Tag Archives: Indian Ocean

A Strategic Seaport – Is Pakistan Key to China’s Energy Supremacy?

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

A seaport in southwest Pakistan may hold the key to China’s energy supremacy. At least, that’s what China hopes. The Gwadar port, which China has built and will operate in the province of Balochistan, is situated near the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil-shipping lane that can serve as an energy corridor from western China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf.

Beijing’s pivot to Pakistan is a substantial one. The story goes back to 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed a railroad and an oil pipeline to link Gwadar to the Kashi port in Xinjiang—allowing China to take advantage of the shortest possible route to the Middle East. In exchange, Pakistan would get an influx of Chinese investment. Indeed, in 2014, the Chinese government committed to spending $45.6 billion over the next six years to build the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. China’s stake in Gwadar will also allow it to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas.

The United States fears that China will come out of its dealings with Pakistan with more power. But it need not be worried: China’s involvement in Balochistan, a restive area prone to insurgencies, will not end well. Many believe Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, is hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Meanwhile, small towns in Balochistan are the breeding grounds for a decades-old separatist movement targeting federal agencies. Increasingly, China has been caught up in the violence. In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine wounded when separatists attacked their van in Gwadar. In 2009, China shelved its $12 billion plans to build an oil refinery and an oil city in Gwadar due to security concerns.

China’s involvement in the region’s politics can only be bad news. In 2012, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution that asked the United States to support Baloch separatists as freedom fighters. The resolution was tabled, but if the United States ever does decide to involve itself in the conflict, China’s strategic interests will be at risk.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143227/syed-fazl-e-haider/a-strategic-seaport

Al Qaeda Militants Tried to Seize Pakistan Navy Frigate

Al Qaeda Raid Foiled After Firefight Involving Rogue Naval Officers

By SYED SHOAIB HASANSAEED SHAH and SIOBHAN GORMAN

KARACHI, Pakistan—Al Qaeda militants tried to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate earlier this month and use it to target U.S. Navy vessels on antiterrorism patrol in the northwestern Indian Ocean, Pakistani security officials said.

The Sept. 6 raid, which was foiled after a fire fight and a suicide bombing, was carried out in part by Pakistan Navy personnel who had been recruited by al Qaeda, these officials said. The raid, in which 10 militants and one petty officer died, raised fears about terrorist infiltration of the nuclear-armed nation’s military forces.

“Without assistance from inside, these people could not have breached security,” Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said about the incident at a recent parliament session.

The Karachi raid was the first major operation carried out by al Qaeda’s newly formed regional wing, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, according to counterterrorism officials. The timing of the raid may have been set to mark the start of the affiliate or to coincide roughly with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Western security officials believe.

News of the attempted seizure of the frigate, PNS Zulfiqar, was initially kept from the media, and the details of the incident are only beginning to emerge.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
http://online.wsj.com/articles/al-qaeda-militants-tried-to-seize-pakistan-navy-frigate-1410884514

Tsunami could ‘wipe out’ Karachi

By AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, home to around 18 million people, could be “wiped out” by a tsunami, officials said Wednesday after a drill simulating a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean.

The test, and one carried out a day earlier simulating another quake off Indonesia, were designed to check an early-warning system set up after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people.

The exercise organised by the United Nations was based on a hypothetical 9.0 magnitude quake in the Makran Trench, where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, off the coast of Pakistan.

“This would create waves of 0.9 to seven metres high that could reach Karachi in one and a half hours,” Tauseef Alam, the chief meteorologist who was supervising the tests, told AFP.

“This could wipe out the city as the waves would be immensely powerful.” Karachi was hit by a tsunami in 1945 that killed at least 4,000 people, Alam said.

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China is Gaining Control of Indian Ocean

Courtesy and Thanks: The Phladelphia Trumpet, Nov.-Dec 2007
China is seeking greater strategic control over the Indian Ocean. With 85 percent of its trade being sea-based, this historic land power has been striving to increase its maritime rutes over the past two decades. As the oceanic route between China and the Middle East, the Indian Ocean is of vital strategic importance to Beijing. China is moving to control this trade route.

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