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At SCO summit, India again says ‘no’ to Belt and Road

India on Sunday again said “no” to China’s Belt and Road project, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain merely shook hands on the final day of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Qingdao city.

India, which participated at the Chinese-led security bloc for the first time after being inducted into the grouping last year, did not figure in the list of rest of the member states endorsing Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative in the joint declaration.

 Earlier in the day, Modi made it clear that New Delhi was all for connectivity projects but could not compromise its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India strongly opposes Beijing’s multi-billion dollar project, which aims to connect Asia with Europe through a network of roads, ports and sea lanes.

New Delhi’s objection is to the key artery of the project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which goes through the Kashmir governed by Pakistan and claimed by India.

“We have again reached a stage where physical and digital connectivity is changing the definition of geography. Therefore, connectivity with our neighborhood and in the SCO region is our priority,” Modi said.

“We welcome any new connectivity project, which is inclusive, sustainable and transparent, and respects a country’s sovereignty and regional integrity,” he said at one of the sessions at the Summit.

This is one of the contentious issues between India and China but both seem to have decided not to let it affect other aspects of bilateral ties.

Like India, Pakistan also became a member of the SCO in 2017 and attended the event for the first time.

“It was noted that the SCO had asserted itself as a unique, influential and authoritative regional organization whose potential had grown remarkably following the accession of India and Pakistan,” the 17-page Qingdao declaration said.

With the inclusion of India and Pakistan, the grouping has expanded into an 8-member bloc. China, Russia, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are SCO’s other members.

Modi, who had bilaterals with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders, just had a handshake with the Pakistan head of state.

The ties between the two countries have plummeted following attacks at Indian Army bases and continuing violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

The bloc vowed to fight terrorism.

“The SCO’s coordinated policy of waging an effective fight against challenges and threats to security remains unchanged. Practical interaction in this area will be facilitated by the adopted Programme of Cooperation between the SCO Member States in Opposing Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism for 2019-21.”

During the summit, Modi and Xi had a “substantive” meeting on Saturday. India struck major deals like the export of rice and Indian pharmaceutical products to China.

The bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2020 was another important announcement by both sides.

The Kyrgyz Republic will take over the Presidency of the organization. The next meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of State will be held in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2019.

SOURCE: http://m.greaterkashmir.com/news/world/at-sco-summit-india-again-says-no-to-belt-and-road/287805.html

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CPEC: transport or economic corridor?

Three CPEC routes are expected to form an impressive transport corridor connecting China to the Arabian Sea. If the Chinese start using these routes to trade with Middle East and North African countries, CPEC will turn into a cross-border trade and transit corridor. With enough traffic, we might also get some toll income. But the real returns are to be expected for Pakistan, only if CPEC truly becomes a vibrant economic corridor. how can we make it happen? Merely by creating a few special economic zones? And what is an economic corridor anyway?

Trade corridors have been in existence for centuries, with famous Silk, Spice and Incense routes connecting the Orient with the Occident. Trade corridors depict movement of goods and services in specific geographical patterns. Transport corridors, a most recent phenomenon, generally refer to a linear area, connecting two or more economic centres and often employing a combination of surface transport networks such as road and rail.

Economic corridors however are a wider concept. They represent not just connectivity and trade but also widespread economic activity in a geographic area, in the shape of industrial and economic clusters, connected markets, and a network of economic centres. Connectivity is a prerequisite for establishing economic corridors but not sufficient.

History shows that transport corridors do transform into economic corridors through gradual development, urban agglomeration and increased trade and economic activities, leading to formation of new settlements and economic clusters. This however takes time. The present Grand Trunk (GT) Road is an example of a trade and transport route turned into a vibrant economic corridor, with numerous urban centres and economic clusters along the route. This route however has been in existence for more than two millennia, upgraded by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century.

If we could wait for centuries, CPEC might transform into a vibrant economic corridor on its own. But if we want it sooner, we need to catalyse this process through a well thought-out strategy.

Firstly, it is important to realise that economic corridor is not a linear concept, meaning thereby that CPEC, besides connecting China to Gwadar, needs to spread horizontally connecting to a network of secondary cities and smaller markets. Research shows that productivity impact of connectivity is higher for rural areas, which previously had poor connectivity. This requires aligning of public investments with CPEC through an integrated spatial planning strategy and plugging existing missing links, especially in less-developed regions.

