Gwadar is a port city which is located on the southwestern coast of Baluchistan, Pakistan. This city is present on the shores of the Arabian Sea which is on the opposite side of Oman. If we talk about the time Range that is from 1783 to 1958 Gwadar and was in the possession of Oman. It is about 120 km away from the southwest of Turbat. But if we talk about the sister port city of Chabahar which is located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province, it is about 170 km (110 mi) to the west of Gwadar.
Historical Importance Of Gwadar
As far as the history of Gwadar is concerned, Gwadar was a small or medium-sized city whose economy is basically based on artisanal fishing. The strategic value of its location is of great importance. This importance was first recognized in 1954. Because in 1954, it was identified and located as a suitable site for making a deep water port by the United States Geological Survey. It was all made or done at the request of Pakistan but the territory was still under the rule of Oman.
As global architecture has been changing, so the politics of the sea is getting complex and perplexed. There is a great focus on commercial activities and prosperity. Gwadar Port is one of the warm water and deep seaport of Pakistan. It is of great importance. As far as its location is concerned, it is situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It carries about 2/3 world oil reserves. A small was constructed during the period of its construction from 1988 to 1992. Its inauguration was done by General Musharraf. It remained under the supervision of the Port Singapore Authority. But its performance was not good. So it was handed over to China Overseas Port Holding Company in 2002. After that, the construction work started at a faster rate. In addition to Gwadar port, Gwadar city and generation power plants were also constructed. The port has started shipment, seasonal cargo, and commercial trade but it is still under construction. This port is of great significance and importance for Pakistan. After Karachi port and Qasim port, it is the third biggest port of Pakistan. Gwadar can play a role as an international trade hub for Pakistan. Another major reason for its importance is that Gwadar Port would connect three regions, i.e. Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East with one another. In this way, it will open a new chance for jobs which will automatically help in the development and progress of Baluchistan. Pakistan would be able to explore and discover minerals, hydrocarbons, and many other organic compounds. The port will fascinate the foreign investment and tourism. People will feel free to reach this port because of all these advantages and benefits.
Addition Of Gwadar Port In CPEC
The progress of reports will definitely benefit the Baluchistan province. If Baluchistan province gets the benefit, it will be the benefit of Pakistan. It is a city with one lakh ten thousand people and a lot of industrialization is present in Gwadar under CPEC. So this industrialization will not only provide benefit to the city but also to Pakistan as a whole. Gwadar is a city that has the capacity to generate at least 38000 jobs for the people who are jobless. As far as the geographical location is concerned it is located in Southwest in Baluchistan. It is far away from the Pakistan economy Centre. There are a lot of issues regarding the development of road railway and air connectivity. The launch of CPEC was a drastic change that was happened in the seaport and it brought life to the port. When the CPEC was not known at the port, the law and order situation was pathetic. But after this project, all these situations were controlled. Now people not only visit the port for their investment purposes but also for the purpose of tourism because this area is rich in beauty. So people prefer it as a place for tourism. The development of the city is directly linked with the development of Gwadar Port. Now many energy projects are coming. Slowly the Institutions of Pakistan will be familiar with those projects. In the beginning phase of CPEC, it was very difficult for people to understand the plans of big projects and get their approval for big projects but as time passed things got better.
A New Transit Route Central Asian Countries
Pakistan has opened up the way of trade with Afghanistan through its deep-water port city of Gwadar which is located in the Baluchistan Province. It actually paves the way for an increased rate of economy and commerce between the two neighbouring countries.
Gwadar is a suitable location for the transportation of goods between Pakistan and Afghanistan through the route of the Chaman border crossing. It will increase the rate of trade between these countries and the economy will rise automatically. Sarhadi transported the export of goods to Afghanistan from Gwadar. The packing and transportation in trucks will give a great benefit to the working-class citizens of both countries. The startup of trade with Afghanistan through the Gwadar seaport is a step that is in the right direction with the objective and aim of improving trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It gives benefits to both citizens. Hence, it is a transit for trade between Pakistan and many other central Asian countries. In this way, the economy of these countries is raised to a great extent. Trade through Gwadar will open new routes for Pakistan and many other central Asian countries for the long term. Another benefit of this transit is that the transportation charges are low. Hence, this port is of great significance. The transportation charges from Gwadar to Pak Afghan border are half than the transportation charges from Karachi to Chaman or Torkham. Afghanistan receives sugar from Gwadar. Apart from sugar, fertilizers are also provided to Afghanistan. Under the umbrella of CPEC, the Gwadar port has become an economic hub of opportunities for many nations.
