September 17, 2019

China’s Silent Land Reform: 1958-1962

China’s Silent Land Reform: 1958-1962

Speaker: Wuna Reilly
Venue: Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU
Date: Thursday, 19 September - 16:00 to 17:30
Contactciw@anu.edu.au

In this seminar I examine the heated debates within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership between 1958 and 1962 over the issue of collective land. In their efforts to establish and sustain a planned economy across rural China, CCP leaders struggled to decide who should be allocated what land, and how much agricultural output they should be expected to provide to the state—their production quota. Drawing upon diverse primary sources, including CCP leaders’ reports and letters, policy documents, production team accounting data, and farmers’ diaries, I first describe the policies and processes that shaped the implementation of a planned economy across rural China in the 1950s, highlighting the difficulties facing any effort to implement a planned economy regarding land allocation. I then focus on the debates among CCP leaders from 1958 to 1962 over land allocation, management authority, and production quotas. The final part identifies how the resolution of this debate in 1962 helped sustain the planned economy structure across rural China while laying the foundation for China’s present-day collective owned land regime (COLR). I argue that while China’s divergence from the Soviet-style rural economy is often associated with the reforms of the late 1970s, my research instead highlights the significance of the 1962 reforms for China’s current system.

About the speaker
Originally from China, Wuna Reilly studied and worked in the United States for several years before returning to China to re-establish the China office of the American Friends Service Committee. She worked for AFSC, based in Dalian, from 2001 until 2010, where she was responsible for a wide range of development and international exchange programs, primarily engaging with North Korea. She then completed a MSc in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics (LSE) before starting her doctoral studies at the University of Sydney. Having received her doctoral degree in December 2018, she has been invited to serve as a Visiting Scholar at Peking University. Her primary research explores the origins, operations, and implications of China’s collective owned land regime (COLR).

Before the seminar
All attendees are invited to join us in the CIW Tea House from 3.30pm for an informal discussion with the guest speaker before the seminar.
 
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University’s College of Asia & the Pacific.

September 16, 2019

Beating the odds: A Pakistani scientist's journey from Buleda to Cambridge

Beating the odds: A Pakistani scientist's journey from Buleda to Cambridge

Dr Yarjan Abdul Samad is pushing the boundaries of space science and wishes to see Pakistan's own mission launched.

Saadeqa KhanUpdated about 6 hours ago

It has been a few days since the news about India's spacecraft losing contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began doing the rounds. While Isro has managed to locate the spacecraft, it hasn't been able to establish contact again. Will India accomplish this mission? It might. But what is the status of our own forays into this area and can Pakistan make its first manned space mission a reality?

Dr Yarjan Abdul Samad thinks so.

Following a series of talks he held in Quetta recently, I had the chance to interact with Dr Samad, who holds the distinction of being the first Pakistani space scientist to be working at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Samad hails from Buleda, a small town in Balochistan's Kech region, but was able to rise above all difficulties, forging for himself an offbeat career as a satellite and space scientist at Cambridge.

Dr Samad received his early education at an Urdu medium school in Karachi's Lyari area. Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to graduate from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) — arguably one of the best engineering institutes in the country — with two gold medals under his belt. The university nominated him in 2009 for the Pakistan Engineering Council Best Graduate Engineer of the Year award.

After pursuing a PhD programme, Dr Samad started working at Cambridge as a postdoctoral research associate. Later on, he was hired by the university as a senior research scientist and teaching fellow.

In 2016, he joined the Cambridge Graphene Centre as a research associate and since then his work has been focused on space-based technologies.

His career came into spotlight when the European Space Agency (ESA) hired him to work on a solution for a problem they were having with their spacecrafts. His team was the first to perform an experiment with graphene (a form of carbon) under zero gravity conditions.

Here, I provide some excerpts from my conversations with Dr Samad.

Hailing from a small village in Balochistan, you made your way out to one of the best universities of the world, the University of Cambridge. What can you tell us about your struggles in getting there?

I spent my childhood in Buleda, a town near Turbat. The only school we had access to was a public school, which in those days — the late 80s and early 90s — was a taat school (small makeshift school in which students used to sit on gunny bags called taat). We used to write on a loh (wooden board) with a homemade qalam (bamboo pen). All our studies were in Urdu but, ironically, we weren’t able to speak the language.

Dr Samad with colleagues at the European Space Agency (ESA). — Photo courtesy: ESA

My father used to work on his agricultural lands. He started doing some agricultural work at Hub in Balochistan, on the outskirts of Karachi. As a result, we moved to Karachi's Lyari neighbourhood and I started going to a small Urdu medium school there, named Al-Karim.

I was in the 6th grade when I started thinking that learning English was inevitable if one had to progress. Consequently, I, along with my father, visited a reputed school in Clifton, Karachi, for admission. Due to my disadvantaged educational background and inability to speak in English, the principal told me, “These studies aren’t for you. You’ve got to work in the fields.”

We made several failed attempts to secure admission in so-called esteemed schools. Eventually, I got admission at the newly built White Rose Grammar School in Lyari and was in their first batch of students. This school was also as small as Al-Karim but the medium of instruction was English.

When I reached 9th grade, I found out that every student in Lyari was making use of the widely available 'help' in board examinations as a way to clear the exams. I shared the scenario with my father and his words stayed with me forever: “You cannot copy someone else’s dreams."

Seeing everyone using the 'help', it was a tough decision for me at the time but I made a rule for myself: Jo karna hai khud karna hai (Whatever I will do, I will do on my own).

I scored fairly well and secured admission at Karachi's DJ Science College, one of the best public colleges in Karachi, where some of my teachers, especially Shehzad Muslim Khan and Kamil Sher, inspired me to pursue engineering.

I graduated in 2009 from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI), arguably one of Pakistan's leading engineering institutes, with two gold medals. The university also nominated me for the Pakistan Engineering Council Best Graduate Engineer of the Year 2009 award.

My teacher, mentor, and coach at GIKI, Prof Fazal A. Khalid, was an eminent name in nanotechnology research. He helped and mentored me for a career in research. After graduation, I worked at Engro for about a year while preparing for the next step in my academic journey.

Later on, I pursued a PhD from Khalifa University, UAE, in collaboration with MIT and University of Tokyo which I completed in 2016. That same year I started working at the University of Cambridge as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and was later hired as a Senior Research Scientist and Teaching Fellow.

How did you start thinking of this unconventional career in satellites and space devices?

It was never planned. I got a degree in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from GIKI and went on to pursue a Masters and a PhD on developing materials and devices for energy and environmental applications. It wasn’t until 2016 when I joined the Cambridge Graphene Centre as a research associate after my PhD that I started working on space-based technologies.

Dr Samad experimenting under zero gravity conditions. — Photo courtesy: ESA

The University of Cambridge collaborates with several agencies and companies for research work. The ESA and some other space organisations and research centres approached Cambridge Graphene Centre to provide a solution to a problem they were having with their spacecrafts. I proposed a solution and was, therefore, roped in for the project.

I have since been working on such projects with many partners across Europe. Our team was the first to test a material called graphene in zero gravity. We have performed experiments in several zero gravity flights arranged for us by the ESA and have also launched a sounding rocket that went as far high as approximately 150,000km above the earth.

Some other spacecrafts such as Space RIDER (Space Reusable Integrated Demonstrator for Europe Return) will also be used in the future and we plan on taking some of our experiments to the International Space Station (ISS).

I was recently promoted to a senior scientist position by the university to work on these projects.

You have the privilege to work at the Cambridge Graphene Centre which runs in collaboration with the ESA and other research institutions. What is it like to work there?

The University of Cambridge carries a legacy of excellence in research and so does the Cambridge Graphene Centre for the kind of work I am doing. The environment, with all sorts of research facilities as well as great colleagues and seasoned scientists, is favourable for high-quality research.

One is challenged daily to think out of the box and develop interdisciplinary skills to tackle today’s scientific challenges. Partnerships with industry, government organisations and other academic institutions also enrich the experience and prepare researchers to solve real and interdisciplinary scientific problems.

What are some of the expectations from you coming in as the first Pakistani space scientist at Cambridge University? What do you think the next big thing should be for the Space and Upper and Upper Atmosphere Research Com­mission (Suparco) to promote space sciences in Pakistan?

There is a lot of things that I feel responsible for delivering on, and that's a driving force and a source of motivation. It reminds me that I need to work hard to better myself as a scientist who is able to face the fiercest of challenges.

In my opinion, the first thing that Suparco needs to do is engage with local institutions in research projects, which are of strategic importance to the country. There are a lot of beautiful minds out there in our academic institutions that need to be tapped into for important projects rather than engaging them in a useless race of writing low quality and impractical scientific papers.

I am in talks with a few organisations here to develop a micro satellite in partnership with an academic institution in Pakistan. This will be announced in due course. Projects like this need to be a routine and Suparco will have to take such initiatives.

Behind every space mission, there is a huge team of engineers, scientists, and researchers to make the discovery happen. Can we do it here in Pakistan with our fewer resources? Make our first manned space mission a reality?

There are challenges, of course, when it comes to resources as well as the right leadership. However, there is no doubt in my mind that a manned vehicle can be launched whenever Pakistan determines to do so.

Launching man into outer space is not a new thing. To make such missions fruitful, for the country and for our economy, we need to utilise them for research that has never been done elsewhere.

What do you think about the importance of STEM education for Pakistani youngsters?