Secondly, a real economic corridor of this scale cannot take off by public investments only. Therefore, the next step is to mobilise private investment, which would require regulatory and business environment reforms. Public investment should only be used to provide infrastructure or to address market failures in selected cases.

The third area is to ensure equitable growth. With new corridors coming up, there is a risk that much of the investment would flow to already flourishing urban and economic centres. The role of the government is therefore to ensure fair distribution of dividends of these new investments and remove any disparities.

These steps however require well-coordinated actions by multiple federal and provincial government departments. We therefore need to carefully think through our governance structure for corridor development. Other countries have established fully-empowered private sector-driven statutory bodies that coordinate actions across a range of departments and are accountable for clear performance indicators such as quantum of investment mobilised and number of new jobs created, rather than showing summits, conferences and roadshows as their achievement.

Investment for CPEC road infrastructure stands around $11 billion. At 2% interest and 20-year repayment period, it translates into $672 million debt-servicing payment every year. The toll payments alone will not be sufficient to pay back this amount. Economic corridor development is therefore the only way to go.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2018.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1727674/6-cpec-transport-economic-corridor/

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CPEC: A momentum for prosperity

In a world defined by unexpected conflicts, CPEC and BRI have the potential to push these trajectories into altogether different directions. For Pakistan it will mean trading conflict and insecurity for peace and prosperity, argues the Senate’s Leader of the Opposition, Sherry Rehman.

The CPEC Summit 2018 was an important event with a distinguished group of thought leaders. In a conference full of unconventional wisdoms and cutting edge info, a lower‑riparian speaker’s job was quite unenviable. In more ways than one, the summit signalled Pakistan’s commitment to change and growth. What it signalled bang in the middle of election year was Pakistan’s agreement across the board on one thing: no one wants to be left out of this momentum.

The first thing that came to mind at a big‑ticket CPEC conference in Pakistan was that we are currently standing at a nodal pivot in Pakistan and China’s long‑established special relationship; but what also came to mind is that we are at an axial point where the world is rapidly turning in a re‑calibration of its priorities. Amidst the noise of dangerous new global conflicts that threaten the peace and prosperity of many nations, and fires that engulf entire regions, CPEC and BRI signal another engine moving relentlessly on, in entirely another direction of growth and peace. We can literally hear the wheels of a bold new order shift its shape under our feet.

We can also see the pulsation of the pointless regional neuralgia this partnership is giving some. My advice to them is that, they really shouldn’t worry, but instead join this enterprise.

It is truly the Asian Century. By linking the Atlantic to the Pacific through BRI, President Xi Jinping’s China is poised to redefine the global economic order as we know it, and change the way we think about the world. As the tracks for new global connectivity reframe human enterprise, with Gwadar as its launching pad, and Malacca not the only option, China becomes a two‑ocean power. This is both commercially relevant and strategically significant. As a key part of the constitution of the Peoples Republic, One Belt One Road (OBOR) has now cemented its place in the wheelworks of China’s long‑term vision of progress through economic partnerships. It is a projection of soft power unparalleled in the 21st century.

All this is relevant to Pakistan obviously in ways no other grand plan for exporting surplus was. Today, as we see China’s investments in Pakistan materialising through CPEC, I am clear that a major part of its success is powered by the groundwork and foundation PPP’s government provided.

Under [the then] President Zardari’s leadership, rooted in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s revolutionary vision to share the Chinese Communist Party’s goals, and PM Benazir Bhutto’s brilliant championing of this joint vision, Pakistan’s relationship with China has gone into another dimension altogether. President Zardari’s vision was based on a grand idea for pivoting to the East at a time when the rest of the world was still busy calling on other capitals. This vision is shared and will be carried on forward by PPP under Chairman Bilawal Bhutto‑Zardari’s leadership.

PPP understood the grand Chinese dream well. Providing state support and strategic access to our warm waters was part of the vision. Therefore, we knew that Chinese development stewardship for Gwadar Port was pivotal to the CPEC becoming a reality.

