The Asian Age – Doklam face-off resolved through diplomatic maturity, says Sushma Swaraj

China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory to which India had objected saying the territory does not belong to China.

New Delhi – India, 02 August 2018. The Centre on Wednesday informed Parliament that the India-China face-off over Doklam was resolved through “diplomatic maturity without losing any ground” and status quo has been maintained.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha that the main objective of the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping at Wuhan was to ensure mutual comfort, mutual understanding and mutual trust between the two leaders and all the three objectives have been achieved.

“We have resolved the Doklam issue with diplomatic maturity without losing any ground. There is no change in the status quo (on the ground). There is not an iota of change. The face-off at sight has been resolved on August 28, 2017,” she said during Question Hour.

The external affairs minister said the Wuhan informal summit was held without any agenda and without having any objections to discuss any specific issue.

Before the summit, the foreign ministers of the two countries decided that the leaders should not be restricted to any specific issue, she said.

“The decision to host Wuhan was taken not to resolve any issue but to create a conducive environment. Three main objectives were to ensure mutual comfort, mutual understanding and mutual trust. In all the three objectives, we have achieved success,” she said.

Ms Swaraj said as a follow up to the Wuhan summit, the Chinese defence minister is coming to enhance military cooperation while the foreign minister will arrive later this year as part of efforts to enhance the people-to-people contact. The first informal summit between Modi and Jinping was held at the Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27-28.

India and China were locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for over 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the area. China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory to which India had objected saying the territory does not belong to China.

To another query, Ms Swaraj also made it clear that the boundary dispute between Bhutan and China was continuing and it was a matter between those two countries.

Trinamool Congress member Sugata Bose said that since the external affairs minister was not present in Wuhan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House, he should make an intervention and disclose what had happened in his informal summit with the Chinese leader.

Ms Swaraj dismissed the suggestion, saying she was capable of answering all questions relating to the Wuhan summit.

“I am capable of answering all questions, irrespective of whether I was present there or not. I am fully aware of what was happening there,” she said.

Replying to a question regarding the South China Sea dispute, Ms Swaraj said India believed that the international sea route should be free for navigation.

http://www.asianage.com/india/politics/020818/doklam-face-off-resolved-through-diplomatic-maturity-says-sushma-swaraj.html

Advertisements

The Hindustan Times – Suggestion of India, Pakistan, China trilateral summit great idea: Chinese envoy 

The Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui also said on Monday India and China cannot have another Doklam-like standoff and that the two countries need to narrow their differences.

New Delhi – India, 18 June 2018. Bilateral ties between India and China can’t take the strain of another Doklam episode, Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui said on Monday, emphasising on the need to find a “mutually acceptable solution” on the boundary issue through a meeting of the Special Representatives.

The Chinese envoy said at an event in New Delhi that “some Indian friends” had suggested a trilateral summit comprising India, China and Pakistan was a “very constructive” idea.

Leaders of China, Russia and Mongolia hold a similar meet, he noted.

“This is a proposal suggested by some Indian friends and it is a very a good and constructive idea. Maybe not now, but in the future, that is the great idea.”

Dwelling on Sino-Indian ties, he said it is quite natural to have differences but they need to be controlled and managed through cooperation.

“We need to control, manage, narrow differences through expanding cooperation. The boundary question was left over by history. We need to find a mutual acceptable solution through Special Representatives’ Meeting while adopting confidence building measures,” he said.

“We cannot stand another Doklam (sic),” the envoy said.

He was delivering a keynote address on ‘Beyond Wuhan: How Far and Fast can China-India Relations Go’ at an event organised by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a 73-day stand-off at the Doklam tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China between June to August last year.

One of the immediate fallouts of the Doklam stand-off was the suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from Nathu-La side and the annual military exercise between the two countries. China also did not give the hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and the Indus river that originates in Chinese Tibet.

The envoy said on Monday China will continue to promote religious exchanges and make arrangements for Indian pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet.

Post-Doklam, there have been frequent high-level engagements between the leaders of the two countries.

This year alone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice in the last two months in Wuhan and Qingdao.

Luo said the two leaders are also likely to meet on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit and G20 Summit later this year.

He noted that security cooperation is one of the three pillars of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, an eight-member grouping also comprising India, China and Pakistan.

The envoy added that relations between India and China have gone beyond the bilateral scope.

“We need to enhance coordination and cooperation in SCO, BRICS and join hands to tackle social challenges,” he said.

Responding to a question on India-China cooperation in Afghanistan, Luo said the two countries have identified a programme to train Afghan public servants and diplomats.

“This is a first step and in future, there is more…,” he said.

In the informal summit between Modi and Xi at the Wuhan, the two countries had agreed to work jointly on an economic project in Afghanistan.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/suggestion-of-india-pakistan-china-trilateral-summit-great-idea-chinese-envoy/story-0i90BTlkqOFZEC9Hqag62I.html

Dawn – Parties in Gilgit call for abolition of all federal taxes

The Newspaper’s Correspondent

Gilgit – Gilgit-Baltistan – Pakistan, 12 June 2018. A multiparty conference called by the Gilgit-Baltistan Importers and Exporters Association here on Monday declared illegal the imposition of all federal taxes, including the customs duty, on the GB people till settlement of the constitutional status of the region.

The MPC announced complete support for the over two-month-long boycott of the China-Pakistan trade by the GB traders, labourers and transporters, through the Khunjerab pass, against the introduction of WeBOC system at the Sust dry port.

Members of GBLA, representatives of political parties, including PPP, PTI, religious and nationalist leaders, lawyers, labour union leaders and civil society activists attended the conference.

On the occasion, President Awami Action committee Maulana Sultan Raees said GB people had unanimously demanded the due rights enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan. GB should be declared a tax-free zone till settlement of the constitutional status of the region, he demanded.

He warned of dire consequences if their demands were not met.

PPP president Amjad Hussain Advocate saidif Malakand division was exempted from taxes, then why federal taxes were imposed on GB people.

He declared that not addressing GB traders’ demands was a conspiracy against the CPEC project and akin to crippling the local economy.

Shakeel Ahmed Advocate, President of GB Chief Court Bar Association, said the FBR had not accepted the Chief Court’s order regarding suspension of WeBOC at the Sust dry port, which was humiliation of the GB judiciary.

Malik Kifait, president of Diamer Grand Jirga, said GB people had unanimously rejected the WeBOC system.

PTI’s Najeebullah Khan, PPP’s Javed Hussain, and others also spoke on the occasion.

Javed Hussain said WeBOC had been introduced to deprive GB residents of the benefits of China-Pakistan trade and to facilitate traders from the outside.

Ashfaq Ahmed, president of GB importers and exporters body, said so far no official of FBR had contacted them for talks since the suspension of the trade at the Sust dry port, which reflected on their apathy towards the problems of the region’s traders.

The MPC adopted a unanimous resolution, declaring that if the GB traders’ demands were not accepted till June 20, a shutter down and wheel-jam strike call would be given in all the 10 districts of the region.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1413648/parties-in-gilgit-call-for-abolition-of-all-federal-taxes

The Hindu – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the elephant in the room: Nirmala Sitharaman

However, there are now greater engagements between India and China, the Defence Minister says.

Special Correspondent

Chennai – Tamil Nadu – India, 09 June 2018. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the “elephant in the room” for India, but India does not view its bilateral relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan relationship which “is getting intense”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

China-Pakistan prism

“There has been an increased dependence of Pakistan’s military on Chinese arms and ammunition. The fundamental reorientation of the China-Pakistan relationship is getting intense. (But) We do not view our relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan relations,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She was speaking at an international seminar on China’s geopolitics to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Chennai Centre for China Studies here on Friday.

Ms. Sitharaman said there was now a greater engagement between India and China, and with India’s participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the relationship was becoming stronger.

“There is now a greater scope for engagement, and engagement itself can be a very strong way in which the relationship can be bettered,” she said.

The Defence Minister further said that India had good bilateral cooperation with many members of the SCO. “There are many platforms available for engagement.

There is a reinvigoration, there are many mechanisms that are existing whether it is border personnel meet, the dispute redressal meets, crisis management study groups meet, are all actively engaging every now and then,” she said.

‘Create hotline’

However, having a hotline between the two countries would help disputes to be resolved faster.

“A hotline would definitely reduce the time consumed in reaching the empowered group of decision-makers in case there is a crisis at the ground level,” in a reference to the Doklam stand-off between the two countries.

She added that the two-day informal engagement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan “will have some outcome in the short term, but without doubt in the long term the relationship will benefit from it”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/china-pakistan-economic-corridor-is-the-elephant-in-the-room-nirmala-sitharaman/article24116209.ece

The Asian Age – India looks to China for speeding-up of Bangalore-Chennai train corridor

The proposal was made at the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) held in Beijing between the two countries.

New Delhi/Beijing, 15 April 2018. India has sought China’s assistance to speed up Bangalore-Chennai railway corridor besides redevelopment of Agra and Jhansi railway stations, a senior Indian official said on Sunday.

The proposal was made at the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) held in Beijing between the two countries.

“We offered them speeding up of Bangalore-Chennai railway corridor,” NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Sunday.

The SED was held between delegations headed by Kumar and He Lifeng, the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The proposal was made for increasing the speed of the corridor to 150 kmph.

India previously made a proposal to China for the redevelopment of Agra and Jhansi railway station. It has been re-emphasised at Saturday’s talks, officials said.

The Chinese side will respond after considering the proposals, they said.

Kumar said it was pointed out to the Chinese side that the railway station development plan is a big one involving about 600 of them. They can bid for any of them, he said.

However, there was no discussion in the just concluded SED about the collaboration to build high speed trains by China in India, he said.

China has been expressing interest to take up high speed train corridors in India and began conducting a feasibility study for New Delhi and Chennai high speed train corridor.

The first high-speed train corridor in India between Mumbai and Ahmedabad has been bagged by Japan.

China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network, with 22,000 km within the country linking various top cities.

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/150418/india-looks-to-china-for-speeding-up-of-bangalore-chennai-train-corridor.html

The News – A war with no winners

A Rauf K Khattak

Op/Ed, 10 April 2018. Do ideologies rule the world? Do they last? Yes, they rule and last as long as they serve the purpose of powerful nations or individuals. This is a cynical statement. But cynicism is not without reason or it would not have existed.

Adam Smith, a Scottish economist, wrote his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776), which is considered to be the Bible of capitalism. His ideas ran counter to the prevailing economic theories of his day, especially mercantilism. He propounded the idea of free trade.

Free trade does not have a single, unified definition. It generally refers to trade between nations without any artificial barriers introduced by the government. He said that free trade brought wealth and prosperity to individuals and nations and, thereby, increase the sum-total of human welfare.

Governments, he said, should allow the “invisible hand” to rule the markets. If everybody acts from self-interest and is spurred on by the profit motive, then the economy will work more efficiently.

Smith wrote that it is as if an “invisible hand” guides the actions of individuals for the common good. Government action, however, was required to impose anti-trust laws, enforce property rights, and police and protect the industry essential for national defence.

This idea was further developed and refined by British politician and economist David Ricardo in 1817 when he presented the law of comparative advantage.

Simply stated, if two nations trade and one of them is more efficient in producing both goods A and B, it should produce good A in which it is more efficient and leave good B to the other trading partner nation to produce.

As a result, trading goods A and B with each other becomes more beneficial, even when one nation is more productive than the other.

Britain adopted free trade and became the leading industrial nation of the 18th and 19th centuries. It gathered enormous amounts of wealth and riches. Unfortunately, the ideology applied to Britain only. Its vast colonies were excluded from this ideology.

