Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, on 13 November 2016 inaugurated the operational activities of the strategic Gwadar Port, located in the south-western Balochistan Province.
Sharif and General Raheel Sharif, Army Chief of Pakistan, welcomed the first large shipment of Chinese goods through the port.
The deep-water port is the key to the 46 billion US dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that also includes roads and energy projects.
How CPEC will benefit Pakistan?
• It is predicted by the Pakistani officials that the project will result in the creation of upwards of 700000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030.
• It will also add 2 to 2.5 percentage points to the country's annual economic growth.
• If all the planned projects are implemented, the value of those projects would be equal to all foreign direct investment in Pakistan since 1970. They would also be equivalent to 17% of Pakistan's 2015 gross domestic product.
• Infrastructure projects under the aegis of CPEC will eventually link the city of Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan to China's northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways.
Why India is concerned?
• The China Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through the disputed region of Kashmir. However, no CPEC project is located near the Line of Control.
• In 2015, the Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that projects passing through Gilgit-Baltistan are unacceptable as they require construction in the claimed territory.
About Gwadar port
• The Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan.
• The port features notably in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor plan.
• The port is considered to be a vital link between the ambitious One Belt, One Road and Maritime Silk Road projects.
• The port’s potential to be a deep water sea port was first noted in 1954.
• Plan for construction of the port were not realised until 2007, when the port was inaugurated by Parvez Musharraf after four years of construction, at a cost of 248 million US dollars.
• In 2015, it was announced that the city and port would be further developed under CPEC at a cost of 1.62 billion US dollars.
• The port will also be the site of a floating liquefied natural gas facility that will be built as part of the larger 2.5 billion US dollar Gwadar-Nawabshah segment of the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline project.
• In late 2015, the port was officially leased to China for 43 years, until 2059.
About China–Pakistan Economic Corridor
• The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is an under-construction and partly completed economic corridor.
• It aims to facilitate trade along an overland route that connects Kashgar and Gwadar through construction of network of highways, railways and pipelines worth around 51 billion US dollar.
• The corridor is considered to be an extension of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative.
• CPEC’s significance to China is reflected by its inclusion in the country’s 13th five-year development plan.
When: 13 November 2016