CPEC has already created 60,000 jobs and Pakistanis would likely be able to make the most of these opportunities. We need trained manpower though.

Over the years, all of us have worked closely with Chinese officials and investors in facilitating projects, people‑to‑people relationships, cultural exchanges, and, most importantly, ensuring the security of everyone involved in CPEC projects. As we speak, 2,700 students from Pakistan were granted scholarships to study in China with thousands already learning Mandarin across the country. This kind of exchange is as important as big‑scale projects. Because building trust between peoples is what binds countries together in ties that sustain the tests of time, in all weathers and all storms.

As the first container ship sailed into Gwadar in March, CPEC has already started making an impact in all provinces in order to bring prosperity. We have a long way to go in providing safe drinking water and schools to the people of Gwadar, but I am glad to see that social responsibility and signature projects are beginning to complement each other.

This must be something we work on together as early projects start harvesting into reality. Everywhere there is an industrial park or SEZ, a port or energy project, there should be a groundswell of children going to schools, functioning healthcare units and waste‑to‑ energy plants, which China is so good at doing at every level. The responsibility for this lies with Pakistan, and with the provinces too, but I urge our Chinese friends to double their interest and investment in social development as they are doing already in partnership with UNDP in Balochistan.

We are proud to say that the forward‑looking government of Sindh has also been leading the way in renewable energy projects to bring prosperity. Sindh province contributes 930 megawatts of wind energy to the national grid with the help of CPEC projects. In line with this, the federal government should allow the use of renewable energy in Sindh.

As part of our history of joint cooperation, PPP looks forward to continuing to work closely with local and Chinese stakeholders in achieving our common goals and interests for the betterment of our people and the region. Two ports are now operating in their optimal capacities and other commercial ports, including the important Keti Bunder, are under development in partnership with the Chinese.

But CPEC is not a one‑party or one‑province ambition. It is a national project that goes beyond infrastructural development and we will stand by all efforts to create consensus and operationalise this grand ambition. Consensus‑building among political parties and provinces is crucial as the windfall from this venture can change the game for Pakistan.

Pakistan is not equivocal about its relationship with China. Right now, as we see promises turning into projects, the widespread public ownership of the ‘feel‑ good’ factor that China generates in Pakistan continues as do questions about equity transparency spread. With a multi‑billion dollar investment like CPEC, responsibilities and obligations for both Pakistan and China double. Transparency and equitability are the foundations for which an initiative with a scale as grand as CPEC must be built on.

As CPEC rolls out in Pakistan, there are three obvious areas to focus on: economy, environment and security.

It is undeniable that as an infrastructure and investment pipeline, CPEC has the potential of taking Pakistan into a quantum leap of prosperity and peace. It is believed that Chinese investment can stimulate a 15pc increase in Pakistan’s GDP by 2030 and would likely create over a million jobs across multiple sectors in Pakistan which will in return bring prosperity. While still in its very early stages, CPEC has already created 60,000 jobs and we hope that Pakistanis would be able to capitalise on this new job market. We need more Pakistanis trained to hold down these jobs.

However, development does not start and end at infrastructure and economic growth. We must also look into tech‑knowledge sharing and collaborations as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The development of regional value chains, a phenomenon that has entirely reshaped global trade in recent decades, is a particularly exciting prospect. Pakistan is well‑positioned to gain from this shift and CPEC is the perfect opportunity to bring advanced manufacturing and production practices to the country.

We have a responsibility to empower our youth and Pakistan can be a powerhouse of opportunities. Almost 60pc of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30, making it the country’s most important demographic. To put that in context, three out of five Pakistanis are under the age of 30, full of hope and energy, but most without real employment prospects. Close to 60pc of them are currently in unstable or underpaying jobs and about 35pc are working in unpaid jobs. CPEC has given the millions of young people who enter the workforce every year a renewed hope and prosperity. We have a joint task to find ways in which we can tap into the potential of Pakistan’s youth and expand their growth, and look at ways to accelerate youth employment and skill training and to bring prosperity to this region. I look forward to working with the Chinese leadership on ensuring that more jobs and skills are created for Pakistanis.

