Posts Tagged ‘OBOR’

Iran eyes CPEC with growing interest after port visit

April 14, 2018

Dawn

Pakistan

Updated April 14, 2018
Karachi Port Trust Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar on Friday is briefing an Iranian delegation about facilities and avenues available at the Deepwater Container Port for private investment.
Karachi Port Trust Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar on Friday is briefing an Iranian delegation about facilities and avenues available at the Deepwater Container Port for private investment.

KARACHI: Iran’s Minister for Roads and Urbanisation Abbas Akhoundi expressed keen interest in exploring avenues available under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The minister is leading a high level Iranian delegation which visited Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on Friday.

Akhoundi also showed interest in transshipment cargo handling. He said that Iran is keen to work with Pakistan for interconnection linkage between Karachi Port and Bandar Abbas as well as the development of tourism and facilitation of ‘zaireen’ (religious pilgrims).

He further said there was ample space of 204,000 hectares available at Bandar Abbas for promoting transshipment cargo handling facility.

KPT Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar briefed the Iranian delegation about various projects.

He said the port is currently working on the expansion programme under the 10-Year Karachi Port Improvement Plan.

The Iranian delegation took keen interest in the deepwater container port project of KPT along with other future projects including the multipurpose bulk terminal, cargo village, LNG terminal and port elevated expressway.

The KPT chairman said that special care has been taken for opening up investment opportunities in marine sector for private sector.

The Iranian delegation was also given a tour of the South Asia Pakistan Terminals Ltd at the Deepwater Container Port.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1401503/iran-eyes-cpec-with-growing-interest-after-port-visit

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The long-term goal of One Belt One Road (OBOR) is pretty straightforward. China wants to be the world’s dominant manufacturer in the 21st Century. It wants everything you buy in a store or online to be made, in part or in whole, in China, with Chinese labor, and for the profit of Chinese businesses. It understands that, in order to accomplish this goal, it is not enough for China to merely underprice businesses in Europe and the U.S. It must control not only the means of production but the means of delivery: the roads, ports, railways, and pipelines. Made in China 2025 is the manufacturing part of this plan.

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6 Things You Should Know About China’s One Belt One Road Plan

March 24, 2018

China has a plan for your future and it’s called One Belt One Road.

China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project – consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt, a land route to Europe, and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, a sea route cutting from the Philippines to the Mediterranean – is a sprawling bureaucratic monstrosity the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) asserts will create a better-connected, wealthier global economy. The Belt and Road Initiative, as it is sometimes also called, requires China to invest heavily in infrastructure and development across three continents to facilitate trade for China.

The consistent injection of all this terminology – the belt, the road, the “ancient” allusions – into trade discussions involving China have left many in America with questions. Where the road ends, what the world looks like once China is done building its infrastructure, and what checks remain on Chinese hegemony of OBOR succeeds are all valid questions that China has yet to definitively answer.

From what China has revealed of its plan, however, One Belt One Road could significantly alter the geopolitical and economic landscapes of Asia, Europe, and Africa, in at least the following X ways.

One Belt One Road Is Mercantilism on a Global Scale

One Belt One Road is China’s plan to dominate world trade by building and controlling a network of roads, pipelines, railways, ports, and power plants to deliver raw materials to China and finished goods to the rest of the world. It’s a super-highway for Chinese economic dominance.

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The long-term goal of OBOR is pretty straightforward. China wants to be the world’s dominant manufacturer in the 21st Century. It wants everything you buy in a store or online to be made, in part or in whole, in China, with Chinese labor, and for the profit of Chinese businesses. It understands that, in order to accomplish this goal, it is not enough for China to merely underprice businesses in Europe and the U.S. It must control not only the means of production but the means of delivery: the roads, ports, railways, and pipelines.

Control over the means of delivery has been a long-term Chinese goal. China already controls the majority of ports around the Panama Canal, the key to shipping between the Pacific Rim and Atlantic facing Europe. OBOR would create another route to Europe’s consumers, through central Asia.

The ultimate goal is to allow China to control the terms of global trade, rending aging Western-dominated institutions and practices dispensible. It is nothing short of reshaping the global economic order around the priorities of China’s leaders.

It’s a Bailout for China’s Economy

Economic growth has been slowing within China for years, putting more and more pressure on China’s government-controlled financial sector to fund projects that are increasingly uneconomical. The country is producing far more steel, cement, and machinery than it can possibly use. So China has built cities in which no one lives, office towers in which no one works, and roads that literally go nowhere in an effort to keep its population employed.

The massive infrastructure projects of OBOR are an extension of this. They provide the short-term demand for China’s production, staving off what many thought would be an inevitable economic reckoning and collapse.

Turning Everyone Chinese

Here’s a propaganda video produced by the Chinese government to promote “understanding” of OBOR. Notice that at the start of the video, the cute kids are all Chinese. As it progresses, the kids morph into south Asians, middle easterners and finally into blond Europeans. If you really want to understand what China is up to with OBOR, this video is the clearest indication.

It Could Significantly Hurt India

As the China Daily map shows, India is in a pivotal geographic location for the Silk Road Economic Belt – any major development to get to either Africa (through the Indian Ocean) or central Asia requires India’s input. The potential of a robust Chinese presence on the China-India border or in Pakistan, and a similar such presence in the Indian Ocean, has alarmed the Indian government, China’s main economic rival on the continent.

China’s construction of roads near the border already caused a major diplomatic dispute this summer. The Chinese attempted to extend a road construction into neighboring Bhutan against that government’s wishes, triggering Bhutan to call for India to intervene. India sent troops into the disputed territory, which China claims as its own, and forcedChina to withdraw its road construction project.

Outside of Bhutan, China is seeking to build the new Silk Road straight through Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. China is a close ally of Pakistan, which the Indian government often accuses of harboring jihadist terrorism. The Kashmir project is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and its completion could give Pakistan (and, of course, China) full control of the territory. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied that CPEC involves any “territorial disputes” despite its location, while Chinese officials have accused India of seeing China as an “imaginary enemy.”

India and its allies in the United States have rejected this claim. Speaking following a trip to India, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters that China must understand that, “in a globalized world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘one belt, one road.’”

He added that the project “goes through disputed territory … [and] that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.”

India has protested less about the maritime trade routes China is establishing, as Beijing has yet to violate India’s waters. Yet analysts note that “China now has India surrounded, wrapped up by land and sea via its Belt and Road initiative (BRI),” and the Indian government appears to be acting with this in mind, abstaining from participating in major OBOR summits and instead growing closer to Washington.

Much of the ‘Maritime Silk Road’ Is Illegal

Xinhua, a Chinese state news outlet, describes the Maritime Silk Road as heading “from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other.” What Xinhua leaves out of this statement is that China claims almost the entire South China Sea for itself – a claim the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague deems illegal.

China claims waters in the South China Sea within the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan, and the waters off of Natuna Island, Indonesia. This includes the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which belong to Vietnam and the Philippines, where China has spent the past three years constructing artificial islands and arming them to the teeth with military assets like fighter jets, advanced surveillance systems, and surface-to-air missiles.

China openly asserts that the Paracel Islands, known in China as the Xisha Islands, are part of OBOR.

“The Xisha Islands will soon be offered to more cruise passengers following the popularity of the Coconut Princess cruise liner’s new 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road route to the archipelago,” the Chinese government announced in 2015. “The cruise has been rerouted and, since Feb 7, re-branded as a Maritime Silk Road excursion, because more cruise companies are hopping aboard the concept of creating modern tours along the ancient sea routes.”

In 2016, the Hague court issued a verdict in Philippines v. China against the defendant, stating that all its construction in the disputed territories violates international law, as well as its actions against foreign vessels in international waters. Chinese officials announced they would ignore the Hague ruling and continue construction in the area. They have also increased the number of Chinese ships active in Philippine and other foreign waters, intended to intimidate fishermen attempting to use their domestic waters.

OBOR Is China’s Manifest Destiny

As The Diplomat has noted, the territory covered by OBOR “includes more than two thirds of world population and more than one third of global economic output, and could involve Chinese investments that total up to $4 trillion.” This includes the aforementioned South China Sea waters that no one outside of the Beijing elite argues rightfully belong under Chinese control. It includes territories like Nepal, Afghanistan, and central Asian states that at one point or another in history were closely tied to some part of China.

OBOR is designed to reconstruct an alleged “ancient” Chinese empire through infrastructure, trade, and culture. Chinese officials are quick to use the word “ancient” to describe both their claims in the South China Sea and the precedent for OBOR.

“For thousands of years, the Silk Road Spirit … has been passed from generation to generation, promoted the progress of human civilization, and contributed greatly to the prosperity and development of the countries along the Silk Road,” the state outlet Xinhua argued in 2015, introducing the specifics of the project. Of the South China Sea, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last year that “the islands in the South China Sea have been China’s territory since ancient times, and China has the right to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.”

Xi Jinping himself has said that the entire South China Sea was “left to us by our ancestors.”

On land, China has not made such sweeping claims. But its OBOR plans make clear it hopes to make the communities it touches more Chinese. The Chinese government announced in 2015 its plans to build at least 50 Chinese “cultural centers” across the “ancient Silk Road” meant to expand Chinese cultural influence. The targets of these centers will be as close as Nepal and as far as Turkey.

China will also be opening schools across the region. “More than 10 countries involved have expressed an interest in China running schools or education programs on their territory,” the government claimed in announcing OBOR last year. Countries in the Middle East and South Asia reportedly expressed interest in these schools.

If they are anything like the schools in China, they will indoctrinate children in communist thought, the greatness of Xi Jinping, and the illegal claims China makes in the waters surrounding it.

Commentary: Where is China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative headed?

January 19, 2018
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Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at the opening of the Belt and Road Forum is displayed on a big screen near a decoration depicting Chinese Admiral Zheng He who commanded expeditionary voyages across Asia and East Africa in the 15th century in Beijing, China, Sunday, May 14, 2017. AP/Ng Han Guan

During the 16th to 20th centuries, major world powers embarked on an aggressive race to colonize large swathes of the globe to feed an ambitious objective to expand territory, resources and wealth. Competition among colonial powers was fierce.

