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Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, on the Arabian Sea. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-laden region of Central Asia. Gwadar Port became operational in 2008, with the first ship to dock bringing 52000 tonnes of wheat from Canada. Minister of Ports and Shipping Sardar Nabil Ahmed Khan Gabol officially inaugurated the port on 21 December 2008. China has acknowledged that Gwadar’s strategic value is no less than that of the Karakoram Highway, In addition to Gwadar serving as a potential Chinese naval anchor, Beijing is also interested in turning it into an energy-transport hub by building an oil pipeline from Gwadar into Chinese-ruled Xinjiang. The planned pipeline will carry crude oil sourced from Arab and African states. Such transport by pipeline will cut freight costs and also help insulate the Chinese imports from interdiction by hostile naval forces in case of any major war. Commercially, it is hoped that the Gwadar Port would generate billions of dollars in revenues and create at least two million jobs. In 2007, the government of Pakistan handed over port operations to PSA Singapore for 25 years, and gave it the status of a Tax Free Port for the following 40 years. The main investors in the project are Pakistani Government and People's Republic of China.
The region remained on the sidelines of history for a millennium, until the Arab-Muslim army of Muhammad bin Qasim captured the town of Gwadar in 711 CE and over the intervening amount of time the area was contested by various powers, including the Mughals and the Safavids . The Portuguese captured, sacked and burnt Gwadar in 1581,and this was then followed by almost two centuries of local rule by the various Balochi tribes. The city was visited by Ottoman Admiral Sidi Ali Reis in 1550s . According to him, the inhabitants of Gwadar were Baloch and their chief was Malik Jelaleddin, son of Malik Dinar. In 1783, the Khan of Kalat granted authority over Gwadar to Taimur Sultan, the defeated ruler of Muscat. When the sultan retook Muscat, he was to continue his rule in Gwadar by appointing a governor. Until 1958 Gwadar was part of Oman but was transferred to Pakistan on 8 September, 1958. It was integrated within the Balochistan on 1 July, 1977 and became a full subdivision of the Gwadar District. It was then made part of the Balochistan province. In 2002, the Gwadar Port project was begun in the town. The government of Pakistan wants to develop the entire area in order to reduce its depndence in shipping on the port of Karachi. By the end of 2004 the first phase had been completed.
Being district headquarters, the town of Gwadar is the chief city of Gwadar Tehsil, the tehsil is administratively subdivided into five Union councils, three of which form Gwadar city, these are: • • • Central Gwadar Gwadar Southern Gwadar Northern
Gwadar's location and history have given it unique cultures. The Arabic influence upon Gwadar is strong as a consequence of the Omani era. The area also has a remarkable religious diversity, being home to not only Sunni and Zikri Muslims, but also to groups of Christians, Hindus, Parsis, and various minorities such as the Ahmadies.
In 1993, Pakistan started feasibility studies for the development of a major deepwater seaport at Gwadar. The port project commenced on 22 March 2002 with the first phase completed in December 2005. The construction of the port has spurred other major infrastructure projects in the area. This includes the 700 km Makran Coastal Highway which is now complete. The road links Karachi with several ports along the coast including Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar and will be extended to the Iranian border in the future. The highway has reduced travel time to Karachi from 48 hours to only 7 hours. Other road projects include the Gwadar-QuettaChaman road which is due for completion in 2006 and a roadlink to the town of Khuzdar in eastern Balochistan. There are also plans for a terminal for passenger ships. The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan has earmarked 3000 acres of land for Gwadar International Airport which will be built 26 km away to the northeast of the existing airport towards Pasni . The new airport will be given international status.
The Gwadar deep-sea port emerges as a place of great strategic value, enhancing Pakistan's importance in the whole region, extending from the Persian Gulf through the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia and the Far East. Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the important Straits of Hormuz, through which more than 13 million bpd of oil passes. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions of the world: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-rich Central Asia. The construction of the Gwadar deep-sea port is just one component of a larger development plan which includes building a network of roads connecting Gwadar with the rest of Pakistan, such as the 650 km Coastal Highway to Karachi and 188 km GwadarTurbat road. This network of roads connects with China through the Indus Highway. Pakistan, China, Kazakhistan, Kyrgizstan and Uzbekistan are developing extensive road and rail links from Central Asia and the Chinese province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea coast. China is going to be the beneficiary of Gwadar's most accessible international trade routes to the Central Asian republics and Xinjiang. By extending its East-West Railway from the Chinese border city of Kashi to Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest, Beijing can receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route, from Karachi to Peshawar. The rail network could also be used to supply oil from the Persian Gulf to Xinjiang. Pakistan's internal rail network can also provide China with rail access to Iran.
