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Chinese yatra

First the good news. The new PM did not take a hundred tons of extra baggage at state expense that our previous PMs used to. The probability, however, is high that we want to talk money and infrastructure, while they want to talk terrorism and terrorism.
Now the bad news. We are suffering from cancer. Our leaders fly all the way to Beijing to beg Chinese factory workers to cure our cough. Just who is then to be blamed – our leaders or the factory workers? China, to be sure, has never been known for innovations. China’s claim to fame is the reproduction of innovations, mostly patented by the Jewish community in the US, at a rate cheaper than anywhere else on the face of the planet.
We steal electricity. Our government hasn’t maintained the national grid since 1947. Our Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are bent upon extracting annual returns of 35 percent to 45 percent. We have made Nepra, the power sector regulator, into a cemetery of retired bureaucrats. And after all that, we fly all the way to Beijing to beg Chinese factory workers to cure our electricity ills. Just who is then to be blamed – our leaders or their factory workers?
Let’s keep it straight: Pakistan is China’s counterweight against India. Pakistan is China’s hedge against US influence in the region. Pakistan is China’s gateway to the Muslim world. And China wants Pakistan’s help to subdue its own Islamic separatists in Xinjiang.
The Pak-China relationship has been about three things: mutual diplomatic support, infrastructure development (Karakorum, Gwadar port) and the military-strategic angle (nuclear, Al-Zarrar tanks and JF-17s). To be certain, the weakest link between the two countries has been economics. Bilateral Pak-China trade hovers around $12 billion a year, a mere 18 percent of the bilateral Sino-Indian trade of $67 billion. Shockingly, China’s share in Pakistan’s entire trade deficit of $20 billion a year is a worrisome $10 billion a year, every year.
China has an economic growth model and a security model. China’s economic growth model is almost completely dependent on the US and the EU. China’s exports are completely dependent on the South China Sea and the East China Sea – and all commercial sea lanes around China are completely controlled by the Seventh Fleet of the US Navy.
China’s internal security is the responsibility of 2.3 million active-duty personnel of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and 1.5 million personnel of the People’s Armed Police (PAP). External security is configured around “four non-Han Chinese buffer states of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet.”
Both the PLA and the PAP are primarily internal security agents. The PLA is the ultimate guarantor of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) hold over political power. The PLA, as a consequence, has little or no capability to project Chinese power into foreign lands (that’s unlike the US armed forces that are almost exclusively configured to project American power into foreign lands).
A Chinese philosopher once said, “Running a large country is like cooking a small fish”.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com. Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

Dr Farrukh Saleem, "Chinese yatra," The News. 2013-07-07.
Keywords: Economics , Economical issues , Economic growth , Armed forces , Economic development , Electricity , Terrorism , Gwadar , China , Beijing , IPPs , PLA , CCP