New beginnings: China takes control of Gwadar port

Published: February 19, 2013

President Asif Zardari oversees the agreement signing between the Port of Singapore Authority and the China Overseas Port Holding Company Limited at the Presidency. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

China took control of the strategic Gwadar port on Monday, as part of a drive to secure its energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential naval base.

The cabinet had approved the transfer of Gwadar, currently a commercial failure cut off from the national road network, from Singapore’s PSA International to the state-owned China Overseas Port Holding company on Jan 30.

It had not been clear when the actual handover would take place, but President Asif Ali Zardari presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Monday.

“The contract of operation of Gwadar port is formally given to China. Today, the agreement is transferred from the Port of Singapore Authority to China Overseas Ports Holding Company Limited,” Zardari announced.

The president promised Gwadar will soon be a “hub of trade and commerce in the region”, adding that it holds the key to bringing together Central Asia countries.

“The award of this contract opens new opportunities for our people… It gives new impetus to Pakistan-China relations.”

The deal offers an energy and trade corridor that would connect China to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the world’s traded oil, overland through an expanded Karakoram Highway.

Experts say it would cut thousands of kilometres the distance which oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East have to travel to reach China.

“Gwadar port will enhance trade and commerce not only between Pakistan and China but also in the region,” said Zardari.

China paid about 75% of the initial $250 million used to build the port but in 2007 PSA International won a 40-year operating lease.

Former president Pervez Musharraf was reportedly unwilling to upset Washington by giving control of the port to the Chinese.

On February 6 Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said New Delhi was concerned by Pakistan’s decision.

However, foreign ministry spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan dismissed those concerns last week, telling reporters: “This is not something that any other country should have any reason to be concerned about.”

Analysts suggest that security concerns have made China more cautious about big investment projects in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Durran
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:28AM

    This is completely and utterly tragic.. Well this is what’s eventually going to happen to Pakistan. Bit by Bit its going to be sold to the highest bidder. I guess better that way since our entire nation just plain sucks at governing its own borders. Shameless and pathetic… people should be outraged by this.. If England bought this or the US or any other country there would have been a complete outrage but its A-OK for China to come and buy one of the most important ports for Pakistan.

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  • Anthony
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:35AM

    Waiting for people with no idea of economics to come and bash this news.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:55AM

    Instead of calling it any more as “Gawadar Port”, let’s start calling it as “China Port in Pakistan”, as 75% of the construction cost is been incurred by People’s Republic of China.

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  • Ghaznavi
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:56AM

    India is history, China is the future!!

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  • Moosa Khan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:03AM

    I would handover the country to China to fix the unrest, bombing, mullahs, etc. as well.

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  • Polpot
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:15AM

    “New beginnings: China takes control of Gwadar port”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The picture accompanying the article appears as if one party is surrendering to another.!

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  • Gaurav
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:12PM

    AJK to Gwadar , welcome to Chinese empire.

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  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:16PM

    China is Pakistan’s time tested and all season friend and China has proven it on every occasion…….
    Greatest ever and unforgettable live example of comradeship between China-Pakistan……

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  • Mohammed Saad Fayyaz
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:27PM

    Good news.. atleast ONE project will hopefully be completed by its expected date.

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  • Asim Ali
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:28PM

    What a huge mistake this is. We have nothing in common with the Chinese. We dont speak their language, we dont have the same religion, we dont look like them, we dont even think of sending our kids to college to China, we dont think of visiting China. All we have is a military relationship. Based upon that we have given them the port of Gwadar. This is utterly sad. For a mere $ 200 million we have given them a port. We raised $1.5 billion in GSM licenses. We really do suffer from intellectual and moral bankruptcy

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  • Aristo
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:49PM

    China = Winner
    Pakistan = Loser as usual

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  • Salah
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:53PM

    On a similar News in this paper I had commented and again I am going to repeat. I told you that Indians would have nightmares over this decision and they will suffer with insomnia very soon. Here is the example…. Hardly any Pakistani commented over it and all of the above commentators are Indian trolls. And I bet most of them are Hindus. We are happy to show u stars at bright sun. Now go jump from a cliff. Lol

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