06/27/2009, 00.00
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China and India: deals signed in agricultural sector, open challenge to Myanmar

by CT Nilesh
The two countries have launched a cooperation project in China's Muslim majority Ningxia region. It is the first example of a cooperation aimed at eradicating poverty. Race between Beijing and Delhi to forge agreements with the Burmese military junta.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The collaboration between China and India in the independent Muslim Ningxia region is a sign of improving bilateral ties among negative signs of competition and mistrust. Delhi will fund the construction of an Agricultural Training and Information Centre in region that is relatively backward. The farmers can rely on the collaboration of the Indian partners for advice on the latest farming techniques and marketing trends.

The project was inaugurated by Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to China, and Wang Zhengwei, chairman of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), in Liangtian township. The NHAR is jointly funding the project with the Indian Government.  India has finally stepped into what has long been the preserve of western countries that want to understand grassroots China and forge ties with its provincial leaders.

Among the competitive signs are the different cooperative projects in Myanmar. Both nations are trying to sway the military government of Myanmar. China will begin laying a gigantic 1,100 km gas and oil pipeline through Myanmar in September. The pipeline will cut transportation cost by shortening the journey for crude from the Middle East and Africa that is now shipped along the Indian Ocean and through the dangerous Malacca Straits.

This move that will vastly enhance China fuel security, has strategic and political implications for both Delhi and Beijing. The latter has vetoed every UN resolution against Myanmar. China is also making roads in the Kengtung  area and launching the construction of  hydroelectric dams in Myanmar. The section of the pipelines in Myanmar will be built under the name of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation).

China, very shrewdly, is using the financial crisis as a golden business opportunity. China was watching as prices of sources of oil, gas and minerals began sliding and came up with a range of impressive acquisitions across the globe. In two weeks China, beside the pipeline in Myanmar, scored other three successes. PetroChina bought 45.5% stake in Singapore Petroleum from the Singapore based Keppel Corp. China Minmetal’s Non-ferrous metals Co invested .39bn to buy some of the cash-strapped Australian miners assets. The Australian Board has approved the deal. The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company has announced it has found oil from Niger Delta region with SIPEC, a subsidiary of China Petroleum Corporation. Once the production begins, the site will generate between 1,300 and 3,000 barrels per day. China has built up huge industrial capacities that need massive amounts of oil and metals to operate at full momentum.

Another notable initiative in cooperation with India is the funding of an Indian-style Buddhist temple near the historic White Horse temple in Luoyang in Henan province. But the Ningxia project represents the first joint experience in the eradication of poverty.

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