In so many instances, the quest for new territories was done with little regard for the welfare of the indigenous people they ruled over. Many of the unfortunate subjects were subjected to all forms of abuse from slavery to mass extermination by their colonial masters.

Thus, conflict was the inevitable outcome. Colonial powers would frequently find themselves in wars over territory and disputed borders. Such borders would be unilaterally drawn up by the colonials with no respect for the ethnicity and welfare of the people living within. What was important was that these subjugated native people all provided the necessary labor to fuel and realize the colonial ambitions of the mother country.

The history of colonial rule is replete with misery brought about by the violent rebellions. When the Philippines was a colony of Spain, a devious strategy to manage rebellion was to pit one ethnic group against another and creating a native elite subservient to the Spanish rulers.

All of these colonial territories who fought for independence after the Second World War forced the large colonial empires, especially that of Great Britain to deal with the difficult process of consolidating their empires in a context of ethnic division and socio-economic disruption. Some like Malaysia succeeded, while others like the Philippines are still beset by age old conflicts that any Spaniard with memory of the colonial past would immediately recognize.

For those countries that, up to now, have not been able to overcome their post-colonial problems, the constant security concerns of internecine conflict, rebellion and terrorism exists on a daily basis. This is brought about in many instances by the feudal attitudes premised on political and business interests. As such, their world perspective is defined not by the nation state to which they belong to but by their parochial interests.

Hence this is the context of the situation that faces China as it plunges into this massive and ambitious experiment known as the One Belt, One Road Initiative in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As it prepares to engage the developing world, it has projected itself as an alternative to Western forms of assistance to compete with the West in its strategic ambition to become the dominant global power.

That perspective of competition that Beijing uses to approach the OBOR then carries the seeds of future problems for China especially in matters of sustainability of that initiative. It may result in Beijing glossing over many undesirable features of the target countries that they wish to bring into their sphere of influence.

Beijing’s carrot tactic of considerable financial aid that in many instances had been effective in neutralizing Taipei’s global diplomatic presence may not work as well if applied in a global stage or as part of an ambitious strategy against more formidable and well-organized nation states in the West. Beijing faces the possibility of waking up one day with a motley collection of client states and political entities which have no potential of furthering China’s interests.

In contrast, the West would have just husbanded their resources and established measures that would enable them to either engage or hedge Beijing’s overall ambitious. The Chinese investment programs that turned into white elephants with no sustainable return of investments in Venezuela and Sri Lanka should be seen by Beijing as the proverbial writing on the wall. Beijing’s reckless drive to achieve global preeminence will most likely result in the opposite of what it desires.

http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2018/01/19/1779314/commentary-where-chinas-one-belt-one-road-initiative-headed

Jose Antonio Custodio is a non-resident security fellow of think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, a partner of Philstar.com.

China, Pakistan, Afghanistan ask Taliban to join peace process — “China’s political and economic clout”

December 27, 2017

 

Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, center, is flanked by Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, left, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif during the First China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Islamabad)

ISLAMABAD: China hosted the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday, in a bid to improve the neighbors’ historically fractious relationship.

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Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani of Afghanistan and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif led delegations from their respective countries.
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According to a joint communique, the three countries agreed to strengthen counterterrorism coordination and cooperation. “The three sides will communicate and consult on developing a memorandum of understanding for counterterrorism cooperation,” it read.
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All three countries urged the Taliban to join the peace process “as soon as possible,” calling a broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation process, which is Afghan-led and fully supported regionally and internationally the “most viable solution to end violence in Afghanistan.”
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In the first trilateral dialogue between the three countries, the foreign ministers reiterated their “strong determination not to allow any country, organization or individual to use their respective territories for terrorist activities against any other countries,” according to their joint statement.
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Speaking at a joint press briefing after their meeting, Asif said: “It was agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential for our shared objective of development, deepening connectivity and economic prosperity.”
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“Pakistan emphasized the importance of border management, the return of Afghan refugees, and intelligence sharing for effective counter-terrorism cooperation.”
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Afghanistan’s Rabbani said: “Terrorism is growing by the day and to turn around this trend will require full, sincere and practical cooperation among states in our own region and beyond to defeat this common menace.”
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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid declined to comment, but the Taliban have previously rejected any offer to participate in the peace process.
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China has serious concerns about the often-tense relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in view of its huge investment in the multibillion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.
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Pakistani experts believe China has now adopted a proactive regional diplomatic approach to promote peace and reconciliation in war-torn Afghanistan, in cooperation with Pakistan, which would also help ensure security in China’s Xinjiang province, which borders both countries.
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China has already hosted a meeting between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan government officials in 2015, and a delegation of Qatar-based Taliban political representatives traveled to China earlier this year, according to a Taliban official.
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Sen. Mushahid Hussain, chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Defense Committee, said China is uniquely positioned to play an active role not only in economic development, but also in peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
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“Unlike others, China carries no extra-baggage, having stayed out of the internecine civil strife in Afghanistan,” Hussain told Arab News. ”Beijing enjoys the confidence of both the Afghan government and the Taliban, as well as Pakistan and the US, which has a diminishing military presence without China’s political and economic clout.”
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“China’s economic growth southward, especially the CPEC, is directly impacted by Afghanistan,” said Ishaq Ahmed Khattak, director, intelligence and international security studies, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI).
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And, given the investment China has made in Afghanistan, it has to play a “predominant role in bringing peace through economic development and negotiations,” he explained.
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Foreign Minister Yi visited Kabul and Islamabad in June this year to mend ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan. During that visit, the three countries agreed to establish a mechanism for regular interaction.
In their meeting on Tuesday, the foreign ministers decided that their next gathering would be held in Kabul in 2018.
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Pakistan Rejects China Dam Aid; Stuns China’s One Belt One Road Planners