The government declared Gwadar port a "Special Economic Zone" in the budget, 20032004. All banks will open their branches, five star hotels has already been be built and are
operational, offshore banking will be started, factories, warehouses and storage will be set up, the tourism industry will be promoted in the area, an export processing zone will be set up, making Pakistan a very attractive place for direct foreign investment, and Gwadar port a regional hub of trade and investment activities.
Development Projects Oman
Oman has offered $100 million aid for the development of social and infrastructure facilities in Balochistan. Out of $100 million, she has provided $7 million for extending of runway at Gwadar Airport, construction of jetties, upgradation of Gwadar Hospital, provision of 100 engines to fishermen and construction of power house. Oman is also financing construction of Gwadar-Hoshab Road, water supply scheme in Gwadar area and construction of irrigation dams. Pakistan and Oman have signed a number of agreements including Avoidance of Double Taxation, Promotion and Protection of Investment, Cultural, Technical and Educational Cooperation, Agreement on cooperation between Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry , Maritime Boundary Agreement and Agreement to establish Pak-Oman Joint Investment Company
Port of Singapore was scheduled to take over management of Gwadar Port by the end of January 2007. Port of Singapore was the highest bidder for the Gwadar port after DP World backed out of the bidding process. Originally, the chairman of Dubai Ports World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who met Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf on May 5 2006, expressed a strong hope for management of facilities at the strategic Gwadar deep sea port and development of infrastructure in the southern port city in Pakistan. But a decision was taken not to bid, after India’s National Security Council voiced concerns about DP World’s ventures in India, alongside its plans in Pakistan, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem assured the Indians their pull-out was well considered and India need not have any security concerns. The port will now be in competition with that of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The first ship anchored in the Gwadar port on March 15, 2008. The first ship was a Canadian ship carrying wheat. It was the largest ship to anchor in Pakistan.
Physical Features / Topography
The coastline of Gwadar District extends in an east-west direction and it is almost entirely desert. The elevation of Makran coast range is upto about 1000 meters above the sea level. In Gwadar District, soil is of two types: alluvial soil and lithosols and rigosols. The valley of Dasht river in the western part of the district and the Kulanch valley in the north consist of alluvial soil. The mountainous area of the district is covered with lithosols and rigosols. Limestone, shale and sandstone are the main rocks involved in the formation of this area.
Rivers and Streams
The important rivers and streams in the district include Shadi Kaur, Swar and Dasth river with its tributaries Nilag and Daddeh.
The climate of Gwadar, elevated at 0-300 meters above sea level, is drying arid hot. It is placed in “warm summer and mild winter” temperature region. The oceanic influence keeps the temperature lower than that in the interior in summer and higher in winter. The uniformity of temperature is a unique characteristic of the coastal region in Balochistan.
The initial phase of the Port Project has been completed in 2005. As this project is of immense national importance, which is also designed particularly to benefit the local people of the area such as job opportunities, improved social services delivery, venues for business and trade etc. Investors from all parts of the country and abroad are warmly welcomed. The people of Mekran, Gwadar and other adjoining districts are particularly encouraged to invest and avail the benefits from the project.
Major Projects for Private Investors
◊ Establishment of Shipping Agencies ◊ Goods Transportation Services ◊ Proposal for starting ferry services between Gwadar, Karachi and Gulf States ◊ Large scale residential schemes, all sorts of industrial projects and big hotels ◊ Establishment of freezing and packing facilities for the fish industries ◊ Wireless Cab System can be established ◊ Establishment of large private schools and hospitals ◊ Investment in Water Desalination Plants ◊ Electric Power Generation ◊ Oil terminals ◊ Ware-housing/ Container Yards ◊ Export Oriented Industries
Medium Size Projects for Private Investors
◊ Establishment of restaurant, play lands, boat services and water sports etc. ◊ Establishment of printing press & newspaper industry ◊ Superstores, Markets, Tourism Industries & small level fish processing units ◊ As most of the people of Mekran area are serving in military & police of the Middle
East Countries on retirement can be hired by the private security agencies ◊ According to the availability of the fresh water in the adjoining areas of Gwadar District, business such as Poultry, Dairy, Fruit & Vegetable cultivation could be established ◊ Trawler/ truck Companies can be established ◊ Private houses could be hired by private companies for office accommodation and guest houses ◊ Various agencies of construction material, medicines and food items could be established ◊ Investment in energy sector Particularly renewable energy, LPG plants etc. ◊ Small ware housings.
Small Scale Projects
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Small Shops, restaurants, Coffee & Ice cream shops and individual cab services Law firms & Chambers Private Medical Clinics Architects/ Town Planners Business of Contractors Fish Meal Factory Avenues for Fish & Shrimp farming along the coast
Gwadar to become a: Viable and Vibrant, Transit and Transshipment Port, and Excellent Recreational City and a Bustling Commercial Center.
To manage a planned growth of the city with an effective road access network, environmental and investors friendly process and supportive social service facilities.
Located at the entrance of the Persian Gulf and about 460 kms from Karachi, Gwadar has had immense Geostrategic significance on many accounts. The continued unstable regional environment in the Persian Gulf in particular as a result of the Iran/Iraq war, the Gulf war and the emergence of the new Central Asian States has added to this importance. Considering the Geo-economic imperative of the regional changes, the ADB’s Ports Master Plan studies considered an alternate to the Persian Gulf Ports to capture the transit trade of the Central Asian Republic (CAR) as well as the trans-shipment trade of the region. Both Karachi and PQA were considered for such development but were found unattractive to major shipping lines due to the remoteness from the main shipping routes, the limitations of draft for mother ships and large bulk oil carriers and the comparative long turn around times. The ADB studies, however considered Gwadar to have the most advantageous location for such an alternative port in the region, which could handle
mother ships and large oil tankers in due course. Keeping that aspect in view as well as the inherent strategic and economic benefits that Gwadar Port offered, the transport plan of the 8th Five Year Plan (1993-94) of Pakistan included the development of Gwadar Port as an essential element of its aims and objectives. Technical and financial feasibilities therefore were under taken resulting in decisions for the development of Gwadar Port by the Govt. of Pakistan. The Project started on 22 March 2002, is on fast track and completed in schedule time i.e March 2005. In fact it would surprise many that with initiative and calculated risk, we have received merchant ships since Jan 2003 and have been able to off load hundreds of tones of cargo imported for the Project, thus saving precious time and money which otherwise is required for transportation of the same cargo by road from Karachi/PQA to Gwadar.
Geo-Political Importance Of Gawadar
Dubai is the hub of business not only for Gulf but also for rest of the world including Europe, United States, Africa, China and Central Asian States. The gulf region is facing many political problems at the moment and huge disturbances are expected in the coming years. In such a scenario, a substitute of Dubai is essential to be located before the crisis hits the finances of millions. The substitute shall be a nearest point probably, to ensure continuous supply line of oil from Gulf to the outer world. Fortunately, Gawadar proves to be the nearest and infact more cost-effective substitute of Dubai, from many aspects. China is emerging as a super economic power of the world in the recent years. Despite occupying a huge area of world's land, it doesn't have any port of hot waters, which can be used the whole year. The distance of Chinese industrial approach to the Shinghai port is approximately 16000 km and the sea travel of 2-3 months is additional. This costs them a lot in the form of taxes and duties as well. As compared to this, Gawadar port is only on a distance of 2500 km from China and the port is working for the whole year because of the hot waters here. Therefore, the interest of China in the development of Gawadar port is infact in the interest of Chinese economy. The central Asian states, after the independence from USSR, are trying to develop their economies. These states are land locked and Karachi was expected to provide them the services through Afghanistan. For the purpose, a highway from Peshawar to Karachi was constructed but due to Afghan crisis, this line couldn't be established. The Afghan situation is till not clear, so, Gawadar being near to Iranian border will provide port facilities to Central Asia as well.
Geo-Economic Importance Of Gawadar
With a population of 160000, the Gawadar Town is now set to become a hub of shipping, commercial and industrial activities. Pakistan and China had signed a comprehensive agreement on March 16, 2002 at Beijing undertaking the task of construction of Gawadar deep seaport of universal standards. The work on the first phase of this mega project, which is being constructed by Chinese Harbor Engineering Company, is now at full swing. The project is bound to be a vital landmark in the economic development of the region. The port comes as a much-needed national requirement in the wake of the rise in cargo traffic at Keamari and Bin Qasim, which are operating at full capacity. It is expected that Pakistan's maritime traffic would rise by three folds by 2010. With the construction of a third port, it is estimated that Pakistan will not only be able to meet its own requirements of the future but also offer its port facilities to the neighboring countries. Gawadar is now destined to be the most important upcoming coastal town located on the inter junction of the three most strategically and economically important regions of the world that are oil rich Middle East, South Asia where one- fifth of world population lives
and the Central Asian Republics endowed with mineral wealth and an educated and highly skilled and disciplined workforce.
Besides the Geostrategic importance mentioned earlier, some of the evident economic benefits of the development of Gwadar Port are: Capitalize on opportunities for trade with landlocked Central Asian States and Afghanistan. Promote trade and transport with Gulf States. Trans-shipment essentially of containerized cargo. Unlock the development potential of hinterland. Diversion of influx of human resources from up country to Gwadar instead of Karachi. Socio economic uplift of the province of Balochistan. Establishment of shipping related industries. Oil storage, refinery and petrochemicals Export Processing and Industrial Zones Reduce congestion & dependency on existing Ports Complex at Karachi/PQA. Serve as an alternate port to handle Pakistani trade in case of blockade of existing ports. Will become a Regional Hub for major trade and commercial activities.
China's pearl in Pakistan's waters
China's involvement in the Gwadar project is immense. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$1.16 billion, of which China has contributed about $198 million for the first phase - almost four times the amount Pakistan has forked out for this phase - which includes construction of three multi-purpose ship berths. China has invested another $200 million toward building a highway connecting Gwadar port with Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, which is also a port on the Arabian Sea. The second phase, which envisages nine more berths, an approach channel and storage terminals, will also be financed by China. In addition to its financial contribution, China has sent about 450 engineers and provided technical expertise for the project. In recent years, bilateral trade has steadily increased between China and Pakistan, with a 35% rise to $2.4 billion in 2004, half the trade volume registered between China and India. The balance of trade remains overwhelmingly in China's favor, whose exports amounted to $1.8 billion compared with Pakistan's $575 million. Both Pakistan and China have highlighted the economic returns that development of the Gwadar port holds out for the two countries. For Pakistan, the economic returns from Gwadar port stem from its location near the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil passes. Gwadar could emerge as a key shipping point, bringing Pakistan much-needed income, and when combined with the surrounding areas could become a trade hub, once road and rail links connect it to the rest of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. A road from Gwadar to Saindak, said to be the shortest route between Central Asia and the sea, is under construction. Gwadar would provide landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics with access to the sea. Goods and oil and gas reserves from these countries could be shipped to global markets through Gwadar port. Pakistan's business community seems to be in favor of Gwadar port being designated a free trade zone and an export-processing zone.
