China and Jammu and Kashmir’s new status

August 10, 2019

China and Jammu and Kashmir’s new status

Beijing has a lot of influence over Pakistan and indirectly is in a position to leverage the next moves by Islamabad

M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

In the aftermath of the Indian government’s decision to remove “special status” for Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories, the most keenly awaited regional and international reaction – and a hugely consequential one – would be that of China, not the US or even any of the other three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

This is for three reasons. First, China is the only P5 member that is party to the Kashmir dispute by virtue of its Faustian deal with Pakistan in 1963 – the Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement and Sino-Pakistani Boundary Agreement – as well as because of Aksai Chin being a disputed territory.

Second, it is well known that China has a larger-than-life influence over Pakistan, and therefore, indirectly, is in a position to leverage the next moves by Islamabad on the J&K situation in practical or political terms.

Third, of course, China is a veto-holding P5 member. Although not involved in the making of the UN resolutions on Kashmir in 1948-1949 – which was an Anglo-American enterprise at a juncture when Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru somehow deliberately refrained from seeking Soviet help to counter India’s isolation in the UNSC – nonetheless, China is a powerful protagonist today if the Kashmir file were to reopen in New York at Pakistan’s behest.

Chinese reaction

On Tuesday, the Chinese reaction to the announcement in Delhi on Monday relating to J&K has come in two parts in the nature of remarks by the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Beijing – a relatively low-key reaction in diplomatic terms in comparison with a full-fledged statement, as Turkey, for instance, has done. One part exclusively relates to Ladakh’s new status as union territory, while the other one relates to the “current situation” in J&K.

Both remarks are devoid of any stridency, and on the whole India can live with them, although Western media, unsurprisingly, has hyped them. In fact, neither voices any overt backing to Pakistan. And, importantly, there are no new overtones as such in the well-known Chinese stance.

The remark on the change in Ladakh’s status begins by underscoring explicitly that China is voicing its “firm and consistent position,” which “remains unchanged.” That is to say, it regards part of Ladakh to be Chinese territory and India should not unilaterally create facts on the ground through domestic laws. If India does, China will consider that unacceptable and it “will not come into force.”

The remark rounds off stating the Chinese stance that India should speak and act with prudence on the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements on peace and tranquility and avoid precipitate steps.

This is exactly what China has maintained and can be expected to state. No doubt, this is also what India would expect China to observe in regard of the unresolved border dispute. The Indian stance on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a fine example.

The gray area here is whether the administration of Ladakh as a union territory will entail administrative arrangements on the ground that tread on Chinese sensitivity. Prima facie, that is unlikely to happen, since the two militaries present in the vacant spaces observe ground rules.

On the other hand, the interesting aspect of the Chinese spokeswoman’s remark on the J&K situation is that there is no direct reference to the specific situation involving the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The remark is of a generic nature. It repeats that the J&K situation is a matter of serious concern, but underscores categorically that “China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent.”

‘International consensus’

Most important, it flags that China is in sync with the “international consensus” that the Kashmir issue is a historical conundrum that India and Pakistan have to grapple with by exercising restraint and prudence. This means, however, that the two countries “should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions.” China calls on the two countries to “peacefully resolve … [their] relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation” in the interest of regional “peace and stability.”

Indeed, the “known unknown” here is to what extent, if any, the current upheaval in Hong Kong influenced Beijing to sidestep the Indian government’s specific move to abolish Article 370 and abandon J&K’s “special status.” To be sure, a grave situation has arisen in Hong Kong, which has assumed anti-China overtones.

No analogy holds 100% in politics, but there are similarities in the public alienation in J&K and in Hong Kong that foreign powers are exploiting. In fact, China also has to contend with its equivalent of India’s Article 370 – the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is as sacrosanct as an international bilateral treaty, signed between China and Britain on December 19, 1984, in Beijing.

Legally binding

Curiously, the Joint Declaration is also legally binding, and like Article 370, it commits China to allow Hong Kong to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except for foreign and defense affairs” even as the territory will be “directly under the authority” of Beijing.

Most important, the Joint Declaration affirms that the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is responsible for the “maintenance of public order … Military forces sent by the Central People’s Government to be stationed in … [the HKSAR] for the purpose of defense shall not interfere in the internal affairs” in the HKSAR.

