The Strategic Importance of Gwadar Port to India

China’s interest in Pakistan, particularly in building and operating Gwadar Port, is seen by India as a security threat because it gives the Chinese Navy access to the Arabian Sea, Arabian waterways, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The US is similarly concerned about the Chinese presence in Gwadar Port because of its own vital military interests in West Asia.

Gwadar Port gives China strategic access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, is not just being developed as a trade entrepot but as a dual purpose port for use by PLAN (the Chinese Navy) and is intended to expand Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region alongside Kyaukpyu in Myanmar and Hambantota in Sri Lanka.

With vital military interests in West Asia, the US too is concerned about the Chinese presence in Gwadar.

Threat to Local Pakistani

Balochistan is the least developed province of Pakistan even though the most resource-rich. This is mainly because even though natural gas makes up most of the revenue in the Balochistan economy, the region has been neglected and exploited by wealthy elites.

The people are not being given access to water, electricity or gas and over half a million families don’t even have access to clean drinking water.

The Protesters of Pakistan have pointed out that while Gwadar fishermen had given up their fishing spots for development of the port after assurances that it would greatly improve their economic condition, their existing condition was only worsening because of the unequal competition with the Chinese fishing vessels, which were also harming the eco-sytem.

The port development at Gwadar is perhaps the single most strategically important project of the CPEC, and Chinese involvement there predates the CPEC by at least a decade.

Work there began during the 10-year rule of General Pervez Musharraf, who pitched it as a strategic energy corridor that would provide the Chinese an alternative to the sea route for its oil imports from the middle east. Now it is integral to the President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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