China Watch [February 21-27] China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Security

Highlights:

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that in order to provide security to CPEC projects, the government has deployed 15,000 military personnel. India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar visited Beijing and held strategic dialogue with China. Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif dismissed the notions of conspiracy by the United States or the West against CPEC. China has expressed its support for Pakistan’s newly-launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudray stated that CPEC would help achieve the core objectives of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). President of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal has said that he sees no benefit for his province from the implementation of the CPEC projects.

CPEC’s Security:

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, revealed that in order to provide security to the projects under CPEC, the government has deployed 15,000 military personnel under the Special Security Division (SSD) and Maritime Security Force (MSF).[1] He said that “[T]he SSD is a force that will provide security to 34 CPEC related projects, while MSF will safeguard the Gwadar port and other coastal areas of the country.” These forces will work under the interior ministry and in coordination with the provinces. The SSD was formulated with the primary goal of ensuring the security of foreigners working on the CPEC projects. As Pakistan has been waging an internal war against the militancy for more than a decade, protecting the foreigners – especially thousands of Chinese involved in different projects across the country- becomes a priority and a challenging task. The recent resurgence in terrorist attacks in Pakistan that have killed more than hundred people has made such security measures all the more important.

China-India Talks:

India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar visited Beijing and held strategic dialogue with China. Mr. Jaishankar said that he told China “CPEC violates Indian sovereignty because it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.” He added that therefore, Beijing’s invitation to New Delhi to participate in the coming New Silk road summit to be held in China this year will not be accepted.[2] In response to Beijing’s stance on Jaish-e-Mouhammad’s Chief Masood Azhar that the “burden of proof” was on India, he said that “Jaish itself is proscribed under 1267. So the proof is in [the] 1267 Committee action” of the United Nations. [3]  On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang told media “[T]hat the dialogue has reached the goal as expected and is of positive significance to the bilateral relations.” China’s policy seems to be that of engaging India on the issues of mainly New Delhi’s concern but without conceding any ground. India therefore is in a big quandary as to how to dissuade China from backing its ‘all-weather’ Pakistan on such strategic issues.

West not conspiring against CPEC: Nawaz

PM Nawaz Sharif has said that he did not sense any conspiracy by the U.S. or the West against CPEC but some regional countries were unhappy with the project.[4] He added that instead of trying to derail the project, some western countries had shown interest in taking part in the CPEC. While American response towards CPEC has been marked by ambivalence and caution, United Kingdom has shown excitement about the CPEC. On the other hand, neighboring India has openly expressed its reservations and apprehensions against the corridor. Some media quarters and analysts in Pakistan have blamed though without any reasonable proof that the US, along with India, was conspiring to sabotage the CPEC. Against all this backdrop, PM’s statement sounds more sensible and logical in clarifying Pakistan’s official stance on this debate.

China supports Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad:

China expressed its support for Pakistan’s newly-launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement that “China understands and supports necessary measures taken by Pakistan to consolidate its position in counterterrorism operations and maintain domestic security for the safety of its people.”[5] The Operation Radd-ul-Fasad was launched last week to eliminate the “residual/latent threat of terrorism” that has wreaked havoc across the country over the last two weeks.[6] At times when other countries have either out-rightly criticized or doubted Pakistan’s capacity to tackle terrorism, Beijing’s support for Islamabad’s counter-terrorism strategy is an invaluable asset. China has repeatedly said that instead of questioning Pakistan’s credentials, the country’s measures and sacrifices in the war against terrorism must be duly appreciated.

Miscellaneous:

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudray has said that CPEC would help achieve the core objectives of the ECO.[7] President of the BNP-M, Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, has said that he sees no benefit for his province from the implementation of the CPEC projects.[8] The government has allocated Rs25 billion to implement the $2 billion Gwadar liquefied natural gas pipeline project.[9]

This report is compiled and written by Abdur Rehman Shah, Research Associate at the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad.  

 

[1] Raza, S. I. (2017, February 21). Retrieved February 24, 2017, from http://www.dawn.com/news/1316040/15000-military-personnel-protecting-cpec

[2] P. (2017, February 22). CPEC violates sovereignty: India tells China. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/cpec-violates-sovereignty-india-tells-china/articleshow/57296736.cms

[3] Newspaper Correspondent, (2017, February 24). China finds India talks of positive significance. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1316659

[4] Zafir, Muhammad Saleh. (2017, February 25). US, West not conspiring against CPEC: Nawaz. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/188672-US-West-not-conspiring-against-CPEC-Nawaz

[5] The News International. (2017, February 25). China supports Operation Raddul Fasaad. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/188684-China-supports-Operation-Raddul-Fasaad

[6] Dawn.com. (2017, February 22). Pakistan Army launches ‘Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad’ across the country. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1316332

[7] APP. (2017, February 27). CPEC to help achieve core objectives of ECO. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1317278

[8] Staff Correspondent. (2017, February 27). No CPEC benefit for Balochistan, says Mengal. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1317277/no-cpec-benefit-for-balochistan-says-mengal

[9] Bhutta, Zafar. (2017, February 20).  Govt finally allocates Rs25b for Gwadar LNG pipeline. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1333419/govt-finally-allocates-rs25b-gwadar-lng-pipeline/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply