Posts Tagged ‘ Beijing ’

India Tests Nuclear Missile That Can Hit Beijing

As Reported By The Associated Press

India announced Thursday that it had successfully test launched a new nuclear-capable missile that would give it, for the first time, the capability of striking the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

The government has hailed the Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), as a major boost to its efforts to counter China’s regional dominance and become an Asian power in its own right.

The head of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, Vijay Saraswat, said the missile was launched at 8:07 a.m. from Wheeler Island off India’s east coast.

It rose to an altitude of more than 600 kilometers (370 miles), its three stages worked properly and its payload was deployed as planned, he told Times Now news channel.

“India has emerged from this launch as a major missile power,” he said.

The window for the launch opened Wednesday night, but the test had to be postponed because of weather conditions.

Avinash Chandra, mission director for the test, said that when the launch took place Thursday morning the missile performed as planned.

“We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve in this mission,” he told Times Now.

The Agni-V is a solid-fuel, three-stage missile designed to carry a 1.5-ton nuclear warhead. It stands 17.5 meters (57 feet) tall, has a launch weight of 50 tons and was built at a reported cost of 25 billion rupees ($486 million). It can be moved across the country by road or rail and can be used to carry multiple warheads or to launch satellites into orbit.

The missile will need four or five more trials before it can be inducted into India’s arsenal at some point in 2014 or 2015, Indian officials said.

China is far ahead of India in the missile race, with intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching anywhere in India. Currently, the longest-range Indian missile, the Agni-III, has a range of only 3,500 kilometers (2,100 miles) and falls short of many major Chinese cities.

India hailed Thursday’s test as a major step in its fight to be seen as a world power.

“India has today become a nation with the capability to develop, produce, build long-range ballistic missiles and today we are among the six countries who have this capability,” Saraswat said.

India and China fought a war in 1962 and continue to nurse a border dispute. India has also been suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean in recent years.

“While China doesn’t really consider India any kind of a threat or any kind of a rival, India definitely doesn’t think in the same way,” said Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst in New Delhi.

India already has the capability of hitting anywhere inside archrival Pakistan, but has engaged in a splurge of defense spending in recent years to counter the perceived Chinese threat.

The Indian navy took command of a Russian nuclear submarine earlier this year, and India is expected to take delivery of a retrofitted Soviet-built aircraft carrier soon.

The new Agni, named for the Hindi word for fire, is part of this military buildup and was designed to hit deep inside China, Bedi said.

Government officials said the missile should not be seen as a threat.

“We have a declared no-first-use policy, and all our missile systems, they are not country specific. There is no threat to anybody,” said Ravi Gupta, spokesman for the Defense Research and Development Organization, which built the missile. “Our missile systems are purely for deterrence and to meet our security needs.”

The test came days after North Korea‘s failed long-range rocket launch. North Korea said the rocket was launched to put a satellite into space, but the U.S. and other countries said it was a cover for testing long-range missile technology.

One Delhi-based Western diplomat dismissed comparisons with the international condemnation of North Korea’s launch, saying that Pyongyang was violating U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to suspend its missile program, while India is not considered a global threat. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on India’s security affairs.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States urges all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities.

“That said, India has a solid non-proliferation record,” he told a news briefing. “They’re engaged with the international community on non-proliferation issues.”

Some reports characterized the Agni-V as an intercontinental ballistic missile — which would make India one of the few countries to have that capability — but Gupta and analysts said its range fell short of that category.

India has no need for such sophisticated weapons, said Rajaram Nagappa, a missile expert and the head of the International Strategic and Security Studies Program at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore.

“I don’t think our threat perceptions are anything beyond this region,” he said.

Have We Hit Rock Bottom Yet?

By Shahzad Chaudhry for The Express Tribune

Attending conferences and travelling to them are the two most testing tasks these days for most Pakistanis. The airports tend to give you a full low-down as soon as the ‘green’ passport is presented: I am told by authentic sources that in as friendly country as China it takes twice the time to clear immigration for a Pakistani traveller than for someone with any other passport.

