Indian media portrays CPEC as some war alliance: Asad Umar

"Things have become tense between China and US. Pakistan’s close relationship brings us into that nexus. And India being used by USA as a strategic anchor to spread their influence in Asian region, complicates the picture even more. There are attempts thus, by Indians, to spread disinformation about CPEC and create hurdles in its development." Said the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives.

asad umar
Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar speaks to the media during a press conference after stepping down from his ministry, in Islamabad on April 18, 2019. - Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar has stepped down, he announced on April 18, with no replacement yet named as Islamabad seeks a crucial bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Speaking to GVS on Tuesday, Asad Umar said that in a session of The Oversight Committee on CPEC, he was shown a segment of an Indian news channel that depicted the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor as a part of war. Within the segment, CPEC was shown as a means of transporting missiles and other war arsenal.

He said that the emergence of a neoglobal power (China) with an existing power (USA) has rarely been seen in history.

“Things have become tense between China and US. Pakistan’s close relationship brings us into that nexus. And India being used by USA as a strategic anchor to spread their influence in Asian region, complicates the picture even more. There are attempts thus, by Indians, to spread disinformation about CPEC and create hurdles in its development.” Said the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives.

“Anything that is good for Pakistani economy is seen negatively by Indians.” He added.

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Pak-China ties: CPEC to facilitate much deeper industrial cooperation 

On elaborating on Pak-China ties, the minister said that the development of CPEC has strengthened the relationship between the two countries in a strategic manner that embodies several different aspects.

“For the last few years CPEC has been a part of the planning commission’s agenda and now that the commission moves onto Phase 2 of CPEC’s development – much broader and much deeper industrial cooperation between the two allies will be seen. Three SEZs have been approved, one has been approved and will become functional in Rashakai and KP, one is already functional in Faisalabad. The third one will also be inaugurated in Sindh.” Said Asad Umar.

Science and technology cooperation between the two countries is also being emphasized on, and Phase 2 of the CPEC development encompasses much more focus on private sector, he added.

“The total projects under execution are worth 29 billion dollars. Part of it came in as equity by Chinese firms, largely it is debt from Chinese financial institutions and the rest is Pakistani private sector and Pakistani government money,” reported the federal minister.

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Collaboration on enhancing cotton exports

The Federal Minister said that if you look at the productivity comparison between Pakistan and China, China has made huge strides in industrialization but they’ve also made major strides in the agricultural sector.

Agriculture is what effects Pakistan’s economy more than any other occupation. “The idea is to get Chinese collaboration and there are Chinese firms collaborating with Pakistani firms to develop seeds to improve the quality of cotton.” He explained.

“Cotton contributes to the textile industry and the exports that come out of it – it is very critical for Pakistan’s economy and more than half of Pakistan’s exports are cotton products. Moreover, most of the work that is now going to be done between Chinese and Pakistani firms is going to be private to private sector, therefore Pakistan government will not be taking on more debt,” claimed Asad Umar.

Western powers were aided and abetted by colonialism: Asad Umar

“When we look at what can be a relevant model for Pakistan, the western powers were early movers and they were aided and abetted by colonialism. They got more than a century’s headtsart – their experience has not been relevant in terms of Pakistan.

When we look closer to home, our social and economic structure is similar to China. The second thing is that it has always been central to the PMs mandate and belief system, to improve the lives of the people. And that is what China did. This has been the centre of Chinese industry also, therefore we look to China as a model to follow,” explained Umar.

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“There is tremendous value addition in cotton but u have to move upwards in value addition, meaning you need to create more manufactured good like those produced by Italian designers. Exports are absolutely vital for Pakistan and we need to start developing our export industries.

The moment we see some growth in the economy – because our exports are limited, credit deficiency rises and the current account deficit gets to a level that is not sustainable. Then you get into a trap where u have to borrow from IMF. You need exports to get out of this trap. China has been hugely successful in digital commerce, that’s vital to achieve economic growth and get grassroot level entrepreneurship going,” emphasised the minister to GVS.

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