With strong military possibilities, China has won the right to operate Pakistan’s Gwadar port for a period of 40 years.
This move will give China access to Gulf countries, and the possibility of building a naval base on the Arabian Sea in future, sources revealed.
Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, on a Hong-King based news channel was quoted to have said the port could be put into full use by 2015 end because the infrastructure construction was nearly complete.
China has both financed and constructed the port because it opens up a route for transporting Middle East oil by a 3,000-km long land route from Gwadar port to Kashgar, the northwestern Chinese city.
The TV report further added that oil from the Middle East could be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to China by rail and road.
Located right at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the Gwadar port is just outside the Strait of Hormuz, which is the gateway for about 20 percent of the world’s oil.
“It (the port) will turn the tables… it will really benefit Pakistan and China,” Phoenix TV quoted Riaz Mohammad Khan, advisory board member of the Center for International Strategic Studies in Pakistan as saying.
China is building an economic corridor connecting Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang via roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas. It would act as a bridge for China’s planned Maritime Silk Route meant to link more than 20 countries as part of a trans-Eurasian project.
China is set to invest $1.62 billion on further development of the Gwadar project, which includes construction of an eastern expressway linking the harbor and coastline, an international airport, breakwater and nine other projects expected to be complete in three to five years.
The TV report concluded that a container terminal measuring 1,200 metres would soon be built by Gwadar along with a 300-meter-long cargo terminal that can harbor four berths.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on a request by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, gave the go-ahead to the interior ministry to raise a high-profile force with the help of the military and provide foolproof security to the Chinese working on the economic corridor project.