The treaty is valid for 50 years, but a crisis is looming large on the horizon, and there is much speculation that patience is wearing thin in Beijing. A top Chinese official said on Wednesday: “Hong Kong is facing the most serious situation since its return to China.”

A Beijing-datelined commentary by Xinhua on Monday titled “Bottom Line on Hong Kong brooks no challenge” was furious that “black-clad, masked protesters removed the Chinese national flag from a flagpole in Tsim Sha Tsui of Hong Kong and later flung the flag into the water Saturday, an unforgivable, lawless act that has blatantly offended the national dignity, is an insult to all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, and must be severely punished in accordance with law.”

All factors taken into account, as the saying goes, the pot cannot call the kettle black. The MEA’s response to the Chinese remarks on J&K has gently drawn attention to the reciprocity that governs inter-state relationships by underscoring that the legislation known as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019, introduced by the government in Parliament on August 5, is “an internal matter concerning the territory of India. India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.” India has scrupulously maintained silence on Hong Kong developments.

asiatimes.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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Pakistan relying less and less on US, turning to China, Saudi Arabia & UAE

By Darius Shahtahmasebi
Source

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Pakistan is making important strides in its military and naval capacities with the help of China, relying less on US-made weaponry. Despite accepting money from all sides, Pakistan’s relationship with China continues to be strong.

After the Trump administration decided to suspend $3 billion in security assistance to Pakistan, complaining that Islamabad fails to do enough to combat terrorism, Washington has risked pushing Pakistan into the open arms of a number of other notable nations.

China-Pakistan relationship continues to strengthen

China has been a key ally for Pakistan in recent times and is almost certainly the reason why the US has taken a sharp turn in its approach to dealing with the country. (Considering that the Bush administration was caught red-handed funding Pakistani terrorist groups, Washington’s recent disdain for Islamabad makes little sense in the context of wider US imperialism).

Now, China is assisting Pakistan’s Navy to expand rapidly, with the completion and delivery of four advanced warships currently under construction in Shanghai. According to the Diplomat, Pakistan’s Chinese-made naval vessels will arrive through a bilateral arms agreement by 2021. Worth over $348 million, these frigates have the capacity to act as anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, as well as for air defense.

Reports seem to indicate that these ships are to be stationed for defense and security in and around the Gwadar port. This is the same port that many media outlets accused China of attempting to hijack and transform into its own naval base. Perhaps the media sounding the alarm over these reports have helped convince China to try a subtler strategy of creating a naval presence around this strategic area, but either way, the move to acquire Chinese naval ships is sure to irk the United States irrespective of the end result, as some experts are predicting that this will lead to regular Sino-Pakistani patrols across the region.

That being said, this is also the same port in which Saudi Arabia is planning to establish a $10 billion oil refinery, according to the Saudi Energy Ministry, setting Saudi Arabia up as a key partner in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pakistan turning down American arms

Unfortunately for Washington, Pakistani purchases of US-made military equipment have begun to fall. Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute appears to show that US weapons exports to Pakistan dropped from $21 million in 2017, from a whopping $1 billion just seven years prior. Altogether, since the September 11 attacks, the US has provided over $22 billion in overt security aid to Pakistan and another $10 billion in economic aid, according to a July 2018 report conducted by consultant firm Avascent.

However, despite these initial findings, this same report found that Pakistan was increasingly turning to Beijing for its defense equipment and leaving Washington out in the sand. In total, Pakistan has signed billions of dollars’ worth of contracts for fighter aircraft, submarines and warships from China. The report estimated that over the next decade, Beijing will become the single most important arms supplier for the Pakistani military, but maintains options to obtain arms from Turkey and Russia as well. Turkey, for its part, will upgrade two of Pakistan’s Agosta 90B-class submarines, will provide four MILGEM corvettes to the Pakistani Navy, and already provided a navy fleet tanker in 2016.

Pakistan is also reportedly the largest importer of the F-7PG aircraft from China, with more than 50 F-7PG fighters in the Pakistan Air Force (one of these planes just recently crashed in Western Pakistan, killing the pilot).

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

In actuality, China and Pakistan are developing their relationship in more ways than at first meets the eye. It is one thing to spend millions of dollars attempting to beef up a nation’s navy, but it is something else entirely when two nations become attached on a much deeper level, particularly when it involves the citizens of those countries. Just this week, the government of Pakistan announced a new visa regimebetween Pakistan and China, tourism being an area of Pakistan’s economy that China has already been contributing heavily. Reportedly, millions of young Pakistanis are also foregoing English and learning Mandarin instead in order to obtain jobs and degrees. If we fast-forward a few decades down the line, I venture to bet that Western influence in Pakistan will be almost completely invisible.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi also just hailed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), vowing that the scheme will bring economic prosperity to the two countries. The CPEC is essentially a combination of infrastructure projects in Pakistan funded by Chinese loans which are worth at least $62 billion. As explained above, Saudi Arabia is not sitting idly by watching this project develop (not surprising, when one understands why).

READ MORE: Engine of growth: Trade turnover across China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ exceeds $5 trillion since 2013

CPEC, combined with China’s New Silk Road Project, has top US lawmakers and intelligence personnel increasingly “concerned.” One senator stated that he was “concerned about data access China may control through digital infrastructure projects in countries around the world. What is the IC’s assessment of potential dual-use aspects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and what threats do they pose to US interests?

US allies and partners “seeking greater independence from Washington”

A report compiled by Daniel R. Coats, the director of national intelligence, entitled “Worldwide threat assessment of the US intelligence community” identifies Pakistan as a nation that contributes to the risks of escalation dynamics and security in the region. More noticeable, however, is that while Pakistan appears in the document a handful of times, China is mentioned at least 85 times right throughout the report.

We assess that China’s leaders will try to extend the country’s global economic, political, and military reach while using China’s military capabilities and overseas infrastructure and energy investments under the Belt and Road Initiative to diminish US influence,” the report states. “China has built its first overseas military facility in Djibouti and probably is exploring bases, support facilities, or access agreements in Africa, Europe, Oceania, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.”

Most curious is the foreword of the report which, after outlining all the threats Russia and China pose to the United States in all the different ways, states that “[a]t the same time, some US allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to perceptions of changing US policies on security and trade and are becoming more open to new bilateral and multilateral partnerships.”

Let’s do the math. As already stated, the US has deprived Pakistan of $3 billion in security assistance. Not too long ago, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) UAE deposited $3 billion into the State Bank of Pakistan to support its economic growth. Saudi Arabia made a similar promise, agreeing to provide Islamabad with a one-year deferred payment facility for importation of oil worth up to $3 billion.

At around the same time, Emirati media announced that the UAE and Pakistan were accelerating defense cooperation after the federal minister for defense production in Pakistan, Zubaida Jalal, received Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Saleh Al-Balushi, head of the executive directorate of industries and development of defense capabilities at the UAE Ministry of Defense in Islamabad.

Pakistan is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia on a framework for $10 billion in Saudi investments. While some media will present Pakistan’s willingness to work with Saudi Arabia as an issue which will rattle and unnerve China, the available evidence appears to show that Sino-Pakistan relations are continuing unabated.

The question of Pakistan’s nukes

Last Thursday, the Pakistani Army Strategic Forces Command conducted a successful test flight of the Nasr close-range ballistic missile, which is nuclear-capable and can reach a specification of 70km.

The target of the ballistic test may surprise you. According to the Pakistani Army statement, the Nasr “augmented Full Spectrum Deterrence posture remaining within the precincts of policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence, against prevailing and evolving threat spectrum more effectively including enemy’s ballistic missile defense and other Air Defence Systems.”

The “enemy” referred to in this statement appears to be a blatant reference to Trump’s recent 2019 Missile Defense Review, which admitted that the US had “discussed potential missile defense cooperation with India” in light of the fact that “a number of states in South Asia are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.”

Currently, Pakistan has ballistic missiles with ranges that can hit anywhere inside India. It has also built nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that can travel up to 400 miles. Not surprisingly, it was the US that gave the green light to Pakistan to modify its F-16 fighters to be capable of dropping nuclear weapons.

Conclusion

Pakistan’s economic woes put the nation in an incredibly compromising position. Knowing that it can no longer rely on Washington for support, it has to turn to as many partners as it can to keep its economy afloat. While China may not be thrilled by Saudi Arabia’s attempt to wade in on its project at the Gwadar port, it does appear that Pakistan’s geopolitical significance, particularly in relation to China, will entail Beijing continuing to prioritize its relationship with Pakistan. This includes, if necessary, militarizing its available bases in the region through the supply of its Chinese-made naval vessels.

PM Khan’s Visit To Saudi Arabia Has Symbolic And CPEC Purposes

The first-ever official overseas trip of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister is to Saudi Arabia, where the South Asian leader plans to reinforce the important message of Islamic solidarity while shrewdly positioning his country to potentially get a better series of financial deals from China.

The Significance Of Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Khan is in Saudi Arabia during his first-ever official overseas trip, and the media is speculating about the reason why he chose that country over all others to visit first. For starters, these two countries have a long legacy of historical ties with one another, and Pakistan still provides military training to the Arab Kingdom’s military. In fact, its former Chief Of Army Staff Raheel Sharif is the Command-In-Chief of the Saudis’ “Islamic Military Alliance”, a geographically far-reaching platform that’s theoretically supposed to bring together a multitude of countries under Saudi leadership but has in practice failed to fulfil this ambitious goal for a variety of reasons outside of the scope of this analysis. Even so, the point in bringing this up is to draw attention to the influence that Pakistan has within the Kingdom, which also aided by the fact that Saudi Arabia is the largest destination for Overseas Pakistanis (roughly 1,5 million) who are mostly there as guest workers.

There are also other symbolic reasons why Prime Minister Khan travelled to Saudi Arabia, and those have to do with the more obvious ones of religious solidarity when considering that the King is officially regarded as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Pakistan’s leader has become very pious at this stage of his life and wants to project the image that he, his new administration, and his country at large follow Islamic principles (ergo why Pakistan is officially an Islamic Republic), so it’s important to reinforce Islamabad’s historic friendship with Riyadh to draw attention to this within the larger international Islamic community (Ummah). Moreover, Pakistan under Prime Minister Khan perceives of itself as one of the Ummah’s current military and future economic leaders. The first-mentioned role is by virtue of its status as the only nuclear-armed Muslim country and global distinction in having the only military that ever defeated Daesh-like terrorism on its own without outside help, while the latter relates to CPEC.

The flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is expected to make Pakistan the Zipper of Eurasia and the Convergence of Civilizations, which could in turn transform it into the center of 21st-century geopolitics and the primary engine for realizing the Golden Ring of multipolar Great Powers. So promising are these prospects that Saudi Arabia recently decided to participate in this initiative by making its terminal port of Gwadar an “oil city”, which accordingly makes the Kingdom a stakeholder in the South Asian state’s overall success as well.  This is very important in the current context because Pakistan is facing a looming financial crisis with its balance of payments and is in need of international support to avert a possible crisis. Saudi Arabia’s CPEC-related investments in Gwadar and elsewhere, as well as any loan that the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank could provide, would be especially helpful at this moment in time.

CPEC Won’t Be Reconsidered, But It Could Be Reviewed

With this backdrop in mind, it’s actually quite prudent for Prime Minister Khan to visit Saudi Arabia before any other country because he could ideally obtain financial support or promises thereof which could consequently make his presumable future negotiations with Pakistan’s Chinese strategic partners all the easier. To explain, China will predictably also chip in to help its ally because it has obvious interests in retaining financial stability in its irreplaceable Silk Road partner, but Pakistan would understandably want to ensure that it gets the best deal possible, which is why shoring up support from other sources beforehand is crucial before going to Beijing to negotiate the terms of any forthcoming assistance. Relatedly, Prime Minister Khan’s government might also seek to renegotiate the terms (e.g. repayment period, interest rates) of existing Silk Road deals if a possible review uncovers that his predecessor’s administration agreed to unfavorable ones for corrupt reasons.

To be clear, nothing of the sort has been discovered thus far and Abdul Razzak Dawood, Prime Minister Khan’s advisor on commerce, clarified earlier remarks that were attributed to him by the Financial Times which reported that he wanted to halt the implementation of CPEC projects for one year prior to reviewing and possibly renegotiating them. He said that his statements were taken out of context but didn’t exactly refute the essence of what he supposedly conveyed, which is that a review and renegotiation process could possibly commence but that it wouldn’t involve halting the implementation of CPEC projects or outright scrapping them like the newly (re-)elected government of Malaysia’s Mahathir has already done. What this means in practice is that Pakistan could try to get better terms for the deals that it already signed in order to advance it and China’s collective interests.

