China has traditionally been a good friend to Pakistan since the 1950s in order to have an edge over India. We have witnessed that China has been quite loyal in its friendship with Pakistan. Apparently, this has worked well for both the countries in various ways from military and financial resources to international relations. Evidently, China has the access to the ports of Pakistan including the deep-sea Gwadar Port situated on the Arabian Sea in Balochistan.
As per a report in Economic Times, Pakistan has decided to take its partnership with China a notch further and build a city to house 5 lakh Chinese people in the port city of Gwadar. As a part of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the city will be constructed to improve the connectivity between the two countries.
Interestingly, only Chinese nationals will be allowed to live in the gated zone of the Gwadar Port, making it a ‘Chinese-only’ colony in Pakistan. The cost of the planned city project is reported to be a whopping $150 million which will be built by the Chinese administration in the Islamic nation of Pakistan. As a part of the project, China-Pak Investment Corporation has bought 3.6 million quarter foot of the International port city of Gwadar.
As per the media report, the colony will be first of its kind in the South Asia region, which is incidentally, the central point of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Interestingly, China has invested in various sectors across Pakistan including railways, highways, pipelines, power plants, mobile networks and industrial areas in order to improve the geographical link for the Belt and Road Initiative.
Well, Beijing’s multi-billion dollar project ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) is the Chinese Marshall Plan that is said to be state’s campaign for global dominance. This grand plan is to spread the Chinese investment around the world.
From South-East Asia to Eastern Europe and Africa, this 21st-century silk road includes 71 countries accounting for half of the world’s population and a quarter of global GDP.
Seemingly, apart from the Gwadar Port project, China has already set up such colonies on the African continent and parts of Central Asia, now it is the turn of South Asia. The proposed city is expected to become fully functional by the year 2022 after which it will become the home of Chinese nationals.
Well, it looks like the world is worried as the world’s most populated country is luring the developing countries into its debt trap. Arguably, ever since its inception in 2002, the Gwadar Port has been a controversial point of discussion for India.
India’s former Defense Minister AK Anthony had earlier expressed his concern over the decision of Pakistan to transfer the management of Gwadar Port to China. In fact, both Gwadar Port and the CPEC have been contentious issues for the Indian government. Apparently, the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is legally a part of India. Therefore, India has been opposing the CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative on sovereign grounds.
Well, the opening of the Chabahar Port in Iran is being strategically said to be India’s countermeasure against the Gwadar Port. However, only time will tell if it will righteously benefit India in strategic and economic policies.