reblogged Foreign Affairs’ very interesting article about India titled “An Indian Nightmare: Is New Delhi Ready for the Twenty-First Century?” as it has updated my knowledge about India. However, the nightmare described in the article is India’s domestic problems. It is related to China as China is able to put an to India’s nightmare.

I always believe that Indian and Chinese economies supplement each other so that there are good prospects for win-win cooperation between the two giant neighbors. India needs Chinese investment for development of industry and infrastructures to exploit its huge cheep labor so as to provide jobs for its large population and lift lots of people out of poverty. China’s Belt and Road initiative can precisely help India build infrastructures that India is in urgent need of according to the article. Moreover, the infrastructures will enable China to move its labor-intensive industries to India as labor has become much more expensive in China. Win-win cooperation with China will put an end to India’s nightmare. Therefore, there are no reasons at all for India not to welcome China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Indian Prime Minister has the vision and wisdom to see that so that he regarded good relations with China as his first priority when he came to office. He accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping with enthusiasm when Xi visited India in 2014.

However, the honeymoon between India and China turned out to be very short. Why? Perhaps because China is the iron brother of India’s deadly enemy Pakistan.

In order to form a Russia-China-India alliance to counter US hegemony, Russia has tried hard and succeeded in attracting India into Russia- and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) while Pakistan has joined SCO under China’s influence. The two neighbors with sworn enmity had tried to mend fence through SCO but has not made much progress in improving their relations.

However, China has to carry out its Belt and Road plans despite being cold shouldered by India. China’s successes in its Belt and Road initiative in Pakistan and Sri Lanka have made India fear that it has lost its hegemony in South Asia and Indian Ocean and its influence in the areas it regards as its sphere of influence is being replaced by China.

Seeing India’s predicament, the US and Japan tried hard to win over India into their quad to counter the rise of China that India fears. The US uses the provision of weapons and weapon technology as bait to attract India. As the weapons and weapon technology are what India urgently need to maintain its hegemony in South Asia and Indian Ocean, India readily swallow the bait. Modi should not have been so stupid as to bear the brunt in confronting China while the other three of the quad, especially Japan, have too great interests in their relations with China and would not bear the brunt in confronting China.

The US uses its quad to encircle China from the south but there are lots of holes in the encirclement. Only naval blockade in Indian Ocean may really hurt China. However, China has established several alternative routes for connection with Europe through Russia and Central Asia and is building China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for connection with the Middle East, Europe and Africa. India cannot block China’s land connection to Pakistani port of Gwadar or sea route from Gwadar to the Mediterranean along the coast of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries friendly to China.

China, however, has intensified its efforts to counter the quad by its generous investment in infrastructures in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan with the effect to encircle India.

I certainly hope that India realizes its folly in bearing the brunt in countering China for the US, Japan and Australia and see the benefits in joining China’s Belt and Road to become a real South Asian power with prosperous economy instead of military strength. However, it is up to India to make the decision.

Indian big moneys are pro-West. They dominate Indian media that are spreading hostility to China day and night. Modi, though wise enough to see the needs for win-win cooperation with China, dare not oppose big moneys. Otherwise, he will perhaps lose quite a few vots in India’s next election.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Affairs’ article, full text of which has been reblogged by him today.

A death in Karachi leads to a question: Will Pakistan become a crisis for China?

Jeremy Goldkorn February 7, 2018

A Chinese national who was the managing director of a shipping company in Karachi, Pakistan, was shot dead on Monday. One of his Chinese colleagues was shot in the leg but survived. A Pakistani police officer said it seemed to have been “a targeted attack,”as reported by CGTN.

The man’s death was confirmed yesterday by a foreign ministry spokesperson, who said that China “condemns any violence against Chinese nationals and will pay close attention to the investigation” of the killing. The foreign ministry will have to issue more and more such statements in the coming years, especially regarding Chinese citizens in Southwest Asia and the Middle East, which comprise the major nexus of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Moreover, the security of Chinese nationals abroad will become a constant irritant and frequent challenge for China’s foreign policy. Pakistan may be the country where the irritant becomes a crisis.

Source: SubChina “A death in Karachi leads to a question: Will Pakistan become a crisis for China?”

Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

The Conundrum of the Importance China Attaches to Afghanistan

Afghnistan is not needed for China’s Belt and Road for connections to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The connections through Central Asia are better. Why does China want to include Afghanistan in its major Belt and Road project the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?

In CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s 19th congress speech on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, he says, “As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. Only when China has resolved that principal contradiction can it attain the goals of building China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century.”

How can China attain that goal? It has to make its development balanced and adequate. Where is its development unbalanced and inadequate? It is its vast west.

China’s vast Xinjiang has an area of 1.6 million square kilometers but has only a population of over 20 million with the population density of 13 per square kilometer. Jiangsu, a very small province of 104,000 square kilometers in China’s eastern coast, however, has a population of more than 55 million with a population density of 526 per square kilometer. Though very small compared with Xinjiang, Jiangsu’s GDP of nearly $700 billion is much bigger than Xinjiang’s $150b in spite of Xinjiang’s rich natural resources.

Xinjiang’s problem is its large deserts. There is the Tarim River in its vast Taklamakan desert of 330,000 square kilometers, but the river cannot provide enough water for farming and people’s livelihood there. However, in history the Tarim River made the Kingdom of Loulan in the now desert area prosperous. Loulan was extinct when it had used up the river’s water. We still can see the good irrigation system in the relics of the Kingdom.