During my visit to different universities, I was most impressed by the passion of students to learn and grow. Students from Balochistan, especially, demonstrate a great thirst for knowledge. This presents a great opportunity for the country to step up and further develop such talent for a better and brighter future. In this era of knowledge-based economies, the most precious resources are such intrigued and enthusiastic minds.

What led you to develop an interest in the field of space sciences?

Dr Samad with renowned ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy. — Photo courtesy: ESA

Scientific problems that are interdisciplinary and are challenging for the scientific community around the globe intrigue me. As a researcher working on the development of materials and devices, I developed an interest to look into making materials and devices for space applications.

The project that we got at the University of Cambridge, in which ESA and many other EU organisations were involved, manifested itself to be the platform where I could put my knowledge and skills to use in the field of space technology. I then started working proactively on other such projects.

What challenges did you face in building devices specifically for use in space-bound satellites?

The space environment is still not fully understood. When it comes to making devices for space, one needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the space environment and its effects on spacecraft, on devices inside them, and on human life.

The biggest challenge for us is that we design materials and devices on Earth and then test them in zero gravity. Therefore, sometimes we meet surprises and challenges that we need to tackle there and then within a short period.

Tell us about the future of space devices that can run without consuming energy and electricity.

Although the space environment poses a plethora of challenges, there are several unending resources in space that can be harnessed to make things function out there. For example, the space environment is an infinite heat sink, which enables us to design devices that do not need any electricity to function.

In the future, we believe that we can develop devices that not only run without electricity but will also use the abundantly available radiation and the infinite heat sink to generate energy as well.

What space destinations are you still most excited about? What is the future of space travel with more sophisticated technologies like nanotechnology coming into the mainstream?

The destinations favoured by me are not devoted to space and space missions alone. In fact, I aspire to work with many persistent scientific challenges close to my areas of expertise and interests — space is but one of them.

Nano and quantum technologies augmented with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are going to be indispensable parts of all future technologies including space-based technologies.

I foresee the launch of micro and nano robots performing several tasks, in outer space and on other planets, such as investigating the environment, exploiting resources there to produce water and oxygen, and growing plants. All of this is pertinent before human beings can consider habitation there.

What is next for you? Would you like to coordinate with Suparco?

I would love to coordinate and collaborate with Suparco and contribute to their efforts as much as I can. I have kept my connection with several academic institutions in Pakistan and have been quietly playing my part in constructive activities. I am also trying to get a micro satellite project completed by students in Pakistan, which we hope can be launched into space on their behalf.

Saadeqa Khan i



https://www.dawn.com/news/1504612

September 15, 2019

The Khazars: Judaism, Trade, and Strategic Vision on the Eurasian Steppes

By Emil AvdalianiSeptember 15, 2019

Khazar fortress at Sarkel (Belaya Vyezha, Russia). Aerial photo from excavations conducted by M. I. Artamanov in the 1930s. Public domain photo via Wikipedia

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,288, September 15, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Harnessing the Eurasian lands has always been difficult. The Khazars, an obscure people from the steppes that converted to Judaism many centuries ago, stand out as an exceptional example of how geography, economy, and religion can be used to advance geopolitical interests.

Halford Mackinder, father of geopolitics, who laid out the concept of a heartland encompassing central and northern Eurasia, maintained that Russia was the first power ever to manage to harness the power of geography and economy in northern Eurasia. The Khazars, an obscure people that existed well before the modern Russian state, might beg to differ.

The Khazars were neighbors to two world powers: Byzantium and the Islamic caliphate. At the time of the united and relatively strong Islamic empire (the seventh to the tenth centuries) that dominated the vast territory from Spain to Central Asia, the Khazars, a nomadic people from the Eurasian steppes in the North Caucasus and the territory north of the Caspian Sea, created a large, powerful state.

Reports from Islamic historians and geographers, as well as archaeological evidence, suggest that along with nomadism, agriculture was widespread among the Khazars and they were able to produce goods. These details suggest a rather inconspicuous people on a par with other nomadic peoples of the past.

However, a closer look at the Khazars (whose language and ethnic origin remain obscure) suggests that they were quite a bit more interesting as geopolitical actors. Their understanding of geographic space and their ability to harness the power of their lands allowed them to stay relevant for centuries. Furthermore, their religious policy – they chose Judaism as their state religion – was remarkable, as they lived in close vicinity to an Islamic world that was condescending toward other religions.

But let us start with their geographical knowledge and their drive to use geography for the advancement of state interests. The Khazars built their state at the crossroads of two strategically important trade routes. One ran from the Baltic Sea in northern Eurasia to the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea, and the Near East. The other ran from Central Asia (Khwarazm) to modern-day Ukraine and the territories of western Russia.

The Khazars thus placed themselves at a major transit point. Traders, both Muslim and Jewish, from the Near East, Central Asia, and lands that are now Russia and Ukraine visited Khazaria and its capital, Itil, on the river Volga.

It is astounding how well the Khazars understood and used geography to attain their economic and political goals. They managed to control the major rivers of the region: the Volga, the Don, and various estuaries running toward them. They built fortresses and collected taxes at the rivers’ major entrances and exits.

Moreover, the Khazars were in contact with the Baltic Sea and even with eastern and western Europe. Ninth-century geographer Ibn-Khordadbeh recorded that Jewish traders from Andalusia (Spain) visited Khazar lands. Trade was so active that millions of coins have been found in lands north of the Black and Caspian Seas.

The Khazars’ geopolitical thinking was also visible in their desire to control strategic passes and cities such as, for example, Daruband, between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, at the point where the pass narrows to only three kilometers.

These strategic moves by the Khazars led them to clash with the Islamic empire, which also aspired to control key crossings, roads, and transcontinental trade routes.

In the west, around the Black Sea, the Khazars found themselves facing the Byzantines, who also aspired to control trade and strategic fortresses around that sea. However, because the Muslims had been largely victorious against the Byzantines, the latter decided to ally with the Khazars, using the logic that a Byzantine-Khazar alliance would be too much for the Muslims from a strategic point of view.

The Islamic empire likely concurred with this assessment, which probably explains why it established a sudden peace with the Khazars in 750, when the Abbasids came to power and moved the imperial capital from Damascus to Baghdad.

The Byzantines and the Muslims were thus locked in a battle for a strategic alliance with the Khazars. Both sides made economic and religious tools in their attempts to sway the Khazars.

Remarkably, the Khazars responded to the dual courtship of the Christian and Islamic empires by making the strategic decision to adopt neither of their religions but convert to Judaism instead. This decision suggests that the Khazars’ strategic thinking extended well beyond geography and trade.

Muslim travelers to Khazaria, as well as Muslim historians and geographers, made note of the cleverness of this choice of state religion. The Judaist state was very tolerant of foreigners as well as of local and world religions. The Khazars’ judicial system consisted of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and pagan “judges” who tried cases concerning major disagreements.

The Khazars’ understanding of geopolitics was manifested in their drive to dominate river, military, and land trade corridors and correlate geography with the economy. They achieved significant geopolitical power by establishing wise strategic alliances to counter Byzantine and Islamic military, economic, and religious influences.

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Emil Avdaliani teaches history and international relations at Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University. He has worked for various international consulting companies and currently publishes articles on military and political developments across the former Soviet space.

September 13, 2019

Time for Pakistan to resolve its identity crisis


View: Time for Pakistan to resolve its identity crisis

To stop further erosion of the much derided `two-nation’ theory, Pakistan has adopted a two-pronged policy. They projected themselves to be part of the Arab Middle East rather than the geographical entity rooted in the Indian sub-continent.

By ET CONTRIBUTORS | Sep 13, 2019, 12.19 PM IST

AP

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a rally at the Prime Minister office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.

By Prasad Nallapati

Why is Pakistan so agitated with Narendra Modi government’s constitutional changes withdrawing `temporary’ special status of the Jammu and Kashmir state? The unbridled aggression and incoherent threats against India by Prime Minister Imran Khan,Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and terrorist groups controlled by them crossed all limits of civic decency.

Their desperate calls seeking support of the Muslim ummah and other international community had few takers. Saudi Arabia and the OIC remained muted. The UAE declared that the J&K issue was an internal matter of India while the Bahraini king conferred on Modi its highest civilian award, King Hamad Order of the Renaissance, further accentuating Pakistan’s helplessness. Turkey and Iran restrained themselves beyond issuing proforma statements.

Islamabad was shocked and clueless why it was so isolated on such an important issue.

The roots of Pakistan’s frustration lie in its unresolved identity crisis. Muslim `nobles’ of undivided British India saw the emerging Hindu-dominated independent country as a threat to their status and power. They hence invented a `two-nation’ theory suggesting that Hindus and Muslims constitute separate nations and cannot live together. To further buttress their argument, they sought to flag their “superior” race by projecting their Persian-lineage and being inheritors of the legendary Mughal empire.

While they succeeded in forcing the British to carve a Pakistan out of India as a home for sub-continental Muslims, they failed to convince majority of their co-religionists the viability of such a concept. Pastuns and Baluchis resisted joining Pakistan despite led by Muslim leaders. Large number of Muslims in India opted to remain in the country while the eastern part of Pakistan soon got separated to form a new country, Bangladesh.

The remaining Western part has itself been shaky with Baluchis, Sindhis, Mohajirs and tribals detesting control by Punjabi-dominated establishment. Islam has not proven to be an effective adhesive to keep diverse communities together. The only thing keeping them together is fear and hatred of India, perpetrated by the Army establishment, which further projected itself to be the only force in the country that can stop and defeat the designs of the enemy.

