Gwadar – An Emerging maritime hub of Pakistan

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Faryal Hashmi
The geopolitical Paradigm of Alfred Thayer Mahan highlighted the importance of sea power. However, later in 1942, Nicolas Spykman created the theory of Rimland which stressed the significance of strip of coastal land. Though, he specifically pointed out the costal line of Eurasia but if this theory examines on the wider scale it will elaborate that those states that have coastal areas with suitable population having natural suitable environment for trade and linking purpose have strong position in international politics.
Keeping this in view, Gwadar proves to be an emerging maritime Hub of Pakistan. The contemporary politics and economy is much more concerned with sea politics. Therefore, the strategic location of Gwadar, in the heart of Persian and Oman Gulf and close proximity of Strait of Hormuz which handle potential international trade of oil signify the importance of this port. Almost 20% world Oil trade passes through the Strait of Hormuz on annual basis. While the strategic location of Gwadar means that it connects trade passages amid Middle East and Asia specifically. On the flip side, it will further give opportunity to reach into international markets. Another strategic point of this place is that it is now the
essential and potential partner of China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI). The Partnership that starts in the May 2013, between China and Pakistan both the states did MOUs and inaugurated the mutual future maritime hub. CPEC is one of the major determinants of BRI project and Gwadar have the major stake of CPEC project. The Gwadar port have seven major infrastructural project that includes expressway that would connect the Gwadar town at west bay moreover it connects the port with the Mekran Coastal Highway (N-20) over 2300 acres Free Trade Zone of Port. Along with it the construction of Breakwaters
would allow additional terminals and port infrastructure. That would maintain the port feasibility for long term. Others include airport, hospital, berthing and channels and also the development of free zone. It would all the 100% private investment zone. It would attract the investor from all around the world. Its first Expo was also arranged back in 2018. Numbers of industries are ready to start construction soon. Moreover, The development of Gwadar sea port have potential areas of cooperation that includes regional connectivity, diverse investment opportunity, industrial, agricultural and financial
cooperation, socioeconomic developments, tourism, human resource management, people to people contact, increase in livelihood, stability and security of the region. Significantly, this port will prove a hub for Afghanistan’s economy as well. Before Gwadar, Port Qasim and Karachi port was used by Afghanistan. But now this neighboring port located in Baluchistan provide huge facility. In this regard recently a first ship for the landlocked country arrived recently. It states that Gwadar is a right decision it will boost the regional connectivity and development. Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul stated this transit
shipment establishment of trade link between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ironically, Chinese strategy of securing its generations’ future is one of the prominent outcomes of BRI but on the other hand this reliability would also benefit Pakistan due to its Deep Sea port Gwadar. This CPEC rout contains maritime, land routs of transportation that will connect East Asia with Middle East and rest of the world.
This port provides an alternate route of India Ocean with more ease, less cost and secure passage for the trade. The fear of Strait of Malacca is now overcome due to this Coastal Region. The flexibility and feasibility of Gwadar port is attracting the international trade and ventures and making it more pivotal. This is not the first time that china and Pakistan are doing work and cooperation together but it is the second time that both engaged with each other. The Karakoram highways venture was the first time when two states decided to walk together. Pakistan had declared this CPEC project not only beneficial for itself and china but also for the region broadly. Not Amazingly, United States (US) suspected the
project and pointed that Gwadar would turned into a military base. Whereas, china at once rejected the concerns and said that this is a pure economic initiative that would not only help china to reach into international market easily but would support the regional trade and economics in specific and the international trade relation in general. Under it Goods, Oil, Gas reserves would ship to global market thorough this deep sea port.
So, the construction of Gwadar port is one of those initiatives that would facilitate the tradewith landlocked states of Central Asia and proves to be a new transit hub for them.This inventiveness has generated many conspiracies and concerns to the world. Those who thinkthe whole project a political strategy, tried to smash the environment. India’s Gwadar hysteria isin front of everyone. Similarly, in 2018, it was a rumored that the newly elected government has concerns about the CPEC and there is some uneasiness in this regard. The London base newspaper quoted that Pakistan is reconsidering on
some projects. According to them Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Imran Khan said, “That previous government did a bad job and acommittee of nine members would think through CPEC.” After which he said that his stance quoted out of context. Later, officially Pakistan issued a statement and reassured China thatCPEC is the first priority. Chinese Embassy also released a statement to assure the world that CPEC is going in its full zeal for the collective economic benefits of region.So, it can be said that China’s initiative had generated another heartland for the world and Gwadar is one of the important
aspect and part of it. Gwadar is not only playing critical role forthe economy of Pakistan but for the states around it as well. This importance is attracting themajor player of Middles as well to become the partner in this regard. The multi billions Oilproject by the Saudi Arabia shows the popularity and importance of Gwadar port. It would alsoprovide the benefit for the internal exploration of Baluchistan.
Abundance of resources is untouched so far. This project and development of Gwadar port would provide the infrastructure that will help to explore those resources. In This way the port would help the local community toup lift their standards of lives and would also help the country itself to grow hopefully.

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