In A Worrying Move For India, First Chinese Ship, Trade Convoy Dock At Gwadar Port

This picture taken on 6 February 2007, shows a view of the Beijing-funded ‘megaport’ of Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan. Photo Credit: STRDEL/AFP/GettyImages

The first Chinese trade convoy carrying 75 containers for export to the Middle East and Africa arrived in Pakistan's Gwadar port through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while a Chinese ship docked at the deep-water port, as both countries prepare to formally launch trade activities through the upgraded port.

The ship anchored at the port on Friday and a second trade convoy was scheduled to arrive on Saturday, Dawn reported. The goods will be exported to countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The CPEC is a $46 billion network of roads, railways and energy pipelines linking western China to the Gwadar deep-water port on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast. The corridor passes through the occupied territory of Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

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The loading of 300 containers on ships will be completed on Saturday and they will depart from the port the following day for destinations in the Middle East and Africa, Ary News reported. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend a ceremony on Sunday to mark the opening of trade activities through the corridor. Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and ambassadors of 15 other countries will also attend the event.

The CPEC not only provides China a safe and faster access to the Gulf, but also gives Pakistan an opportunity to become a part of the global supply chain and benefit from the economic activity that will take place through the corridor. Though the benefits are limited to the country’s military establishment and Pakistan’s most populous state of Punjab, the operationalisation of the port will have strategic implications for India.

With the operationalisation of Gwadar, the construction of Chabahar port assumes greater importance. Chabahar is an Iranian port which is being developed by India to act as a counterbalance to CPEC. The port will also provide India unhindered access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

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