November 16, 2017

File photo used for representational purpose

In a jolt to OBOR, Pakistan rejects China dam aid

Saibal Dasgupta | TNN | Updated: Nov 16, 2017, 11:33 IST


Pakistan has turned down China’s offer of assistance for the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam
Islamabad is learnt to have asked China to take the project out of the CPEC
The project is located in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), which is claimed by India
File photo used for representational purposeFile photo used for representational purpose

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BEIJING: Pakistan has turned down China’s offer of assistance for the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam+ , according to a leading Pakistan daily.

Image result for Diamer-Bhasha Dam, photos

Diamer-Bhasha Dam under construction

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Moreover, Islamabad is learnt to have asked China to take the project out of the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and allow it to build the dam on its own. The project is located in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which is claimed by India.

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The Asian Development Bank had earlier refused+ to finance the project because it was to come up in a disputed territory. Express Tribune cited a top official saying Pakistan would prefer to self-finance the project instead of accepting extremely tough conditions set by Chinese companies.

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Sources in Pakistan said international lenders were linking serious conditions with the provision of funding, and the project cost had reached $14 billion against the original estimates of $5 billion.

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Express Tribune quoted chairman of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Muzammil Hussain as saying, “Chinese conditions for financing the Diamer-Bhasha Dam were not doable and against our interests.”

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Hussain said this while briefing the public accounts committee (PAC) of parliament, and added that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has approved a plan to finance the dam from the country’s own resources.

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The report caused huge surprise to knowledgeable sources in Beijing, some of whom were in denial and said Pakistan was unlikely to spring a nasty surprise without first consulting Chinese authorities.

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A Beijing-based Chinese expert said Pakistan would not risk turning down Beijing’s offer because it would impact the CPEC as a whole.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-walks-out-of-chinese-project-for-pok-dam/articleshow/61662966.cms

Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a gravity dam, in the preliminary stages of construction, on the River Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamer-Bhasha_Dam

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China: India Must Pull Back Its Troops Amid Border Standoff

July 24, 2017

BEIJING — China on Monday warned India not to “push your luck” by underestimating Beijing’s determination to safeguard what it considers sovereign Chinese territory, amid an ongoing standoff between the two neighbors over a contested region high in the Himalayas.

Defense ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian reiterated China’s demand that Indian troops pull back from the Doklam Plateau, an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan where Chinese teams had been building a road toward India’s border.

“China’s determination and resolve to safeguard national security and sovereignty is unshakable,” Wu said at a news conference to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

“Here is a wish to remind India, do not push your luck and cling to any fantasies,” Wu said. “The 90-year history of the PLA has proved but one thing: that our military means to secure our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has strengthened and our determination has never wavered. It is easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA.”

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Beijing may support Sikkim’s independence if Indian troops don’t back off, warns Chinese media DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

India has called for both sides to withdraw forces and a negotiated settlement to the standoff that began last month after Chinese troops began working to extend southward the road from Yadong in Tibet.

While the sides have exercised restraint thus far, heated rhetoric in both Beijing and New Delhi has raised concern over a renewal of hostilities that resulted in a brief but bloody frontier war between the sides in 1962. The nuclear-armed neighbors share a 3,500-kilometer (2,174-mile) border, much of it contested, and China acts as a key ally and arms supplier for India’s archrival, Pakistan.

The crisis is expected to be discussed when Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval visits Beijing at the end of this week for a security forum under the BRICS group of large developing nations that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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 (From 2013)

China Taken Off Guard By India’s strong response to the Doklam issue

July 18, 2017

Vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki believes that China was caught off guard by India’s strong response to the Doklam issue as it expected only Bhutan to react.

  • July 15, 2017 16:02 IST

While China and the Chinese media have maintained an aggressive stand when it comes to the Indo-China border dispute in Sikkim, asking Indian troops to withdraw time and again, vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki believes that China was caught off guard by India’s strong response to the Doklam issue.

In an article Czarnecki wrote for EP Today, he said that China has been assuring the world that its “peaceful rise” did not create issues for other countries and in fact rooted for a peaceful atmosphere, but that is not the truth. “In recent years and especially after Xi Jinping’s succession as the country’s President, one has been witnessing change in China’s foreign policy and an infringement of internationally accepted norms,” he wrote.

