Break logjam with India, says Pakistani daily

Islamabad, Feb 1 (IANS) A Pakistani daily Friday lauded the government for refusing to give in to US pressure and going ahead with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. It hoped that breaking the logjam with India will be the "icing on the development cake".

"It is encouraging that the government has refused to give in to the pressure emanating from the US and decided to go ahead with the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline. This deal has long been in the making. If we are going to get a grip on our burgeoning and interminable energy crisis, the IP gas line is one way of doing it," said an editorial in News International.

The federal cabinet has also given approval for a transfer of the right to operate the Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea from Singapore to China.

"The Chinese paid around 75 percent of the initial $250 million that they took for the port to be constructed. Although nominally open for business for nearly three years, it has attracted little trade.

"...With the Chinese interested in developing a rail link between Kashgar in southern China and Gwadar Port, it makes several kinds of sense to work with them on this. This recent set of international agreements is indicative of the direction of our long-term foreign policy and strategic thinking," the daily noted.

The editorial said that the Americans are pivoting to a Pacific-centric attitude, and "as their interest wanes in Afghanistan and the Obama presidency looks towards its legacy, it will be negotiating a different relationship with Pakistan and its neighbours".

Pakistan needs to "have local and regional security and productive relations with contiguous states. India and Afghanistan remain problematic, Iran and China less so.

"Ports and pipelines appear to be favourable developments; but breaking the logjam with India will be the icing on the development cake," it added.


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