To stop further erosion of the much derided `two-nation’ theory, Pakistan has adopted a two-pronged policy. They projected themselves to be part of the Arab Middle East rather than the geographical entity rooted in the Indian sub-continent. At the same time, Pakistani establishment sought to be an unsolicited “protector” of Indian Muslims. They created and co-opted Islamist radical groups, in line with Saudi ideology, to further their agenda.

In an essay in the News, `Our search for a forgotten identity’, columnist Kamila Hyat wrote, “There has even been doubt as to where we are located on the globe. Notably under the late Gen. Zia-ul-Haq an attempt was made to transport ourselves from South Asia to the Middle East.” Pakistan’s national anthem is itself mainly in Persian, with a few words borrowed from Arabic, the languages that are hardly understood in the country.

The US too seems to have acknowledged the yearnings of its cold war ally that it included Pakistan in the Area of Responsibility of its Central Command, along with Middle Eastern nations. There was no other plausible reason to explain its inclusion when the Command was formed in 1983. India and its other neighbours remained under the area covered by the US Pacific Command, which is now known as Indo-Pacific Command.

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Pakistan might have received liberal financial doles and vocal support in its disputes with India for its attachment with the Middle East, but the Gulf Sheikhdoms saw it more as a source of entertainment and cheap military force to safeguard Royal establishments. Islamabad had also opened itself to receive Wahabi ideology which looked at Pakistani Islamic practices with disdain. The result of the transformation is there all to see.

As its Middle East oasis remained elusive, Pakistan too had little success in its attempts to be the voice of Indian Muslims. Muslims in India have by and large rejected Pakistan’s unsolicited offers of support. In response to a speech by former Pakistani President Musharraf in New Delhi in March 2009, Indian Muslim leaders have categorically told him that they can take care of themselves and he should worry about his own country where more Muslims are killed than in any other country.

Despite lack of traction with Indian Muslim community, Pakistani establishment sought to sell to its own people a `macho’ image of its superior military that could easily subjugate Hindu `baniya’ (low level traders). Their educational textbooks from Nursery class onwards teach that Hindu is an enemy to be killed. History texts claim that they had won all the wars against India inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.

In an Op-ed in the Daily Times, Ali K Chishti, a Pakistani political analyst, gave a detailed description of institutional radicalization of public schools. One textbook reads, “The Hindus who had always been opportunists” (Social Studies, Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, page 141). Still another reads, “The Hindus had always been an enemy of Islam.” (Urdu, Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, page 108).

He further wrote, “In fact, schools like those run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (new name for terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba), which received Punjab government’s funding of Rs 30 million, systematically replaced the mainstream curriculum. Now Allah instead of anar (pomegranate) is used to teach the sound of the Urdu alphabet letter alif; bandooq (gun) instead of bakri (goat) for bey and jihad instead of jahaz (ship) for jeem.”

“The educational materials in Urdu are based upon hatred, confusion, propaganda and exclusiveness,” according to another Pakistani columnist Zubair Torwali, who writes in The News. “Urdu is not very different from Hindi. It is a form of Hindi and is still known as Hindi abroad. To distort this linguistic balance more words from Arabic were introduced into Urdu to make it appear different from Hindi, the language of the “core enemy” of Pakistan.” Urdu has been used for indoctrination since the birth of Pakistan, and particularly since the Zia regime.

“The popular myth is that Ziaul Haq sowed the seeds of radicalization but, in reality, institutionalized radicalization of Pakistanis started in the late 1950s when the Iqbalian concepts of `mard-e-momin’ and `shaheen’ were promoted (by the then military regime led by Gen. Ayub Khan), much like the Nazis originally promoted the concept of the superman of Nietzsche,” wrote Chishti.

The Pakistani establishment has thus created a narrative that Kashmir is their `jugular vein’ and they will wrest it from India even with force, if necessary. They launched Jehad with an array of different terrorist groups to create serious disturbances for an ultimate action to separate Kashmir from India.

With their Kashmir narrative collapsing in front of their eyes, the hard-built macho image of the Pak military establishment is under question mark. If India is able to better integrate the Jammu and Kashmir region into the country along with its economic development, there will be serious consequences for Pak military establishment and the lies that it has perpetrated all through these years.

Gen. Qamar Bajwa’s intemperate outbursts can thus be explained. The army might try to do everything to create disturbances through use of terrorist groups or even launch a limited war in the hope of world powers rushing in to bring calm and force India to address the Kashmir issue according to UN resolutions.

It is perhaps time that Pakistanis re-assess their policies and realize that their experiments to identify itself with the Middle East, institutionalize radicalization and terrorize Kashmir have in fact brought them to this stage where they found all friends disappearing. Pakistan has become much weaker politically, economically or militarily compared to the time the country was born.

Modi’s Kashmir jolt can in fact be converted into an opportunity for better relations and economic development to all people of the sub-continent. It is wise to reverse policies that did not work and extend hand for a new relationship. It should not be taken as a defeat to do a course correction. The policies that benefit people are appreciated, not derided.

The whole world is changing. The US has changed. The Gulf countries have changed. They started realizing that radical Islam is hurting their countries and need to look for alternate models of development that bring strength and welfare to their countries and people. This must have been the message that Foreign Ministers of the Saudi Arabia and UAE jointly carried to Islamabad recently on the instructions of their leadership.

Pakistan deserves to be at peace with itself and with its sub-continental brotherly nations. A new relationship between India and Pakistan can lead to soft borders between countries of the region that would even end Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of everyone. Such a united sub-continent can be a model and leader for global development.

Prasad Nallapati is President of the Hyderabad-based think tank, Centre for Asia-Africa Policy Research, and former Additional Secretary to the Govt of India





https://m.economictimes.com/news/defence/time-for-pakistan-to-resolve-its-identity-crisis/articleshow/71108327.cms

September 12, 2019

Merkel in China: Navigating tricky waters

Continuing protests in Hongkong, the escalating US-China trade dispute, a slowing economy in Germany: Angela Merkel’s twelfth official visit to China took place in turbulent times. But among German business there was much praise, afterwards, for her skillful navigation of tricky waters. Merkel’s actions in China, on the other hand, are likely to have disappointed Germany’s partners in Europe.

While the German Chancellor publicly criticized Hong Kong and called for openness and reform in China, at the fringes of the trip eleven lucrative economic deals were made. With the focus being on German trade interests, Merkel was as usual accompanied by a high-ranking business delegation. The Allianz Group agreed a strategic cooperation with the Bank of China in the area of finance and insurance, and Siemens signed a letter of intent with the state-owned energy group SPIC. Airbus signed an agreement with the aerospace conglomerate AVIC for the production of the A320 in Tianjin.

In a paper that received wide attention early this year, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) had for the first time expressed an unusual level of criticism, naming China a "systemic competitor". This had raised expectations that German business would, in future, address issues like the lack of market access or the controversial Chinese Cyber Security Act more directly. Although the focus of this trip was on cooperation, criticisms were nevertheless raised, according to informed sources. The existing tensions are still present, including those due to differences in values.

Merkel once again was faced with the difficult job of bridging the gap between economic interests and values. The Chancellor was silent on the situation in Xinjiang, where one million people are being held in labor camps, but both behind closed doors and publicly at a press conference with Prime Minister Li Keqiang she urged that the "rights and freedoms" granted to Hong Kong be respected and that a solution be found through dialogue. Li's reaction in front of journalists was brief and made clear the pressure that Beijing is under due to the ongoing protests: China supported the Hong Kong government’s efforts to "end the violence and chaos in accordance with the law, to return to order", he said. 

Merkel's strategy met with a positive response from senior business representatives. “If German jobs depend on how we deal with controversial issues, then we should not add to the general outrage, but evaluate the issues from every angle in a considered way," said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in an interview. "That will enable us to take clear positions in our dealings with each other, while respecting cultural differences.”

European interests were evidently not at the forefront of the trip. The Chancellor again urged China and the EU to conclude an investment agreement in the near future but, according to reports, plans to allow French representatives or representatives of other EU states to travel with the German delegation were rejected. 

The EU has been trying for some time to reach a common China policy. In March, French President Emmanuel Macron made a significant gesture by inviting the then EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Merkel to a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping. Merkel’s focus, on the other hand, was clearly on German business interests during her trip, even though Airbus, a Franco-German company, was travelling with her. Berlin's "back to business" attitude was interpreted by its neighbor as a threat to European cohesion in dealing with China. 

MERICS analysis:

"It is difficult for Germany to say no to China" - analysis by MERICS fellow Noah Barkin

"A journey in tense times" - podcast in German with MERICS Deputy Director Mikko Huotari



https://www.merics.org/en/newsletter/china-update-132019

Jack Ma: China’s most successful entrepreneur retires to pursue first love

Source: METRICS

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chair the Chinese retail and tech giant Alibaba Group, stepped down from his position as company chair on September 10, the day he turned 55. Ma founded Alibaba together with 18 co-founders in 1999. Since then it has become the largest e-commerce company in the world by the total of goods sold across all its platforms, with over 66,000 full-time employees, over 750 million monthly active users, and a market value of around 420 billion USD.

Ma is credited with building the innovative culture at Alibaba that has helped the company stay ahead of the game. His charismatic leadership and often irreverent humor have been in a sharp contrast to the usual stereotype of a Chinese business executive. He has even starred in his own kung fu short film.

He is also considered to have been skillful in his dealings with China’s ruling Communist Party, partnering with the government and meeting President Xi in person. He revealed in 2018 that he is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, but summed up his relationship with government in these terms: “Love them, don’t marry them.”

Last month he shared a platform with US billionaire Elon Musk at the World AI Conference in Shanghai. Ma’s optimistic view on AI was in stark contrast to Musk’s. He said we had nothing to fear about AI and predicted it would help create new kinds of jobs which require less of our time, leaving us to focus on creative tasks. Alibaba is one of the world’s biggest investors in AI technology.

Ma has personally amassed a fortune worth over 41 billion USD and become one of the richest men in the world. He now plans to focus his efforts on his first love: education. Following in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a fellow tech billionaire whom he greatly admires, he will now concentrate on philanthropy. His charitable organization, the Jack Ma Foundation, which he founded in 2014, supports a range of educational projects. He has in the past spoken of the need to keep learning and in an interview with Bloomberg TV even said: “I think some day, and soon, I’ll go back to teaching. This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba.”

EVENT: Geopolitics of Himalayan Region: Cultural, Political and Strategic Dimensions

🌹🇮🇳 *Social Cause* 🇮🇳🌹
(Regd. Society No.614/2003)

You and your friends are cordially invited to a Seminar on 🙏🙏

Geopolitics of Himalayan Region: Cultural, Political and Strategic Dimensions

https://www.facebook.com/events/958180074521637/

Principal Speaker:
Prof. Alok Bansal
Director, India Foundation;
Secretary General, Asian Eurasian Human Rights Forum (AEHRF);
Executive Director, South Asian Institute for Strategic Affairs (SAISA), New Delhi

Guests of Honour:
Lt. Gen. Hari Prasad
Former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C),
Northern Command, Indian Army

Prof. C.V. Raghavulu
Former Vice-Chancellor, Acharya Nagarjuna University

Smt. R. Bhramara Sree
Head, Dept. of Political Science, St. Ann’s College for Women

Date & Time:
*14th September, 2019 (Saturday)*
*at 11.00 a.m.*
Please Join Us for Tea at 10.30 a.m.

*Venue:*
Conference Hall,
*Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI),*
Bella Vista, Raj Bhavan Road, Hyderabad 500082
040 6653 3000
https://maps.app.goo.gl/ANd7T7N4MLfGkFqc6

🙏🙏*All are welcome.*🙏🙏

Dr. B. Dinesh Kumar
Vice-President, Social Cause

Programme Convener:
Dr. T. Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy (Mob: 8328227366)
Co-conveners:
P. Sadanand (Mob: 9246104164)
D. Shivananda Reddy (Mob: 7893707770)
🙏🌹🙏🌹🙏🌹🙏🌹🙏

September 08, 2019

Chinese trawlers in southern Indian Ocean worry India


Dinakar Peri

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 09, 2019 00:00 IST

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 09, 2019 10:28 IST

The huge increase in numbers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast has raised concerns

There has been a huge increase in Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast which has raised concerns in the government and the security establishment, according to official sources. This was discussed in the recent coastal security meetings involving Director-General (DG), Shipping, the Navy and other stakeholders.

“In the last four years, on an average at least 500 Chinese trawlers were present in the region and around 32,250 incidents per year were recorded,” a senior defence source said. The trawlers were, however, not in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but beyond, the source added. This includes trawlers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Breaking this up further, there were 1,100 occurrences near Somalia and 1,500 occurrences near the Coast of Oman. Occurrences are recordings of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) aboard trawlers and ships recorded when they are activated. So a trawler can be recorded multiple times based on its AIS signature. Chinese trawlers have institutional backing and have processing facilities with them which are sold in the vicinity, the source added on the modalities of the operation.

While India has good inland fishing, the ocean fishing capacity is way below capacity. There have been recommendations for the need to boost domestic deep-sea fishing. “Our deep-sea fishing is in bits and pieces. We need to boost that,” the source said.

The maritime movements in the region are tracked at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, which is the single-point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains and other inputs along the coastline. The AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite based receivers.

To address this, the National Maritime Domain Awareness initiative aims to integrate fishing, ports, customs so that the database is available to everyone. Currently, the States have their databases. As part of this evolving mechanism, the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security is scheduled to meet this week to discuss the implementation.

There has been a national effort to install AIS systems on ships under 20m for which a pilot study has been carried out. AIS works through satellite and the ISRO has already delivered 1000 transponders for trails in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.



https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chinese-trawlers-in-southern-indian-ocean-worry-india/article29368989.ece

September 07, 2019

The Bridge: Articles from the Journal

 The Bridge...

Technology, Military Genius, and the Improbable Victory

By Joanne C. Lo on Sep 07, 2019 12:01 am
The true revolution of technology-enabled warfare will only happen through empowering the tactical edge to lead technical development throughout the entire country. The revolution that will allow the United States to unequivocally regain technological dominance on the world stage cannot happen with timid, localized, politically correct actions that only generate a few talking points. It can only happen with bold, sweeping actions that put the nation’s warfighters  at center stage.
Read in browser »

Don’t Say No One Warned You: #Reviewing China’s Vision of Victory

By T.S. Allen on Sep 04, 2019 12:01 am
In contrast to commentators who focus on China’s relative rise, Ward emphasizes that the U.S. must focus on sustaining and expanding American power. The key question, in his mind, is how much power will be ceded to China in the future.
Read in browser »

The Positive Impact of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence

By Steven Maguire on Sep 03, 2019 12:01 am
The Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups have multiple strategic objectives from reassuring countries on NATO’s eastern flank, demonstrating alliance resolve, and providing a hard measure of deterrence.
Read in browser »

Penetrate Uncertainty: Descriptive Planning in a Complex Tactical Environment

By Patrick C. Mulloy on Sep 02, 2019 12:01 am
The U.S. Army’s Military Decision Making Process provides a step-by-step model for decision-making and order production. However, it provides insufficient direction for how to adapt when confronted with complexity. Commanders and staffs often scramble to re-plan when faced with adversity, consuming the entire organization in an attempt to get back on the plan or develop a new one.
Read in browser »

September 06, 2019

Afghanistan: Ahmad Massoud seizes father’s torch

AFGHANISTANAHMAD MASSOUD

SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

Asia Times

Eighteen years after the assassination of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, his only son is hoping to continue the mission against the insurgents by jumping into Afghanistan’s chaotic political fray. Photo by Wakil Kohsar AFP

Son of famed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud steps into political arena as US says it is on the verge of an accord with the Taliban

ByALISON TAHMIZIAN MEUSE, BEIRUT

In the heart of Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, before thousands of devotees of his late father, Ahmad Massoud on Thursday put himself forward as the figure capable of unifying the Afghan people and challenging an ascendent Taliban. 

“At this moment, [the Taliban] are intoxicated. They think they are victorious,” Massoud, 30, told Asia Times ahead of the gathering. 

“Someone needs to detox them to bring them to reality that it is no longer their way, and will never be their way.”

The Taliban, who routed Ahmad Shah Massoud’s government forces in Kabul in 1996, before getting routed themselves in the aftermath of 9/11, appear to be scenting their moment once again.

The US this week said it was on the “threshold” of reaching an accord with the Taliban after nearly two decades of war, even as the extremist group stepped up deadly attacks across the country. 

The deal is expected to see the US launch a staged withdrawal of its nearly 15,000 troops in the country. In return, the Taliban should pledge to prevent Al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a base for future attacks against America.

With the Afghan government sidelined from talks and the Taliban poised for a US pullout, Massoud’s entrance into the political arena communicates that “someone” to detox the Taliban could be him. 

Loyalists of the late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud gather to pledge allegiance to his son, Ahmad Massoud, in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan on September 5. Photo courtesy of Ali Nazary.

Asked to lead

Massoud was 12 years old when his father was assassinated on September 9, 2001, by two Tunisians believed to be acting on the orders of Ossama bin Laden.

At the time, his father’s United Islamic Front for Salvation of Afghanistan (the Northern Alliance), a coalition of armed factions opposed to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, was cornered in the northeast of the country.

Even at that young age, Massoud says he was conscious of the faith people had in his father.

He said: “I remember in the valley of Panjshir even when we were surrounded by Taliban and they were just 100 kilometers away, people were very calm. They would say, ‘Thank God commander Massoud is here and he’s alive.’

“They had tremendous trust in him.” 

That trust, he laments, is missing in Afghanistan today.

An upcoming presidential election scheduled for September 28 is in doubt amid threats from the Taliban and a possible pullout from the leading opponent. Previous elections have been marred by reports of vote-rigging and other irregularities, in addition to the security threats faced by voters.

In contrast, the late Ahmad Shah Massoud has attained a cult-like status, his omnipresent image associated with integrity and patriotism.

In this photo taken on May 4, a bodybuilder wears a T-shirt with a portrait of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the late military and political Afghan leader also known as the “Lion of Panjshir,” at a gym in Kabul. Photo: Wakil Kohsar / AFP

It is that national affection for the “Lion of Panjshir,” as he was known, which supporters believe could help his son gain traction in a divided political landscape.

The ultimate sacrifice of his father, Massoud told Asia Times, had a significant impact on his decision to assume the risks of a political gambit. 

“I saw his shattered body after the attack, and I always remember he accepted that death – that way of going from this world – because of the values and beliefs he had. And I share those beliefs,” he told Asia Times.

‘He is prepared’

Asked who his allies are, the young Massoud declines to specify names but says he was approached by a cross-section of influential figures.