Long Term Development Plans
Following are some long-term development plans under CPEC regarding Gwadar:
Gwadar East-Bay Expressway
- New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) Project
- Construction of breakwaters, Gwadar port
- Infrastructure Development for Free Zone & EPZs, Gwadar
- Pak China Friendship Hospital
Gwadar East-Bay Expressway:
The Construction of Eastbay Expressway is the first and foremost artery of Gwadar Port. Through this port, the whole traffic of port will flow from one place to another. The main objective of constructing this expressway is to provide connectivity of Gwadar to many other free zones near it. So that there would be transport of goods.
The title of this project is the Construction of East-Bay Expressway, Gwadar Port. At present, the Gwadar Seaport has a connection through a narrow thoroughfare of Gwadar town which has a width of 16 feet. All the trucks which are loaded with goods follow this track and cause normal disturbance of traffic. The agency which has proposed this plan is Gwadar Port Authority and Ministry of Maritime Affair. Hence this development is of great importance for Gwadar as well as for Pakistan.
New Gwadar International Airport Project:
The next project is about the International Airport. The proposing agency of this plan is the Aviation Division. According to this plan, there will be the construction of an airport in Gwadar.
Construction Of Breakwaters, Gwadar Port:
The next plan is the construction of breakwaters. This plan was made to help and facilitate the construction of some additional terminals at Gwadar port. As far as the proposing agency is concerned, it was proposed by the Gwadar port authority. The document which is available for this plan is Hydrographic studies.
Infrastructure Development For Free Zone Gwadar:
According to this plan, infrastructure should be made for the construction of roads and railways, etc. It was proposed by Gwadar Port Authority, and MoPS.
Pak China Friendship Hospital:
This project has the aim to provide people with the best possible medication. The project is aiming to establish a hospital with 50 beds in it. It will be a great effort for the flourishment of Gwadar. There will be the best equipment and medical facilities for both the patients and staff as well.
Operational Activities Of Gwadar Port:
Gwadar Port considered operational on 14 November 2016. At that time it was inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif did the first convoy. Finally, on 14 January 2020, Pakistan operationalized Gwadar Port for the Afghan transit trade.
Geo-Political Importance Of Gwadar Port:
The strategically situated deep-sea Gwadar port promises significant strategic rewards for Pakistan. It is likely to attract traffic from Central Asian Republics (CARs), China, Afghanistan and western countries. Because of its prime location in the Arabian Sea near to Straits of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman and at the junction of South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia, the port has the potential to function as a transhipment harbor after the necessary infrastructure is put in place. However, the port also faces some daunting challenges due to the divergent interests of major players in the ongoing New Great Game. In the light of geopolitical theories, this study attempts to explain the prevailing geo-strategic environment and puts into perspective the interests of various players with respect to the strategic viability of the Gwadar port.
For centuries, the sea-lanes near Gwadar had been a medium of transportation between the Middle East and the Sub-Continent. It has always attracted the ancient travelers and conquerors. The mention of Gwadar in several historical books and accounts of travelers like Marco Polo, Firdausi, and Ibn-ul-Haikal reflect its strategic significance.4 In geopolitical terms, the world has long recognized the significance of coastal lines of Pakistan’s Gwadar, and Iran’s Chabahar falling in the Inner Crescent i.e. Rimland. The Indian Ocean was described by Nicholas Spykman as “one of the maritime highways of the world.” He considered the areas forming Rimland to be vital in containing the Heartland due to their huge population, natural resources, and industrial potential. No wonder why Spykman’s vision was instrumental in the US Containment policy against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. Due to the volatile situation in the Arab world, and the recent uprising and the spread of terrorist organizations, it is becoming increasingly difficult for states to solely rely on the Persian Gulf countries in order to meet their energy needs. The European countries which rely on Russia to meet their energy requirements are also eager to lessen their dependence considering that the latter often uses gas as a political tool in its dealings with these countries.
Political/ Strategic Benefits:
Gwadar port has immense political and strategic benefits for Pakistan and the region at large. Sea trade is considered one of the major sources of globalization and integration. This is more so of the western world which is relatively more integrated. The consequent interdependence has not only resolved interstate conflicts but has also made it costly for states to engage in wars and conflicts as this would harm the common interests of countries involved owing to the interdependence.