China And Iran Approach Massive $400 Billion Deal

Dark Sorrow

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China, sensing America’s internal political difficulties amidst social justice protests and a poor COVID-19 response, is taking off the gloves: Beijing is said to be in the final stages of approving a $400 billion economic and security deal with Tehran. In addition to massive infrastructure investments, the agreement envisions closer cooperation on defense and intelligence sharing, and is rumored to include discounts for Iranian oil. If finalized, the PRC would gain massive influence in this geopolitically critical region, and simultaneously throw a lifeline to the embattled Mullah Regime.


The United States is likely to push back against this partnership, which threatens US security and energy interests in the Middle East and Eurasia. It’s little secret that Washington’s foreign policy interest constantly clash with those of Tehran and Beijing.


In the 20th century the main political rival of the US was the Soviet Union, whose collapse in 1991 ushered in the unipolar world of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. In the 21st century that there is no question of America’s new ‘near’ peer competitor: the People’s Republic of China, a country with a much bigger economic base than the USSR ever had. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the flagship of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s global ambitions, is a powerful policy tool that puts US foreign policy influence to the test.


When it comes to geopolitical strategy there’s a saying among foreign policy experts: Russia play chess, China plays Go, and the United States plays football. Iran – with its strong anti-American sentiment, large military, and vast hydrocarbon reserves – is an important piece of China’s global Go board.


The China-Iran deal is the latest step in Beijing’s attempt to expand from a regional hegemony to a world power via BRI. China is often criticized by Western policy analysts for its so-called “Debt Diplomacy” – the policy of indebting an economically weak nation with predatory investment packages. Often times, this manifests itself as leverage for key infrastructure grabs, one of the most famous examples being Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which the government was forced to lease to China for 99 years after it failed to repay Chinese loans. Similarly, Pakistan owes China at least $10 billion in debt for the construction of Gwadar Port, and the territory is leased to the Chinese government through 2059. Another country in the region, The Maldives, owes China roughly $1.5 billion in debt which is about 30% of its GDP.


The giant deal with Iran would increase Chinese investments in Iranian banking, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure including airports, railways and free trade zones (FTZs). China is also eyeing a central role in Iran’s cyber space with the country offering "greater control over what circulates." The prospective agreement also extends a number of potential defense cooperation projects and underscores increased intelligence sharing.


While the arrangement could offer new life to Iran’s sanction-choked economy, there is also the distinct possibility that it could leave the Islamic Republic inescapably beholden to Beijing. Many in the Iranian geopolitically savvy elite understand that.

China Plays The Long Game

Beijing is exploiting Tehran’s growing desperation exacerbated by the COVID health and economic crises. Recent cyber-attacks on its nuclear and naval infrastructure are also pushing to government into the arms of China. After all, the rising superpower offers an insatiable oil market, military and civilian technology, massive investment, and a potential political cover on the global stage, including a veto power in the UN Security Council – all things that Iran is in dire need of.


Both countries see the deal as mutually beneficial, but also as a potential mechanism for confronting US dominance in the Middle East.


Iran is one of world’s the top five natural gas producers and sits atop 15% of OPEC's crude reserves but as of October last year their economy was projected to shrink by some 9.5% due mostly to the reintroduction of US sanctions. Oil output and revenues have plummeted — falling from nearly 4 million bpd in 2018 to just 2 million bpd today. This dire situation preceded the outbreak of COVID 19, which hit Iran particularly hard (and crushed demand for its chief export).





Iran


US sanctions and Iran's oil exports

BBC/OPEC
Clearly, the anti-American edge of the deal is what attracts Washington’s attention. It would bolster China’s new digital currency e-RMB as a way to bypass American financial systems, and reduce the power of the dollar. It would also serve to benefit the world’s most voracious energy consumer and provide a mechanism to sell Iranian oil while evading US sanctions policy.


China’s strategic investment together with military cooperation would boost one of the most anti-American powers, threaten American allies in the Middle East from Riyadh to Jerusalem, and provide Chinese companies preferred access to trillions of dollars in untapped hydrocarbons and markets. India, which traditionally maintained good relations with Iran, and recently clashed with China militarily in the Himalayas, is looking wearily at the double encirclement Beijing is executing against it.

Beijing Bites More Than It Can Chew

Yet there is some Iranian concern about a full economic embrace of China. In late-June former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad warned in a speech that policymakers were “handing Iran's purse to other countries without informing the nation." Others have since joined the criticism, including former conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari, who appeared to suggest on Twitter that before signing the pact Iran should raise the fate of Muslims who are reportedly being persecuted in China. And Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, an exiled opposition leader, join the choir of opponents to the deal.


It is also worth bearing in mind that while China likes to talk a big game about its BRI initiative, there is mounting evidence that Beijing’s goals are too lofty for their own good. As COVID-19 impedes the trend towards globalization, Central Asian countries, a cornerstone of China’s Belt and Road stratagem, are also seeing their economies slow down. The BRI land route has also been criticized for waste and fraud, which is certainly part of a broader pattern.


The US will continue to take action against any Chinese company breaking sanctions, according to a US State Department source. Beyond that, companies which are getting involved in the Sino-Iranian honeymoon will be doing so at their own peril, while high economic and security risks are only mitigated by Beijing’s strategic commitment, focus, and implacability.
 

Dark Sorrow

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The US is fuming with China over a possible $400 billion deal with Iran. China and Iran are negotiating a 25-year pact which would get China a substantial discount on the Iranian oil. In return, Beijing will invest a whopping $400 billion in the Islamic nation over a period of 25 years.
Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic coupled with severe US sanctions, Iran is seeing a looming economic crisis which has led to a destruction of the livelihood of millions of Iranian people.
China’s billion-dollar deal is a breather for Iran’s economy which is hard hit by Trump “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic nation. Tehran has been hit hard by these sanctions reimposed following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018.
Iranian crude exports have been severely curtailed by the US sanctions, as has much of the country’s foreign trade. “Every road is closed to Iran,” said Fereydoun Majlesi, a former diplomat and a columnist for several Iranian newspapers on diplomacy. “The only path open is China. Whatever it is, until sanctions are lifted, this deal is the best option.”
The deal is yet to be approved the Majles, Iran’s parliament. It is expected to expand economic development in a variety of fields, including banking and infrastructure, such as telecommunications and transport.
In return of this investment, Beijing is going to receive Iranian oil at a sharply reduced price for the next quarter-century. This would potentially help Iran roll out its 5G network through China’s global positioning system.
The deal also incorporates military cooperation between Iran and China including weapons development, combined training and intelligence sharing in order to combat “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes”.
Unlike most of the countries, China has sensed the American weakness during the reeling recession amid the Covid-19 pandemic and is ready to defy the US by withstanding Trump’s penalties amid the US-China trade war.
Tehran and Beijing’s show of strength against their common foe, the US has evoked a bitter reaction. The expansion of military assistance, training and intelligence-sharing has alarmed Washington.
China and the US continue to tangle in the internationally disputed waters of the South China Sea while the US warships often challenge Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. “The United States will continue to impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” a US State Department spokeswoman wrote in response to questions about the draft agreement.
“By allowing or encouraging Chinese companies to conduct sanctionable activities with the Iranian regime, the Chinese government is undermining its own stated goal of promoting stability and peace,” she added.
“Iran and China both view this deal as a strategic partnership in not just expanding their own interests but confronting the U.S.,” said Ali Gholizadeh, an Iranian energy researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China in Beijing. “It is the first of its kind for Iran which is keen on having a world power as an ally.”
Beijing’s indifference to regime transgression against the Iranian people and to keep the regime afloat has shattered Washington’s dream of any potential influence that it dreamt of through its maximum pressure campaign. After trying to cut off all of the options available to the regime, it is hardly a surprise if Tehran is willing to accept the way out offered by the Chinese.


 

Dark Sorrow

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The China-Iran strategic partnership, and how it can change geopolitics in the Middle East
New York Times reports amid US sanctions on Iran, the partnership would entail trade, investment, military cooperation and possibly Chinese military bases.



New Delhi: China and Iran are reported to have quietly drafted a comprehensive military and trade partnership. The deal would make way for about $400 billion worth of Chinese investments into Iran’s key sectors, such as energy and infrastructure, over the next 25 years.

According to US officials, the agreement could also make way for Chinese military bases in Iran, fundamentally changing the region’s geopolitics.

The deal

An 18-page draft of the proposed agreement was accessed and reported by the New York Times (NYT), and it talks about expanding Chinese presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”. In return, Iran is to provide regular and “heavily discounted” supply of oil to China for 25 years.


In the strategic realm, the proposed draft talks about deepening military cooperation, with “joint training and exercises”, “joint research and weapons development”, and intelligence sharing.


This deepening military cooperation would be intended to fight the “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes”.


The deal is reported to have been first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his 2016 visit to Tehran, and the proposed draft was approved by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over the last couple of weeks.

These moves come at a time when the Iranian economy has been crippled by sweeping US sanctions, which have ensured that any company in the world that deals with Iran would be cut off from the global financial system.

The deal has not been presented to the Iranian parliament yet, and Beijing is still to disclose the terms of the deal, though Iranian officials have publicly acknowledged that there is a “pending agreement with China”.

What does it entail?

The opening sentence of the proposed draft says: “Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners.”


There are nearly 100 projects cited in the document that would have Chinese investments, and are expected to be a part of Xi’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to extend China’s strategic influence across Eurasia.


These 100 projects include “airports, high-speed railways and subways”, effectively touching the lives of most Iranian citizens.


“China would (also) develop free-trade zones in Maku, in northwestern Iran; in Abadan, where the Shatt al-Arab river flows into the Persian Gulf, and on the gulf island Qeshm,” notes the NYT report.


The draft agreement also talks about China building infrastructure for 5G telecommunications network in Iran. This would see Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei — a company that has come under severe US sanctions and been banned by many countries across the world such as the United Kingdom and Australia — enter the Iranian market.


Chinese global positioning system BeiDou is also proposed to assist Iran’s cyber authorities in regulating what is shared in the country’s cyberspace, potentially paving the way for Iran to develop a China-like “great firewall”.

US ‘pushed’ Iran into China’s arms

Since coming to power in 2017, US President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which froze the country’s nuclear programme, and enforced comprehensive sanctions on Iran, devastating its economy. Now “Tehran’s desperation has pushed it into the arms of China”, remarks the NYT report.


“Iran and China both view this deal as a strategic partnership in not just expanding their own interests but confronting the US. It is the first of its kind for Iran, keen on having a world power as an ally,” said Ali Gholizadeh, who works at University of Science and Technology of China in Beijing.


Until now, Iran used to seek European cooperation for trade and investment, but it has reportedly grown increasingly frustrated with it.


“The draft agreement with Iran shows that unlike most countries, China feels it is in a position to defy the United States, powerful enough to withstand American penalties, as it has in the trade war waged by President Trump,” said the NYT report.


The US State Department spokesperson said the US would continue to “impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran”.



Analysts contend that when China develops strategic ports in various countries, there is a possibility that it might militarise them at some point.


In the proposed draft, China plans to build several ports in Iran, one of them at Jask, just outside the Gulf of Hormuz, which is the entrance to the Persian Gulf.


The Gulf of Hormuz is among the nine key maritime chokepoints across the world. All of these chokepoints are controlled by the US, which many security analysts believe is a marker of US strategic hegemony over the world.


Now, a Chinese port at Jask “would give the Chinese a strategic vantage point on the waters through which much of the world’s oil transits. The passage is of critical strategic importance to the United States, whose Navy’s Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain in the gulf,” the NYT report states.

 

Dark Sorrow

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China-Iran deal overshadows Pakistan Belt and Road project
Beijing's plan to invest in Tehran's Hormuz port threatens Islamabad's value


KARACHI -- A proposed $400 billion economic and strategic agreement between Iran and China, including a major port development project on the Strait of Hormuz, is likely to eclipse the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a project that symbolizes the geopolitical ties between the two countries and is a linchpin of Pakistan's efforts to develop its infrastructure.
An unverified 18-page document with details of the proposed 25-year Iran-China agreement was leaked, a copy of which was seen by the Nikkei Asian Review. The deal was originally proposed in January 2016 by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip to Iran. Talks on the agreement are thought to be in the final stretch.
A statement sent by the Iranian Embassy to Nikkei on behalf of Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's ambassador to Pakistan, stated that the details of the agreement are being reviewed by Chinese and Iranian officials and have not been finalized.

In response to a question about the proposed agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to elaborate at a media briefing last week. Hua reiterated that China attaches importance to developing friendly, cooperative relations with other countries, adding that "Iran is a friendly nation enjoying normal exchange and cooperation with China."
According to the leaked document, China will invest $280 billion in Iran's oil and gas industry and $120 billion in production and transportation infrastructure. China will also develop 5G infrastructure in Iran and invest in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other sectors.
A leaked 18-page Persian document with details of the proposed 25-year Iran-China agreement obtained by the Nikkei Asian Review.
The terms of the agreement also give China access to supplies of crude oil and gas from Iran at discounted prices for the next 25 years.
Although the document does not specifically mention the Belt and Road Initiative, the proposed agreement fits the framework of Xi's ambitious project, envisioning that China will help Iran develop the coast near the mouth of Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil exports pass.
Once the port at Jask is operational, Pakistan's port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea will lose its unique strategic value to China, according to experts. Pakistan has turned over responsibility for development and management of the port at Gwadar to the Chinese until 2057.
Publicly, Pakistani officials are supportive of China's prospective deal with Iran. Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, called it a "very pleasant development for Pakistan," in a statement issued to the media last week.

But experts point out when the agreement between Beijing and Tehran is signed, it will likely diminish the importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the Belt and Road because Iran is a more valuable partner to China than Pakistan.
"Despite major economic struggles, [Iran] is a wealthier country than Pakistan and won't be as anxious as Pakistan is about unfavorable loan terms and debt risks," said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
Kugelman told Nikkei that if China can leverage Iran's less serious debt concerns, work out favorable terms for new investment and make early progress on new projects, that will be a big boost for the China-Iran deal.
Other observers, however, do not believe an economic cooperation pact between Beijing and Tehran poses a serious threat to the Economic Corridor in the near future.
Lukasz Przybyszewski, West Asia analyst at the Asia Research Centre at the War Studies Academy Warsaw says it would be quite surprising to for Beijing to scrap or scale back plans to develop Gwadar Port or the Economic Corridor. "We cannot, therefore, claim that Gwadar's importance will become less," he told Nikkei.

Stella Hong Zhang, an expert on China's economic engagement with Pakistan and a postgraduate student at George Mason University in the U.S., told Nikkei the corridor is considered the flagship project of the Belt and Road because China has solid political relations with Pakistan. She added that geography is also important, as Pakistan borders the southern part of China's Xinjiang autonomous region.
An immediate effect of the proposed Iran-China deal was the exclusion of India from the 628 km Chabahar-Zahedan railway line, which will be extended to Zaranj in Afghanistan.
According to The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, Iran will invest $400 million of its own money in the railway project. Anurag Srivastava, a spokesman for India's Foreign Ministry, said at a recent media briefing that decisions on the fate of Chabahar railway project are "still awaited." But he did not categorically deny the report.
Experts believe China is a more suitable partner for Iran than India. Kugelman said that Iran and many other countries would much prefer to partner with Beijing rather than New Delhi on infrastructure, given that China can deliver much more, much faster than India.
He added that the China-Iran deal is a blow to New Delhi, given that it all but assures India will be shut out of Chabahar. "India, which has refused to join [the Belt and Road Initiative], is left with no potential plan to access markets in Afghanistan and further afield in Central Asia," Kugelman told Nikkei.

 

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IRAN DEAL: HAS CHINA STEPPED ON A VISIBLE LANDMINE



6,087 total views, 52 views today


Iranian War Painting: Courtesy Christie
“The smiles of the Chinese and the Russians are as harmful and destructive to Iran as Trump’s frown” – Journalist Shirzad Abdollahi in Hamdeli


THE MOTHER OF ALL DEALS


In a recent development in July 2020, Iran-China inked a $400 billion deal. This is a 25-year pact:


  • Iran doesn’t gain much from the deal, other than immediate relief from the American sanctions.
  • Which would get China a considerable bargain on the Iranian oil.
  • China will invest $400 billion in the Islamic nation over a period of 25 years.
  • China will invest $280 billion in oil, gas, and petrochemicals.
  • China will invest $120bn in transport and manufacturing, within the first five years.
  • The deal would expand economic development in 100 odd diverse fields, including banking and infrastructure, such as airports, high-speed railways, subways, and 5G telecommunications(this would give Iran, China-style censorship of the internet).
  • Iran-China set up an industrial town in the southern port city of Jask, to establish and develop different industries, including petrochemical, refinery, aluminum, and steel industries.
  • China will get priority to bid on any new project in Iran that is linked to these sectors.
  • China will get a 12 percent discount and it can delay payments by up to two years.
  • China will be able to pay in any currency it desires.
  • China will receive total discounts of nearly 32 percent.
  • 5,000 Chinese military personnel to be stationed in the country to protect their interests and the Chinese air force would be given access to Iranian bases.
Xi Jinping and Rouhani : Courtesy Reuters
The pact was first proposed in a January 2016 trip to Iran by Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the two sides agreed to establish their ties based on a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, while announcing discussions would begin aimed at concluding a 25-year bilateral pact. Around the same time in May 2016, Indian PM Modi visited Iran to sign the 10-year Chabahar port contract. Was Modi in Iran for a great future gameplan. The answer is ‘Yes’. The game plan was to:


  • Counter China in Iran.
  • Render CPEC a failed project.

INDIA-IRAN CHABAHAR PORT TIMELINE


  • Iran’s first deep-sea port, Chabahar is just 72 km from the Pakistani Gwadar port and has tremendous strategic importance. If Iran’s enemies were to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, Chabahar port, being 300 km to the east of the straits would be able to function, reducing Iran’s vulnerability to international pressure.
  • Operating Chabahar port provides India with a foothold at the mouth of the strategic Straits of Hormuz, through which a third of all the world’s sea-borne oil passes.
  • 2003– India started interaction for the development of Chabahar.
  • 2003-2014– The development idea remained on paper.
  • 2014– Major push came in to take things ahead.
  • 2015– A MoU(Memorandum of Understanding) signed.
  • 2016– PM Modi converted the MoU in a 10-year contract, to equip and operate the Chabahar port.
  • 2016– A MoU between Iranian President Rouhani, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and Indian Railway Construction Company Limited(IRCON), with the Iranian Rail Ministry to construct a 628 km rail line, at the cost of $1.6 billion, from Chabahar port to Zahedan, which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan, and Sarakhs.
  • 2018– Due to US sanctions and difficulties in the execution of a long term contract, a short term contract was signed by visiting Iranian President Rouhani.
  • December 2018– Port commences operations. Since then, as many as 4500 containers have moved from India through Chabahar.
  • 2019– Washington exempts India to develop the Chabahar port in Iran, although the sanctions against trade in oil continued.
  • July 2020– Reports emerge that Iran has decided to proceed with the construction of a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan on its own, due to delays from the Indian government in funding.
  • India refutes the claims, and states that it is committed to the project. It further states that Iran is responsible for the earth-moving and preparing the ground for the tracks. Indian responsibility is ‘super-structure’ which includes the tracks and rakes.
  • Surprisingly, Pakistan was overjoyed with the news that China is replacing India in Iran as a major foreign power. However, there was a hush after the initial jubilation, when they realized that China is moving away from them and the CPEC.

I had predicted an year ago that China would take initiative in Iran sooner than later and the Indian game plan would work out. It might happen that Iran hands over the Chabahar port to China in toto, once the short-term Indian contract expires. In that case, China might abandon the Gwadar port altogether or make it a low key affair. There are four scenarios emerging in the very fast-changing landscape of geopolitics. Let us analyze along with relevant Chinese stratagems:







1. India volunteered for the Chabahar project to sabotage the Pakistani project, CPEC. China understands the vulnerability of CPEC, which passes through volatile POK & Balochistan. Indias have shown their vehement objection to the project, since it passes through Indian territory of POK. China took the Indian bait and shifted its focus to Iran. (Feign Madness but Keep your Balance– Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations).


  • Due to the vulnerability of the existing CPEC, China may divert it through the Afghan territory of the Wakhan corridor. The only common border with China.
  • The Wakhan Corridor was born from the strategic logic, drawn by a joint Russian-British entity to prevent present-day Tajikistan(Russia) and POK(British India) from having a direct border.
  • There are three main advantages of building infrastructure through the Wakhan corridor.
    • The inhabitants of the region share a common history, culture, religion, and geography thus has fewer chances of disruption.
    • China is already working on building a road through Wakhjir Pass. Presently it is far from completion, however, Afghan workers have made significant progress, and eventually, it would end up connecting Afghanistan’s road network to the Karakoram Highway, which is part of CPEC, linking Kashgar in Xinjiang to Islamabad.
    • China would have options of either extending the Afghan section of the network further to connect with Chabahar or planned BRI via Tehran with the Port of Jask.





2. India-US have an understanding wherein the US gave India waver on the Chabahar Port, in return India made no progress on the rail project, so that China jumps into the trap and expands its resources, far and wide. Once China exposes itself in the region, Iran could be choked, to take the Chinese project to its logical conclusion: failure. (Lure them onto the roof, then take away the Ladder– With baits and deceptions, lure your enemy into treacherous terrain, then cut off his lines of communication and avenue of escape; to save himself, he must fight both your own forces and the elements of nature). Iranian populace and opposition leaders are unhappy that Iran is getting into a debt trap as well as allowing foreign forces into their land. They are vehemently opposing the one-sided pact:


  • Critics are comparing the proposed Iran-China deal to the 1828 Treaty of ‘Turkmenchay’ between Persia and tsarist Russia, under which the Persians ceded control of territory in the South Caucasus.
  • The pact is also being compared to the humiliating ‘Reuter Concession’ made in 1872, between the Iranian ruler Nasir Al-Din Shah and British banker Baron Julius de Reuter. Reuter was given significant control over Persian roads, factories, the extraction of resources, telegraphs, mills, and other public works in exchange for some of the revenue for 20 years.
  • The relationship between Tehran and Beijing has long been recognized as benefiting China far more than Iran. The Iranian regime has become so miserable economically that it is transgressing its own revolutionary values.
  • Israel also feels threatened with the deal. Any dollar going into the Iranian system is one that could likely be spent against Israel.
  • Part of the deal may be a massive sale of weapons to Iran. China plans to sell Iran, attack helicopters, fighter jets, tanks and more, once the UN arms embargo expires in October 2020.
  • Tel Aviv light rail project and the Iranian railway project have common Chinese-owned companies. China could use the companies operating in Israel and Iran for political leverage on Israel, what they had done in the past.
  • Chinese companies have not always fared well in Iran.
    • The Iranians have complained of being fobbed off with third-rate, overpriced goods.
    • China National Petroleum Corporation was expelled from the major Azadegan oilfield and Iran Liquefied Natural Gas project because of slow progress.
    • In 2012, Sinohydro Group was pushed out of a $2bn contract to build Bakhtiari Dam in south-western Iran, and replaced by Khatam Al Anbiya, the construction arm of the Revolutionary Guards.

Son of the last Shah of Iran

3. The least likely scenario is the understanding between India and China. In this scenario, the government of India gives up the Chabahar rail project(and eventually the Chabahar port itself), in return, China connects the Wakhan corridor to Chabahar port and not with CPEC. China’s trade routes are secured and CPEC remains in limbo.


4. The last scenario that is not being considered is ‘was India caught napping?’. That is not the case. Indian diplomats are astute and well respected in the diplomatic circles. They were very well aware of the situation and ready for the showdown for a long time.


CHINESE DESIRE TO BE GREAT AGAIN – IN A HURRY


The 18th-century writer philosopher Thomas Robert Malthus predicted a grim future of the Earth, based on his theory, which is popularly referred to as the Malthusian Catastrophe. Malthus predicted that a growing population will soon outpace the planet’s agricultural production capacity. In other words, at some point, there will be far too many people and very limited food supply, leading to great unrest. Though the modern scientific and technological know-how has proved Malthus wrong, the Chinese may prove him right in a different way, altogether. At the rate at which China is planning to expand, soon it would have too many projects and very limited funds. The Chinese regime, in its desire to be great again, is spreading itself too wide and far, at breakneck speed. The Chinese leadership is wasting hard-working Chinese citizen’s money in faraway lands, with no foreseeable return in the near future. Iranians are very strong nationalist. They do not like any external involvement or interference, beyond a certain limit. This proposition makes Chinese success in Iran a very slim one. Similar Chinese zeal of $200 billion has failed in Africa. Post-pandemic China is looking at loan defaults, and requests for waivers from most of the African nations. China is also staring at economic blockade from the Western and Asian blocks, due to its role in the pandemic. China’s recent handling of Indo-Tibetan border, aggression in the South China Sea, Hong Kong National Security Law, treatment of Uighur & Tibetan minorities, and regular threats to Taiwan might become its death knell.


Has China bitten the Indian bullet or it is smarter than that, only time would tell. However, if India wants to emerge as a future Superpower, it has to start working on it, today. This lesson from Niccolò Machiavelli, the Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher, and writer, is a very apt and important one for India- ”There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”



 

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