“They are very big figures from different ethnicities who have the same mentality and believe that Afghanistan is in a very serious and delicate situation – one that requires a new generation and group of people to heal old wounds,” he said.

Abdullah Anas, a veteran of the Afghan jihad who served for years under the nationalist commander, says the young Massoud faces risks, but also goodwill because of his legacy. 

“Publicly no one can be against him. It’s a political liability to say I’m not with him, because that means you’re not okay with his father,” Anas told Asia Times.

“But the real support, real backing … this will be witnessed in the future.”

While Massoud may seem young, Abdullah points out he is much older than his father was when he began his struggle against the Soviets in the 1970s. 

And this will not be his first time in the spotlight. The young Massoud made his first speech at just 13 years old, on the first anniversary of his father’s death.

He also has experience in the region and in Europe, completing his secondary schooling in Iran and later attending military school at the prestigious Sandhurst Academy in the UK. 

“When his father started he wasn’t aware of what was going on outside Afghanistan. But Ahmad is now starting his movement where he knows Iran, he knows the Arab world, he studied in London, he speaks another language. 

“I think he is prepared,” said Anas.  

Ahmad Shah Massoud (right) is seen on April 5, 2001, in Strasbourg; his son Ahmad Massoud on August 25, 2019, in Kabul. Photos: Wakil Kohsar and Franck Fife / AFP

Winner takes all

As US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad completed his ninth round of talks with the Taliban this week, the group continued claiming deadly attacks in Kabul. A Thursday car bombing in the capital left 10 people dead, most of them Afghans. 

U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad

 · Sep 1, 2019

We’ve concluded this round of talks with the Taliban in #Doha. I’ll be traveling to #Kabul later today for consultations.


U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad

@US4AfghanPeace

We are at the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together to negotiate an honorable & sustainable peace and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies, or any other country.

341

5:10 AM - Sep 1, 2019

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Massoud says the talks, which Khalilzad says are on the cusp of becoming an accord, are not benefiting reconciliation on the domestic level, but rather emboldening the Taliban.

Massoud says the United States, by excluding the Afghan government and other factions, is essentially coronating the group as the de facto authority in the land and skewing the power dynamic of future talks with other Afghan parties.

“It doesn’t matter how many conditions they put on top of the Taliban,” said Massoud. “As soon as a picture of the Taliban and anyone from the American government comes out, the Taliban are the victors, they will call themselves the true mujahideen and the resistance group that won the war.”

That winner-takes-all mentality, he acknowledges, is an old dilemma.

In the memoirs of Abdullah Anas, his father’s loyal comrade, one of the most telling reflections is of the day the Soviet-backed Afghan government submitted itself to the victorious mujahideen, asking only that other political parties be allowed in the new Afghanistan, including the Communists. Massoud brushed off the request. In retrospect, Anas reflected, that was wrong.

The young Massoud is equally critical of the past. 

“When we [the mujahideen] spoke to the Soviets directly, we didn’t care about the government of [Soviet-backed former president] Najibullah, and we didn’t care about any other people – we were the winners and we were victorious.”

The difference between his father’s mujahideen and the Taliban, Massoud argues, is that the Taliban is set on imposing an extremist form of Islam on the country.

Ahmad Massoud addresses supporters of his late father in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan on September 5. Photo courtesy of Ali Nazary.

On Thursday in Panjshir, he told the crowd that the biggest problem Afghanistan has faced over the past two centuries has been the centralization of the political system with “where power and wealth rests with one person and city in Afghanistan.”

Decentralization, he believes, can help bring about fairer governance to the country, in addition to an emphasis on moderate Islam and a tolerance for divergent views.

But most of all, he says, Afghans are looking for a unifying figure to offer them hope, irrespective of the outcome of the peace talks.

In the coming period, he hopes to gain their trust.

Pakistani nation celebrates Sept 6 as Defence Day

Pakistani nation celebrates Sept 6 as Defence Day. On this national holiday, the patriots stand with their military to honor its successes and achievements. Below is the list of some of the successes of Pakistani military. Let us salute PAK armed forces Inc.

A Very Happy Defence Day to all Pakistanis and Kashmiris......

Happy FF Hospitals Day
Happy Bahria Commercial Businesses Day
Happy Air Eagle Aviation Academy Day
Happy Fauji Foundation College, Rawalpindi Day
Happy Askari Bakeries Day
Happy Bahria deep sea fisheries Day
Happy Bahria Harbour Services Day
Happy FF Medical Systems Pvt Ltd Day
Happy Shaheen Radio Pvt Ltd Day
Happy Fazaia Housing society Day
Happy SAPS Aviation College Day
Happy Shaheen Welfare Housing Peshawar Day
Happy Bahria Estates Day
Bahria Maritime Works Org Day
Happy Foundation Gas Day
Happy Overseas Employment Services Day
Happy FFBL Power Co Day
Happy FF Experiment Seed Multiplication Farm Day
Happy Mari Petroleum Co Day
Happy FF Securities Pvt Ltd Day
Happy Fresh & Freeze Day
Happy FFC Energy LTD Day
Happy Frontier Oil Company Day
Happy Mobil Pakistan Day
Happy Askari Airlines Day
Happy Askari Towers Day
Happy AWT Investments Day
Happy FWO Day
Happy Askari Project Lahore Day
Happy FF Healthcare System Day
Happy FF Vocational Training Co Day
Happy Hawk Advertising Day
Happy Fazaia Welfare Education System Day
Happy Shaheen Welfare Housing Scheme Day
Happy Fauji Kabirwala Power Co Ltd Day
Happy Fauji Cement Co Day
Happy National Logistic Cell Day
Happy Special Communications Org Day
Happy Noon Pakistan Ltd Day
Happy Fauji Meat Ltd Day
Happy Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim Day
Happy Fauji Marine Terminal Ltd Day
Happy Pakistan Maroc Phosphore Day
Happy Shaheen Knitwear Day
Happy Shaheen Complex Day
Happy Shaheen Aerotraders Day
Happy Askari Apparel Day
Happy Askari Lagoons Day
Happy Fauji Cereals Day
Happy Fauji Foundation Gas Day
Happy Fauji Fertilizers Day
Happy Fauji Oil Terminal & Distillery Day
Happy Fauji Kabirwala Power Co. Day
Happy Foundation Wind Energy Day
Happy Askari Woollens Day
Happy Askari Welfare Mess Day
Happy Askari Aviation Services Day
Happy MAL Pakistan Day
Happy Askari Guards Day
Happy Askari Fuels Day
Happy Askari Seeds Day
Happy Askari Enterprises Day
Happy Fauji Security Services Day
Happy Defence Housing Authority Day
Happy Askari Cement Day
Happy Askari Bank Day
Happy Fouji Foundation Day
Happy Askari Stud Farms Day
Happy Army Welfare Mills Day
Happy Askari Shoes Day
Happy Shaheen & Bahria Foundation Day
Happy Askari Insurance Day

-- Senge Hasnan Sering

September 05, 2019

Opeds on Kashmiri Muslim ego: A comment

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/jk-and-ladakh-layered-nuanced-governance/

J&K , Ladakh: Layered Nuanced governance

"A third reason, perhaps most vital, is psychological. Kashmiris have a very strong sense of identity, more than most others. Ego, or a sense of superiority, is a strong part of that identity. It needs to be nurtured."
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https://thewire.in/rights/the-great-trick-which-left-kashmir-with-nothing-to-lose 

Great Magic Trick. Which left Kashmir with nothing to lose

"Kashmiris have been exposed to Shock-and-Awe tactics. Belittled and humiliated, they have lost the chief ministership and command over Jammu and Ladakh... Ruled by authoritarian, cruel outsiders including the Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and Dogras, the special, signed, legally binding Article 370 deal, protected Kashmir’s identity and gave it for the first time in 400 years, a major say in its own future."

➡➡➡➡➡➡➡
🔴 Get Smarter
〰〰〰〰〰〰〰
The cautious commentary on Kashmir rightly points out that the the manner in which the govt changed the status quo was unconstitutional and that the curbs on freedoms in the valley are illegal. But directly or indirectly it also refers to Kashmiri Muslim ego and admits that dominating Buddhist-Shia Ladakh, Hindu Jammu, and Sunni Gujjar-Bakerwals nurtures that ego. Kashmiri Muslim leadership has never treated any of these communities as equals. Incidentally, the Kashmiri Muslim does not want to dominate Aksai Chin or Shaksgam.

But if Kashmiris should have a say in their future, what about Ladakh and Jammu? Should they not have a say in their own future? There are no easy answers.

Anglophone Pakistani Journalists shifted to Right of the Center

https://www.dawn.com/news/1503645/islamist-militants

"a paladin doesn’t believe in targeting civilians as a matter of policy, as terrorists do — 9/11, 7/7, APS Peshawar, Eid prayers, taraweeh congregations, Shia mosques, churches, concerts and nightclubs."
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COMMENT
➡➡➡➡➡
Mumbai 26/11, etc do not figure here. Even the liberal Anglophone Pakistani has shifted to the right of the centre. Even if they have not, on things Indian they defer to ISPR. We need to note this shift in Pakistan.

Note that they cannot ignore attacks in the English-speaking world 9/11 & 7/7. Visas, green cards and children's education and jobs are at stake. But India is not essential for their existence. Instead of crying why these double standards, India should focus on its economy and make it unavoidably attractive.

September 02, 2019

Global community favours bilateral framework on Kashmir, but Pak refuses to see writing on wall

Global community favours bilateral framework on Kashmir, but Pak refuses to see writing on wall

Pakistan has sought UN mediation despite being bound by the principle of bilateralism under the 1972 Simla Agreement.

Written by Sujan R Chinoy |Updated: September 2, 2019 9:33:21 am

Pakistan knows that India totally rejects third-party involvement. Barring a few aberrant acolytes of Pakistan, the global community, including the US, has openly favoured the bilateral framework to address all the issues between India and Pakistan.

After failing to get the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take formal notice of its antics over Article 370 and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Pakistan has yet again attempted to internationalise J&K by writing to the president of the UNSC. It has asked for “doubling the strength of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Observers and to persuade India to allow them to patrol on its side of the Line of Control (LoC) as well”. In the letter, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi further requested the UNSC to consider “all possible avenues available under the UN Charter to fulfil its responsibility of maintaining peace in the region”.

Pakistan knows that India totally rejects third-party involvement. Barring a few aberrant acolytes of Pakistan, the global community, including the US, has openly favoured the bilateral framework to address all the issues between India and Pakistan. Yet, Pakistan clings on to the idea of third-party mediation or a UN role in order to create a false alibi for continuing with the use of terrorism as an instrument to wage a low-intensity war against India. Pakistan has sought UN mediation despite being bound by the principle of bilateralism under the 1972 Simla Agreement.

UN resolutions have proved ineffective in the past in getting Pakistan to withdraw its occupying forces from Jammu and Kashmir, as was required under the UN Resolutions of April 21 and August 13, 1948, which have since been overtaken by the bilateral Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration of 1999.

This has not prevented a desperate Pakistan from turning its attention to UNMOGIP, another redundant vestige of the past, long overtaken by the bilateral process agreed to under the Simla Agreement. Its genesis can be traced to the UN Commission for India & Pakistan (UNCIP), which was set up through UNSCR 39 on January 20, 1948.

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By way of background, UNSCR 47 of April 21, 1948 and the UNCIP Resolution of August 13, 1948, provided the basis for the UNMOGIP’s establishment. The ceasefire was bilaterally agreed to by India and Pakistan on January 1, 1949, one day before the UNCIP Military Adviser reached the mission area. The first of the UN military observers arrived there only on January 24, 1949.

As outlined in para 3 of the UNSG’s Report S/6651 of September 3, 1965, UNMOGIP’s role was very limited, confined to observation of the Cease Fire Line (CFL) and monitoring of violations, if any. The limited mandate was related to the CFL and the Karachi Ceasefire Agreement of July 27, 1949, from which it flowed, both of which ceased to be operative when Pakistan committed aggression against India on December 3, 1971 and declared a state of war against India the following day. The UNMOGIP’s mandate lapsed as a result, and did not legally extend to the LoC, a materially different line which came into being on December 17, 1971, following India’s unilateral declaration of a ceasefire, later accepted by Pakistan. The Simla Agreement, which superceded all previous agreements and committed both sides to a bilateral framework, delivered the coup de grâce with regard to UNMOGIP’s locus standi.

The UNMOGIP’s limited mandate renders it incapable of monitoring the terrorist havens on the Pakistani side of the LoC or preventing cross-border infiltration. Nor is it capable of preventing the frequent ceasefire violations.

The Indian side has not lodged any complaint over the ceasefire violations by Pakistan since January 1972, which further buttresses India’s standpoint on the UNMOGIP and denies it any role. Pakistan continues to lodge “complaints about ceasefire violations by India” with the UNMOGIP, which issues reports containing the unilateral “complaints” made by Pakistan. This is yet another example of obfuscation by Pakistan of facts relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

In recent years, the Government of India (GoI) has taken the right steps vis-à-vis the UNMOGIP. In response to a question in Parliament on August 13, 2014, the then Minister of State for External Affairs, V K Singh, stated that the UNMOGIP was mandated to supervise the CFL established in July 1949 under the agreement between military representatives of India and Pakistan, and that with the signing of the Simla Agreement and the establishment of the LoC, its role had become redundant, and further, that it had “outlived its relevance”. The GoI has taken various steps asking the UNMOGIP to vacate government properties in India, which had been provided free of charge until then. Action has also been taken to monetise various other facilities that were earlier being provided free of cost to the UNMOGIP.


https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/jammu-kashmir-article-370-abrogation-imran-khan-modi-govt-5957242/

China and Russia’s sky-high strategy

East Asia Forum

28 August 2019

Author: Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University

On 23 July 2019, Russian and Chinese warplanes — long-range nuclear-capable bombers accompanied by fighter jets and surveillance aircraft — conducted a ‘joint patrol’ over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. This marked the first ever joint air force operation by Russia and China beyond their borders.The show of force in the Northeast Asian skies was meant to signal the growing strength of the China–Russia strategic bond and the main target of this message was Seoul.

The patrol’s route ran over the Dokdo (Takeshima) islands, one of the most politically sensitive areas in East Asia. The islands are disputed between South Korea and Japan, so the China–Russia operation caused a commotion. Seoul and Tokyo both claimed that a Russian military plane from the joint patrol group twice violated Dokdo’s airspace, prompting South Korean interceptor jets to fire hundreds of warning shots. The Russian and Chinese governments categorically state that the mission took place over international waters and did not breach any sovereign airspace.

Whether or not an actual violation of the airspace over Dokdo took place, this first joint mission by Russian and Chinese air forces carries major diplomatic and strategic significance. By executing an operation in the Northeast Asian skies, Moscow and Beijing are sending the message that their ‘strategic partnership’ is not a paper tiger — it is becoming a political–military force to be reckoned with.

In 2016, Chinese and Russian warships simultaneously sailed close to the Japan-administered but China-claimed Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands, raising suspicions that the manoeuvres were coordinated. Then, Moscow and Beijing refrained from any comments, neither confirming nor denying Japanese suspicions. But this time China and Russia apparently sought a maximum demonstration effect.

Apart from displaying the strengthening political–military ties between Moscow and Beijing, the joint operation had the practical purpose of enhancing interoperability of Russian and Chinese air forces. According to Russian sources, the objective was also to collect valuable military data about the South Korean air defence system by deliberately provoking its response, something called ‘cracking the hedgehog’ in Russian military jargon.

Russia and China are now negotiating a new military cooperation agreement. It will replace the previous agreement concluded in 1993 and will likely reflect a new level of their political–military partnership. There is little doubt that the joint patrol on 23 July is just a harbinger of what may come next. The China–Russia military missions outside their borders are bound to continue, with increasing scale and sophistication.

Some Russian analysts believe one of the next steps in the military collaboration could be forming a shared pool of support assets, such as AWACS aircraft and tanker aircraft, to assist Russian and Chinese forces operating in the Pacific. Russia and China are also likely to enhance already established patterns of their military cooperation, including weapons sales and large-scale military drills like the Vostok 2018 exercise held in Russia’s Far East.

If the China–Russia military partnership continues its upward trend, it will inevitably affect the security order in the Western Pacific. The joint actions by Russia and China are most likely seeking to challenge the system of US-centred alliances in the Asia Pacific and change the strategic balance. By acting individually, neither could hope to undercut US hegemony in the Pacific.

Are China–Russia patrols and other combined military missions beyond East Asia possible in the near future — for example, in the Atlantic, Middle East, Arctic or even the Caribbean? This cannot be ruled out, especially as China grows its power projection capabilities and builds a network of overseas military bases (such as in Djibouti and Gwadar).

On the other hand, Northeast Asia is currently the most suitable theatre to operationalise a China–Russia military alliance. Russia and China have a direct presence in the region, where they maintain substantial military potentials that — if combined — can complement each other. And importantly, it is in the North Pacific that they interact with the United States. If the China–Russia military alliance is to materialise, it will most likely start from Northeast Asia.

The joint patrol of Russian and Chinese warplanes was a message to Washington, Tokyo and Seoul. But it was Seoul that appears to be the main target. The bombers could have flown by the Senkakus or Okinawa, but they chose the Korean-controlled Dokdo. It was the first violation of South Korean airspace by a foreign military plane since the end of the Korean War.

Beijing and Moscow see South Korea as a relatively weak link in the US alliance network in Asia, compared to the two other main US allies, Japan and Australia. South Korea is more vulnerable than Japan to pressure from the China–Russia coalition. If Beijing and Moscow adroitly use the carrot and stick approach toward Seoul, it could perhaps even weaken the US–South Korea alliance.

Displays of military might is just one of the ways to influence Seoul. South Korea’s economy is highly dependent on China. Moreover, Beijing and Moscow’s ties with North Korea give them power to affect the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Russia and China might be looking to turn South Korea into a neutral state that would refrain from policies the two countries view as compromising their security. If this ‘Finlandisation’ was achieved, it would be a major blow to the United States, both in Northeast Asia and globally.

Artyom Lukin is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of Research at the School of Regional and International Studies, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok.

September 01, 2019

Broccoli: better latte than never


By Nikki Galovic

Just when you thought coffee trends couldn’t get any crazier, enter the broccoli latte. You’ve heard of turmeric lattes and even a coffee served in an avocado, but is the broccoli latte the next product to hit the tables of your local hipster café? We’re here to tell you, it’s possible.

You might be asking why we would even suggest such an outrageous concept but it could actually help address two very real challenges our society is facing: food loss and poor diets.

Just eat it

With almost two in three Australian adults overweight or obese, being healthy, and eating a healthy diet, is a huge focus for many of us. But despite the increasing popularity of ‘superfoods’ and health and wellness, Australian diets are still poor.

Our research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day. And we know it can be hard to get those five serves of veg everyday while also trying to drink enough water, getting in your 30 minutes of daily exercise and doing all of the other things you have to do. So, we’re trying to make it easier to squeeze in a couple of extra veggies, especially if you have fussy kids who don’t fall for the ‘they’re cute little trees’ line.

Taste the waste

Over one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted. In Australian households alone, 4 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. All of the food we waste takes water and energy to produce, transport, prepare and sell. And all these resources are wasted when we throw food in the bin. Waste occurs all the way along the chain from farms to supermarkets and households. But we can help reduce food loss on farms and create a new revenue stream for farmers at the same time. On a broccoli farm, the heads are usually separated from the leaves and stalks, which are ploughed in as a fertiliser replacement. Unsexy, or ugly, broccoli too won’t make the cut. That’s why we’re looking at new and creative ways to use produce from the farm.

Powder power

With funding from vegetable growers through Hort Innovation, we’ve developed a broccoli powder that could help pack extra veggies into your diet. The 100 per cent broccoli powder is made from whole broccoli, and produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of fresh broccoli.

Broccoli contains protein, fibre and health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals, making it an ideal candidate for being turned into a powder ingredient. We’ve also developed powders from a range of vegetables like beetroot, carrot and cauliflower. The powder packs a healthy punch with approximately one serve of your five a day vegetables in every two tablespoons of powder.

While broccoli lattes might not take off, the powder could be used for smoothies, dips, soups and baking. In fact, we’ve already used it to make extruded ‘Twistie-like’ snacks with high vegetable content. We’ve tested this with parents and even kids who thought they were a pretty tasty way to help bump up their veggie intake.

The broccoli powder is being developed as part of a larger research and development project which aims to reduce vegetable loss by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce or produce or produce that otherwise doesn’t make it to the market. The next steps are to take the powder into further product development and consumer sensory evaluation trials to see if it’s a product you might actually see on the supermarket shelves or in your coffee cup.

While broccoli – or cauliflower – lattes might not take off, we’re seeking partners to help commercialise a range of food products with broccoli powder. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about doing business with us.


https://blog.csiro.au/broccoli-better-latte-than-never/

Cauliflower and broccoli pills: Turning vegetable waste into nutrient-rich powders and supplements

By national regional and rural reporterJess Davis

Posted1 day ago, updated1 day ago

IMAGEUp to one third of fruit and vegies are wasted before they even reach the supermarket shelves.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

It seems far-fetched but Australian farmers could soon be producing broccoli and cauliflower pills: one serve of vegetables in a tiny capsule.

The horticulture industry hopes a demand for nutrient-rich powders and supplements will create a new market for vegetables and solve the problem of farm waste in the process.

It's an idea John Said, who grows vegetables on 2,000 hectares across the country, is helping to develop.

"I mean it's a pretty big ask to say to someone, 'Here, just take this pill and it's a broccoli pill', but in the future, who knows?" he said.


"I mean if it's got other vitamins and minerals and perhaps other oils as well and it serves a really good purpose for the body, then by all means let's develop that."

IMAGEThe nutraceutical industry believes new products can be developed from fruit and vegies.(ABC News)

It's also a chance to make something of the cauliflowers and broccolis that aren't picked at harvest time, with about 15 per cent of his crop left on the ground.

"We've always thought about food waste, we've always thought about yield, but we've never been able to truly get a market or a particular process that addresses that issue," he said.


"So I think we're the closest we've ever been to being able to address an issue like that."

IMAGEJohn Said hopes to harvest and sell 100 per cent of his crops in the near future.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

Broccoli powder

The CSIRO approached Mr Said two years ago and asked if it could turn his waste into powders.

Scientists started with broccoli because it's the most nutritious vegetable.

"It's very high in protein," said project leader Luz Sanguansri.

"Imagine 30 per cent of broccoli is protein on a dry basis, so we thought that's a good start."

It took 18 months to develop a powder that contains nearly all the same nutrients as fresh broccoli.

The team then developed food products with the powder, including broccoli lattes and snacks.

The CSIRO is talking to a number of food companies and hopes to have products on supermarket shelves within a year.

"While you're sipping away your coffee you can have some snack with a [broccoli-infused] dip or a broccoli muffin and altogether you'll increase your vegetable intake by having that," Mrs Sanguansri said.

IMAGEThe CSIRO aims to have broccoli powder on supermarket shelves in the next 12 months.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

Millions of tonnes wasted

IMAGE1.5 million tonnes of produce is wasted even before it gets to the supermarket.(Supplied: CSIRO)

As well as developing food products, the CSIRO carried out a widespread study to find out how many fruit and vegetables go to waste and where.

It found 1.5 million tonnes is lost before reaching supermarket shelves.

"From the national map we have done, we have identified key regions of the losses and the waste Australia is generating," said principal research scientist Pablo Juliano.

"So now the idea is to locate and build facilities for processing where we can turn this waste into ingredients."

Work is already underway on facilities in Gippsland in Victoria and Townsville in Queensland.

Future of regional processors

IMAGEKagome has developed a food product out of carrot fibre and sees nutraceutical potential.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

It's an idea Victorian tomato and carrot processor Kagome is also pursuing.

The company's Echuca factory processes 18,000 tonnes of carrots each year, with up to a quarter of that traditionally going to waste.

"In the carrot process, we're actually extracting the juice. We're separating the fibre from the juice and making a carrot concentrate and then at the moment the fibre is just going as a waste product," said general manager of operations Brad Free.

With many regional food processors under financial strain from rising transport, energy and labour costs, Mr Free said finding a market for the waste had never been more important.

The carrot fibre is already used in meat patties and sausages and the company is developing higher-value products to sell into the nutraceutical market, which specialises in supplements.

Nutraceuticals future

IMAGECompanies are trialling supplements that combine oils and vegetable powders.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

For supplements, local nutraceutical companies like Swisse currently import ingredients, including grapes, which often go to waste in Australia.

It sees plenty of potential for local fruit and vegetables to replace some imports and inspire new products.

"All of them have specific areas [where] … we could probably pioneer some great new extracts for the industry," said Justin Howden from Swisse.

Farmer John Said agreed there was huge potential in nutraceuticals.

"We're doing things like encapsulating omega 3 into broccoli powder as we speak, so the market will evolve," he said.

"We're starting to create a new industry for the vegetable farmers of Australia."

IMAGEThe CSIRO developed broccoli powder first because of its high protein and nutritional value.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

August 31, 2019

The Promise of 'Belt and Road'

https://us.matthewsasia.com/perspectives-on-asia/market-updates/matthews-asia-perspectives-view/article-1630/The-Promise-of-Belt-and-Road.fs?

August 21, 2019

China's ambitious infrastructure initiative points to the potential of global cooperation.

Read the article, The Promise of 'Belt and Road' 

China's Belt and Road Initiative is a repackaging and acceleration of a policy that has been in place for some time. Officially announced in 2013, it simply gave a name to a pattern of development that had been evident since the turn of the century.1 But this repackaging comes as other parts of the world are turning in on themselves—the United States is going down a protectionist route; Europe is splitting apart as the lack of a real fiscal union exacerbates the divisions between rich and poor parts of the European Union. China, with its economic outreach across central Europe and its embrace of international trade and economic cooperation, increasingly is the standard bearer of globalization. In doing so, China is putting Asia at the center of global economic activity and putting itself at the center of Asia. History suggests that, often, the country at the center of global trade enjoys a period of economic prosperity and cultural enlightenment. It may also be the case for China. However, it is a case that few in the West embrace; it is almost as if they are jealous of China's new role.

In 2017, at Davos, China's President Xi Jinping ended his speech with a call for greater economic cooperation:2

“We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity, so we applaud the achievements made by others and wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others' success; and we will not complain about others who have benefited so much from the great opportunities presented by China's development. We will open our arms to the people of other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China's development.”But this did not persuade many people in the Western intelligentsia. I remember being at a conference where the speaker before me gave a view on the state of the global political economy. Never once was China mentioned during the hourlong presentation, until the last sentence—and then, only to pour cold water on the idea that China was serious about globalization. I had to follow with my own presentation on China and globalization. I think the ensuing years have been more kind to my view. I would like to share why the Belt and Road Initiative is key to China's development and why China is serious about global economic cooperation.

Let me first point out, however, what the initiative is not. It is not an attempt to become a global policeman, like the role played by the U.S. China has neither the resources nor the will to take on such a role. It is not about British-style imperialism of the 19th century. China has suffered at the hands of such an aggressive approach and is sensitive to the backlash it can cause. Nor is China embracing the tenets of democratic liberalism—and I think it is this part of the ethos of globalization that the intellectual West finds hard to stomach. They fear that China is not serious about the West's notions of democracy—and they are surely correct in that. But their fear that China seeks to spread dictatorship is wrongheaded and a misunderstanding of what China really seeks. What China seeks is secure borders and friendly neighbors. It seeks to offset an aging population by investing in young labor. It seeks to pursue a knowledge and services-based growth and to find a cheaper way to manufacture goods. It seeks to increase wages and demand outside its borders as a way to increase the wealth and prosperity of all, including its own citizens. China is following a well-trodden path to prosperity that it has created within its own borders: build the infrastructure, open the markets, learn how to mechanize, create a manufacturing base and watch productivity grow. These are the building blocks of China's own growth and the platform upon which it stands ready to create a modern, services-led domestic economy.