Gawadar provides China "a transit terminal for crude-oil imports from Iran and Africa to China's Xinjiang region". The network of rail and road links connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asian republics that is envisaged as part of the Gwadar project and to which China will have access would provide Beijing an opening into Central Asian markets and energy sources, in the process stimulating the economic development of China's backward Xinjiang region. During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, India's blockade of Karachi had a serious impact on the Pakistani economy. Again in 1999, during the Kargil conflict, India threatened to blockade Karachi port. That Gwadar is situated 725km to the west of Karachi, which makes it 725km further away from India than Karachi, provides "Pakistan with crucial strategic depth ". For China, Gwadar's strategic value stems from its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. About 60% of China's energy supplies come from the Middle East, and China has been anxious that the US, which has a very high presence in the region, could choke off these supplies to China. "Having no blue-water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies" . A presence in Gwadar provides China with a "listening post" where it can "monitor US naval activity in the Persian Gulf, Indian activity in the Arabian Sea and future US-Indian maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Drawing attention to China's "string of pearls" strategy, the report points out that "China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China's energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives". The port and naval base in Gwadar is part of the "string of pearls". The other "pearls" in the string include facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the South China Sea that Beijing has acquired access to by assiduously building ties with governments in these countries. China's foothold in the Arabian Sea has set off alarm bells in India, Iran and the US. For India, China-Pakistan collaboration at Gwadar and China's presence in the Arabian Sea heightens its feeling of encirclement by China from all sides. Iran sees the development of Gwadar port in its neighborhood as likely to erode the significances. Ultimately, the extent to which Pakistan and China are able to reap economic and strategic gains from the Gwadar project would depend on the challenges to it from within their borders. The Gwadar project is bitterly opposed by Baloch nationalists who see it as yet another example of Pakistan's Punjabi-dominated ruling elite siphoning away Balochi wealth and resources without this backward region or its people gaining. For instance, it is non-Balochis who are said to have gained from the sharp rise in real estate prices around Gwadar. This has, not surprisingly, triggered angry and violent attacks on pipelines carrying oil from Balochistan and on those working on the Gwadar project. Three Chinese engineers were killed and 11 others, including nine Chinese and two Pakistanis, were injured in a bomb attack by the Balochistan Liberation Army. Pakistan has often blamed "a foreign hand" for the violence in Balochistan. But the threat to the port project or the oil pipelines comes from disaffected Balochis. Similarly, Uighur separatists angry with Beijing's "Hanification" of their land, could target Chinese workers at Gwadar.
China calls halt to Gwadar refinery QUETTA, Pakistan - Cash-strapped Pakistan, which has had to accept more than US$11 billion from the International Monetary Fund, is threatened with the loss of a huge foreign investment after China said it had shelved its multi-billion dollar coastal oil refinery project at Gwadar, in southwest Balochistan province. China has formally informed the Pakistani authorities that the refinery project has been deleted from the list of financial development plans agreed with Islamabad for the financial year ending next June as there has been no progress on the project, according to a Business Recorder report. United Arab Emirates state-run International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) of work on the $5 billion Khalifa Coastal Refinery (KCR) project at Hub, also in Balochistan, creates uncertainty about the future of the planned $12.5 billion mega oil city project in Gwadar, of which the refinery there was to be a key element. It also casts doubt over plans for a corridor carrying energy pipelines and refinery products the length of Pakistan from Gwadar onto western China. The global recession was a factor in forcing the Chinese and UAE governments to shelve their refinery projects, the Business Recorder report said, citing sources in Pakistan's Petroleum Ministry. Local analysts, however, believe that security concerns were also an important factor. The United States is also turning its attention to the province, which borders Afghanistan to the north, as part of its battle against Taliban insurgents in the region. Many Chinese nationals have been attacked, kidnapped and killed in the country since May 2004, when three Chinese engineers were killed in Gwadar. While its nationals are under threat in Pakistan, China is also concerned about Islamist militants operating in China's western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It says some have been trained in Pakistan's unruly tribal areas to the north of Balochistan. Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region, was the scene of riots last month in which 197 people were killed. Beijing claimed Uyghur separatists were responsible for the violence. Great United Petroleum Holdings Company Limited (GUPC) of China started work on the Gwadar petrochemical city project in December 2006. Under a memorandum of understanding signed between Pakistan and China that year, GUPC was committed to conduct a feasibility study and preparation work. The GUPC was also to build 1,000-2,000 service stations in the country. China had planned to build a refinery and petrochemical complex with an initial 10 million tonnes per year (200,000 barrels per day) capacity, later expanding to 21 million tonnes. Pakistan has allocated 5,000 hectares of land for the proposed oil city. Gwadar is close to the entrance to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, China's biggest source of crude, and a pipeline to western China would greatly reduce the time and distance required to transport the fuel, while cutting out the congested seaways around Singapore. The earlier halted UAE-built Khalifa refinery was originally planned for Gwadar, before being moved east to Hub district. In 2007, the UAE signed an implementation agreement with Islamabad to establish the $5 billion refinery, which Abu Dhabi's IPIC was to build with a target refining capacity of 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day. So far the UAE government has not started work on the project, which was scheduled to be completed by 2012. In March, Pakistan told the UAE government that if work did not start within 60 days, Islamabad would seek other investors or expand the capacity of the Pak-Arab Refinery (Parco), in central Pakistan, by 100,000 barrels of oil per day. China is playing an increasing role throughout Pakistan's economy, from sales of consumer goods to developing natural resources, with several mining projects underway in Balochistan. It has been the biggest foreign investor and partner in the development of Gwadar port for commercial shipping as well as an energy hub.
Dimension One: Pakistan’s Strategic Interests (1) Gwadar is located only 180 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz through which 40% of World’s Oil passes. Gwadar could thus emerge as the key shipping hub in the area providing mass trade to central asian republics as well as across Pakistan and China. A road from Gwadar to Saindak is completed. Saindak is already connected to the RCD Highway (N35) and through Quetta-Chaman it provides the shortest route for trade with Central Asian Republics. (2) Pakistan also needed a deep sea port away from Karachi so that in times of hostilities Pakistan Navy doesn’t get blockaded. With all the navy ships concentrated at Karachi port, a blockade of Pakistan had been quite easy in the past. With Jinnah Naval Base at Ormara and Gwadar port, PN should be able to
spread out its assets. For reference, Gwadar port is 450 km further away from Indian Border than Karachi Port. (3) Gwadar port will directly and indirectly bring lots of wealth, trade and infrastructure advancement to the area which has been traditionally left behind in developement. Compare it to how Karachi port transformed a once sleepy fishing village to a megapolis. Dimension Two: Chinese Interests in Reaching Blue Waters (1) It is also widely claimed that there is a Chinese interest in reaching the blue waters of Arabian Sea. This is cited as a strategic move by Chinese as they funded US $198 million (out of total phase I cost of US $248 million) and also provided 450 Engineers on site to finish the project on time. It is said that China is trying to develop its Western regions at par with its Eastern regions to reduce the economic gap within China and to stop the internal migration of people from West to East. It is famously called their ‘Go West’ policy. To market products produced in Western China, ports of Shanghai or other eastern ports are almost 3000 km away from the western production centers where as Gwadar provides access to a port at just 1500 km. (2) There is another dimension to this project where Gwadar port is considered as the naval outpost for the Chinese. It has been called part of ‘String of Pearls’ strategy of Chinese where they’ve got hold of strategic ports in Gwadar, Bangladesh, SriLanka, Burma, Thailand, Combodia, and South China Sea etc. On a world map, these ports form of string (of pearls) which may form as Chinese line of defense to control oil movement. 80% of oil used in China goes through shipping lines of Malacca Straits. This strategy of a series of ports along the oil shipment routes gives China a forward footing. It is said that China is also wary that US may cut off its oil supplies through Malacca straits in case of any increase of hostilities on Taiwan issue. (3) China has however, always denied that Gwadar will ever be used by Chinese military. Publicly they have always called it a civilian port of Pakistan. Dimension Three: Iranian and Indian Interests in the Area (1) Gwadar port is also making regional players nervous. Iran which is only 72 km away from Gwadar considers it as an economic threat taking business away from Iranian ports. So in competition to Gwadar, Iran has developed its own port called Chabahar with the help of India. Chabahar is located in Iranian Balochistan province of Seestan. India is also building 213 km long road to connect this Iranian port with Afghanistan. India is eyeing this Iranian port as its own shortest route to Central Asian markets and may be a counter balance to Chinese influence in Gwadar. (2) India may also consider the Chinese influence in Gwadar as a move by China to encircle India, hence their interest in developing Iranian port of Chabahar. Dimension Four: Baloch Nationalist Interests (1) Now if you thought that was all, don’t forget the nationalist angle to Gwadar port. Baluchi people in whose province this port has been developed are not 100% behind the project. Their apprehensions are that other provinces will reap the real economic benefits of this development. There is also a resentment against the labor for the port coming from other provinces as well as the real estate boom that Gwadar is seeing is going to people from outside Balochistan. This has resulted in some violence in the area including some attacks even targeted against the Chinese engineers. The attacks against the Chinese also gives rise to the speculation that our friendly neighbors may be inciting Balochi nationalism for their own economic agenda but there has to be some truth that Baluchis deserve more share in their province’s resources. Chronology of Gwadar Port: 1964: Gwadar identified as a port site in Pakistan
