GWADAR - A PORT FULL OF POSSIBILITIES
The Nation, February 24, 2013
As the US/Nato/Isaf combine prepares to egress the AfPak Region (APR), we find Pakistan and China manoeuvring decisively into strategically advantageous positions in the region. Their strategic interests are converging on a grand scale at Gwadar - the centre of gravity and future strategic and economic hub of the South-Central Asian Region (SCAR)-Greater Middle East Region (GMER) complex.
Gwadar sits literally at the mouth of the strategically vital Straits of Hormuz. The leverage it provides is priceless. Its strategic location makes it ideal for any power intending to secure its energy sources in the region or to dominate the SCAR-GMER complex, including all Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) to and from the Persian Gulf.
Furthermore, naval forces stationed at Gwadar or other Makran Coast ports could potentially foray deep into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean too, even impacting east-west trade.
A sea-land trade route to and from western or southern Europe to Russia via the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, (North Africa and the Middle East), Red and Arabian seas, Gwadar (Pakistan), Afghanistan and the CARs could integrate regional economies and create mutually-beneficial interdependencies. From Gwadar, another link could be created with the Xinjiang province in western China, thus cutting by thousands the kilometres Chinese ships would have to travel to and from China through the Malacca Straits. India also could be accommodated at some appropriate stage. Gwadar could provide trans-shipment facilities for the entire region. An exhaustive network of roads and railways, therefore, needs to be developed in the Gwadar hinterland connecting it with Xinjiang, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, CARs and Russia.
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