Is China Taking Extra Interest In Gwadar Port of Pakistan?

Pakistan's strategically important Gwadar port, being developed by China as part of the $46 billion Economic Corridor linking both the countries, will not pose any military threat to India, Chinese media said today.

"The Western and Indian media have tended to exaggerate the threat of Gwadar port to India, pointing to its military functions and claiming that the port will be built into a military base for the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean.

Some Indian reports have even claimed that China's 'takeover' of the port could be a strategic game changer," an article in the state-run Global Times said.

As part of the Economic Corridor plan, Pakistan has officially kicked off a project last week by handing over more than 2,000 acres of land in Gwadar port on Arabian Sea to Chinese firm for 43 year lease for commercial development.

The deal will turn the port into a free port similar to Hong Kong, according to Chinese media reports.

China has already taken over the port which will be connected with its Xinjiang province through a 3,000-km long corridor through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has objected to the corridor as it goes through the disputed area.

"The suspicion is partly due to the geographical significance of the port. It is situated in the southwest of Pakistan, close to the Iranian border and only 400 kilometers away from the Strait of Hormuz, the world's key oil shipping route, which accounts for more than 30 per cent of the world's seaborne oil exports," the Global Times article said.

"However, these suspicions are unnecessary. Having witnessed the gradual development of the port over the years, some more sober Indian scholars and think tanks believe that the economic function of the port is far more significant than its military potential," it said.

"The construction of the port is not targeting India militarily. As a matter of fact, it is actually good news for India. The port can help promote the economic development of the Indian region close to Pakistan and help bridge China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative with India'sSpice Route and Mausam projects," it said.

"The future of Pakistan will depend upon Gwadar to a certain extent, as the port will play a pivotal role in boosting the country's economic prosperity and development dream," the article said.

"As a mainstay of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan, Gwadar port will not only cater to future trade between China and Pakistan; it will also serve as a vital regional commercial hub for South AsiaCentral Asia and the Middle East, fostering regional economic development within Asia as well as economic ties beyond the region," it added.

Read the full story here. 


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