Just so that we may place our ‘higher than the Himalayas’ relationship in perspective, I was also informed that there was a daily flight between Delhi and Beijing compared to only two a week between Islamabad and Beijing. The disparity in trade figures between Beijing and Delhi, and Beijing and Islamabad, respectively, are already well-known. Call it anything, size of the economies or economic pragmatism, or whatever, the fact is China and India are unlikely to go to war with a $100 billion stake, keeping the two tied in an interdependent embrace; wish what you may, Pakistan, bosom love ain’t coming to the rescue. That is the new world ‘geconomics’.

One thing that always strengthened my hand as an ambassador for Pakistan during the Shaukat Aziz years was the perpetual good news that came out on the economic front from Pakistan. Now there may be more than one opinion about Musharrafian economy, but I have always held, and with some conviction I might add, that economies work on few sound fundamentals and a lot of good sentiment. This last word is key. So if the services sector — telecom, construction, finance — all seemed to be galloping under Shaukat Aziz’s mantra of economic progress, he perhaps understood well the significance of looking dapper and sounding happy. He held the dollar pegged and the stock market boomed: the first was clever policy, the latter sentiment. After all what is in the story of an ‘Incredible’ India — the incredibility indeed of a well-manufactured fable and from there on the critical mass of success takes on.

It was famously reported that a particular British chancellor of the Exchequer was singing in the bathroom: the veil of pessimism lifted and the economic sentiment began its own hum. But when you sit on a dredged economy and scooped-out resources there is little that you can offer to the world as hope. Words remain just that, words. Give Hafeez Shaikh something to hum about, and he will hum. The difficulty is he himself remains incapable of carving one.

I haven’t heard a sicker pronouncement of Pakistan’s economic predicament than someone quoting to me the likely $12-16 billion flowing in remittances, as the ultimate trigger for turning around our fortunes. There cannot be a darker indictment of our lows. Incapable of generating revenues inside, we hope like hell for the world and the people to resuscitate us from the outside. Even in that, though, madness must have a method. Investments, portfolio or otherwise, flow into congenial environs; some, Hafeez Shaikh will have to conjure, some we, as partners in crime, will have to relent and enable.

I am not an economist, and certainly never pretended to be one, but I have been subjected enough to the pains of a few that even I could venture to suggest a course to the hapless finance minister. For instance, capital flight is a growing reality and industry needs an injection of support and sustenance under a dwindling availability of energy. The approaching winter months may just provide some respite from domestic energy consumption, enabling diversion to the industry sector. Where possible, policy measures can enable relief and sectoral benefits to industries that wish to work through the difficult times. That might just sustain the benefits emerging from an export boost last year.

Many have tended to qualify the boost in different ways and perhaps each has a point but then how long can you keep a merchant down; there is something called “recess fatigue”, and he must break from it to keep the wheels going. One hopes that a finance minister may recognise such trends and then have the wits to turn them into triggers of rebound. If not, paralysis may just be a more enveloping reality in Islamabad.

Agriculture is half policy, half divine. The policy side has seen some attention while divinity is mostly earned. Our erstwhile brothers in East Punjab seem to have hit a good combination and are worth a reflection. So if there is a formula for our finance gurus to follow in the short-term, it must reside around energy, industry and agriculture. Once out of the hole, we can then begin to embellish our societal existence.

What will bring back a smile on the finance minister’s face? An enabling environment? A country in war, and a 10-year-old war at that, cannot be given to economic congeniality. We need to wean this country away from war. Seriously taken, the All Parties Conference urgings to ‘give peace a chance’ is a worthy, if catchy slogan, and must find the necessary politico-military resolve. The difficulty in our prevailing discourse is that few are willing to find solace in a political effort alone. As the refrain is that military runs the policy, perhaps that is where one may head. So then, over to General Kayani.