As CPEC grows, Pakistan and China must look into a broader range of ventures and issues where we can cooperate and work on, one of which is environmental protection and climate change. Pakistan currently is the 7th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Pakistan’s carbon emissions are expected to double in two years and surge 14 times by 2050, which is way more than the global average. Given my travels in China, I know that the People’s Republic is no stranger to challenges brought about by climate change.

The enormous industrial investments and projects that will come with CPEC can be amplified if we prioritise creating a clean energy economy. I can only hope that we safeguard the future of the generations to come and that what we do today, in the name of progress, does not create new challenges for them. We hope that the Chinese government can bring to Pakistan the clean energy initiatives they have strictly enforced at home. We are old friends, and whom else can you ask for more, except from friends. Together, we must resolve to move towards eco‑friendly, sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Let me reiterate, if there is one thing that Pakistanis agree on, it is CPEC’s vision of human security, economic cooperation, reform and joint prosperity. As an economic bloc, South Asia will be one of the wealthiest regions in the world, with markets and growth vectors second only to China. At the same time, the region is also forecast for growing inequality, land hunger, poverty‑based migrations, water stress, and social deficits. These trends can be divisive in a region already crackling with tensions.

We believe that CPEC will create a new engine for reinvigorating innovation and ingenuity not just in both the countries but for the region as well. It is this cooperation, innovation and ingenuity that will drive the project of peace in a world divided by inequities, conflicts and social disorder.

The CPEC Summit once again highlighted the Chinese government’s unfaltering cooperation, support and friendship to the people of Pakistan. The future really does lie in peace through economic partnerships. Let us hope our roadmaps take our young people into a brighter, energised, connected millennium.

The writer is Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan.

SOURCE: https://www.dawn.com/news/1409514

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Gwadar: From ghost town to gold rush town

From the sky, Gwadar (gold rush town) looks like a dust bowl as the ATR aircraft, which regularly flies along the Makran coast from Karachi, circles in for landing. The new airport, currently being designed, will be the largest in Pakistan once it is completed, but for now one has to settle for the old airport. Its VIP section is used often as ministers, senators and even the prime minister and the army chief regularly visit this once sleepy fishing port. They have all proclaimed Gwadar to be the jewel of the upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC).

The drive from the airport along the newly built corniche (a wide road bordering the blue sea) is promising. However, other than this new road, there is very little visible development. Billboards proclaiming future housing estates are still to be found everywhere. Land speculation is continuing at a frantic pace, with property being bought and resold at exorbitant rates. However, a recent ad taken out by the Gwadar Development Authority in one of the Urdu papers has just declared a major chunk of these “housing estates” to be fraudulent.

The vision of a city of skyscrapers rising out of the sand is still far from being realised.

“The dream of a new Dubai is downloading at the moment – we are just having connectivity problems”, joked Sajid Baloch, one of the local journalists we met.

For now, Gwadar is a thirsty gold town where electricity comes and goes and water is so scarce that the local fishermen tell me they haven’t bathed with clean water in years. The last cyclone hit Jiwani in 2007, bringing heavy rains along the coast. In the last three years, it has not rained at all, drying up the local Akra Kaur Dam, which provided drinking water to Gwadar. At the moment, everyone is dependent on tankers to fetch water from as far as the Mirani Dam in Turbat.

“Tube wells are no good here – we only get brackish water which is not even fit for bathing,” said Abdul Majid, one of the fishermen we met.

Fishermen in Gwadar complain about lack of electricity and water

There is garbage everywhere, for no one comes to collect it and the wind whips it up. Gwadar means “door of winds” in the local language, and there is always a breeze on the hammer head shaped peninsula jutting into the Arabian Sea.

We walk around the old part of town the next day – the roads are full of potholes and there are demolished buildings everywhere. It is disappointing to re-visit the oldest and most historical part of Gwadar (gold town), the Ismaili quarter. It has fallen further into disrepair, and it seems almost all the Ismaili families (followers of the Aga Khan), who had been living here for four generations, have now moved abroad.

The crumbling old Ismaili quarter

The multi-storied buildings, which could easily be restored, with their wind catchers and wooden balconies, are now rotting away. The 16th century Portuguese watchtower, made of sturdy coral bricks, is still intact, but the staircase leading up to the rusted canon is boarded up. Near the tower is the Ismaili Jamaat Khana, which was built in 1805, and one can still see the Portuguese influence in the architecture. The building is well maintained but padlocked – it only opens up during prayer timings.