1993: Feasibility Studies started by Pakistan for a deep seaport at Gwadar. May 2001: Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji under-writes the Gwadar Port Project on his visit to Pakistan March 22, 2002: Chinese Vice Premier Wu Bangguo laid the foundation of Gwadar Port. May 3, 2004: Three Chinese engineers are killed and 11 others injured in an attack while traveling to Gwadar. November 2004: A Chinese cargo vessel carrying port building equipment successfully berthed at Gwadar port. March 2005: Phase I of Gwadar Port project completed and the port inaugurated by the Chinese Premier. March 2008: First ship anchors at the Gwadar port, bringing 52000 tonnes of Wheat from Canada Scope of Gwadar Port Project: Phase I: Us $ 248 million. Status: 100% Complete 3 Multipurpose Berths Length of Berths 602m 4.5 Km long Approach Channel Dredged to 11.5m-12.5m. Turning Basin 450m dia. One 100m Service Berth. Related port infrastructure and port handling equipment & Pilot Boat, Tugs, Survey Vessel etc. Phase II: US $ 932 million: Work Progressing on building 9 additional berths, which will be: 4 Container Berths. 1 Bulk Cargo Terminal (to handle 100,000 DWT ships). 1 Grain Terminal. 1 Ro-Ro Terminal. 2 Oil Terminals to handle 200,000 DWT ships. Gwadar, China, the U.S., and the Great Game Balochistan is (1) on the map to the right; the Swat Valley, where much of the recent news has been, is at roughly (2). It might be that we're going to be hearing a lot more about Gwadar and Balochistan in the future. For those of us who are inclined (either because of a cynical disposition or an appreciation of history, if those are
different things) to see the U.S. fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban as primarily a pretext for moves by the US in a Great Game with China, the following is an interesting development. In the May 9th issue of The Tribune of India, Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad: In a surprisingly candid public comment, China has voiced concern over the "too high" US military presence in the region. "China is concerned over the increasing US influence in the region," Chinese Ambassador Lou Zhaohui said here, adding that the number of foreign forces was "too high" in the region. It is for the first time that China has publicly stated a position on American military presence in the area ever since it attacked Afghanistan after the 9/11 in 2001. Talking to reporters during a visit to the Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Chinese envoy said the "outside influence" was growing in the region. China has suspicions over US intentions in Gwadar port built by Chinese assistance. The port can act as a gateway for China to reach out to West Asia. "These are issues of serious concern for China," he said. Gwandar is in Balochistan, a region of Pakistan with an insurgent nationalist (not Taliban) movement. Balochistan is both the largest and least populated province of Pakistan. the dynamics of U.S. geopolitical and military involvement: Washington's dream scenario is Gwadar as the new Dubai - while China would need Gwadar as a port and also as a base for pumping gas via a long pipeline to China. One way or another, it will all depend on local grievances being taken very seriously. Islamabad pays a pittance in royalties for the Balochis, and development aid is negligible; Balochistan is treated as a backwater. Gwadar as the new Dubai would not necessarily mean local Balochis benefiting from the boom; in many cases they could even be stripped of their local land. To top it all, there's the New Great Game in Eurasia fact that Pakistan is a key pivot to both NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Pakistan is an observer. So whoever "wins" Balochistan incorporates Pakistan as a key transit corridor to either Iranian gas from the monster South Pars field or a great deal of the Caspian wealth of "gas republic" Turkmenistan. Now imagine thousands of mobile US troops - backed by supreme air power and hardcore artillery pouring into this desert across the immense, 800-kilometer-long, empty southern AfghanistanBalochistan border. These are Obama's surge troops who will be in theory destroying opium crops in Helmand province in Afghanistan. They will also try to establish a meaningful presence in the ultra-remote,
