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Pakistan wants MOUs, not IOUs

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Pakistan wants MOUs, not IOUs

FM Qureshi says Pakistan will preserve national interest; seek US nuclear deal
WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (APP): Pakistan will preserve its national interests as it partners with the United States in fighting the terrorist threat to civilization, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on the eve of the strategic partnership dialogue between the two nations.The top Pakistani diplomat also renewed Islamabad’s desire to seek a civilian nuclear technology deal from the United States as part of efforts to meet his country’s fast-expanding energy requirements.In a wide-ranging speech at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in Boston, he reminded the distinguished gathering of the festering Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, and urged Washington to help resolve it in a bid to “remove one more source of Muslim discontent and anger, taking oxygen out of the terrorists’ fire.”

The foreign minister will co-chair with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the strategic dialogue on bilateral cooperation in vast array of fields, developments in the region and security issues, including efforts to deal with militants along the Afghan border.

“What we are trying to create is a long-term, mature and mutually beneficial partnership,” he said,Qureshi, who touched on periods of intense engagement and estrangement between Pkistan and the United States in the past, welcomed recent moves towards fostering a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.

“That dialogue, and the coordination of our policies, will define the direction and future of our bilateral relationship; as well as the success of the containment of terrorism and, quite possibly, the very future of the region,” Qureshi said as he pressed for preferrential trade access for Pakistani products and understanding of it’s security considerations.
At the same time, the foreign minister made it clear in his speech that Pakistan is an “ally and not a satellite.”

Islamabad’s chief diplomat listed out Pakistan’s achievements under the democratic government including the effective fight against terrorists, saying the country’s security forces have cleared the northwestern Swat region of Taliban and launched operation against militants in South Waziristan tribal area.

“We will fight together with you for our common goals and ends, especially in our joint effort to destroy the terrorist cancer that threatens all of civilization. But we are first and foremost, like every nation on earth, committed to preserving our national interest.”

Pakistan, the foreign minister elaborated, lives in a rough neighborhood, where it has faced a hostile India on its eastern border and suffered from consequences of successive Afghan conflicts on its western border.

“We live in a rough neighborhood and we will live in that rough neighborhood even if you leave. We have to prepare for all eventualities. We have to protect our borders. You have to respect our sovereignty,” said the foreign minister, who spoke in the backdrop of recent tensions over cross-border strikes by NATO planes.

The foreign minister referred to a mix of challenges and benefits in the current complex regional scenario, where the two countries have been working closely in the fight against terrorists since 9/11 attacks on the United States.

“You have to realize the political price you pay in Pakistan, and that my government pays as your friend, from the almost daily drone assaults on our territory.

“And if unmanned drone attacks were not difficult enough for our people to absorb, the recent attacks by NATO helicopters in Pakistan, killing Pakistani soldiers, were nothing short of infuriating our people.”

In the battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan, Qureshi noted,Kerry-Lugar economic aid measure is one step forward, massive flood relief is one step forward, “but drone and helicopter attacks on our territory and people are two steps back.”

If the markets of Europe and America were open to Pakistani exports, the Pakistani people would have far more faith in their government, support for democratic values, and most of all, a stake in the success of their country, he argued.
“This is the kind of support we need from you. We need trade, not just aid. We need MOUs, not IOUs. We need your Congress to pass legislation creating Reconstruction Opportunity Zones. We need your Congress to pass a Free Trade Treaty with Pakistan.”

Islamabad also wants the US to implement one of the key provisions of an early draft of Kerry-Lugar that would provide one billion dollars in additional economic and social assistance each year if the US President can certify that Pakistan is a civil government and a democracy.

Turning to the impact of Pakistan-India lingering disputes on the region, he said:

“In the plethora of problems before us we have to realistically understand that improved relations between the two nuclear armed powers of South Asia—Pakistan and India—is the missing key to regional peace.”
The issues between India and Pakistan cannot be wished away, he underscored in response to a question.

For decades India has tried to convince the world that unrest in Kashmir is a product of Pakistani intervention. But over the last year, over the last bloody months and weeks, everyone, including India, now understands that the insurrection in Kashmir and Jammu is a long-neglected problem that is not caused by Pakistani intervention, but rather Indian occupation, he told the gathering.

