GWADAR THE DREAM CITY
What is Chinese Interest in Gwadar?
Gwadar City is the Dream Project of Pakistan
Key Note on Gwadar Progress and Development:
Gwadar project has a very significant role not only for Pakistan but also for the whole region. Pakistan’s unique geography and geo political factors in the region have made it one of kind opportunity for Pakistan. Solid commitments by Chinese and Pakistani government with concrete steps on ground, growing interest by Gulf countries and Investors around the globe are indicators of the bright future of Gwadar.
Investment in any Project in E.P.Zone Gwadar is an investment with a 20 years Tax Holiday facilities and trustworthy, reputed company committed to excellence and confidence and in a location which is already focus of the world.
Which are the countries directly benefited by Gwadar?
Because of unique geography, Gwadar virtually benefits all countries in the region. In today’s increasingly interdependent world it would not be wrong that indirectly it benefits the whole world. However, some of the important countries directly benefited by Gwadar beside Pakistan and China are as following:
a. Tajikistan. A land locked country that will get access to international waters for its Oil and Gas exports and other imports.
b. Uzbekistan. Again a land locked country, greatly benefited by Gwadar.
c. Turkmenistan. Same as above.
d. Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been historically dependent upon Pakistan for its sea routes. Present reconstruction efforts need more and more materials, but the existing port facilities already under pressures from Pakistan’s needs find it difficult to manage. Besides, through Gwadar the access to international waters would be further reduced to great advantage of Afghan reconstruction.
What is Chinese Interest in Gwadar?
China has a great strategic interest in Gwadar. Following are the important ones:-
a. China is heavily dependent upon the oil from the gulf, at present this oil passes via a very long route, through the straight of Malacca under US influence. After this oil has reached the Shanghai or the Chinese East Cost, it has to be transported thousands of miles in land to West of China. By using Gwadar port and than Karakoram Highway (KKH) its much safer, cheaper and shorter route to west of china.
b. Middle East is very important region in the world because of its Oil Reserves and large markets. China has a natural dependence on this but does not have means to influence it. Government of Pakistan has already committed to providing a Navel Base to China in Gwadar. This will not only help secure the Gwadar but also take the Pakistan China Friendship to new heights.
c. Chinese Goods will find an easier, shorter and secure route to Middle East increasing profitability and increasing trade.
d. China will greatly benefit from the industrial zone by setting up industries close to the markets.
It is important to understand the Chinese commitments which are indicative of importance that china attaches to Gwadar. China has very strongly committed to Gwadar project, because of her interests. Following are the major inputs from the China:-
a. China has been instrumental in design of the project.
b. China is providing approximately 80% of the cost of Port in shape of grants and soft loans.
c. Over 500 Chinese workers have worked on the project on 24 hour basis to complete the port setup. There are still a large number of Chinese workers and engineers working on the project.
d. China has further committed to provide money and resources as and when needed.
e. China is setting up a Dry Port at the Pak China border to take advantage of shorter route to sea through Gwadar.
f. China has paid US$ 360 million to Pakistan for expansion and up gradation to all weather traficability of Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China. The contract has been awarded to Frontier Works Organization, who has also started the project.
g. Feasibility and engineering studies to connect China with Gwadar through pipeline and railway track has already begun. This railway track also has the significance of being an engineering marvel of the world.
What is International Significance of Gwadar?
Another angle to look at Gwadar is its significance and effect to rest of the world. Following are the major developments in this regard.
a. India is threatened by Gwadar as this new port and associated developments will help increase the influence and significance of Pakistan. This development also brings Pakistan and China more close. A stronger Pakistan with higher stature in the international world is not welcome to India. India is also weary of increased dependence of CAR’s, Afghanistan and China on Pakistan, with obvious benefits to Pakistan. Pakistan will become an important player in the region through Gwadar and India is troubled by the very thought.
b. This is the best and most advanced port in the whole region, it is therefore getting heat from many corners. In reality this is going to be to the benefit of every one. Shorter and more economical route to CAR’s and Afghanistan is especially going to be beneficial to India who eagerly looks to increasing trade with them.
c. Turkmenistan is a country blessed with natural gas and oil. But being land locked, it can’t benefit from them. Trans Afghan Gas Pipeline (TAP) from Turkmenistan to Gwadar, the long dormant project that hopes to pump Turkmen natural gas to markets in south Asia is finally ready to step off the drawing board. This project is being developed by CENTGAS.
d. Kazakhstan is also a country with lot of Oil but no means to access the international market. A pipeline is also planned to transport this oil to Gwadar and than rest of the world.
e. Many more companies in the world from various countries would be setting up their businesses to take the advantage of State of the art world class port the best in the region, with cheap labor and close proximity to the huge Middle East market.
f. Due to good geography and unscathed sand beaches, tourism and recreation resorts have good potential and large multinational companies are taking up locations for the purpose.
g. Far from just an academic point of view, recent interest of various international companies to include Shell for setting up mega oil refinery in the area, and deep interest of UAE business groups in Gwadar are important landmarks in this light. UAE alone is committed to investing $30 Bn, with further understanding of $60 Bn more. They have plans to build Hotels Resorts and Recreation centers in Gwadar. Its not long when other Arab Countries, overloaded with high returns from the record oil prices also expose their plans in the area.
