Why Pakistan’s Gwadar port is important for China
The first consignment of Chinese goods passed on November 13 through the Gwadar port in Pakistan on to ports in West Asia and Africa. The port is the showpiece of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which Beijing sees as a crucial link that will help it in its drive to become a world power.
1.The Gwadar port
*Gwadar is warm-water, deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea.
* Strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz.
* It was upgraded at a cost of $1.62bn, Chinese media said.
* The port was officially leased to China for 43 years, until 2059. On return after the lease period, it will be Pakistan’s second naval base
* It will also be the site of a floating liquefied natural gas facility as part of the larger $2.5 billion Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline project.
2.What is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC)
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) is a 3,218-km route consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect Gwadar port to Xinjiang in China. The CPEC is crucial for China’s ‘One Belt,One Road’ initiative that aims to connect China to Europe and Asia.
3.What Pakistan gains from CPEC
* CPEC investments expected to exceed all FDI in Pakistan since 1970.
* Over 7 lakh direct jobs likely to be created by CPEC in Pakistan.
4.Why some Pakistani MPs are concerned over CPEC
A group of Pakistani lawmakers has expressed concern that Beijing could eventually use the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to boost its trade with India. “Irrespective of sour India-Pakistan, China will definitely use CPEC to expand its trade with India because one who invests always watches one’s interests first,” A Pakistani MP said.
* People in Balochistan, the Pakistani province in which Gwadar is located, are against the CPEC.
* They claim that the CPEC’s benefits will not flow to them.
* Pakistani extremist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban has already claimed the killing of some Chinese in Pakistan.
* Pakistan has deployed as many as 14,503 security personnel to secure some 7,036 Chinese nationals working on CPEC
6.Why India is unhappy
*India is unhappy with the CPEC as it passes through the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
*PM Narendra Modi brought up the Balochistan issue in his Independence Day speech, drawing protests from Pakistan.
* Baloch activists have been reaching out to India, hoping it will help bring focus to their plight internationally.