“Pakistan views the prevailing situation in the Occupied Kashmir with grave concern. It has resulted in deaths of more than 100 Kashmiris including women and children. Hundreds have been injured and thousands arrested.” He noted that men and women of goodwill, in both India and Pakistan, know that this issue must be addressed once and for all if the Kashmir time bomb was to be defused. Qureshi sought Washington’s help towards resolution of the decades-old Kashmir conflict.

“On its part, Pakistan is willing to engage India in a comprehensive dialogue to normalize relations between the two countries, by finding amicable solution to all outstanding issues, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, taking oxygen out of the terrorists’ fire.”

On Afghanistan, the foreign minister said Pakistan wants a peaceful and stable neighbor on its western border.

“We are moving from suspicion to trust and confidence and reached transit trade agreement,” he said of recent progress in Pakistan Afghanistan relations.

“There is a new realization, we need one another for regional stability.” The foreign minister defended the role of Pakistani intelligence service ISI in response to a question, saying no other organization has captured more al-Qaeda fighters.

In answer to another question, Qureshi said Pakistan needs a friendly Afghanistan but ‘it is not for us to impose’ will on the Afghans. He rejected the contention that ISI is guiding Afghan reconciliation talks, adding the process is Afghan-led.

“We want to help them help ourselves because our intrests are interlinked, Pakistan is a very important link to Afghanistan.

“The ISI is not guiding any talks— it is for Afghans to conduct talks – we will help and facilitate,” he said. APP

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The most important city in the world: Gwader the next Dubai

October 19, 2010 1 comment

The most important city in the world: Gwader the next Dubai

Some analysts think that Gwader was the reason for the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the US occupation of the country.  Many thinktanks are of the opinion that the imminent control of the Chinese spells the creation of a new Dubai in Pakistan. The US-Pakistani strategic dialogue is an exercise to prevent the exclusion of America from West Asia. Pakistan holds a key to this important port and is using its geographic location to leverage its clout to gain strategic depth. The US is desperate for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, and Islamabad is helping America cement a peace deal in Kabul.

The sailors of yesteryear, and the nations they represented, Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus and Vasco De Gama stepped over each other seeking a the shortest route to the South Asian Subcontinent. Today many of the same nations plus the ancient powers who are now independent, are seeking the shortest route to Central Asia. Stopping the supply chain that rains terror on Pakistan.

The trade route from Gwadar, on the other hand, to Central Asia and possibly to Russia will pass through only a narrow strip, i.e. Wakhan, in north-eastern Afghanistan. But the real value of Gwadar port lies in its use for Chinese trade with Gulf States, Middle Eastern and European countries. The bulk of the cargo handled by Gwadar port is expected to either originate from or destined to China. And the route for that trade is already nearing to be fully functional. For the trade route to Central Asian states and Russia, the only segment to be built anew is Wakhan part. The construction of that segment, ensuring the safety of trucks in that area, and negotiating the terms and conditions with Afghanistan are more of a need and responsibility of Central Asian states and Russia – and not a headache of Pakistan.

The world’s “busiest and most important interstate,” journalist Robert D. Kaplan says, is the Indian Ocean, with 50% of all container traffic and 70% of all petroleum traffic traversing its waters. It is this region — with China and India jockeying for dominance, the United States trying to maintain its infl uence and unstable regimes threatening the fl ow of resources — that will be the setting for most of the global confl icts in the coming decades.

In his new book, “Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power” (Random House), Kaplan notes that US leaders already realize this, with the Navy suggesting that it will not have a forward operating presence in the Atlantic, shifting to this area instead. But the battle for the Indian Ocean will not be like the conflicts of the past. China, for instance, will not be a straightforward foe like the Soviet Union.

“The real lesson here is the subtlety of the world we’re entering, of which the Indian Ocean provides a salient demonstration,” Kaplan says. “Instead of the hardened military bases of the Cold War and earlier epochs, there will be dual-use civilian-military facilities where basing arrangements will be implicit rather than explicit.” Here, Kaplan runs down the region, including the little-known city that could loom large:

Gwadar

At the intersection of empires, the port city of Gwadar “could become the new silk route nexus,” Kaplan says. The Middle Eastern nation of Oman held Gwadar until 1958, when it was ceded to the newly formed Pakistan. Russia coveted it as a port during its long war in Afghanistan. Now the Chinese are funding a sophisticated, deepwater port in Gwadar. China also is constructing the Karakoram Highway, which connects the city to China through Pakistan. “Come back in a decade and this place will look like Dubai,” a developer says. “Gwadar is the litmus test; it is an indication of the stability of the whole Arabian Sea region.”

