Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Chinese road constructions in Kashmir

Few weeks ago, the Chinese road construction and flood relief operations in the Pakistan controlled part of Kashmir caused a stir, wonder the same reaction would apply in-light of China's infrastructure work in the India side.
September 17, 2010, 4:19 PM HKT Enter the Dragon on Indian Roads

India Opening Path for China Infrastructure Investment - China Real Time Report - WSJ

As the United States sits in India’s bad books for its recent moves against outsourcing, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is laying a pathway for China to invest in the country’s roads and highways projects.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is laying a pathway for China to invest in the country’s roads and highways projects. On Wednesday, India’s roads minister, Kamal Nath, on an official trip to Beijing, countered reports that the federal government has barred joint ventures for investments with China-based companies and said India was ready for Chinese investments in its massive highway expansion in all regions including the sensitive border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

Welcoming Chinese involvement hasn’t been the government’s stance in other areas. The Mint newspaper earlier reported that the government has forbid joint ventures with investments from China-based companies from participating in the ninth round of India’s oil and gas exploration and licensing auctions.

But it appears to be softening. The government has also scrapped a cap it had placed last year on the number of visas that could be issued to Chinese workers involved in various projects in the country, the Press Trust of India reported this week.

India had tightened its visa rules last December in a way that demanded a closer scrutiny of applications in case more than 1% of a project’s work force were outsiders amid concerns that a large number of foreign nationals were being brought to work, marginalizing employment opportunities for locals. Under the revised rules, only skilled workers will get employment visas in place of the business ones that were issued earlier.

Experts say India wants increased Chinese participation in infrastructure projects.

“By lifting the visa ceiling, India is trying to woo the Chinese to enter Kashmir, says Srikanth Kondapalli, professor of Chinese studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Prof. Kondapalli says China’s investment in Kashmir could lend stability to the violence-hit state “if China can extract a promise from Pakistan about highway protection in the region.”

India recently awarded a road project in Kashmir to a Chinese joint venture company.

“The government of India cleared (the project) from security point of view,” Mr. Nath said in Beijing Wednesday. “We awarded the contract because of Chinese involvement in terms of investment, project management and technology.”

Mr. Kondapalli, however, advised that India should continue to tread cautiously, rather than throwing open its doors to the Great Neighbor to the north.

“India should not jump the gun,” he said. “But wait to see how China reacts to the hand of friendship,” he said.
–Vibhuti Agarwal

Blog entry from Sept 8th (here)

Flood Relief is not Combat.

Selig S. Harrison's August 26th 2010 OpEd "China's Discreet Hold on Northern Borderlands (here) (an OpEd is not the same as a report) published by the New York Time has caused a stir -- it claims China has deployed 7000 to 11,000 PLA soldiers in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Today, after a refute by Mian Jahangir Iqbal,New York Press Counselor Permanent mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, Harrison retraced his initial statement

" True, the Chinese in Gilgit-Baltistan are not combat soldiers, and their work on flood relief and economic development has positive benefits. But the impact of such a large foreign presence in a thinly populated, undeveloped region has been profound."

You can read the entire exchange from the New York Times link posted above.

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