Let’s not forget how it pulverised the weavers of Bengal. Textile was the leading industry of the Subcontinent at the time. Soldiers were sent to destroy the looms so that the factories owners of Lancashire could thrive.

The worst example was the Salt Act. Britain’s Salt Acts prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt – a staple in their diet. Citizens were forced to buy the vital mineral from the British who, in addition to exercising a monopoly over manufacturing and selling salt, also exerted a heavy salt tax.

Defying the Salt Act, Mahatma Gandhi started the Salt March or the Salt Satyagraha in March 1930 – a trek of 240 kilometres on foot to the sea to make their own salt. The British called it an act of rebellion.

The Roaring Nineties and globalisation, an era of great optimism and great expectations, heralded not only free movements of goods and services but also resulted in free movements of finance and ideas. The world is one village, it was proclaimed.

Reams of paper were wasted celebrating globalisation and high-minded pronouncements came from intellectuals of all stripes. Poor nations were given hope that their days of deprivation will soon be over. The West will become the East and the East will become the West and happily the twain shall live.

China appears on the world stage with economic reforms called ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’. These reforms were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China that was led by Deng Xiaoping.

In three or more decades, it became the second largest economy of the world and was referred to as the factory of the world. According to the World Bank, more than 500 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty over the last three or more decades.

Unable to cope with a surging China, America’s public opinion shifted inwards and compelled Trump to push his ‘America First’, agenda.

Adam Smith has once again been turned on his head. On March 9, Trump slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel and 15 percent tariff on aluminum imports, daring the world to start a trade war. He said: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win”.

Ignorance is a voluntary misfortune. It is the mother of impudence and the nurse of obstinacy. Wars, whether they involve physical warfare or trade, have never been won. It is the war that wins.

After independence from Britain, the US embraced free trade as a policy, but only when it was favourable to it. The most prominent trade war of the 20th century was ignited by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which imposed steep tariffs on almost 20,000 imported goods.

America’s trading partners retaliated with tariffs on US exports, which plunged to 61 percent from 1929 to 1933. America had to repeal tariffs in 1934. It was such a disaster that it held sway over American trade policy for 80 years.

Free trade between rich countries and poor countries usually does not work to the benefit of both
Man in Blue

The writer is a former civil servant and a former minister.

Email: ruafkkhattak@gmail.com

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/302444-a-war-with-no-winners

Dawn – Triangular cold war

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi

Op/Ed, 07 April 2018. A triangular cold war is developing which could be much more dangerous than the 20th-century Cold War. This new cold war ranges the US against Russia and China.

The US remains the world’s number one military, S&T, economic and financial power. However, despite its global full-spectrum dominance, it is challenged in Europe and the Middle East by Russia, in East Asia by China, and in Central and South Asia by both.

The Pentagon officially says the “long war” against international terrorism is drawing to a close. It argues “the US must bolster its competitive military advantage relative to the threats posed by China and Russia” because “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security”.

It concludes “the US-dominated global order today is challenged not by Al Qaeda and ISIS but by the aggressive behaviour of China and Russia”.

According to Prof Michael Clare “a permanent campaign to contain Russia and China in Eurasia has begun. The US military has committed itself and the nation to a three-front geopolitical struggle to resist Chinese and Russian advances in Asia, Europe and the Middle East”.

Centcom commander, General Votel, told the Senate “the containment of China and Russia has become an integral part of Centcom’s future strategic mission”. Of particular concern is “the Chinese-managed port at Gwadar in Pakistan” which could contribute to “China’s military posture and force projection”.

What are the implications of a new cold war for Pakistan?

This answers questions why the US plans a long-term presence in Afghanistan and why it is concerned with Gwadar, CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative. This is also the context within which it pressures Pakistan on Afghanistan, terrorism and its nuclear arsenal, and in which it has recruited India to its strategic camp.

The current spate of US and Western accusations against Russia and diplomatic expulsions increasingly seems an orchestrated prelude to a new cold war.

The US aims to sanction and isolate Russia into withdrawing from Ukraine and Syria, disengaging from its strategic embrace of China, abandoning its developing understanding with Iran and Turkey, and refraining from building a significant political presence in Afghanistan.

Russia may be economically vulnerable but militarily and politically it is strong. Moreover, Russians admire Putin because even if he has not delivered democracy and prosperity he embodies Russian defiance and resilience.

Russia has developed Sarmat 2 missiles which it claims the US cannot intercept. If true, it would have a nuclear first-strike capability. The US claims a similar capability. A US-Russian mutual first-strike capability is extremely destabilising.

In case of a serious military confrontation, neither side could risk not striking first. During the last cold war a shared second-strike capability helped avert such doomsday scenarios.

Despite mutual suspicion, China does not want Russia humiliated and destabilised by a US that regards China as its main adversary. The renewed American cold war with Russia and possible trade war with China brings both countries together.

The blustering Trump is a weak leader whom neither Moscow nor Beijing can trust to control his hawks. This is the opposite of what Nixon and Kissinger achieved. They exploited Sino-Soviet mistrust and enabled the US to become the preferred interlocutor for both China and Russia.

Today, according to Prof James Petras, “while China exports economic products, the US exports arms and wars”.

The US has a surplus of arms exports and a growing commercial deficit. China has multibillion-dollar infrastructure investments in over 50 countries that enhance trade surpluses. The US has multibillion-dollar expenditures in over 800 military bases that enhance trade deficits”.

Moreover, a “trade war with China will result in higher prices for the US consumer, unskilled labour, war debts and financial monopolies. China will simply divert trade from the US to other countries and redirect its investments towards deepening its domestic economy and increasing ties with Russia, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania”.

America’s response is to rely on its military supremacy to compensate for its woeful diplomatic and economic strategies.

What are the implications of a new cold war for Pakistan? US demands to “do more” will further escalate.

The US-Indian strategic alliance will deepen as the US remains distant and demanding towards Pakistan. India will progressively if not completely downgrade its strategic relations with Russia. It will bide its time with China which in turn will keep a door open to India, especially if Pakistan remains dysfunctional.

India would expect very significant transfers of military and development technology from the US and its allies, enabling it to eventually engage with China on less disadvantageous terms, at the expense of Pakistan.

Apart from these grave implications of a new cold war for Pakistan, the 21st century poses existential challenges that have been largely ignored by derelict governments and educationally and ethically challenged leadership, abetted by the narrow security focus of an overwhelming ‘deep state’. Pakistan’s population will be 400 million in 30 years.

Climate change threatens water scarcity and loss of agricultural land leading to widespread famine and disease.

Human security is also threatened by deliberate underfunding for general, vocational and S&T education; generating family-supporting jobs in a global knowledge economy; providing adequate health and other basic services; developing institutional capacities and credibility; reforming the criminal justice and police systems; ensuring the rule of law; and guaranteeing human rights protections.

The government doesn’t even want to know about these challenges. They can only be addressed by good governance at home; deeper geostrategic and geo-economic cooperation with China and Russia; good and substantive if non-strategic relations with the US based on addressing each other’s concerns; a non-confrontational, dialogue-based and problem-solving working relationship with India despite outstanding differences and futile provocations; and developing mutual confidence with Afghanistan. I have suggested specific measures (see ‘Who is listening?’ in Dawn, 9 October 2017).

Longer-term perspectives, rational mindsets, due diligence and honest common sense are what is required for policies to develop credibility, direction and momentum. Political and other non-civilian policy decision-makers should listen to and consider objective, professional and relevant advice and input.

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan.

ashrafjqazi@gmail.com

www.ashrafjqazi.com

https://www.dawn.com/news/1400108/triangular-cold-war

Dawn – The China-India tango

Khurram Husain

Op/Ed, 08 March 2018. To those who have been paying attention despite the noise and fury of the domestic political scene, something very important appears to be changing between China and India.