Afghanistan

Pipelines from Turkemenistan and other countries need to pass through Afghanistan to carry natural gas and oil to the coast. “Stabilizing Afghanistan is about much more than just the anti-terrorist war,” Kaplan says. “It is about securing the future prosperity of the whole of southern Eurasia, as well as easing India and Pakistan towards peaceful coexistence through the sharing of energy routes.”

China

By 2015, China will be the world’s most prolific shipbuilder, and Shanghai already is the world’s busiest port. Like the US, China sees itself as a benign power. It does not look to occupy other nations (besides Taiwan), but wants to protect its interests and extend its influence. Kaplan believe we will both “compete and cooperate” with them.

Taiwan

“An unsinkable aircraft carrier,” Gen. Douglas MacArthur called it. Kaplan likens China’s quest for the island to the Indian wars in the US; once they were resolved, America could look abroad. If China can consolidate Taiwan, “it would be the real emergence of a multipolar world.”

India

Soon to be fourth-largest energy consumer after the US, China and Japan, India will remain non-aligned, Kaplan says, but leaning more toward the US. Its answer to the Chinese port at Gwadar was an $8 billion naval base at Karwar. It will hold 42 ships, including submarines.

US fleet

At end of WWII, US had 6,700 ships; Cold War, 600. It’s now fewer than 280. Though the US Navy still has no equal, the way the carrier Abraham Lincoln responded to the tsunami — providing assistance and projecting American goodwill and power — sparked a lot of discussion in China about whether to acquire or build its own aircraft carriers.

Burma

A churning mini-empire of nationalities, with an abundance of oil, natural gas and minerals, ruled by a despotic regime. “It is a prize to be fought over, as China and India are not so subtly doing,” Kaplan writes. As with North Korea, Beijing does not particularly like the ruler — Gen. Than Shwe — but supports him anyway for access to the Indian Ocean and natural resources.

“Malacca dilemma”

The Strait of Malacca, the narrow corridor for trade to the Middle East and Africa, hosts 50% of the world’s merchant fl eet capacity; 85% of the oil China imports passes through it. It’s rife with piracy. For now, the US and other nations patrol the area, but China is taking a greater role in keeping the peace.

Thailand

To bypass Malacca, there’s speculation that China will help finance a new, $20 billion canal in the Isthmus of Kra to provide a faster link to the Indian Ocean. It could be as important to them as the Panama Canal was to us.

ANCIENT TRADE ROUTES CREATING TENSIONS TODAYThe 5000 year old ancient trade routes between Pakistan and China are being revived with modern freeways that were constructed 20 years ago. 5000 years ago the Harrappan Pakistanis were trading with the Chinese.Pakistan is linked to Afghanistan via the Khyber pass. This is Afghanistan’s only access to the ocean. New roads are being constructed to build alternate routes to Kabul via Iran. Because the US does not work with Iran directly, India has been chosen as a proxy to build the road and connect it to the new Iranian port of Chahbahar.

  • US Rehyphenating Islamabad Delhi relationship
  • PAKISTAN, CHINA ROAD AND RAIL LINKS:-The supply routes through Pakistan are a matter of much discussion in Pakistan. Allowing the US access through the Khyber is very unpopular and increasingly dangerous. The Khyber Pass is very hard to go through. It is a long winding valley with no exits. A few strategically placed enemy gunmen can choke the pass. Pakistan to US: No pay-No play: Tough lessons on geography!The Karokaram highway from Pakistan to ChinaThis is an all weather road that connect the Northern Areas of Pakistan to the Chinese Ughuristan. A Loan Agreement for Karakoram Highway Upgradation Project between the government of Pakistan and Export/Import Bank of China was signed here Friday. The qualitative upgrade of the Pakistan-China Road Linkage will further facilitate tourism and trade between the two friendly countries. Under the agreement the People’s Republic of China will provide credit of US$327 million. The KKH upgradation project is being executed jointly by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the Pakistan’s National Highway Authority (NHA). The Agreement was signed by the Ambassador of Pakistan to China H.E. Salman Bashir and Xin Bin, Deputy General Manager Commercial Loan Project. (PPI) Gwador to Karokaram, Tue, Jan. 22, 08

