Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 13 opened the Gwadar port – an important project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief Raheel Sharif thewire
The port is now officially operational for trade activities through CPEC’s western route.
Gwadar port thenewsteller
Top civil and military leadership of Pakistan, including Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Balochistan CM Nawab Sanaullah Zehri attended the event. The first mega trade cargo convoy which reached Gwadar from China then departed for Middle East and African countries.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif emphasised Pakistan’s commitment to China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) initiative. He said the OBOR project integrates with Pakistan’s Vision 2025 which seeks to transform Pakistan into a hub of trade and commerce, harnessing its geo-strategic location into a geo-economic advantage.
He said the CPEC is for entire Pakistan and no region or province will be left out of it.
Amid security concerns for foreign workers, the Pakistani army has created a special force to guard the new trade routes and the port, which is located in insurgency-hit Balochistan province where an overnight blast at a shrine killed nearly 50 people.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong said: “This the first time that a trade convoy successfully passed through the western part of Pakistan from the north to the south. It proves the connectivity of the local roads and the realisation of the concept of one corridor with multiple passages.”
CPEC is a $46 billion investment in Pakistan by China to build a trade route all the way from Kashghar in China’s Xinjiang province to Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Gwadar is a port city by Arabian Sea, which means that China will have a direct access to the sea itself through a route much shorter – and safer – than the existing one.
To understand this better, take a look at this map.
This map of South Asia, as published by Hong Kong based publication SCMP, shows China’s new Silk Route South China Morning Post
The port helps China transport its goods overland from manufacturing facilities through an already established high-speed railway and highway network at a very short time.
From Kashgar, the goods will cross Pakistan and reach Gwadar over an improved roadways network. From Gwadar, the Chinese goods will reach anywhere in the Gulf and African countries through a sea route that is much, much shorter than the current one. Chinese ships currently use the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage between the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia.