The New Indian Express – First India-Nepal passenger train on broad gauge likely to begin from December

The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.

New Delhi – India, 04 November 2018. The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal is likely to run from December this year, sources in the railways have told PTI.

The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.

An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the state government.

No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch, a source said.

The Nepalese authorities have informed the railways that the section will be opened with four trips and will ply in eight to 16 hour shifts.

While the first train is to be a passenger train, the Nepalese have stated that they want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section.

Nepal will take rolling stock, rakes, coaches and others, on lease from India for the purpose, another source said.

The ministry of external affairs have had several inter-ministerial meetings with the railways, government of Nepal and other stakeholders on this.

More meetings to finalise logistics are likely to take place.

The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal.

After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India.

Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu.

The Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari to India.

At that time, the line from Jayanagar in Bihar to Bijulpura in Mahottari was 52 km long.

More than 15 years ago, floods swept away the Bighi bridge, disrupting railway services on the 29-km stretch from Janakpur to Jayanagar.

The Rs 5.5-billion (Nepalese Rs 8.8 billion) project is divided into three phases.

The first includes construction of a 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha, the second comprises construction of an 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district, and the third comprises construction of a 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas.

Of the total length, only three kilometres is in Indian territory.

The sale of tickets, the source said, will be through an unreserved ticketing system and passenger reservation system in Nepal which will be facilitated by the railways.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/04/first-india-nepal-passenger-train-on-broad-gauge-likely-to-begin-from-december-1894204.html

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Dawn – Joint Pakistan-India drills leave Sidhu critics red-faced

Jawed Naqvi

New Delhi – India, 25 August 2018. Hindutva groups have slammed former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa recently, but a joint military exercise against terrorism under way in Russia involving contingents from India and Pakistan has left the critics red-faced.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has praised Mr Sidhu’s friendly gesture for being present at the swearing-in ceremony where the latter embraced General Bajwa who had made friendly comments about peace between the two countries.

Rightwing activist Sudhir Kumar Ojha, known for indicting celebrities, alleged in a petition filed with Muzaffarpur’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Hari Prasad that Mr Sidhu insulted the families of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan’s army by hugging General Bajwa and sitting next to Azad Kashmir’s president Masood Khan on Saturday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Mr Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan, especially his hug with Pakistan army chief, was “shameful”. Mr Sidhu is a minister in the Congress government in Punjab.

Mr Sidhu clarified his stand on the issue.

“If someone (referring to General Bajwa) comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary), what else I could do?”

Mr Sidhu while responding to the media queries: “If you are invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there,” he added.

Mr Ojha said it was unbecoming of Sidhu to attend the celebrations in the neighbouring country at a time when the nation was mourning the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“I have urged the court to book Siddhu under IPC sections 124 A, 153 B and 504 for hurting the nation’s sentiments and order for his arrest,” he said.

Imran Khan on Tuesday came out in support of Mr Sidhu.

“I want to thank Sidhu for coming to Pakistan for my oath taking. He was an ambassador of peace and was given amazing love and affection by people of Pakistan,” Mr Khan tweeted soon after Sidhu’s press conference.

“Those in India who targeted him are doing a great disservice to peace in the subcontinent, without peace, our people cannot progress,” Mr Khan said.

To move forward, he said Pakistan and India must engage in dialogue and resolve their conflicts, including the Kashmir issue.

“The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading,” he said.

Mr Sidhu during the press conference said his visit to Pakistan was not “political” but just on a “warm invitation from a friend”.

In a first such event, military personnel from India and Pakistan are participating in an anti-terrorism exercise organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia. The exercise is aimed at enhancing cooperation between member states to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism.

The exercise will see tactical-level operation being carried out in an international counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism environment.

Around 3,000 soldiers from India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are taking part in the exercise.

The Indian contingent has 200 personnel, mainly from the infantry and other arms along with some from the Indian Air Force.

The training schedule for the Indian contingent includes target practice, house intervention drills, tactical and heliborne operations and combat conditioning, reports said.

They said the joint drills will build mutual confidence, interoperability and sharing of knowledge among troops of SCO members.

In previous editions, only Central Asian nations participated.

With India and Pakistan joining the exercise, SCO’s counter-terrorism mission has expanded to South Asia, a region in a grip of terrorism and extremism.

Former army officials loyal to the BJP were at a loss to explain why it was wrong for Mr Sidhu to hug the Pakistan army chief when contingents from the two countries were trying to sort out the menace of terrorism jointly.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1428802/joint-pakistan-india-drills-leave-sidhu-critics-red-faced

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

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