LAHORE: The EXIM Bank of China has signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to provide $448 million for the strategically important 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project.
The agreement, a significant development in the efforts to obtain funds for the remaining work on the project, was signed last week during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Pakistan.
The project is being constructed on River Neelum in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Besides generating much-needed low-cost hydel electricity to help mitigate power shortages, the project will also enable Pakistan to establish its priority rights on the river waters.
Wapda is striving to complete the project by 2016 according to its construction schedule.
At present, construction work at different sites of the project is moving forward satisfactorily. Of the combined 67-kilometre tunnels, 34.24km long tunnels (51 per cent) have so far been excavated. Work on excavation of under-ground powerhouse has been completed by 75.24 per cent, on transformers hall by 96.33 per cent and on de-sander of the project by 95 per cent.
Construction of Nauseri Bridge over River Neelum and second stage diversion of the river have been completed.
After completion, the project will contribute 5.15 billion units of cheap electricity to the national grid every year. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at about Rs45 billion.
In the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to about $29 billion, of that, just $0.8 billion came from China
KARACHI: Pakistan’s leaders love using laughably outrageous metaphors in describing the country’s relationship with China, yet the truth is that this so-called alliance means almost nothing positive for the Pakistani economy.
All of Islamabad – indeed all of Pakistan – appears to be bending over backwards in laying out the red carpet to welcome Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. But the fact of the matter is that China will give Pakistan almost nothing, and this two-day trip is really only being made by the Chinese premier to avoid slapping Islamabad in the face completely, after having made his first trip abroad a three-day visit to India, in a key signal about the real shifts in Chinese foreign policy.
Pakistanis love to proclaim China as our “all-weather friend. In his last visit to China, former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani described the relationship as “higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.”
On this trip, Premier Li described the relationship as “a tree, now exuberant with abundant fruits”.
This was not him being poetic. It was delivering a message that nobody in Pakistan seems to have gotten: that China’s ties with Pakistan are not some eternal alliance of friends, but a strictly utilitarian relationship in which Beijing uses Islamabad occasionally to scare the living daylights out of the United States and India to get what it wants in its negotiations with Washington and New Delhi, and then abandons Pakistan once that transaction is completed.
A look at the numbers suggests that the Islamabad-Beijing relationship has had very little benefit for Pakistan as whole.
In the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to about $29 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. Of that, just $0.8 billion came from China, and nearly all of that was China Mobile’s investment in Zong.
China’s investment in Pakistan is less than that of tiny Netherlands, which invested $1.4 billion during that time. The supposed “Great Satan” – the United States – invested the most in Pakistan: $7.7 billion, or more than a quarter of all foreign investment in the country. There is only one major Chinese company with actual investments in Pakistan: China Mobile. The number of major US companies investing in Pakistan? More than 30.
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On the back of this week’s visit, both Prime Minister Singh and Premier Li are due to visit each others respective rivals. Next week, Singh is headed to Japan, which is engaged in an increasingly edgy dispute with China over a group of islets in the seas between them. Li goes to Pakistan, where he is to sign agreements to develop the Chinese-managed Gwadar port. India has often been nervous about Chinese agreements with its neighbors that are not strictly military but could be leveraged in a conflict.
NEW DELHI — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, smiling and effusive, was out to smooth ruffled feathers in India this week, promising to ease tensions and increase trade between Asia’s fastest growing economies in his first trip overseas since taking office.
“China will make your dream come true,” Li told a banquet hall filled with Chinese and Indian business executives in the financial capital of Mumbai as he wound up his visit on Tuesday.
China’s overtures, which come amid worries in Beijing that it is being encircled by the United States and its allies, however met with a cool response.
India has been shaken by a recent border spat with China and is cautious about Beijing’s friendship with rival Pakistan, where Li flies on Wednesday. New Delhi is also concerned about a ballooning trade deficit with China and a flood of cheap Chinese-made goods undercutting local manufacturers.
Continue reading With Wary Eye on the U.S., China Courts India