Czarnecki also said that the Doklam issue, which has been going on for the last few weeks, was bound to get Bhutan’s attention as China was constructing the road in an area that Bhutan claimed as its own. However, it came as a surprise to Beijing when New Delhi decided to speak up in Bhutan’s defence.

“Bhutan’s objection to construction activities by China in the disputed Doklam area, conveyed through diplomatic channels, was possibly expected by China. However, what China may not have foreseen was India stepping in to defend Bhutan’s territorial sovereignty,” Czarnecki noted.

“Since 1988, there had been creeping encroachments by China into Bhutanese territory, and this success may have further emboldened the Chinese to undertake bigger gambles.”

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Beijing may support Sikkim’s independence if Indian troops don’t back off, warns Chinese mediaDIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

The vice president of the European Parliament also said that China’s road construction in Doklam plateau can be seen as a move to “unilaterally change the ground situation in areas that are disputed.”

He also spoke about how China has been doing this for a while and one of the best examples is its attempt to change the situation in the South China Sea.

“By conveniently ignoring the maritime territorial claims of Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines in the region, in 2016 China went ahead and altered the ground situation by building artificial islands from rock formations in the Spratlys, expanding its strategic outreach in the area,” Czarnecki added.

Ryszard Czarnecki
Ryszard Czarnecki. WikiCommons/Adrian Grycuk

He concluded that China may be growing economically and military wise in a big way, but along with it the country also needs to respect “international rules” so co-exist with other nations.

Meanwhile, the standoff at the Indo-China border refuses to die down and the Chinese media has been invoking the 1962 India-China war for a while now. While the Global Times has been calling India “arrogant” and has blamed the army for provoking China, People’s Daily even dug out an editorial published a week before the conflict. Additionally, another website has reportedly published a few images from the time calling it “rare.”

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/sikkim-standoff-china-caught-off-guard-by-indias-strong-response-border-dispute-doklam-734757

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India – China confrontation now a “complete stalemate” — situation is “grave” — China says no room for negotiations on Sikkim standoff with India

July 17, 2017

Benedict Brooknews.com.au

ASK most people to name a current crisis between nuclear armed states and North Korea and the US’ rapidly worsening relations would come to mind.

But there’s another skirmish happening between two nuclear nations and both have far more fully functioning missiles, poised and ready to fire, than Kim Jong-un could even dream off.

Ten thousand feet above sea level, in the sub zero cold of the Himalayas, things could be about to turn hot.

Since mid-June, Chinese and Indian soldiers have lined up “eyeball to eyeball” on the remote Doklam plateau. In recent days, more troops have been sent to the frontline.

Currently it’s a nonlethal battle of platitudes at altitude, but commentators in China have warned, “there could be a chance of war”.

And that’s not a great prospect, given India is thought to have more than 100 nuclear tipped missiles while China’s warheads could total more than 250.

The flashpoint between the two seems mundane ——the building of a new road on the Chinese controlled, but disputed, plateau. But the last time the two went to war, half a century ago, it was also over a road.

There is now said to be “complete stalemate” in the confrontation.

China and India acre wrangling over road access to a remote Himalayan plateau. AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

China and India acre wrangling over road access to a remote Himalayan plateau. AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)Source:AP

CONFLICT AT THE CHICKEN NECK

China and India have regularly come to blows on their 4000km long and infuriatingly ill-defined border. Remote and treacherous, few people live in these disrupted areas. But any moves to tame them such as, say, through the building of a road to make access easier, immediately risks a conflict.

The current anger kicked off in an area close to what India calls the “chicken neck” — a thin stretch of land that is the only direct link to country’s isolated north east.

Directly to the north is China, peering down from the mountains, covetous for some of the land it overlooks.

In early June, China commenced construction of a new road leading to the Doklam plateau, a disputed area it currently administers. It is close to the chicken neck at the so-called “tri junction” where its frontier meets both India and the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

India is concerned by any Chinese move to consolidate its control in area close to the “chicken neck” — a thin strip of land that is the only direct route to the country’s north east.

India is concerned by any Chinese move to consolidate its control in area close to the “chicken neck” — a thin strip of land that is the only direct route to the country’s north east.Source:Supplied

China accuses Indian troops stationed in Bhutan — which only has a small army and relies militarily on India — from straying across the frontier to prevent the road’s construction.

On Monday, China’s state news agency, Xinhua, said the Indian military’s “trespass into Chinese territory is a blatant infringement on China’s sovereignty”.

However, Bhutan says it is the rightful owner of the plateau.

While Bhutan is part of the stoush, the real battle of wills is between China and India which cite different treaties to back up their various claims to land along the frontier.

And these are no mere scraps of mountain here and there. India claims 250,000 square kilometres of Chinese controlled land while China says 550,000km sq of Indian administered land should belong to them.

The face-off is taking place between nuclear armed China and India on the border of Bhutan, one of the most peaceful nations on earth.

The face-off is taking place between nuclear armed China and India on the border of Bhutan, one of the most peaceful nations on earth. Source:istock

LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL

“The failure to demarcate the China-India border has led to overlapping perceptions of where the so-called Line of Actual Control lies, guaranteeing rival border patrols will run into each other and force the issue,” Tsering Topgyal, an international relations expert at the University of Birmingham wrote in The Conversation in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Times of India said around 300-400 Indian troops were “eyeball to eyeball” with China in a “non-aggressive confrontation” but thousands more soldiers from both sides are close by. A further 2500 Indian troops has now been stationed in India’s Sikkim province, the province next to the tri point.

A Chinese and Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. Picture: AFP.

A Chinese and Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India’s northeastern Sikkim state. Picture: AFP.Source:AFP

‘GRAVE SITUATION’

The Indian External Affairs Ministry has justified the build up, saying a 2012 agreement meant the frontier at the tri-junction would be finalised between the three countries. Any attempt to unilaterally determine the tri-junction points is a “violation of this understanding”, the statement said, reported the Hindustan Times.

India sees the road as China asserting sovereignty.

Last week, China’s ambassador to New Delhi, Luo Zhaohui, said the situation was “grave” and Indian troops should “unconditionally pull back to the Indian side”.

“India, who calls Bhutan an ‘ally’, said it had intervened on behalf of its neighbour, yet the true subtext is the South Asian giant wants to maintain and expand regional hegemony” thundered Xinhua.

But India might scoff at China lecturing it on regional hegemony.

Beijing has been widening its influence across the Indian subcontinent, funding big infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

A maritime analyst said Delhi is increasingly worried.

An Indian Agni-IV missile which is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. Picture AFP PHOTO / FILES / RAVEENDRAN

An Indian Agni-IV missile which is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. Picture AFP PHOTO / FILES / RAVEENDRANSource:AFP

“That means India is in some ways going to be surrounded by Chinese infrastructure projects. The fear is these Chinese ports could later be used for maritime and naval deployments,” Abhijit Singh of the Observer Research Foundation told the ABC.

In 1962, China and India’s border brinkmanship tipped over into war. More than 700 Chinese troops and 4000 Indian soldiers died before Beijing declared a ceasefire and victory.

That dispute began with the building of a Chinese road on disputed land but much farther west in Kashmir.

Earlier this month, China’s Global Times cited domestic security experts as saying that “there could be a chance of war if the recent conflict between China and India is not handled properly.

“China will resolutely defend its territory and safeguard the border.”

But when it comes to the border squabble close to the chicken’s neck, India is itself playing chicken.

Indian defence minister Arun Jaitley has a dark warning for China.

“The situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different.”

The main difference is the India of 1962 did not have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. It has them now.

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/warnings-of-a-chance-of-war-between-india-and-china-as-nuclear-rivals-face-off/news-story/325ace8a2957aeb6a3634db44a4c12e9

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China says no room for negotiations on Sikkim standoff with India
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The commentary by the official Xinhua news agency warned that India could face “embarrassment” if it does not withdraw its border troops and sought to add yet another dimension to the face-off by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan.

Jul 16, 2017 10:34 IST
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With no end in sight to the standoff in the Sikkim sector, China on Saturday said there is “no room” for negotiations to resolve the military face-off and the only solution is the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Donglang or Doklam region.

India will face “embarrassment” if it does not withdraw its border troops to its own side and the situation could get “worse”, the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on Saturday night.

“China has made it clear that there is no room for negotiations on this incident, and India must withdraw its border-crossing troops from Doklam. For China, border line is the bottom line,” the commentary said.

The commentary sought to add yet another dimension to the face-off by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan, China’s “iron brother” ally.

“India should not regard the existing situation as the same as or even similar to the previous two standoffs in 2013 and 2014 near Ladakh, a disputed area between China, Pakistan and India in southeastern Kashmir. Diplomatic efforts led the troop’s frictions there to a well-arranged end. But this time it is a totally different case,” it added.

It is rare for China to call Ladakh a “disputed” region and make a reference to Kashmir.

This is the first time that China has clearly articulated – through one of its primary official channels – that there is no room for parleys to resolve the weeks-long impasse in Donglang, which is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.

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Sikkim standoff: India pushes troops in Doka La in longest impasse since 1962
Until now, the foreign ministry had listed the withdrawal of Indian troops hinted as a precondition for resolving the face-off but had hinted there is an ongoing effort to end it through diplomatic negotiations.
Xinhua is an organ of the Chinese government and is affiliated to the State Council, the Communist country’s cabinet.Commentaries published by Xinhua and the People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China (CPC) mouthpiece, are taken to be a reflection of the thoughts of the government and the all-powerful CPC.

“India has repeatedly ignored China’s call for pulling its border-crossing troops from Doklam area back to its own territory. However, turning a deaf ear to China will but worsen the month-long standoff and put itself further into embarrassment,” the commentary said.

It added that India had “lied” to the world by saying it dispatched troops to Donglang to help its ally Bhutan, whereas “apparently” Thimphu had extended no invitation to New Delhi to intervene.