The Baluch Nationalism Threat Myth.
As mentioned before, a project of such huge international significance and advantage to Pakistan just could not go without its enemies playing a role to downplay this mega project and pessimists airing their voices. A strong prosperous and important Pakistan is a hope for all well wishers and Muslims alike, and exactly this is what is dreaded by those who don’t want a Muslim country so strong. They in order to undermine Pakistan are creating, supporting and propagating disinformation about the so called Baluch Nationalism. Following are some of the facts to be considered in this regard.
a. Govt. of Pakistan has launched a development budget of Rs. 125 Bn for Baluchistan, other than Gwadar. This unprecedented commitment from government has spurred the development in province to new height.
b. There are total of 27 Districts in Baluchistan of which there is only one district where there is some trouble. No other district has any sign.
c. Even in this district there are 14 tribes and only one tribe has a problem. This tribe further has more than two factions of which only one has trouble.
d. This district is closer to Lahore than Gwadar. How can it affect Gwadar more than Lahore?
e. A Baluch in the area who once tended sheep and had hard time making two ends meet, is now driving a four wheel drive. Local feuds have stronger economic interests with the investors and are therefore quite opposed to any disturbance.
f. Most recently people of Gwadar rallied to demonstrate their support and gratitude to government of Pakistan for mega projects in Baluchistan. They also took an opportunity to air their disapproval of the miscreants playing in Indian hands. Wide coverage of this in local press and large turnout speak volumes about this.
g. Common people in Baluchistan are greatly benefited by this project, providing them with new employment and business opportunities.
h. A military cantonment is being set up in Gwadar to safeguard countries interests. A Battalion of Pakistan Army has already been stationed with more troops in follow up.
Major Developments at Gwadar
Govt. has pledged Rs 63 Bn to connect Gwadar with the national Railway Network through 963KM’s track, this is the biggest ever project for Railway. A track is also being worked on from Gwadar through Turbat, Panjgore and Rato Dero to link up CAR’s.
715 KM’s Makran Coastal Highway linking Gwadar with Karachi, has been completed.
The new International Airport has received a grant of US$75 millions from Oman and Rs 563.35 million from Pakistan government. The work is to start shortly as soon as the port starts its operations.
Prime minister has allocated Rs. 21 Billions to speedup the development.
President has announced the establishment of an Oil Refinery, British Petroleum and Shell along with others have expressed their interests in the project. The Refinery is to be constructed on 2500 Acres, and would help Gwadar become the hub of Oil for Pakistan, as said by the prime minister.
The work on fourteen major Roads inside Gwadar is in full swing i.e. Baluchistan Boulevard, Jinnah Avenue, and Costal Highway for onward linking with Afghanistan, Iran and CAR’s.
President in his recent visit to Quetta has announced following about Gwadar.
He has reiterated that Gwadar Port be ready by the end of the year.
He has instructed to complete Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab-Basima road within three years to connect Gwadar port with RCD highway and Indus highway. This would connect Gwadar with Iran and Turkey besides further improving the communications to and from Gwadar.
World Bank has offered loans for construction of railway links with Gwadar, Pakistan Govt. is considering the offer.
New Expression of Interest to manage Gwadar Port Operations from three international port operators is a very encouraging sign, it will help government to make best of the opportunit
Chinese $13 billion Investment in Gwadar Megaport City …. utmost priority to develop Gwadar, as it will serve the Nation’s dream and wishes of prosperity Gwadar MegaPort City
It’s amazing that tomorrow’s small fishing village ‘Gwadar’ is fast emerging as a Deep Sea Port today. This is important to note that the Government of Pakistan, keeping in view its utmost significance in the area, has declared ‘Gwadar’ as a Duty Free Port and a Free Economic Zone. This has not only enhanced its commercial worth manifold but has also accelerated the pace of development to an incredible extent.
In fact, Gwadar enjoys the status of a third Deep Sea Port of Pakistan which has a special significance with reference to trade links with Central Asian Countries, Persian Gulf, East Africa, United Arab Emirates and North Western India.
Gwadar by virtue of its finest location, development projects, recreation programmes and Government’s special attention, will soon turn into a city which will be comparable with cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.
In view of the promising future of Gwadar, people from Pakistan and abroad who believe in safe and sound investment, are taking keen interest in Gwadar.
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 will Inshaullah complete 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.
Gawadar is the District Headquarter of Makran Division in Balochistan, the largest province of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is situated on the coastal line of Makran. Along the coastal line ,there are four Tehsils including Gawadar, Jiwani, Kulanch and Ormara. Jiwani is the only one on the western part of Gawadar, joining Iranian border on Pakistani side. Kulanch and Ormara, on its eastern side are connecting District Lasbela and to Karachi finally. The distance between Gawadar and Karachi in this way, is around 715 km.
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, simultaneously. The gulf region is facing many political conflicts at the moment and huge disturbances in the current administrative structure 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 on Makran Coast 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.
Gwadar 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.