China’s Self-Interests In Restructuring The Silk Road

To explain, China isn’t the “greedy neo-colonial land-grabber” that it’s maliciously framed to be through weaponized infowar narratives but instead wants to build a sustainable economic ecosystem along the New Silk Roads in order to function as reliable markets for its overproduced goods, which in turn can allow the People’s Republic to indefinitely continue growing without having to risk the political consequences that might come from an economic slowdown. That’s why China is working to improve the capacity of its partners through infrastructure and commercial investments, free trade deals, and general loans in order to improve their development prospects and correspondingly make them the sort of partner that the country needs. The cumulative effect of these dynamics is supposed to be mutually beneficial for both parties, but in the unexpected event that the Silk Road host and loan recipient has difficulty repaying the assistance that it’s received, then China has every interest in modifying the terms.

China understands that many of its Silk Road projects have very long-term “return on investments” (ROI) that make them the easy target of domestic demagogues (notwithstanding any possible corruption that the host government, whether current or previous, might have been engaged in when agreeing to their terms), so it’s wisest for Beijing to agree to extend their (already sometimes lengthy) loan repayment periods upon request in order to make them easier to service and assist the authorities with deflecting unwarranted criticism. This is especially the case with physical connectivity projects whose benefit consists in qualitatively enhancing the effects of the economy but can’t be immediately seen solely in the context of any single initiative. China already expects that it will take a while for it to recoup the original principal of its loans, so pushing it further back a comfortable period of time like what it’s in the process of doingin Ethiopia isn’t going to radically upset its grand strategy.

In addition, and referring back to the invisible qualitative enhancements that many Silk Road projects have, China invested in many of them not to “make a quick buck” but to lay the basis for an entirely new international economic order that would eventually lead to political changes in the global system by facilitating the transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, so while the profit that could be reaped from interest payments is obviously significant, it’s not a be-all and end-all in itself to stand in the way of China’s grand strategy. If a country has difficulty repaying its loans, it’s better for China to consider providing debt relief in the form of lowering interest rates in order to ensure that its partner retains its macroeconomic stability and pays back at least the principal of what was lent. It could also consider decreasing it beyond that level in exceptional cases in order to retroactively make part of the original loan a grant if circumstances necessitate doing so.

Concluding Thoughts

To return back to Prime Minister Khan choosing Saudi Arabia as his first-ever official overseas trip, the grand Silk Road significance is that it could potentially provide Pakistan with leverage to negotiate more advantageous terms for a forthcoming Chinese loan that would aim to avert its impending balance of payments crisis. Furthermore, the successful clinching of such an agreement through these means could lead to Pakistan possibly renegotiating the terms of existing CPEC deals – but importantly, not halting their implementation or pulling out of them – in order to reach a better win-win arrangement with China in light of the country’s newfound financial circumstances that could make servicing its debts much more difficult than before. China has self-interested reasons pertaining to Pakistan’s irreplaceable geostrategic connectivity role in the New Silk Road that compel it to be flexible in the face of positively responding to Islamabad’s reasonable requests to reconsider some of the terms of its CPEC deals in order to ensure that their repayment isn’t painful.

China didn’t initiate OBOR in order to “conquer territory” and turn its partners into “neo-colonial vassals”, but to simply ensure its own viability as a rising Great Power given the particularity of its export-dependent macroeconomic structure that necessitates securing reliable access to international markets, hence its interest in loaning billions upon billions of dollars in building them up in the first place. Bearing this in mind, the country has every interest in making sure that this end is reached, even if the original means in attempting to do so end up being modified in response to the changed financial conditions in certain Silk Road host countries, which could foreseeably see some of Pakistan’s and other states’ loans restructured as a result. So long as the reasons for doing so are verifiable, as they are in Pakistan’s case (even without any speculative review uncovering evidence of the previous government’s possibly corrupt motives when clinching earlier deals), then there are no rational grounds for China to reject this request.

By Adam Garrie
Source

 

Western Media’s Provocation against CPEC Represents a New Phase in the Info-war against Sino-Pak Relations

A scandalous article recently published in the London based Financial Times called “Pakistan rethinks its role in Xi’s Belt and Road plan“, insinuated that Pakistan is about to cancel important bilateral projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the new PTI led government of Imran Khan. The report was based on statements from Pakistan’s Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood whose Ministry has now fully rejected the article while claiming that the Financial Times took his words completely and intentionally out of context.

According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Textile, “The statements attributed to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile have been taken out of context and distorted“. The Ministry further said that Pakistan rejects the article entirely “especially the title” while going on to call CPEC a “national priority”.

China likewise refuted the content of the article, describing the FT piece in the following way, “Such ill-intentioned reports based on distorted and misquoted information only demonstrate that the report contributor has total ignorance and neglect of the CPEC or China-Pakistan traditional partnership”.

Infowar against Sin0-Pak RelationsIt is the latter part of the statement which is the most important in the context of the Financial Times article that is clearly part of the wider Sinophobic campaign in western and Indian media which has recently focused on China’s growing partnerships with the developing nations of Africa. But unlike China’s relations with multiple African states, some of whom had few profound contacts with Beijing in the 20th century, China’s relationship with Pakistan is among the most consistent of any neighbourly partnership in the world. Indeed, long before China became a global economic superpower, Beijing and Islamabad had incredibly close relations. The fact that since 1978 China has gone from a nation of overwhelming poverty to a nation about to dethrone the United States as the world’s largest overall economy, yet is still as close with Pakistan as it ever was, is a testament to the fact that the good neighbourly relationship in question has not shifted as so many Cold War era partnerships have radically done and continue to do in the 21st century.

China’s contemporary partnership with Pakistan has grown and developed as both countries have internally grown and developed. While Pakistan’s economic development is at a different stage than China’s, both countries look to pursue the path to a moderately prosperous society with national characteristics. The One Belt–One Road initiative has been a crucial mechanism through which both nations can build upon their traditional partnership to help achieve substantial economic growth on a cooperative win-win basis.

Because of this close and growing partnership, the fact that the Financial Times would attack such a partnership as opposed to the straw man targets that include Sino-Sri Lankan or Sino-Pan African relations,  is indicative of a new level of intensity in the hybrid infowar against China. If one were to compare the anti-Chinese infowar to a traditional military battle, it could be said that the enemy has pivoted away from targeting the nation’s hinterlands and has dropped bombs on the nation’s capital. Because the Sino-Pakistan relationship has led to the development and growth of CPEC and because CPEC is the central artery of One Belt–One Road, a fake news story indicating that CPEC may be stalled is nothing less than an outright provocation designed to sow discord between two of the world’s longest standing allies.

Image result for Afro-Bengal Ocean

The ultimate aim of such provocateurs is to isolate China from major east-west trade routes as a “death” of CPEC would mean that with Myanmar in the midst of western provoked conflict and the Strait of Malacca being a de-facto US controlled shipping route – China would effectively be boxed into its own national seas without having an easy route into the Afro-Bengal Ocean.

For Pakistan, the aim of the provocation is to completely isolate the country by cutting off from its economic lifeline to north-east Asia, thus leaving the country surrounded by hostile forces in India and Afghanistan along with a temporarily economically crippled Iran.

The fact that the provocation was placed in a once “respectable” newspaper combined with the fact that the attack on Sino-Pakistan relations is as brazen as it is based on falsehoods is likewise instructive as it indicates that there are no depths to which the western liberal media will not sink in order to attempt and sabotage CPEC. In many ways the Financial Times article in question is even more scandalous than the kinds of things written in Indian media because the staff at the Financial Times would be well aware that due to an unfortunate lingering colonial mentality in south Asia, many Pakistanis would more readily believe a western source than an Indian source even though in the year 2018 they both have near identical agendas.

The conclusion for Pakistanis to reach is that they must be on guard against a perfect storm of anti-Chinese fake news deriving from stories planted by India in Pakistan’s own liberal media as well as stories from western outlets that many Pakistanis still respect. The aim is to isolate Pakistan totally from all of its neighbours and in so doing, leaving the country economically barren and depressed unless Islamabad comes crawling back to a scoffing US on its hands and knees. While Pakistan’s state institutions are well aware of this strategy, the people themselves must be aware of it, as it is the people who are being directly targeted with misinformation which if believed could destroy Pakistan’s best chance of achieving its developmental goals.

Written by Adam Garrie  on 2018-09-12
Source: Eurasia Future

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