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Strained India-China relations after SCO meet, game changer CPEC

BY N. P. UPADHYAYA
Kathmandu: As was expected and believed, the Indian lobby in Kathmandu have suddenly become active and has begun talking, sorry to say, nonsense and absurd.
Vilifying China has begun under instructions from above perhaps.
Their target this time is definitely Nepal-China relations which is about to take a new shape for the better in the days and weeks ahead.
Baseless rumors and anti-China sentiments are being deliberately propagated in order to damage the prospects of Nepal-China relations which, despite the bad mouth from an interested quarter usually dominated by Indian lobby, our ties is to flourish come what may.
The false news that is being purposely aired and publicized in Kathmandu’s political circuit through the tilted media is that Nepal is soon to fall into the debt trap of China and hence care must be taken while signing any deal with the northern neighbor during Nepal PM Oli’s visit to Beijing. A biased media is as good as Hydrogen bomb. Interestingly, PM Oli’s own party moles too were reportedly in this alien controlled business.
By time this issue approaches the readers, PM Oli will already be in Beijing shaking hands with his intimate Chinese friends. Severe pain could be felt in the SA vicinity, a guess work only.
That Pakistan already is being drained by the Chinese and that the country is in a Himalayan debt trap which shall in all likelihood bring Pakistan to the footpath is what is being calculatedly published in the Indian media and people of the type of Brahma Chellany and the sponsored Indian intellectuals together with the “feku” Indian media have been crying foul that China will kill Pakistan’s economic stamina eventually.
In fact the Indian scholars, albeit the paid ones presumably, have been projecting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to be the one which shall prove to be a burden for Pakistan in that the country can’t be able to pay back the borrowed Chinese money and thus Pakistan’s existence shall be in question. Economic bankruptcy of Pakistan? Perhaps it is a day dreaming exercise for those who wish to dream even in unusual hours. Yet we would not bar any one from dreaming.
Well, so far we have understood is that China is not a cruel friend like India and that the money poured in by China into Pakistan for the successful completion of the CPEC projects, the receiving country has the capacity to pay the money back to China in a specified period.
Question is also that for fear of landing in a possible debt trap, should a particular country reject the popular ambition of taking on to the path of development? If fear factor dominates then no country can develop. Take it for granted. Some amount of courage must be there if a desire to develop one’s own country is in the mind.
To recall, one Pakistani minister in the last government together with a Professor named Daud Batt had said at a seminar recently that Pakistan has now the capability of repaying the Chinese debts and that in no way Pakistan shall fell into the Chinese debt trap.
China is not that fool to have invested in the CPEC projects without ascertaining the Pakistani economic stamina and the potential that the country will attain upon completion of the CPEC projects and pay back the money it lent to Pakistan.  If China is confident then why the hupla gupla?
The CPEC once completed, believe the Pakistanis, will be a game changer. So says repeatedly Mushahid Hussain, the noted former Pakistani journalist.
Perhaps it is this game changer in the making that has annoyed the Indian lobby both in Nepal and outside. Some permissible amount of jealousy is good for fatigued Indian diplomacy.
So the cry of the Indian media being made against CPEC which have been copied unfortunately by some Nepali scholars is nothing but a calculated design of the South which has influenced some innocent souls in Nepal. But at what cost? Just keep on guessing.
The idea is to frustrate Nepal much the same way as Pakistan has been made the target by some naughty brains in the South Asian region.
Joke and satires of various sorts are in place in Nepal in order to frustrate Nepal PM Oli so that he deviates from his “set agendas” that he has fixed for the country since the time of the Nepal being hit by the quake of 2015 which instantly followed the mercilessly imposed Indian Economic blockade, in order to lessen the Indian dependency of Nepal.
Though Oli has India tilt but yet he has vowed to bring in Chinese investment in Nepal in various sectors.
A sovereign country should be allowed to go in search for a mission that were in its national interests. Perhaps PM Oli considers that China could be one such country that can be of substantial support to Nepal if approached.
Thanks that China too is willing.
Analysts in Nepal can easily draw meaning as to why bids were afoot in some quarters to exasperate China and Nepal so that the two sovereign nations remain bogged down in trifling issues and the prime target of development in both the countries takes a back seat more so in Nepal and the purpose of the sponsored detractors come to true.
This is not to say that China is a sacrosanct partner of Nepal. She too has business and security interests in Nepal. However, the fact is also that China shall financially help Nepal but Nepal shall have to pay the money back in a manner as desired by the receiving end as China knows Nepal economic stamina. The Lipulek blunder though remains yet to be corrected by China, to recall.