It is worthwhile for Pakistan to pay attention, especially bearing in mind that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs was the first to publicly congratulate China on getting the vice presidency of the Financial Action Task Force on that Friday when the rest of Pakistan was busy trying to figure out what exactly happened during those meetings.

“Congratulations to China on its election as Vice President of Financial Action Task Force at the #FATF plenary meeting. on 23 February 2018. We remain hopeful that China would uphold & support the objectives & standards of FATF in a balanced, objective, impartial & holistic way” is what that midday tweet from the official spokesperson of the ministry said, leaving us all wondering what exactly had happened there in Paris.

But it doesn’t end here. More recently, the Indian government called on all its officials to refrain from attending a ‘Thank you India’ rally being organised by the Dalai Lama in Delhi, which is an annual affair and always sees attendance by high-level Indian officialdom, as well as searing rhetoric directed towards China during the speeches that take place there.

This time the event has been rescheduled and moved back to Dharamsala, where the Tibetan organisation is based, and will hold the rally on April 1.

There was no open advisory from the government to do this apparently, just a quiet word whispered to the Dalai Lama to keep things tame, and an internal communication letting government officials (including from the states) to refrain from attending.

The gesture has been interpreted by columnists and observers of Indian foreign policy as a clear bow to Chinese sensitivities.

Beneath the surface, we see other indications that something larger than a regional flashpoint and a few irritants might be in the driving seat.

What is interesting is that this bow comes after a flurry of articles in the Indian media announcing that China is hardening its positions in the Doklam plateau, the most sensitive point along the 4000 kilometre-long border between India and China because it is where three countries meet: China, India and Bhutan.

The Chinese acknowledged the building of the new infrastructure on the plateau as early as January, saying in an official statement that they are building in their own territory (the area is, in fact, disputed with Bhutan, while India supports Bhutan’s claim).

In the first few days of March, reports in the Indian media began to talk of new helipads being built in Doklam, housing sufficient to put up 1,800 troops, artillery, trenches and increased air defences.

Even in late February, there was mounting concern in India over these developments, with reports circulating that this was the first time that the Chinese hosted troops at that altitude, implying that their presence at the positions they held since August 2017, when last summer’s stand-off had come to a standstill, may be permanent.

As of a few days ago, this hardening of the Chinese positions in Doklam was officially acknowledged by the India’s defence minister. Yet, India’s diplomacy continues to favour going soft on Chinese sensitivities, by pulling away from the Dalai Lama as well as staying out of the ongoing crisis in the Maldives.

So what’s going on? One take is that India is doing all this with an eye to the forthcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to be held in China this June.

Additionally, reports are also circulating that a high-level visit from Beijing to Delhi could take place later this year, possibly with President Xi Jinping or Premier Li Keqiang.

These are unconfirmed reports, but it is interesting to see that those Indian journalists who regularly interact with the external affairs ministry in Delhi are coming away with a sense that Indian diplomacy is now in pursuit of objectives that go beyond Doklam, the Maldives, Bhutan or Bangladesh or any of the other traditional regional issues that drive its foreign policy.

And in the course of doing so, Indian diplomats appear to be willing to look past a few trenches and helipads in Doklam, and ‘Thank you India’ rallies in Delhi.

What might these objectives be? One clue might be provided by another fact that hit the headlines at the same time as all these other developments.

“India-China bilateral trade hits historic high of $84.44 billion in 2017” the Times of India declared on Wednesday. This is a 19 per cent year-on-year increase, with Indian exports to China seeing a near 40pc increase in 2017.

Beneath the surface, we see other indications that something larger than a regional flashpoint and a few irritants might be in the driving seat in Delhi’s equation with Beijing. The appointment of Vijay Gokhale as the new foreign secretary in January of this year is another indication.

A seasoned China hand, the diplomat who played a key role in defusing the Doklam stand-off of last summer and the former Indian ambassador to China, Gokhale has been placed in the position for a reason, and given his track record, heightening tensions with China is unlikely to be that reason.

Any warming of ties between China and India, or more specifically, any graduation of ties beyond the border dispute and overlapping regional agendas, has deep implications for Pakistan, as the events in the Paris meeting of FATF might have just given us a glimpse of.