The Portuguese watchtower in the old part of Gwadar

Gwadar has always had an interesting history. Long after the Portuguese left in the 16thcentury, for almost two centuries it was owned by the Sultan of Oman. In 1781, the Khan of Kalat granted an exiled prince of Muscat the revenues of Gwadar as maintenance, while he lived on the Makran coast. The prince later returned to Oman and became the Sultan, but he did not return Gwadar to Kalat. In 1839, the British conquered Kalat. After Pakistan came into being in 1947, the Pakistani government once again took up the question of the ownership of Gwadar. Finally, Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Sir Feroze Khan Noon entered into negotiations with the British, which resulted in Gwadar being returned to Pakistan in 1958.

Today, the idea is to capitalise on Gwadar’s location near the Persian Gulf and turn it into a high-tech duty free zone and regional shipping hub. The state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company Group is working at a furious pace at the deep sea port, which we visited on our last day in Gwadar.

The deep sea port

According to the Director Operations for the port, Phase I is now complete, with four ships being handled per month, and work has started on Phase II, which will see the port being expanded. With its smooth roads, greenery and signs in Chinese, the port seems like another country once you pass the security checks. The Chinese workers live in their own China Town inside the port, and in a span of just six months, they have completed a brand new Business Centre, complete with hotel rooms, an auditorium and office spaces inside the duty free zone.

The new Business Centre in the duty free zone of the port

In the lobby is a large marble mural showing the map of Asia with China in pink and Pakistan sticking out in green. A line of dots, which light up at night, show the new trade routes to be created by CPEC, from the west of China, through the high mountains, and down across Pakistan to Gwadar and beyond to the Middle East by ship.

The lobby of the Business Centre with the map of China and Pakistan

The lobby of the Business Centre with the map of China and Pakistan

The deep sea port has now been dredged to a depth of 14.5 metres, and ships are regularly coming in to berth. The people working for the Gwadar Port Authority say there has been a lot of progress in the last two years. The duty free zone opened up in January this year and already they have held a large expo at the Business Centre.

There are now two state of the art desalination plants inside the port built by the Chinese. The larger one, which can provide 254,000 gallons of clean water per day, has just signed an agreement with the Government of Balochistan to supply water at Rs0.80 a litre for the people of Gwadar (gold town). Now the tankers can fill up here and no longer need to go all the way to the Mirani Dam. The Pakistan Army is also hurriedly making a large new desalination plant with the assistance of the UAE and Swiss governments, which will provide the local people with 4.4 million gallons of water per day soon after Ramazan.

Chinese engineer sampling clean water from the new desalination plant

An imported coal-based power plant, which will supply 300MW of electricity to Gwadar (gold town), is also being constructed by the Chinese around 20 kilometres from the port. There is also talk of getting electricity from nearby Iran, and opening up the border for trade and visitors. The Army has supplemented the local hospital, bringing in specialist doctors, while the security in this area has also vastly improved.

Currently, there are security check posts all over Gwadar, and everyone carries their ID cards with them. Baloch nationalists have opposed this new development but in the last two years, the Army, which is guaranteeing security of CPEC, appears to have taken control of the area. The army officials we met during our visit all explained that Gwadar and CPEC are in fact vital to Pakistan’s future economic survival, and they are just as determined as the Chinese to ensure this dream becomes a reality.

SOURCE: https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/66919/gwadar-from-ghost-town-to-gold-rush-town/

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Central Asian Republics urged to utilize potential of Gwadar port

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan truly stands at a historic juncture. The country’s strategic location, once being a liability is now a bridge between Europe and Asia. Center of economic power is shifting from the West to East. Over the years Asia Central Asian Republics (CARs) has become a leading player in the emerging economies of the world, stated Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz.

He was speaking at the seminar on “Dynamics of Geo-Politics, Regional Security and Economic Connectivity” organised by National Security Division in collaboration with the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad, which was attended by the ambassadors of Central Asian Republics (CARs).