With two years to go in his tenure, here are a few things that General Kayani must do: get us out of this war — the lesser the pain the better; shun militancy in all its manifestations — and here the word manifestation to my mind carries all its consequences; and cleanse the military system of this ill-advised and ill-conceived baggage of the yore. We need not depend on the augmenting effect of an irregular effort in enhancing our national agenda. For some time let us simply look inside and avoid external diversions. With General Kayani convinced of such disposition, no arm whatever can practice any part of our rather sad legacy in regional ambitions.

I do not know who killed Rabbani and why; I also don’t know if the Pakistani military alone supports the Haqqani network and to what extent, but I do know that defending accusations of Pakistani culpability is becoming a harder task. The time when any such insinuation will stick is when we will have hit rock bottom.

I wish we were out of this predicament. I wish to see my country relevant and respected; and, I wish to see a smile on a humming Hafeez Shaikh.

Analysts: China Unlikely to Replace US in Pakistan

By William Idle for The Voice of America

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari made a three-day visit to China this week at a time when relations between Islamabad and Beijing appear to be growing stronger. Regional analysts say that while China is of growing importance to Pakistan, it is unlikely to replace the U.S. role as a dominant influence there.

The opening ceremony at the first China Eurasia Expo was full of pomp and fanfare. Greeted with applause and smiles, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari ended his visit to China standing on stage next to the man who is widely expected to be the country’s next leader – Vice Premier Li Keqiang.

Ties have long been strong between Pakistan and China, a country Islamabad endearingly calls its “all-weather friend.” Mr. Zardari has visited China twice since the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound – seven times since becoming president.

Some regional analysts say the recent deterioration of U.S.-Pakistan ties has pushed Pakistan into Beijing’s arms. They argue the combination of repeated drone strikes in Pakistani territory, the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, and suspension of $800-million in military American aid to Pakistan has brought Beijing and Islamabad closer together.

But regional analyst Tarique Niazi, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, says Mr. Zardari’s most recent visit to China is part of an ongoing effort by Pakistan to seek help to address its urgent needs and boost trade. And not necessarily a sign of shifting alliances.

“Pakistan is short of energy resources. It has about 4,000 megawatts of electrical shortage. So, China is helping Pakistan meet that shortage of electricity,” Niazi said.

One of the ways that China is doing that is by building massive hydropower projects in both Pakistan’s northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

Niazi notes that representatives from both regions traveled to China this week with Mr. Zardari. Pakistan’s president is constantly focused on three things, he adds: investment, trade and economic development.

“President Zardari, especially I must say, that he is the first leader of Pakistan whose focus is almost entirely on economic development and developing business relationships with not only the public sector and the government sector of China, but the private sector also,” Niazi said.

When Mr. Zardari stepped into office, he pledged to visit China every three months – and for the most part has kept that promise. Since then, analysts say he has inked deals that will raise China’s overall investment in Pakistan from $20-billion to more than $50-billion.

China is eager to boost trade and investment in the region too.

At the opening ceremony of the China Eurasia Expo, Commerce Minister Chen Deming highlighted how China was reaching out to Asian and European countries at a time when the world economy has yet to recover from the global financial crisis.

Chen says China is moving faster in opening its western region and border areas to promote regional development. He says China is taking a big step forward to deepening development and cooperation between Asian and European countries.

And the benefits flow both ways.

“I would say that the best way to think about the current situation is that China is expanding in all directions, its power is growing, and it is looking north, south, east and west. And when it looks to Pakistan it sees potential in terms of access to Central Asia, Central Asia energy markets. It sees access to the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean,” said Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for India, Pakistan and South Asia.

Markey says that while Pakistan has been reaching out recently to China, in part to show Washington it has options, he is not convinced Beijing is interested in seeing a real rupture between Islamabad and Washington.

“My sense is that, yes, over the long term, China would like to be the dominant influence in Pakistan and really expand its influence throughout the region, which would probably mean a lesser influence for the United States. But, in the short time, China has been very comfortable essentially free-riding off of whatever stability and security the United States has provided and that they do not want to change,” Markey said.

He says one reason for that is because a rupture in ties between Pakistan and the United States could trickle over into relations between Beijing and Washington, and there the two already have enough to deal with as it is.

Pakistan Partnership Raches For the Stars

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider for The National

By teaming up with China on a satellite launch, Pakistan has taken a bold step forward with its space programme. And there are mutual benefits to the arrangement, Syed Fazl-e-Haider writes. The recent launch of the advanced communication satellite Paksat-1R was not only a big stride forward for Pakistan’s 2040 space programme, but also Sino-Pakistan space collaboration.

Last week, China launched Paksat-1R with the Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west Sichuan province. The new satellite will replace Paksat-1, which will complete its useful life this year.

Critics have questioned whether Pakistan can really take the credit for the development of a satellite that was made by China, financed by China and ultimately launched by and from China. But Pakistan is now able to achieve several strategic objectives through Paksat-IR, including serving an expanding client base, which includes the military. With the launch of the satellite, the country has entered into a long-term relationship with its manufacturer towards acquiring the know-how to produce satellites in the future, with the ultimate aim of achieving self-reliance. Now it is also able to establish and maintain ground control stations for operating Paksat-1R from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s space programme owes its existence to China’s cooperation that spans from climate science, clean energy technologies, clean water technologies, cyber security and basic space, to atmospheric, Earth and marine sciences. It was China that launched the country’s first low-orbit satellite Badr-A in July 1990. In 2006, China committed to work with Pakistan to launch three earth resource satellites.

Islamabad sought more than US$200 million (Dh734.5m) financing from China for Paksat-1’s replacement. The two countries signed the procurement contract during the first state visit by Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, to Beijing in 2008.

Paksat-1, Pakistan’s first geostationary satellite, was launched in February 1996. It served TV broadcasters, telecommunications companies, data and broadband internet service providers, and government organisations.

With a lifespan of 15 years, Paksat-1R will have great economic implications for the country. The satellite will provide high-power communication and weather monitoring facilities, besides strategic defence applications. The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission will operate it from its ground control stations in Karachi and Lahore. With advance communication antennas, it will cover some regions of Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and eastern Africa. It will facilitate the introduction of new services including broadband internet, digital TV broadcasting, rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine.

Pakistan is also making efforts to get space technology from China. It plans to launch the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS) in the near future with the technical and financial assistance of China. Launching PRSS is now the first priority for Pakistan, because such a satellite can help it in cartographic studies. China has not only achieved the capability of placing its satellites in space, but is also developing rockets. It has created a powerful carrier rocket with military capabilities that can launch multiple satellites into space.

China is conquering new frontiers in space technology. Shenzhou 7, the third manned spaceflight, has established a new threshold for China. It has already planned Shenzhou 8, which will be docked with the Tiangong-1 space module that will place the first portion of China’s planned space laboratory in orbit.

China’s space technology industrial base is rapidly expanding, and its sales overseas have so far focused on its traditional allies including Pakistan. Space and rocket technology from China would help Pakistan achieve its ambitious goals of economic progress and impregnable defence. While China can transfer space technology to Pakistan, in return Pakistan could assist China in space by establishing a station on its soil to track Chinese satellites.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan, published in May 2004

China Ramps Up Pressure Over Kashmir

By Sudha Ramachandran The Asia Times

BANGALORE – A recent report in the Chinese media describing the Sino-Indian border as being 2,000 kilometers long, roughly 1,500 km shorter than that defined by India, has evoked an alarmed response among sections of the Indian strategic community.

The “missing 1,500 km” from the definition of the Sino-Indian border is seen to be a clear pointer to Beijing’s hardening position, not only on its long-standing boundary dispute with India but also on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). While India holds about 45% of J&K territory and Pakistan controls 35%, China occupies about 20% (including Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley, ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963).

A Beijing-datelined Xinhua news agency report of an official briefing by China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue on the eve of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s recent visit to India triggered the flap. “China and India share a 2,000-km-long border that has never been formally demarcated,” the report said. India describes the border as being 3,488 km.