And such a warming of ties, if you look at the history, is almost inevitable, provided emotion doesn’t hold rationality hostage.

China and India don’t have a history the way China and Japan do, or even China and Korea.

So whatever is pulling them apart is nowhere near as powerful as what is bringing them together: the growing ties of trade and investment.

It is a matter of time before pragmatism prevails, and with the United States’ growing belligerence now spilling over into the economic realm with Mr Trump’s new tariffs, the pragmatic moment may well open up in 2018.

The writer is a member of staff.

khurram.husain@gmail.com

https://www.dawn.com/news/1393790/the-china-india-tango

BBC News – What could China do in a US trade war?

Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent

Washington DC-USA, 24 January 2018. President Trump’s backing for slapping tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels will hit China and South Korea hardest.

And it has opened up the prospect of some retaliation, especially from Beijing.

The hardline Chinese publication Global Times says “nothing good” would come out of a trade war with President Trump, and has warned that China could fight back.

There’s lots at stake. The two countries did $578.6bn worth of trade in 2016.

And by the US government’s own estimates that trade supports just under a million American jobs.

So what could China do? Well here are a few options:

1) File complaints to the World Trade Organisation

China says the US tariffs are bad for global trade and has already said that it will work with other WTO members to defend itself.

Of course there will be plenty in Washington who won’t miss the irony of China, much-maligned for its own trade practices, complaining that it is being hard done by.

2) Limit US beef imports

Last May, the US and China signed a deal to allow, amongst other things, the resumption of US beef exports to China after 14 years.

But there are specific requirements from the Chinese that US beef companies need to adhere to.

Although trade has barely just begun, China could raise these health and safety standards and make life far more difficult for the US beef exporting businesses that are looking to capitalise on middle class Chinese consumers.

3) Tell Chinese customers not to buy American cars

China is the world’s biggest passenger car market. By 2022 it will contribute to over half of the world’s car growth.

China is also consistently among the top five export markets for US cars and car parts, so a directive from the government to stop buying American cars out of loyalty to the Chinese state would hurt US manufacturers.

It’s not unheard of for Beijing to dictate how Chinese consumers spend their money.

Korean retailer Lotte Mart for example, suffered massive losses in China because of the Beijing-Seoul spat over a US anti-missile system.

4) Tell tourists to stop visiting the US

China is the world’s leading outbound tourist market, with more than 130 million Chinese people travelling around the world each year, a number that just keeps rising.

They spend something like $260bn (£185.2bn) a year when they travel, and while the most popular Chinese tourist spots tend to be in Asia, the US has also benefited.

Chinese tourists are projected to spend $450bn on holidays and shopping overseas by 2025, so the US could lose out if Beijing says America is an unsavoury place to travel to.

5) Sell some US bonds

China owns more than a $1tn of US debt.

It has threatened to sell US Treasuries before, and many have worried that this level of debt could mean that Beijing has leverage over the US economy.

But the truth is even if China did sell US debt, it would most likely be picked up by other countries.

But will anything happen?

The reality is China doesn’t want a trade spat to escalate into a more damaging confrontation.

If a trade war between the two countries does escalate, it won’t just be Beijing and the USA losing out.

The wider Asian region could suffer too, simply because of how integrated global supply chains are.

But we might well be just days away from more tariffs, with President Trump to soon decide whether to slap extra duties on steel and aluminium imports. China is the world’s largest producer of both.

Then there’s the intellectual property theft investigation against China, or Section 301, the findings of which should be released soon.

Now, as I’ve said before, President Trump hasn’t really been as hard on China as he said he would during his election campaign, partly because he needs Beijing onside to help push North Korea into giving up its aggressive nuclear strategy.

But with more pressure coming from the voters who elected him, the Republican base, and mid-terms this year – President Trump could decide that now’s the time to finally push his ‘America first’ policy through.

@BBCKarishma on Twitter

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42798941