“New Delhi claimed encroachment of its own territory by China before saying it sent troops to ’protect’ its ‘ally’ Bhutan, a sovereign state which has apparently so far made no such an invitation for the sake of that boundary area,” it said.

Bhutan and China don’t have diplomatic ties but have held 24 rounds of talks to resolve a boundary dispute.

The commentary, however, described foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks during a recent speech in Singapore as a “positive” sign.

“As an old Chinese saying goes, peace is most precious. It has been noticed that Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar recently has made positive remarks in Singapore, saying that ‘India and China should not let differences become disputes’,” it said.

“What China would like to see more are corresponding actions taken by India.

“China has a will to solve the problem peacefully by diplomatic means, and China also cherishes the peace and serenity in the border areas, but the precondition is that the trespassers of India must withdraw unconditionally.”

 http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-says-no-room-for-negotiations-on-standoff-ladakh-added-to-dispute-with-india/story-7ZD6hmRscxt9TqAUvGrn7I.html

India-US-Japan Malabar exercise is an assertion of New Delhi’s independence, foreign policy and self-confidence

July 14, 2017

By Nalini R Mohanty

It is a great coincidence that the 10-day annual India-US-Japan Malabar naval exercise began at a time (on 10 July) when India and China are locked in a serious standoff in the Sikkim region. India could not have timed it so well to send a maritime threat to China as a rebuff to the latter’s threatening posture in the Himalayan region.

After all, the Malabar exercise is an annual event and its timings are decided and preparations are made, at least, six months in advance. The Sikkim border bedlam which is barely a month-old could not have been anticipated while scheduling the Malabar drill.

But there is no gainsaying that the India-US naval exercise has come to represent, in the last several years, a joint resolve to counter increasing Chinese hegemony in the territorial waters of the region. Both India and the US are coy in admitting it in so many words; naturally so, as both the countries do not want to openly antagonise a rising super-power like China. But everybody concerned knows it very well that the annual exercise is a constant reminder to China to rein in its expansionist designs.

After all, China has been flexing its muscles in its backyard, the South China Sea, for the last several years pushing countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, which are mostly aligned with the USA, to come under its umbrella.

The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has somewhat drifted away from the US and has made common cause with China in the hope of larger economic aid. The US is certainly concerned that its hegemony in the territorial waters worldwide is being challenged by China. So it is looking for reliable partners to checkmate China everywhere.

This suits India as well because China is the only other country, apart from Pakistan, which has been engaged in an adversarial relationship for years. The bigger threat is that Pakistan has become a satellite country of China. China-Pakistan axis, both military and economic, is writ large.

China has helped Pakistan to develop its nuclear capability; it has provided military jets and submarines to Pakistan. It has helped develop the Gwadar port in Pakistan which would help China gain access to the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. China has invested 46 billion dollars to build China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Naturally, India has to be wary of China which is rapidly emerging as a regional hegemony.

The United States and India have, therefore, a shared objective to contain China. The Malabar exercise is meant to precisely do that, though the diplomatic sophistry describes it as a routine maritime drill.

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. Reuters

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. Reuters

It was the foresight of P V Narasimha Rao, the prime minister in the early 1990s — when the Cold War came to an end with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the international relations underwent a massive churning — that India persuaded the USA to come together to protect their respective interests in the territorial waters.

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. The Manmohan Singh government took the exercise several notches higher; in 2007, India invited Japan, Australia and Singapore to be part of the drill. The five-nation joint exercise infuriated China to such an extent that it issued demarches against the manoeuvre. Australia then backed out from the subsequent strategic dialogue (Quadrilateral Security Initiative) fearing the Chinese backlash. The Australian action displeased India to no end.

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Now, that Australia is facing the Chinese heat again and it wants to break free from the Chinese domination, it has been earnestly requesting India to re-admit it in the annual exercise. But India has stubbornly refused to accede to Australia’s plea. Australia even pleaded to be given an observer status in the Malabar exercise; but, after dithering over it for a long time, India finally rejected the plea last month. There is a lingering view that India still looks upon Australia as an unreliable strategic ally.

Many in India view Australia’s burgeoning economic and political ties with China with suspicion. As an analyst said: “A section of New Delhi’s policy elite believes that China’s associations in Australia are so vast and intricate that Beijing may even have infiltrated Canberra’s political establishment.”

While India has cast aside Australia’s entreaties, it has had no hesitation in embracing Japan for two reasons: first, Japan has been also in an adversarial relationship with China and would be a strategic Asian ally of India in the eventuality of any maritime conflict in the region. Secondly, the USA has been pushing the case of Japan to build an India-Japan strategic relationship to counter the Chinese designs. Japan first joined the exercise in 2014. It has become a permanent fixture in the three-nation naval exercise since 2015.

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Japan’s biggest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo

By admitting Japan to be an institutional part of the trilateral naval exercise, India has upped the ante against China. There is, of course, no doubt that China is far ahead of India, both economically and militarily. But India today is in a position to demonstrate it is no more a pushover.

