The Gwadar deep-sea port emerges as a place of great strategic importance & value, enhancing Pakistan’s importance in the whole region, extending from the Persian Gulf through the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia and the Far East.
Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the important Straits of Hormuz, through which more than 13 million bbd of oil passes. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions of the world: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-rich Central Asia.
The construction Gwadar deep-sea port is just one component of a larger development plan which includes building a network of roads connecting Gwadar with the rest of Pakistan, such as the 650 km Coastal Highway to Karachi and the Gwadar-Turbat road (188 km). This network of roads connects with China through the Indus Highway. Pakistan, China, Kazakhistan, Kyrgizstan and Uzbekistan are developing extensive road and rail links from Central Asia and the Chinese province of Sinkiang to the Arabian Sea coast.
The Government has initiated several projects, with majority financial and technical assistance from China, to develop Gwadar’s strategic location as a goods transit and trade point. The primary project is the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar to enable high-volume cargo movement to and from the landlocked Central Asian states. The new port will also encompass conversion facilities to allow for the movement of natural gas as a part of plans for a termination point for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan natural gas pipeline. The secondary project is a coastal highway connecting Gwadar to Karachi, whose $200 million cost will be completely financed by the Chinese. Gwadar will serve as a port of entry for oil and gas to be transported by land to the western regions of China. China has been promised sovereign guarantees for use of the ports.
The significance of Gwadar is great to both Pakistan and China. Pakistan will be able to have a strategic depth southwest from its naval base in Karachi that has long been vulnerable to blockade by the Indian Navy. There have been many reports that China, with permission from Pakistan, will also be able to dock naval ships in or around Gwadar. This has caused much concern by both the United States and India as both of these nations do not wish to see a Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.