He said that regional connectivity in Asia now lies at the center of the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative which aims to connect Asia with Europe and CPEC, a central part of this network, is an all-inclusive economic corridor for the region.

National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua stated that Pakistan by connecting 86%  of the people of the world is a massive potential trade and industrial hub.

The NSA urged Central Asian Republics (CARs) to utilise the huge potential of Balochistan and sea access through Gwadar which is the world’s largest deep sea port.

“Balochistan is our face,” he added. “Pakistan will multiply the economy of the entire region.”

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Alizada enunciated that the landscape of the world is changing dramatically and countries are changing their state policies swiftly in the wake of unfolding global crescendos.

“Peace is the only option to move towards sustainable future. Pakistan has always backed peace and stability in the region and Azerbaijan is grateful to Pakistan for their positive role in this regard,” the ambassador added.

Giving Turkey’s perspective Professor Erhan Dogan from Marmara University Istanbul stated that Turkey has some regional calculations and some international.

“What China, USA and Russia envisage their role in other parts of the world definitely has significant impact over Turkey’s equation with the global world?”

The Turkish professor said that Pakistan and Turkey have common cultural heritage and people of Turkey have a great respect for Pakistan.

Kazakh Ambassador Barlybay Sadykov stated that confidence building measures should remain on the top agenda in order to maintain global security and ensure peace. “International terrorism is a common threat and requires collective response.”

He further stated that Afghan peace process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, with that all share responsibility to assist Afghan peace process. “Geopolitical and geo-economics of the region both offers opportunities and face threats. Geo-economics can press for the need of cooperation among nations,” he added.

Gwadar is very important for Uzbekistan, said Uzbek ambassador to Pakistan Furqat A. Sidiqov, as the country needs access to warm waters. Furthermore, he stated that stability in Afghanistan is pivotal for both Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Pakistan in this regard for strengthening economic connectivity of the region.

Kyrgyz Ambassador to Pakistan hoped that the planned railway link from Kashghar in China to Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan under CPEC, after completion, will connect Pakistan to Kyrgyz Republic through rail network, leading to more economic opportunities.

In the search for optimal solutions to the accumulated problems of the region, Tajik Ambassador Sherali Jononov was of the view that the response to the global and regional challenges requires broad dialogue and concerted efforts of the entire international community.

Speaking on the common challenges faced by the region, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asif Yasin stated that good governance and governance alone would lead to internal stability, fight against terrorism and poverty in the region.

He also added that Pakistan and Afghanistan have common stakes. Trans-Afghanistan and trans-Pakistan are the contemporary phenomena that will spell out future relationship between the two.

Pakistan’s biggest challenge is to ensure security and security challenges are not solved by military means but development, said Lt. General (retd) Talat Masood in his concluding remarks as the chair and moderator of the seminar.

SOURCE: https://arynews.tv/en/central-asian-republics-gwadar-port/

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UPS targeting Pakistan’s growing international trade and CPEC

LAHORE: UPS, the international global logistic company is entering into a partnership with local logistics and shipping titan TCS, as it eyes Pakistan’s growing international trade and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for opportunities.

This partnership with TCS is intended to assist in reducing the cutting time and cost of shipments into and out of Pakistan reported Dawn.

President UPS, Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (ISMEA) region, Mr. Jean-Francois Condamine was on a visit to Lahore recently to open the country’s second ‘Gateway’.

Mr. Francois said the country’s market is very rich and it provided a plethora of opportunities to develop business in Pakistan.

Regarding the ‘Gateway’, the United Parcel Service ISMEA President stated it is a place where the company would handle all the company’s volumes coming in and going out of the country.

He added this would provide a way to enhance shipment for exporters. Mr. Francois shared business-to-business (B2B) ventures were growing in stride around the world and Pakistan’s dealings with rest of the world had shown glimpses of the coming of digitization and business-to-consumer trends.

Also, the UPS ISMEA president said the company’s partnership with TCS was commercial and both had worked together for the last 2.5 years.

Mr. Francois shared United Parcel Service’s partnership with TCS was very natural since the latter had a 65 percent market share in Pakistan and the former was a global behemoth in the logistics space with a presence in over 220 countries.

While talking about CPEC, Mr. Francois highlighted UPS had a presence in all those countries where the corridor project is connecting.

He said CPEC was an extension of seaports connecting continents, which was very significant for UPS too.

The UPS ISMEA president stated this corridor was about the connecting of geographical blocs which includes China, Europe, Middle East and East Africa and offers a major opportunity for the company.

Mr. Francois said the company had a presence in China and was in Pakistan now to take advantage of any opportunity which comes UPS’s way.

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CPEC — challenges and solutions

Gilgit-Baltistan G-B is home to over 50 mountain peaks above 7,000 metres and three of the world’s largest glaciers that are also the greatest pure water storage assets for Pakistan. According to estimates by G-B’s Water and Power Department, around 45,000MW of hydropower can be produced through utilisation of these water resources. Yet due to the altitudinal factors, G-B has a mountain ecosystem vulnerable to climate change and one likely to be affected by the industrial and business developments in future.

Gilgit-Baltistan G-B has been in the spotlight following CPEC’s initiation. A project of scale as huge as CPEC is pivotal to the economic and social development of the populace of the region, generating more of income avenues, investment options and opportunities of capital utilisation. While simultaneously providing more prospects for cultural exchange, interaction and diversification. Nevertheless it has an unavoidable cost attached to it.

Massive industrial development along the routes starting from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China, to Abbottabad in K-P, Pakistan, will damage the ecological system and the scenic beauty of the region. The biggest threat will be of the traffic emissions moving through this route.

With CPEC, demand for petroleum products set to grow

According to a research study, a single 22-wheeler truck vehicle produces 931g of carbon dioxide per km. From Khunjarab Pass to the Bhasha Dam site, a 427km-long northern and southern boundaries of G-B, stretching on the Karakoram Highway, a single truck will emit 396.6kgs of carbon dioxide. CO2 emission will be heavier, 2913.1kgs, in one trip from Kashgar to Gwadar. With current capacity of KKH, for less than 1,000 trucks per day from China to Pakistan, with the expected maturity of road routes, by around 2035, it is projected that about 12,000 trucks will enter and leave Pakistan, making a total of 24,000 trucks running through the route per day.

Currently, about 2,000 trucks running on both sides emit 793.2 tons in and a total of 5,826.2 tons of CO2 from cargo vehicles per day. In future 9,508.8 tons of CO2 will be emitted per day in Gilgit-Baltistan G-B territory and a total of 69,914.4 tons of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere along the entire route in a single day.

In general, CO2 is a heavy gas that does not move upwards into the atmosphere and with high mountains in surroundings remains trapped in between, this will be apocalyptic to the region’s ecosystem. The high volume of the greenhouse CO2 trapped in mountains will significantly increase atmospheric temperature causing a heavy melting of glaciers. For a water-stressed country like Pakistan, this will initially cause floods and then alarmingly severe water shortage.

High concentration of pollutants in atmosphere will drastically deteriorate the air quality in the area and substantially increase the level of air pollution.

Scientific research and advanced technologies provide solutions to threats like global warming and environmental degradation. One such solution to have eco-friendly energy sources for transportation is hydrogen. Hydrogen, an energy carrier, can be used as fuel in vehicles, as most beneficially it emits water vapour but no harmful gases. Moreover, due to greater energy density than conventional fossil fuels efficiency of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is significantly higher than that of conventional vehicles.

Key to CPEC success

Germany is currently leading in hydrogen technology and plans to make hydrogen accessible in all its big cities by 2020. In G-B’s case, hydrogen can be produced here by local hydropower resources with a zero carbon footprint. the G-B government needs to be proactive in decision-making, planning and strategising for future while collaborating with market leaders in this technology. As CPEC infrastructure is developed in stages and will take at least 10 to 15 years to complete and run on its optimal targets, a proactive initiative in this regard is vital to protect the environment.

As China is investing in development of environmentally-sustainable technologies, agreements with its government can be made to make CPEC an emission-free route.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1688108/6-cpec-challenges-solutions/

Political squabbling hit Gwadar Port City development

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said that the provincial government is forced to take loan for the development of Gwadar Port City as the federal government has yet to release the promised Rs1 billion for the project.

“Neglecting Balochistan is tantamount to neglecting Pakistan as the country’s development depends on our province,” said Balochistan CM while talking to the media after an open court at the CM House on Friday.

PTI moves resolutions seeking PM apology over Sanjrani remarks

Bizenjo said, “Our differences with the federal government should not interfere with the provincial development.”

Lamenting the federal government’s reckless behaviour in releasing funds for Balochistan’s development, Bizenjo said, “The federal government pledged Rs1 billion for Gwadar Port City but the amount has yet to be released. The developmental projects are being completed by taking loans from donors because we want to provide relief to the people of Balochistan in line with the promise we made to them.”

He said, “Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should think about the whole country and keep political differences aside.”

Bizenjo – a man of substance

Regretting over the PM’s remarks against the Senate chairman, the Balochistan CM said, “Abbasi’s statement against Sadiq Sanjrani has astonished the people of Balochistan.”

On new appointments of candidates who passed the National Testing Service (NTS) test, Bizenjo said, “Appointment orders of successful candidates will be issued this week. We have pledged to provide jobs on merit, but unfortunately we are being held responsible for the previous regime’s mismanagement.”

The chief minister said, “If we had a competent regime in the past, today Balochistan would have depicted a better picture. Those who were involved in corruption are holding us responsible for mass joblessness.”

Bizenjo for eliminating joblessness, poverty

Sharing his views on the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party, the CM said, “The new party is a gift for the people of Balochistan as the province needs new leadership to address the myriad of issues existing in Balochistan. I will announce my joining of the party.”

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Pakistani policymakers recommend better management of CPEC

A group of policymakers on Tuesday recommended Pakistan to establish a specific China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) unit within the framework of Council of Common Interests (CCI), in order to achieve “transparency and efficiency” in the project.

On the launch of 10th Annual Report titled ‘The State of the Economy: CPEC Review and Analysis’, Shahid Javed Burki of the Institute of Public Policy opined that the Chinese-funded project had not yet been fully “defined and developed”.

“To realise its full potential, the CPEC program must have the support of all the citizens,” he said.

The CCI is a constitutional body in Pakistan, which resolves the disputes of power-sharing between the country and its provinces. The body is chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

According to the report, it stated that proper planning of the four proposed functional zones was essentially imperative for harnessing the comparative and competitive advantage of each zone based on agro and other value chains, The Express Tribune reported.

Burki claimed that the CPEC project was expected to add 2 percent growth to Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) and greater integration of the country’s backward areas with the developed areas.

Stressing on the benefit of the economic corridor, Burki added, “CPEC will also link Pakistan with the global economic system from which it has remained relatively detached.”

Former State Bank of Pakistan governor Ishrat Husain who also attended the event, touted the CPEC project to help in boosting technology and human development in Pakistan.

The building of the USD 62 billion economic corridor gives China access to waterways which is about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes. When built, it will link Gwadar to Xinjiang region in China.

In response to it, a certain section of people, especially the Baloch people have harboured fears of Pakistan being colonised by the Chinese.

India against the CPEC project since it passes through the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) region. (ANI)

 

Source: https://www.siasat.com/news/pak-policymakers-recommend-better-management-cpec-1329553/

Under CPEC: First container vessel anchors at Gwadar

QUETTA: 

The first ever container vessel MS TIGER under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project arrived at the Gwadar port on Wednesday, this vessel was escorted to the port by the navy ships, PNS DEHSHAT and KARAR where an impressive ceremony was held to welcome the ship onboard.

The new ship container service called the Karachi-Gwadar Gulf Express will connect the Gwadar port to the Middle Eastern hub of Jebel Ali as well as the neighboring Emirati ports.

PM to visit Gwadar amid concerns over anti-CPEC propaganda

CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and its success is just a prelude to the economic prosperity of the country and hence has taken central stage in the economic, political and security calculus of not only Pakistan but the entire region”, said Commander Coast of Pakistan Navy, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas while speaking at the reception ceremony.

He also said that considering the importance of the Gwadar Port as focal point of CPEC, its security is paramount. For this purpose, the Pakistan navy has raised Task Force 88 to provide maximum defence to the port and its surrounding areas.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1653969/1-cpec-first-container-vessel-anchors-gwadar/