That gives China the idea that if it brings water from Tibet’s Yarlung Zangbo River to Taklamakan desert to greatly increase the water in the Tarim, it can turn the desert soon into habitable farmland and urban areas. People and industries will soon move there to make Xinjiang as prosperous as coastal China.

China’s coastal areas quickly become prosperous due to their access to overseas markets and resources. With express ways, railways and oil and gas pipes through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Pakistan’s port of Gwadar, Xinjiang will have better access to the markets and resources in Europe, the Middle East and Africa than China’s coastal areas.

Therefore, for balanced and adequate development in China’s west, Pakistan and Afghanistan are very important in preventing the spread of Islamic extremism to Xinjiang. That is why China has tried hard to improve the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in order that they can better tackle the violence in their respective countries. In addition, China has been making efforts to broker peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban militants. For China’s such efforts, including Afghanistan in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will certainly help as Afghanistan is very poor and needs Chinese investment to help its development.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

Why China and Pakistan Want to Include Afghanistan in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?

(L to R) Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif attend a joint news conference after the 1st China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing, China, December 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Afghanistan is not needed for China’s connection to the Middle East and Europe. Why then do China and Pakistan want to include it in their CPEC?

China, Afghanistan and Pakistan held their first tripartite dialogue in Beijing on December 26, 2017. The three foreign ministers’ joint press release says, “The three sides reaffirmed their commitment to improving their relations, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative, and fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations without any distinction. The three Foreign Ministers agreed to jointly work together on political mutual trust and reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as three topics of the trilateral cooperation.”

In addition, it says, “The three sides agreed to conduct win-win trilateral economic cooperation, with an incremental approach, starting from the easier initiatives to the more difficult ones. The three sides agreed to continue economic development cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and expressed willingness to strengthen people-to-people contacts.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after the first trilateral meeting that China and Pakistan would look at extending their $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan and that he hoped CPEC could benefit the whole region and act as an impetus for development.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif make it clearer by saying, “The successful implementation of CPEC projects will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia.”

Iran and central and west Asia are what China wants to include in its Belt and Road initiative. Chinese trade will go through CPEC to Iran on land and go through sea route from Pakistani port of Gwadar along coast of Iran to the Arabian Peninsula and then cross the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean to Europe.

Moreover, extending CPEC to Afghanistan is very important to prevent the spread of Islamist terrorism from Pakistan and Afghanistan to China’s underdeveloped western region of Xinjiang.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

China, Pakistan to look at including Afghanistan in $57 billion economic corridor

(L to R) Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif attend a joint news conference after the 1st China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing, China, December 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Ben Blanchard December 26, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Pakistan will look at extending their $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road plan linking China with Asia, Europe and beyond.

China has tried to position itself as a helpful party to promote talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both uneasy neighbors ever since Pakistan’s independence in 1947.

Their ties have been poisoned in recent years by Afghan accusations that Pakistan is supporting Taliban insurgents fighting the U.S.-backed Kabul in order to limit the influence of its old rival, India, in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies that and says it wants to see a peaceful, stable Afghanistan.

Speaking after the first trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Wang said China hoped the economic corridor could benefit the whole region and act as an impetus for development.

Afghanistan has urgent need to develop and improve people’s lives and hopes it can join inter-connectivity initiatives, Wang told reporters, as he announced that Pakistan and Afghanistan had agreed to mend their strained relations.

“So China and Pakistan are willing to look at with Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan,” he added.

How that could happen needs the three countries to reach a gradual consensus, tackling easier, smaller projects first, Wang said, without giving details.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said his country and China were “iron brothers”, but did not directly mention the prospect of Afghanistan joining the corridor.

“The successful implementation of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia,” he said.

India has looked askance at the project as parts of it run through Pakistan-administered Kashmir that India considers its own territory, though Wang said the plan had nothing to do with territorial disputes.

China has sought to bring Kabul and Islamabad together partly due to Chinese fears about the spread of Islamist militancy from Pakistan and Afghanistan to the unrest-prone far western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

As such, China has pushed for Pakistan and Afghanistan to improve their own ties so they can better tackle the violence in their respective countries, and has also tried to broker peace talks with Afghan Taliban militants, to limited effect.

A tentative talks process collapsed in 2015.

Wang said China fully supported peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban and would continue to provide “necessary facilitation”.

The Belt and Road infrastructure drive aims to build a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting China to economies in Southeast and Central Asia by land and the Middle East and Europe by sea.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “China, Pakistan to look at including Afghanistan in $57 billion economic corridor”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Pakistan, China say economic partners till 2030

Ahsan Iqbal (L), Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development and Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan attend the launching ceremoney of CPEC long-term cooperation plan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Reuters Staff December 18, 2017

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan and China on Monday unveiled a long-term cooperation plan in economic development envisioning cooperation until at least 2030 in areas ranging from infrastructure to information technology.

It is the first time the two countries have announced how long they plan to work together on the project, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The long-term CPEC plan was made public in a ceremony in Islamabad attended by Pakistani Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing.

The document did not, however, give specific details on the projects, such as terms and conditions of investments and loans, nor did it provide details for Special Economic Zones, some of which are already underway in Pakistan.

The (CPEC), a flagship of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, has committed a $57 billion investment in Pakistan.

The long term plan highlighted key cooperation areas between the two neighbors, which included connectivity with a road and rail infrastructure, information network infrastructure, energy, trade and industrial parks, agriculture, poverty alleviation and tourism.

Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Richard Balmforth

Source: Reuters “Pakistan, China say economic partners till 2030”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.