The Economics — Youth, Manufacturing and Ascending the Value Chain

China's population has an average age of 37.4 years. That of Vietnam is 30.5 years; Indonesia is 30.2 years; Malaysia is 28.5 years; Pakistan is 23.8 years.3

 

These younger countries also have economic living standards that vary from the equivalent of 19th century U.S. to perhaps the 1950s. Many of these economies suffer from a low ratio of manufacturing to GDP. With a global average of 15.6% of GDP in manufacturing, China stands at 29%—a manufacturing powerhouse. Vietnam is at 16%; Indonesia at 20%; Malaysia at 22%; and Pakistan at 12%.So, China, by allowing its companies to move their labor-intensive operations into these regions of Southeast Asia and Central Asia and the subcontinent, can at one fell swoop mitigate the effects on productivity of an aging workforce, allow its own workers to move up the value-added chain into knowledge-intensive industries, and create increases in productivity and real wages in neighboring countries that will increase both the demand for Chinese goods and services and the supply of goods to China itself.
 
China is well-placed to partner with these countries in their development. Not just because of its geographic proximity but also because of the Chinese advantage of economies of scale. Building infrastructure at low cost and selling high-quality capital goods at low cost offers exactly the capital stock these countries need to develop at the price points they can afford. It is exactly what economic cooperation should deliver—prosperity for all based on the relative advantages and weakness of each country's inhabitants. Its very essence is the kind of economic cooperation that is lauded elsewhere in the world for the political stability it has created along with the wealth it has generated.

2019 will be the eighth-consecutive year in which the services sector is the largest part of the domestic economy in China. Leisure, media and entertainment spending, particularly online, continues to outpace growth in GDP.5 China is changing as it gets richer—the lives of its citizens are changing. Chinese today have more intellectual and spiritual freedom than they dared imagine when I was a student in Beijing in the late 1980s. Chinese now want quality of life—and what that means for environmental, social and artistic advancement. Yes, all of this has to take place under a single-party regime that is anathema to the Western idea of justice, but we cannot deny China's achievements in offering many other freedoms to its people. The Belt and Road Initiative is helpful to expanding these economic freedoms across China's population and ensuring the popularity of the regime by offshoring some of the more menial and less-skillful jobs in China's economy.

Politics, the Stabilizing Influence of Global Trade

China's domestic growth story is one of the greatest humanitarian achievements in history. In 1981, 835 million people lived in poverty in China, out of a total population of 1 billion people. Today, 30 million Chinese live in poverty, out of a population of 1.4 billion.6 This stunning reversal has taken China from developing-nation status to a middle-class nation in one generation. Among the regions around the world that can be pulled upward to join this global middle-class normality, four stand out: Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Europe. Whereas Latin America may be forced to rely on a change of heart in the protectionist-leaning U.S. to kickstart its growth, Southeast Asia, Central Europe and the east coast of Africa are precisely those areas targeted by the Belt and Road Initiative. The potential humanitarian implications are huge as the areas within the embrace of the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative account for perhaps two-thirds of the world's population.

The map above shows the arm of relative poverty reaching out westward from China's borders toward Europe. Chinese investment, not European or American, is forging a bridge between the global rich and poor. And Chinese investment is now reaching into Europe itself. For ever since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, parts of Europe have struggled to perform economically, given the straightjacket of European fiscal policy. Where the EU won't spend, China will. In March of this year, Italy signed a memorandum of understanding that will give China the ability to develop the ports of Genoa and Trieste, more closely linking Europe to Central Europe. Greece, too, has signed onto the initiative as China has transformed Piraeus, a defunct port outside Athens, into Europe's sixth-largest container port.7 In a global economy that is stuck with low interest rates (negative through much of Europe) and central bankers who are reluctant to improvise too much with monetary policy, China's fiscal power can sustain demand in parts of Europe that would otherwise keep falling behind.

The Complaints

There has been a lot of pushback to China's Belt and Road Initiative. Much of it is from Western governments and the media, who fear the rise of China. I suspect they fear that China is trying to use infrastructure development to influence countries politically. This may be true in the sense that China wants to achieve détente with these nations; but there is no sense, to my mind, that China is looking to interfere in the political and legal systems of these countries. Perhaps Western fears go even further—that China will not seek to spread the values of Western liberalism as part of its massive globalization initiative. Here, the concerns are surely right. We are seeing the globalization of the so-called Washington Consensus8 being replaced with a globalization that seems much more pragmatic, or non-prescriptive, and non-interventionist. This may result in hurt pride but it is not necessarily a step backward. Even the most ardent supporters of free-market economics and liberal democracy must admit that there is a trade-off between achieving these worthy goals and having enough calories to consume and enjoying a sense of hope for the future.

Non-interventionism has a cost, though. With so much public spending, the risk of corruption is high. Many of the participating countries are lower-income countries with weak institutions and governments with little incentive to investigate or expose their own elites to transparency. China's disinclination to hold local elites accountable risks higher-than-usual rates of corruption in the infrastructure spend—an activity known for its susceptibility to wastage and theft. These practices could well detract from the overall mission and efficacy of China's efforts, in addition to potentially shoring up some regimes that might otherwise not be tolerated. The world is trying to put pressure on the Chinese to improve governance, but I suspect China will move slowly to meet their concerns.9

Governments have also pushed back against some of the Belt and Road projects. They have legitimate concerns about the amount and terms of the debt accrued to make the investments. In this case, however, the Chinese have time and again renegotiated. Since 2010, 24 countries have been able to renegotiate loans with China as part of the initiative, including write-offs, deferrals and extensions. In addition, Malaysia renegotiated the terms of a deal to build part of its railway system.10 Recipient countries are able to borrow from international markets and institutions such as the IMF; China's economic clout is constrained by this competition. Also, a sense of China's own history prevents it from seeking punitive lending. It is seeking to build relationships over the long term, not to destroy them.

Misrepresentation of the debt issue is common. The Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, for instance, is often cited as a sign that the Chinese are trying to seize assets. The story falls apart under scrutiny, however, as the Sri Lankan government was actually under pressure to repay IMF loans. The failure of the port after Chinese investment can be explained partly by sluggish world trade since the Global Financial Crisis. It is hoped that a new investment by China, in the form of a 99-year lease, will turn around the port's fortunes. This is hardly a tale of overbearing Chinese debt burdens and aggressive asset seizures that the Western media would like to present.11

The Investment Case

For investors like us, what does this mean? Well, in many senses the investment case for the Belt and Road Initiative is very strong. If you think of all that the Chinese government can achieve through these investments, in terms of economic diplomacy, secure borders, maintenance of high living standards at home and the continuing development of modern lifestyles, then the initiative has high returns indeed. But these are not the kind of returns that interest private investors. This does not speak of a return on invested capital measured in dollars. No, the opportunities to profit from the infrastructure development are not likely to lie in direct participation in the project itself. For here, one is likely serving the interests of one government or another. Returns are measured in political stability and national pride.

As the Belt and Road Initiative continues, however, it will cut shipment times and potentially lower transport costs. Taking the railway from East China to Europe is much faster than using the container shipping routes.12This will draw many more people into global markets, increasing efficiencies and driving up productivity and wages. Investors might profit by owning shares of private businesses, in China and other countries, that make use of these productivity improvements to lower costs. Investors might also look at companies that sell directly to local consumers across the various Asian parts of the Belt and Road Initiative. As wages rise, demand for their products and services will rise, too. Private businesses that use the new infrastructure to transport and market goods may also profit. All sorts of businesses may arise that meet the desires of newly globalized populations for a better life. The investment case and the humanitarian case are intertwined at this degree—a degree once removed from the initial investments. But the opportunities for profit and human advancement both are real; they just require a little patience.

China as a Standard Bearer of Globalization

China is no paragon of virtue. And perhaps up to now, no country has done more to shape the lives of the 20thcentury global population than the U.S. But the U.S. has done so partly because of its influence on China itself. And it is somewhat ironic that it is now China that is the driving force for extending many of these values of globalization into areas of the world that have perhaps lagged a little behind. China's rejection of liberal democratic principles and some of the West's political institutions perhaps blinds us to the great potential for humanitarian good and economic advancement that the Belt and Road Initiative offers. No, it is not perfect—nor was the Washington Consensus. However, China, in the eyes of the participating countries at least, which have voted with their labor and their capital, today represents one of the best hopes for economic advancement through global collaboration.

Robert Horrocks, PhD
Chief Investment Officer
Matthews Asia 

1 The World Bank
2 CGTN America
3 World Population Review
4 The World Bank
5 Statista
6 Gapminder
7 PortEconomics, data as of 2018
8 Wikipedia
9 The World Bank
10 Rhodium Group
11 Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
12 BBC

The views and information discussed in this report are as of the date of publication, are subject to change and may not reflect current views. The views expressed represent an assessment of market conditions at a specific point in time, are opinions only and should not be relied upon as investment advice regarding a particular investment or markets in general. Such information does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell specific securities or investment vehicles. Investment involves risk. Investing in international and emerging markets may involve additional risks, such as social and political instability, market illiquidity, exchange-rate fluctuations, a high level of volatility and limited regulation. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The information contained herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of compilation, but no representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any of this information. Matthews Asia and its affiliates do not accept any liability for losses either direct or consequential caused by the use of this information.