    CHINESE STRING OF PEARLS PORTS STRATEGY: The Gwader link to China is part of the Chinese “String of Pearl” strategy that encircles India with many naval bases from Pakistan to Thailand.The Chinese have surrounded “India” with a string of pearls strategy with bases in all of India’s neighbors–in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mayanmar (several ports), and the Malacca straits. India is powerless to do anything about being surrounded except for sounding off, turning on an occasional alarm bell and trying to impress Washington by raising a red flag about the grave threat from Mao’s People Liberation Army. India paranoid cries of wolf elicit a yawn and ridicule among the think tanks. The port in Gwader is already functional and is being linked via high speed train, road and fiber-optics to Beijing. The Sri Lankan port of Hambantota is raising hackles in New Delhi and with the defeat of the Tamils on the horizon, Lanka will remain a hostile state for India.

    Chinese string of pearls ports strategy map

    India’s ocean is Chinese lake: “String of pearls” threaten India. CHENNAI: The Gwadar port being built by Pakistan with Chinese assistance in its Baluchistan coast has “serious strategic implications for India“, Naval Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said. “Being only 180 nautical miles from the exit of the Straits of Hormuz, Gwadar, being bulit in Baluchistan coast, would enable Pakistan take control over the world energy jugular and interdiction of Indian tankers,” he said delivering T S Narayanaswamy Memorial lecture in Chennai on Monday night. The challenge for India was to balance relations with China in such a manner that competition for strategic significance of space in the Indian Ocean leads to cooperation rather than conflict, he said

  • Encircling India: China’s string of pearl strategy
  • China’s Gibralter (Gwader) and Guantanimo (Hambantota) defies India in the oceans
  • The pressure for countries to cooperate in the maritime military domain to ensure smooth flow of energy and commerce on the high seas will grow even further,” he said speaking on “Oceanic Influence on India’s Development in the next Decade.” Talking about “Chinese designs on the Indian Ocean,” Mehta said China had a strategy called `String of Pearls,’ as per which it seeks to set up bases and outposts across the globe, strategically located along its energy lines, to monitor and safeguard energy flows.

  • India’s ocean is Chinese lake: “String of pearls” threaten India
  • Each pearl in the string is a link in a chain of the Chinese maritime presence,” he said. “Among other locations, the string moves Northwards up to Gwadar deep sea port on Pakistan’s Makran coast. A highway is under construction joining Gwadar with Karachi and there are plans to connect the port with the Karakoram Highway, thus providing China a gateway to Arabian Sea,” he said adding that this could pose a problem for India.Indians think that Gwader is of no value to Pakistan because Pakistan already has two commercial ports of Karachi and Port Qasim. The Indian Naval Chief thinks that the Gwadar port is part of a Chinese strategy.

    “Other “pearls” that China has been developing are naval facilities in Bangladesh, where it is developing a container-port facility at Chittagong; in Myanmar, where it is building radar, refit and refuel facilities at bases in Sittwe, Coco, Hianggyi, Khaukphyu, Mergui and Zadetkyi Kyun; and in Thailand and Cambodia.”Pak’s new port has strategic implications for India: Navy chief, 22 Jan 08

     

    The pearls in the Chinese strategy.

    Chittagong Bangladesh

     

    Sittwe Burma

    Coco, Burma Hianggyi

    Khaukphyu, Burma

    Mergui Burma

    Zadetkyi Burma

    Kyun; and in Thailand and Cambodia

     

    Gwader is the most important Port City n the world. The management of the port was given to the Singapore Port Authority for 40 years. However SPA has failed to develop it at the pace that should keep up with Pakistani aspirations and Chinese requirements. The port is now being handed over to China and this creates colossal headaches for US policy makers.

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    Chinese Air Force refules in Pakistan on way to Turkey exercise

    October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

    Chinese Air Force refules in Pakistan on way to Turkey exercise

    It is learnt that Chinese Air Force planes had re-fueled in Pakistan and Iran last month while on their way to Turkey to participate in a joint air exercise with Turkish Air Force planes. On the way back, they refueled only in Iran. The air exercise preceded the recent visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Turkey.