southwest Afghanistan, Baloch-majority province of Nimruz. It would take nothing for them to hit Pakistani Balochistan in hot pursuit of Taliban bands. And this would certainly be a prelude for a de facto US invasion of Balochistan. This is very interesting stuff: [This] monograph looks at how Pakistan’s mounting energy insecurity — a product of rapid increase in demand coupled with rising scarcity and the region’s intensified energy rivalry— has magnified the economic and strategic importance of Balochistan, while at the same time complicating Pakistan’s efforts to cope with the province’s resurgent tribal separatism. This change in the energy context exerts a powerful threefold impact on the insurgents’ prospects. In the first place, it lifts Balochistan and Baloch nationalism to a position much higher on the scale of central government priorities, thus seeming to warrant, as the government sees the problem, zero tolerance and ruthless crushing of the insurgency. Second, it arms the Baloch insurgents both with greater incentives than ever for reclaiming control of Balochistan and with the novel capacity to drive the economic and political costs to the government of continuing insurgent activity far higher than ever in the past. Wirsing discusses two pipeline projects that have been under consideration for Pakistan: the IPI (Iran Pakistan India) line with the U.S. does not like, and the TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India) line which the U.S. does like. This is what Escobar writing the Asia Times is on about. However, Wirsing stresses that neither project is realistic at the moment, given the strife in the region and the resultant difficulty in keeping planned pipelines running. The alternatives are highway-shipping-rail routes. Gwandar figures prominently here. In place of the ill-starred eastward-running natural gas pipelines, the region is witnessing instead the fastpaced development of competitive and politically divisive "transport corridors" built on a north-south axis. These corridors consist mainly of port, road, rail, and air infrastructural networks. The primary function of these networks is, along with promotion of commercial and political ties, to improve Indian or, as the case may be, Pakistani access to the energyrich CARs and to achieve some influence over the production, processing, and distribution of energy resources. The inauguration on March 20, 2007, of Pakistan’s Chinese-assisted Gwadar deep sea port on the Balochistan coast gave clear sign of Islamabad’s intention for Pakistan to become the CARs’ favored commercial and energy intermediary. The expected completion by the end of 2008 of the Indian-constructed Zaranj-Delaram highway in southwestern Afghanistan will give an equally transparent sign of New Delhi’s similar intent. Undoubtedly, it was "the convergence of Sino- Pakistani strategic interests [that] put the port onto a fast track to its early completion";31 and it is the Chinese connection with Gwadar, of course, that has attracted most attention from regional security observers. As the principal contributor (of about $200 million) to the
project’s first phase, China has transparent interests both in monitoring the supply routes for its rapidly increasing energy shipments from the Persian Gulf and also in opening an alternative route via Pakistan for import/export trade serving China’s vast, sometimes restive, and rapidly developing Muslim-majority Xinjiang Autonomous Region. From New Delhi’s point of view, the strategic implications of the Gwadar project are substantial— and clearly worrisome. First, Gwadar complicates the Indian navy’s strategic planning. It is one of several naval bases mentioned by Musharraf in his inaugural comments, two of them on the Balochistan coast, which Pakistan is building to diversify and deepen its naval defenses. It is one of several signs that Pakistan aspires to a significantly greater and better-defended naval presence in the Indian Ocean. Second, the construction of Gwadar and its associated road, rail, and pipeline networks has been openly justified as a means to materially strengthen Pakistan’s influence with Afghanistan and the Central Asian states, with whom it is already formally associated in the Economic Cooperation Organization founded by Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran in 1985 and expanded to its present membership of 10 (entirely Muslim states) in 1992. Third, New Delhi will inevitably view Gwadar as another link in the China-built chain encircling India on its eastern, northern, and western borders. More perhaps than any other development in the history of SinoPakistan relations, Gwadar establishes the major infrastructural framework for substantially strengthened military and economic ties between Pakistan and China. Potentially, these ties could lead to Pakistan’s near absorption into a China-centric strategic partnership.
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