China converts Rs 23b Gwadar Airport loan into grant

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Gearing up its entry into the coastal city of Gwadar, China has informed Pakistan about converting Rs 23 billion loan for the Gwadar International Airport into a grant and making loan of Rs 13.5 billion for the Gwadar East Bay Expressway free from any interest.

A top official source said the concessions were granted by China as she wanted to initiate work on both the major infrastructure projects by November this year to complete them by December 2017. These two major mega development projects are attributed as the catalyst for enhancing investment and development in Gwadar.

The new Gwadar airport will be a most modern airport of international standard to cater to the requirements of a bustling industrial commercial city. It will become a major hub for international flights operating in the region.

While the East Bay Expressway will facilitate the quick offloading of the ships and supplying goods for upcountry movement, an estimated 150,000 new jobs are estimated to be created in near future in the logistics sector alone due to the corridor project.

The federal government was already doing tendering process for these two projects but the pace was slow due to the required legal formalities. Since now China has taken up the responsibility for financing, things are expected to move at a much faster pace, the source said.

Chinese expect that after the completion of these two projects, investors will make a bee line for investment in Gwadar. The provincial government of Baluchistan is also working on the special economic zones and industrial parks in Gwadar. The city is expected to face a huge rush of people within the next three years due to the number of employment and business opportunities.

Read more » Pakistan Today
See more » http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/08/27/business/china-converts-rs-23b-gwadar-airport-loan-into-grant/

Pakistan, China and Naxalites are main threats, says Indian Air Force chief

NEW DELHI: China, Pakistan and Naxalites are a major source of worry for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, India’s Chief of Air Staff, said here on Tuesday.

According to the Indian Express, he listed China’s growing influence in the Indian sub-continent as a major security challenge for New Delhi. Delivering the inaugural address at 12th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar at the Centre for Air Power Studies, ACM Raha said that Chinese growing influence was with a strategic aim in mind, and it was being factored in India’s foreign and defence policies.

“China has increased its economic and military ties with all our neighbours. Rapid infrastructure development is taking place in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). World’s highest airfield at Daocheng Yading, highest railway line from Xiniang, Qinghai province to TAR capital, development of the Gwadar port and Economic corridor through PoK (Indian term for Azad Kashmir) and Pakistan, development of roads in TAR up to Indian border and increasing economic and military ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar are all strategic moves by China to contain India,” ACM Raha said.

Highlighting Beijing’s other regional moves, he said that “China has been making sustained efforts to make its presence felt in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region), including dispatch of submarines in the name of piracy control, with a strange logic.”

According to the Express, he said: “Incidents of border standoff in the north, issuance of paper visa to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh (AP) and claiming of Aksai Chin and part of AP as part of China have diluted the agreement of five principles, Panchsheel signed way back in 1954.”

Noting that the rise of China, India and Asean has shifted the global economic centre of gravity and hence, the strategic centre of gravity to the Asia Pacific Region, ACM Raha said that India faced a unique challenge — it has the dual task of physical security of the borders and maintaining harmonious relations with its neighbours.

Talking about Pakistan, ACM Raha observed that the “support of the Pakistan Army to the militant organisations and continuous interference in the internal affairs of Jammu and Kashmir will remain a source of friction between the two countries.

“Despite the grim internal situation, Pakistan has managed to strike a balance in its relations with China and USA. It has steadily built up its nuclear and ballistic missile capability with covert assistance from China and North Korea while continuing to receive monetary support and conventional weapons and aircraft from both USA as well as China. Their gamble of ‘Running with Hares and Hunting with Hounds’, while proclaiming itself as a member of GWOT (Global War on Terror) is paying off handsomely due to various geo-political reasons,” he added.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1218914

Pakistan’s Sindh has characteristics of an independent state: US Congressional report

Washington: Pakistan’s Sindh always possessed characteristics of a “viable independent state”, but its role as Punjab’s conduit to the sea may be the ultimate reason that successful separatism could not yield results, a first-ever US Congressional report on the strategic province has said.

In its report, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) — an independent and bi-partisan research wing of US Congress — said Sindh historically has possessed many of the trappings of a modern nation-state.

“Yet it exists in a circumstance wherein its autonomy (and that of Pakistan’s other minority provinces”) is significantly restrained by a politically and demographically dominant Punjabi province and ethnicity,” said the report.

The CRS reports are prepared by eminent experts but are not considered the official position of US Congress. However, it is the first time CRS has prepared a report on Sindh which of late is facing serious discontent among locals.

“Although Sindh has always possessed most of the characteristics required for a viable independent state and some nationalist sentiments persist to this day its role as Punjab’s conduit to the sea may well be the ultimate reason that successful Sindhi separatism faced long odds,” it said.

A copy of the report was released to the media by Congressman Brad Sherman, who is the co-Chair of the small Congressional Caucus on Sindh.

Read more » Zee News
See more » http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/pakistans-sindh-has-characteristics-of-an-independent-state-us-congressional-report_1820686.html