The different positions were made even more explicit by the Global Times, an English-language newspaper published by the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. In an interview with Global Times, India’s ambassador to China, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, spoke of the “long common border of 3,488 kilometers” between the two countries. But a comment by the editors of Global Times in parentheses said: “There is no settled length of the common border. The Chinese government often refers to the border length as being ‘about 2,000 kilometers’.”

Reports in state-owned media have been describing the border as being 2,000 km for at least a year now.

The roughly 1,500 km-long shortfall in the Chinese perception is believed to refer to the Sino-Indian boundary in J&K. “China apparently no longer treats the line of nearly 1,600 km separating Jammu and Kashmir on the one hand and Xinjiang and Tibet on the other as a border with India,” strategic affairs expert C Raja Mohan wrote in the Indian Express. That is, it does not recognize Kashmir to be part of India.

Beijing is questioning India’s locus standi to discuss J&K’s border with China, observes B Raman, a retired director in India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). In essence, it is seeking to exclude discussion of the western sector of the disputed Sino-Indian boundary with India. The western sector includes the large chunk of Indian territory, Aksai Chin, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir that China occupied in 1962.

Besides, China “wants to change the format of the border talks in order to keep it confined bilaterally to the eastern and middle sectors and expand it to a trilateral issue involving India, China and Pakistan in the western sector,” Raman wrote recently.

China has become increasingly assertive in its questioning of India’s sovereignty over J&K. Since 2008, it has been issuing visas on a separate sheet of paper to residents of Jammu and Kashmir rather than stamping the visa in their passports, as is the norm with other Indian citizens. In August last year, China also denied a visa to Lieutenant General B S Jaswal – commander of the Indian army’s Northern Command, which includes Kashmir – for an official visit to China, on the grounds that he “controlled” a “disputed area”.

Besides, over the past year, Beijing has been reaching out to the Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organization of Kashmiri separatist outfits. In March 2010, for instance, Chinese Foreign Affairs director Ying Gang met with Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Geneva on the sidelines of the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Besides questioning India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, China has been endorsing Islamabad’s control over the part of Kashmir it has administered since 1947.

It was with India that the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, signed an Instrument of Accession in October 1947. However, only 45% of the territory of the former princely state is in India’s hands today, roughly 35% remaining under Pakistani administration and another 20% under Chinese control. The territory under Chinese occupation includes Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley that Pakistan gifted to China in 1963.

In the Northern Areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, China is involved in the construction of several infrastructure projects, including roads, hydroelectric power projects, dams, expressways, bridges and telecommunication facilities. During Wen’s recent visit to Pakistan, the two countries signed a US$275 million agreement for repair and expansion of the Karakoram Highway. Earlier in September, Beijing underlined its support to Islamabad’s territorial claims over parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir when it described the Northern Areas as “a northern part of Pakistan”.

The India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir predates the People’s Republic of China (PRC). India and Pakistan had already fought their first war over Kashmir when the PRC came into being. Initially, China took its cues from the Soviet Union on the issue. It described the conflict as a Western creation and maintained that the US and Britain were hoping to make Kashmir a Western base.
China took a “neutral position” in the 1950s. It opposed foreign arbitration on the Kashmir issue, which pleased India. At the same time, it did not endorse Delhi’s claims over Kashmir. Fraying Sino-Soviet relations and Moscow’s overt support to Jammu and Kashmir as “an inalienable part of the Republic of India”, as well as concerns that its backing of India would push Pakistan into a closer embrace of the US, seem to have prompted it to adopt a more “neutral position” between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.

With Sino-Indian relations deteriorating from 1959 onwards, China began tilting towards Pakistan. It signed a border agreement with Pakistan. Since this dealt with areas that constituted Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the agreement amounted to a de facto Chinese recognition of Pakistan’s control over this area. Although it subsequently denied such recognition, describing this as “provisional” and “pending settlement of the Kashmir dispute”, a joint communique issued at the end of prime minister Zhou Enlai’s visit to Pakistan in February 1964 was a strong endorsement of the Pakistani position. It urged a solution of the dispute “in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir”. India is opposed to a plebiscite in Kashmir.

By the mid/late 1970s, China began advocating a status quo on Kashmir. Support for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination was toned down. In 1976, in his speech before the UN General Assembly, Chinese foreign minister Chia Kuan-Hua omitted naming Kashmir in a list of territories where the right to self-determination had not been exercised. It is believed that China’s own troubles with separatism and improving ties with India prompted its shrinking support on self-determination.

With Sino-Indian rapprochement gathering momentum in the 1990s, China began describing Kashmir as a bilateral matter to be resolved by India and Pakistan through peaceful means. On his visit to India in 1996, president Ziang Zemin called on India and Pakistan to set aside contentious issues and build a cooperative relationship. During the brief Kargil conflict in 1999, China called on India and Pakistan to respect the Line of Control that separates Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir. These were seen as signs of Beijing taking a neutral position on Kashmir again.

China has never accepted India’s sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir, even over the part that is under its control. After all, if it did it would mean giving up the roughly 43,180 square kilometers of territory that is currently under its control. However, it had avoided provoking India on the matter publicly. This has changed in recent years, with Beijing being “deliberately provocative” on Kashmir.

India is not letting the repeated provocations go unchallenged. After all, the territorial integrity of the country is a core concern of the Indian state. A couple of months ago, in his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna did some tough talking. According to officials quoted by the Hindu, for the first time India drew a parallel between “the territorial red lines” of the two countries.

Krishna reportedly told Yang that just as India had been sensitive to its concerns over Tibet and Taiwan, Beijing too should be mindful of Indian sensitivities on Jammu and Kashmir. The message that India is sending is that if China questions India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, India will question Beijing’s sovereignty over Tibet and Taiwan.

Delhi has indicated that Krishna’s warning was to be taken seriously. The joint communique issued at the end of Wen’s visit to India made no reference to India’s commitment to a “one china policy”. This is the first time since 1988 that a summit-level joint communique has made no mention of the policy. Instead, both sides agreed to show “mutual respect and sensitivity for each other’s concerns and aspirations”.

-Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore.

China’s Growing Influence on Pakistan Worries U.S.

By Farhan Bokhari for CBS news

China’s premier Wen Jiabao concluded a high profile visit to Pakistan on Sunday, promising to lay the foundation for a “deeper” relationship to a country which is central to U.S. efforts for stabilizing Afghanistan.

Wen sought to broaden a relationship which has traditionally been driven by Beijing’s role as a key supplier of military hardware to Islamabad. Pakistan’s government officials said that during Wen’s visit, China signed business deals between the governments and private businesses of the two countries worth at least $29 billion, with a possibility of another $6 billion worth of contracts. These contracts were the largest ever signed during a visit by a foreign leader to Pakistan, underlining the growing importance of the country to China.

The Chinese premier also used a speech to a joint session of Pakistan’s upper and lower houses of parliament to commend the country for its efforts against terrorism. It was an apparent effort to negate criticism from the western world, including the U.S., which has urged Islamabad to take further steps against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“Pakistan has given great sacrifices and made great efforts in the fight against terrorism. It is a reality and the international community should respect Pakistan’s efforts,” Wen said.

While the U.S. has poured billions of dollars into Pakistan to assist in combating terrorist groups, Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders remain committed to retaining a close alliance with China. “Let’s stand together, with a new confidence, and begin a new era of progress and prosperity, by jointly confronting all challenges,” Wen said in his speech on Sunday. To the applause of Pakistan’s ruling and opposition politicians, the Chinese continued that “China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and share the sorrows and joys of each other as close brothers.”

A senior Pakistani official told CBS News that the deals signed during Wen’s visit included contracts for the development of a road and train network linking the two countries, for mineral resources, for gas and oil fields and for facilities to produce electronics.

“China is beginning to launch an important new phase to help Pakistan transform itself economically,” said the official, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to journalists. “Unlike our western friends such as the U.S., China remains a true friend of Pakistan,” he added.

Western diplomats in Islamabad who spoke to CBS News, also on condition of anonymity, said Pakistan’s relations with China remain of concern to Washington in some areas, notably China’s continued support for Pakistan’s nuclear energy program and signs that China is stepping up its supply of conventional military hardware to Pakistan.

In the past decade, the two countries have jointly developed their first fighter plane for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), known as the JF-17, or “Thunder.” The PAF plans to buy up to 250 of the JF-17s, making it the largest-ever purchase by the PAF of a single type of aircraft. On the other hand, Pakistani leaders frequently speak of the trust factor in their country’s relations with China, an oblique reference to the lack thereof in the country’s ties with the U.S.

In the 1990s, the U.S. sanctioned Pakistan on suspicions that the country was preparing to produce nuclear weapons, which reversed the two sides’ close cooperation when they confronted the occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union. While those sanctions were lifted after 9/11, which prompted a new partnership against terrorism, many Pakistanis remain skeptical of ties to the U.S. But a Pakistani foreign ministry official who spoke to CBS News said a growing economic relationship with China “will not come at the expense of our relations with the U.S. We want to establish and maintain a close partnership with the U.S. Our relations with China must never be seen as a replacement for our relations with the U.S.”

China’s Wen, India’s Singh Make Little Progress at Summit

By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Thursday in New Delhi, the main event of a three-day summit aimed at building trust and reducing long-standing irritants. But they announced no substantive breakthrough and little progress on border disputes, access to shared water resources or security issues.

Nor was there any apparent progress on India’s bid to open Chinese markets to its software, pharmaceuticals and farm products. New Delhi also remains wary of Beijing’s regional ambitions and its ties with Pakistan, India’s nuclear adversary.
The two rising Asian superpowers made some modest progress on the economic front, pledging to expand trade to $100 billion by 2015 from $60 billion at present and try to reduce the trade gap. China is India’s largest trading partner, but trade flows are heavily weighted in Beijing’s favor.

The two leaders also agreed to set up a hotline, and both sides spoke about the need for improved ties.

“I hope that my visit will help increase our cooperation in a wide range of fields and raise our friendship and cooperation to an even higher level,” Wen told reporters on leaving a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace.

“A strong partnership between India and China will contribute to long-term peace, stability, prosperity and development in Asia and the world,” Singh added.

But any move to turn the regional cooperation rhetoric into reality will quickly run into roadblocks, analysts said, given the nations’ differences over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, North Korea’s long-standing conflict with the international community and continued warfare in Afghanistan.

China appeared keen to outdo the recent visit to India by President Obama. Chinese officials brought a contingent of 400 business executives, compared with the 250 American business men and women who accompanied the U.S. leader. And they signed $16 billion worth of business deals, compared with America’s $10 billion.

Singh and Wen reportedly discussed many of their nations’ core differences, including Pakistan; divided Kashmir; and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader based in northern India and considered by Beijing to be a “splittist” enemy of a unified China. But neither side made any significant concessions.

The two nations agreed to keep working on peacefully resolving their lingering border disputes, the focus of a brief war in 1962. Talks have languished for years.

China claims much of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, whereas India wants China to back away from a slice of territory it controls in Kashmir, the disputed region largely divided between India and Pakistan.

“It will not be easy to completely resolve this question,” Wen said in a speech. “It requires patience and will take a fairly long period of time. Only with sincerity, mutual trust and perseverance can we eventually find a fair, reasonable and a mutually acceptable solution.”

In other words, said analysts: Don’t hold your breath. Add it up, they said, and this meeting — the 11th between the two leaders in five years — accomplished relatively little.

“Issues that fuel mutual mistrust, such as Kashmir for the Indians and Tibet for the Chinese, were addressed, but not substantially,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. “The boundary dispute has not been resolved. There’s no road map.”

 

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