The fact is also that Nepal needs China as much as China needs Nepal speaking on strategic terms to which China understands better.
It is this fact that China, if intelligent enough, must listen to Nepali plea that PM OLi shall forward to the perusal of the host country at time of high level talks in China during his sojourn there. China must not forget that Nepal this time is equipped with a strong government formed ever and that too a diehard communist dominated ones (are they?) that enjoy two thirds majority inside the domestic parliament.
More so given the strained relations with India even as of today, China would do well in helping Nepal in some core areas as PM Oli shall be advancing during the high level talks. A word to the wise should be enough. Helping Nepal at this time will yield immense benefits to China for the politics that stands today in our vicinity.  China knows Nepal’s strategic importance.
That China and India are not in good terms even after the just concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organization has come to the fore.
If it is so, and it is so, then Modi has definitely lost his political credentials not only inside his own country, but he is being taken as a fraudulent political persona in the entire South Asian region, more so in Nepal. He is taken as a political thug who has repeatedly duped Nepal.
India was the only country in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization on June 10 which refused to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative for which Beijing has signed pacts with nearly 80 countries and international organizations. The UK and France too have exhibited their interests in the Chinese scheme. Other countries too have expressed their interests.
A declaration issued at the end of the two-day summit of the SCO said Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have “reaffirming their support for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” of China.
“The Member States express appreciation for the joint efforts taken towards its implementation, including efforts to coordinate the development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI and call for using the potential of the regional countries, international organizations and multilateral associations to create a broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal partnership in the SCO space,” it said.
In his address at the Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an oblique reference to the BRI, said any mega connectivity project must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity and assured India’s full support to initiatives which ensures inclusivity.
This perhaps best explains that China and India have yet to reconcile with each other. Chinese annoyance begins thus right from Modi’s negative statement made at the SCO meet.
This also indicates that should the differences increase, China may teach a grand lesson to India of the sort of 1962. Doklam was a mere rehearsal indeed. Arunachal Pradesh is yet another flashpoint. What a fun that it would be if China pounces upon India once again? Love to watch the mini World Cup that it would be in all probability.
The points that PM Modi has raised at the SCO meet has first to be honored by India itself. Has it honored Nepal’s sovereignty? Has not this country undermined Nepali integrity? Thus no right India possesses to demand the same respect and honor from other to which she never has complied with. Let India play football alone with baby Bhutan.
The Russian Federation and China have now cemented their ties for long time to come. President Trump is at the moment busy in solidifying his personal ties with NK leader Kim Jong-Un and so Trump has no time to listen to Modi’s grievances.
Analyzing all these, what could be fairly said that China-Russia friendship shall dominate the political scene for long? The Central Asian Republics have expressed their desire to join the CPEC which means Pakistan along with the countries engaged in the CPEC scheme shall benefit immensely.
Reports say that at the sidelines of the SCO meet held in China very freshly, PM Modi was assured by the Chinese President that he will visit India for an informal meet of the SCO next year and also had proposed for a trilateral summit at the earliest in between China, Pakistan and India to settle once and for all the boundary issues between the estranged neighbors-India and Pakistan.
Observers in Nepal claim that such a trilateral meet between the three nations, China, India and Pakistan, was possible at time of the next SCO meet supposedly being held in India next year. It may happen any time if all desire so.
“If China, Mongolia and Russia can sit together then why not a trilateral meet in between China, India and Pakistan was possible,” say observers here in Nepal subscribing to the fresh views aired by Delhi based Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui as quoted by ANI news agency.
The idea for a trilateral summit, said the Chinese envoy, had come from “some Indian friends”. “Maybe not now, but in the future, that is the great idea,” he said.
Mr Luo, the Chinese Ambassador stressed on “5Cs” to help promote India-China ties –and those being communication, cooperation, contacts, coordination and control.
”Some Indian friends suggested that India, China and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral summit on the sidelines of SCO. So, if China, Russia and Mongolia can have a trilateral summit at the SCO meet, then why not India, China and Pakistan?” the Chinese envoy opined.
The envoy appears to have made this proposal to ease the friendly tensions existing along the borders.
India and Pakistan became full members of SCO last year and were represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, respectively, at the recent summit held in Qingdao this month.
Later, responding to questions, the Chinese envoy said this Monday, “This is a proposal suggested by some Indian friends and I think it is a very good and constructive idea. Maybe not now, but in the future, it will be a step in the right direction to do something to realize this idea.”
Meanwhile, the Indian spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, however, said: “We have seen reports on comments made by the Chinese Ambassador in this matter. We have not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government. We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the ambassador. Matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country. ”
This amply hints that India and China relations have touched a new low after the SCO meet wherein PM Modi summarily rejected the BRI initiative to be endorsed by India.
Naturally the present Chinese annoyance is the net result of Indian big no to the China’s BRI at time of the SCO meet held in Qingdo, China.
A retired Delhi university Professor V.C Bhutani believes the Chinese ascendance in the present day world order that China was here to stay for long and that India would do well in demonstrating more sophisticated approach in its dealing with the super power as China is taken these days.
Professor Bhutani is correct in assessing China’s enhanced prowess gained in the last decade to which India perhaps can match only in dreams. For Indian health, dreaming could be an instant energy giver yet.
The retired professor further alarms the Indian establishment that even after one year of the Doklam incident, China continues with its road building activities in the disputed area of the previous year. What does it signal is this sending out to India and other countries across the globe? Questions the retired Indian professor.
The Indian external affairs ministry has responded to the trilateral summit proposal as pushed by the Chinese envoy through a statement issued hours later, saying that India had “not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government”. It added, “We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the ambassador. Matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country.”
This means that Indian arrogance continues and China perhaps is thinking to teach yet another lesson to the Indian establishment should the Indian egotism take a new high.
In a more pleasing development in the SA landscape, the Pakistani Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Mahmood Hayat has already landed in Nepal for a five day visit.
To recall, former Pak Prime Minister came to Nepal to congratulate Nepal’s new PM Oli. Nepal’s Army Chief went to Pakistan and here is the Pak military man in Kathmandu. And very soon Nepal Army Chief is to visit China. And in turn the Chinese Army Chief may reciprocate the visit. The chances remain.
In between these times, Pakistan will have its newly elected Prime Minister to guide the country and take the CPEC projects to newer heights.
Isn’t it like as if China, Pakistan and Nepal have come together by fluke of a chance and vowed to corner India? Or a deliberate one to push India to the wall?
Intention may not be that but the reverse is true to a greater extent.
Much to the discomfort of the entire Indian establishment, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will sign agreements on connectivity, bringing the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, cross-border power transmission lines, tourism, opening more border points with China.
Back in Pakistan, the CPEC is considered a game changer by the Pakistani elite, who expect it to supercharge the country’s sclerotic economy and transform it into a regional economic hub. China is widely considered to be a benign and reliable partner, in great contrast to the “unreliable” some and there is much talk of win-win cooperation and of China’s purely economic strategy.
The CPEC certainly involves some large amounts. It would involve energy and infrastructure projects valued at some $62 billion spanning the length of Pakistan. The jewel in the CPEC crown is Gwadar, a new port city being built in the Balochistan desert, which is being touted as a new Dubai. This will be the southern terminus of the economic corridor running from Xinjiang to the Indian Ocean.
Dreams of transforming Gwadar from a dusty fishing village into a major city seem to have no bounds. The sheer scale of the project is indicated by the announcement by one Chinese company of extraordinary plans to build housing for some 500,000 Chinese workers in Gwadar by 2022.
In fact it is these lofty gains that both China and Pakistan shall gain from the CPEC upon completion, mentally disturbs India. So be it.
Now for the Road:
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides a rare opportunity for the convergence of global civilizations with potential to transform lives of billions of people if the opportunities offered by this project are availed, speakers said at a conference here, so writes Murtaza Ali Shah, June 10, 2018.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the London Institute of South Asia (LISAUK) organized a joint conference which was addressed by members of think-tanks and professionals who are linked with the project. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Syed Ibne Abbas was present at the conference and invited Britain to become a partner in the project, Mr. Shah further adds.
Speakers looked at various aspects of the project and assessed the opportunities and risks related to the project that’s seen globally as a game changer in the region. They said that regional countries, neighbors, Europe and America can associate with the project and become part of the phenomenon that’s unfolding in the region as a result of the CPEC development, he continues.
Saeed Ismat, LIS UK’s Director, said that vision of CPEC is huge and it’s set to transform Pakistan and many other countries which have joined it. He said CPEC offers opportunities for the convergence of civilization. He said there’s Russia is one side, Hindu civilization is there, Pakistani and Muslim civilization is there, there is China, Arab and European civilization nearby the project. “It’s a great convergence point. This can create cultural and political harmony,” he said.
Thanks China and Pakistan that there is an opportunity for varying civilisations shall meet if everything goes well with the CPEC. India is the loser ultimately or else China knows as how to tame the erratic Indian establishment. That’s all.

(Telegraph Nepal editor@telegraphnepal.com)

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