India’s supreme confidence was manifest when the Narendra Modi government decided to boycott the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative of China; it also gave a miss to the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) showcased by Beijing in May this year in which almost 100 countries (including the USA, Japan and South Korea) and 29 heads of state (including the likes of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president) participated. India did not even send its ambassador in Beijing as a token representation as it wanted to bring home its objection to the creation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the disputed territory occupied by Pakistan.

India’s self-assuredness is again evident from its firm position in the Doklam border dispute; it has gone ahead and stopped Chinese construction of a road in the disputed territory and refused to back off despite serious threats from the Chinese authorities.

The Malabar exercise is another assertion of India’s self-confidence to conduct its foreign policy on its own terms, undeterred by the dispositions by other powers. The independent foreign policy is a legacy that India has succeeded in carrying on despite the changes in governments as well as policy prescriptions.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/india-us-japan-malabar-exercise-is-an-assertion-of-new-delhis-independence-foreign-policy-and-self-confidence-3807493.html

Published Date: Jul 13, 2017 01:08 pm | Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 01:08 pm

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Sikkim border dispute: Another war with India will be an economic blunder for China

July 12, 2017

By Dinesh Unnikrishnan

China isn’t an indomitable economic force of the world anymore. Its growth is slowing. There are troubles brewing with the economy. The dragon is certainly vulnerable to global shocks, the evidence of which has emerged time to time in the past. Finally, China’s position as the world’s manufacturing hub and a major exporter to the world is inseparably linked to maintaining its image internationally. These are reasons enough for China not to escalate tensions with India, its neighbour and a hard-to-ignore emerging economic powerhouse.

Going on a full-fledged war with India, over a small piece of land that doesn’t offer any long-term tactical or economic advantage to China, will be its big mistake.

For China, India is no longer a vulnerable, debt-laden neighbour that it was back in the 1990s. India has grown over years, has repaired its domestic fundamentals and now possesses capabilities in the areas of exports, manufacturing like any major country in the world. India has significantly strengthened its relevance among the regional groupings.

True, the Indian economy has its share of economic problems — a weak banking sector, complex land and labour laws and still shaping modern tax structure. But, despite these inadequacies, India is gaining the world’s attention for its future growth prospects. As against China’s ageing population, India has a younger demography and the country is slowly laying the framework through a series of economic reforms to prepare itself for future growth path.

recent Harvard study, testifies this. According to the study, India has emerged as the economic pole of global growth by surpassing China and is expected to maintain its lead over the coming decade citing that it is particularly well-positioned to continue diversifying into new areas, given the capabilities accumulated to date. Further, according to the Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) growth projections, India will feature on top of the list of the fastest growing economies till 2025 with an average annual growth of 7.7 percent.

Representative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

“The economic pole of global growth has moved over the past few years from China to neighbouring India, where it is likely to stay over the coming decade,” the CID research suggested, adding that India’s growth prospects are now better to also due to the economy diversifying its export base to include more complex sectors, such as chemicals, vehicles, and certain electronics,” the growth projection pointed out.

There are three specific reasons why China’s economy managers should think twice before nodding in agreement with military for another war with India.

One, there is a high cost involved for the Chinese economy, particularly its manufacturing sector. It will face major setbacks on the trade front should it choose war with India. Right now, China has a positive trade balance with India. Total volume of bilateral trade stands at about $71 billion. In the last year, China exported goods worth $ 58.33 billion while Indian entities shipped out only over $ 11.76 billion. Clearly, China has an advantageous position in trade with India, which it wouldn’t want to spoil.

Second, India’s growing dominance in the world economy and its strengthening diplomatic relations with world powers makes it a bad idea for China to confront India attracting international attention. As the above mentioned Harvard study points out, the world has begun to take a strong note on India’s growth prospects and want to engage in a mutually benefitting relation with Indians. If the Sikkim standoff escalates to a war situation, China will certainly suffer on the trade relations with India’s ‘friends’ and ‘partners’ in trade. The question China should ask itself is whether winning the Doklam plateau where India and Bhutan have clear geographic dominance is worth risking its ambitions to grow as a major economic power in the east and hurting own economy.

Third, China is in the midst of expanding its economic reach in South Asia through its much-hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is critical to its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. A significant chunk of investments (at least $ 50 billion so far) have already gone to this project by Chinese companies. India has already expressed its displeasure to China on CPEC plan lay out since it crosses through the contentious part of Kashmir, which is occupied by Pakistan and claimed by India. One of India’s neighbor, Sri Lanka too has spoken in favour of India on this issue saying it is difficult for India to accept the CPEC since it passes through the ‘heart of Indian interests’. China will further risk the fate of CPEC and OBOR in the event of a war with India.

In the event of a war, China’s gains vis-à-vis the cost it will have to pay economically will be far too lower. Needless to say, India too will face a jolt in the economy. The point here is Chinese economy managers have a good reason to sit across the table with the warmongers in that country to think over the economic consequences of a war in a matured fashion. A war won’t benefit any side.

Published Date: Jul 10, 2017 02:27 pm | Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 03:53 pm

http://www.firstpost.com/india/sikkim-border-dispute-another-war-with-india-will-be-an-economic-blunder-for-china-3796365.html