    Turkey’s agreement to hold a joint exercise with the People’s Liberation Army (Air Force) is significant for two reasons. Firstly, Turkey agreed to participate in the exercise and to host Wen despite the considerable unhappiness and anger caused among the religious elements of Turkey last year over the suppression of the Uighurs of Xinjiang by the PLA. The Munich-based World Uighur Congress, which Beijing blamed for the Uighur uprising in Xinjiang last year, enjoys considerable support in Turkey. Secondly, the Obama Administration does not appear to have opposed the joint exercise despite the fact that the planes of the Turkish Air Force that participated in the joint exercise had been given by the US.

    Some details of the exercise have been carried by the “People’s Daily” of China on the basis of Western and Turkish media reports. The salient points are summarized below:

    Turkish press reports confirmed the unprecedented involvement of PLA ( Air Force) jets in Turkey’s annual joint exercises, known as Anatolian Eagle, held over the centre of the country.

    Army Lt. Col. Tamara Parker, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed European press reports of the unusual aerial military exercises involving U.S.-made Turkish jets and Chinese Su-27 fighters that engaged in simulated aerial combat. She said: “The Government of Turkey is committed to the NATO Alliance and the continuation of strong ties to the United States, and Turkey assured us they would take the utmost care related to their possession of U.S. and NATO technologies.” However, she did not address the issue of whether the Chinese military might have learned sensitive NATO aerial combat information.

    Jane’s Defense Weekly, quoting Turkish diplomatic sources, stated that the exercises involved less-capable U.S.-made F-4s and Chinese Su-27s, but not the more advanced U.S.-made F-16s.

    Ed Timperlake, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and former Pentagon technology security official, said allowing the Chinese Air Force to exercise with a NATO ally posed security risks. He said: ‘The Turkish Air Force helping the PLAAF to see NATO combat tactics and training is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff.” He said the exercises and Turkey’s warming relations with neighboring Iran should lead the Pentagon to rethink its decision to sell the new F-35 jet to Turkey. Richard Fisher, a specialist on China’s military at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, also criticized Turkey’s military for conducting aerial exercises with a communist power that posed a threat to U.S. and allied security interests in Asia. “It’s not a good thing,” he said.Mr. Fisher said Turkey in the late 1990s used Chinese technology to jointly develop short-range B611 missiles.

    The Tehran Press TV Online reported that Iran opened its airspace to the Turkish and Chinese jets.

    The daily “Hurriyat” ( of Turkey?) reported that Iran indirectly supported a secret military drill between the Turkish and Chinese Air Forces. Four drill-bound Chinese SU-27 warplanes that took off from bases in China refueled in Iran – the first time the Islamic Republic has ever allowed foreign warplanes to refuel at its airbases, the daily said. The Russian-made SU-27s used by the Chinese Air Force had to refuel in both Pakistan and Iran because of their limited 3,500-kilometer range. Official letters were sent to the two countries prior to the exercise requesting the use of airspace and passage and refueling privileges. The warplanes refueled a second time in Iran on their return to China. The exercise was conducted after two years of deliberations, the report said, adding that its sole purpose was to improve mutual cooperation between the two friendly countries. Washington contacted Ankara ahead of the drill to express concerns over the planned use of F-16 warplanes in a military drill involving China – which the U.S. considers a possible threat. “We expect you to honor the agreement article that requires the exercise of caution regarding the transfer of technology to third countries,” the memorandum read. American concerns were taken into consideration and F-16 fighters were replaced by older F-4 models in the exercise.

    The “China Daily” reported on October 15 that a new Strategic Concept expected to be discussed by a NATO summit to be held in Lisbon next month proposes regular consultations with countries like China and India. The paper said: “However, there is slim hope that China will put on its own agenda the cooperation with the NATO, according to Tao Wenzhao, a professor at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “NATO has been eyeing deeper ties with China for some time, because they are looking for substantial help from China to ease things up in Afghanistan, a nine-year-old war that has required the deployment of 150,000 multinational troops,” Tao said. But even if Beijing is supportive of anti-terrorism measures, China remains a country firmly committed to non-alliance. Moreover, it is unlikely China would carry out in-depth cooperation with NATO, an outcome of the cold war, said Tao.” (October 16, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian)

    ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com

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