Gwadar Port handed over to China

Published: February 18, 2013


ISLAMABAD: China took control Monday of a strategic Pakistani port on the Arabian Sea, as part of a drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential naval base, sparking Indian concern.

The Pakistani cabinet 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 company on January 30.

It had not been clear when the actual handover would take place, but Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Monday that was broadcast live by local television.

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

The Pakistanis pitched the deal as offering 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 off 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 percent of the initial $250 million used to build the port but in 2007 PSA International won a 40-year operating lease.

Then-ruler Pervez Musharraf was reportedly unwilling to upset Washington by giving control of the port to the Chinese.

On February 6 Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said New Delhi was concerned by Pakistan’s decision to transfer management of the deep-sea port to China, which has interests in a string of other ports encircling India.

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

Gwadar is part of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, the most deprived part of Pakistan despite being rich in oil and gas deposits. The province is gripped by a separatist insurgency and record levels of sectarian violence.

On Saturday, a bomb killed 89 people in a Hazara Shiite Muslim neighbourhood of the provincial capital Quetta, barely a month after twin suicide bombers killed 92 people at a Hazara snooker hall elsewhere in the city.

Zardari said the building of infrastructure around the port will also promote economic activity in Gwadar and Baluchistan.

But some analysts warn that it may be some time before Pakistan can benefit from China’s takeover of Gwadar, stressing that the connecting roads and an expanded Karakoram Highway still need to be finished.

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

In 2004, three Chinese engineers helping to build Gwadar were killed in a car bombing. The same year, two Chinese engineers working on a hydroelectric dam project in South Waziristan were kidnapped and one of them died.

Gwadar is the most westerly in a string of Chinese-funded ports in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and potentially Bangladesh that encircle its big rival, India.

The ports were dubbed China’s “string of pearls” — or potential naval bases similar to those of the United States — but some analysts pour cold water on suggestions that Beijing is scouting for naval bases in the Indian Ocean.

Andrew Small, an expert on China-Pakistan relations, believes that most of Beijing’s concerns can be resolved through cooperation, but that Gwadar is the most likely port to be developed by China for naval use.

“Pakistan is probably the only government where the level of trust between the two militaries is high enough to make that a completely reliable prospect,” he told AFP recently.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • truth
    Feb 18, 2013 - 6:27PM

    A right decision taken..


  • Khan of Cape Town
    Feb 18, 2013 - 6:28PM

    Gwadar Port has the potential to benefit the whole region and all stakeholders. But it has been subject to global and local politics. The PPP govt should be appreciated to take this project forward.


  • Feb 18, 2013 - 6:34PM

    High time to handover Pakistan to China for a better developed future..


  • jerseybb
    Feb 18, 2013 - 6:47PM

    Good stuff, I hope they make the port functional and bring in investment so local population get jobs


  • Super Star
    Feb 18, 2013 - 6:49PM

    Hand over entire Pakistan to China. They will manage it well.


  • Bhatti
    Feb 18, 2013 - 6:51PM

    This and that…everything goes to China!! what did Pakistan get by doing this??? Just curious!


  • Feb 18, 2013 - 6:54PM

    I wonder if Bhuttos dreamed about founding of Pakistan too.


  • Hammad
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:09PM

    In the history of all Chinese investments in the country, no jobs have been offered to Pakistanis. All skill and unskilled labor is brought in from China. All the kickbacks from Chinese government end up in Army hing commands’ hands. The new democratic government must sign fair investment agreements with China.


  • Reaper
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:12PM

    Chinese Economic Hitmen at their best I guess !!!Recommend

  • eureka
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:15PM

    The Chinese, the Quetta Shura and the LeJ all in Balochistan.What will the future be like?


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:17PM

    China is a trusted friend of Pakistan and it will protect Gawadar Port from those evil forces who are eyeing at Gawadar Port.Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:33PM

    “Gwadar” – Made in China ! :) :)


  • lmao
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:33PM

    smells like something is burning….oh I get it it’s the indians


  • Feb 18, 2013 - 7:36PM

    Good! Now it will be properly developed!


  • Babloo
    Feb 18, 2013 - 7:40PM

    Indians do not burn but laugh at Pakistan when it sells more of itself to outside countries , losing its independence in the process. Pakistan I am told has also mortgaged the Karachi airport and some high-ways to middle East banks for loans. Think that makes you proud too.


  • lmao
    Feb 18, 2013 - 8:01PM

    @Babloo, Your defence minister wasn’t laughing when he expressed concern over Gwadar port being handed to china ;)


  • Khan
    Feb 18, 2013 - 8:21PM

    We do respect friendship with china but at the same time Pakistan should manage its strategic
    potential assets itself and not to handover to any body at any cost.This decision will surely culminate as bone of contention amongst the big powers which we can,t afford.


  • Logistics
    Feb 18, 2013 - 8:57PM

    Nothing will happen at Gwadar Port. Which vessel will call Gwadar when all cargo has to be taken by road to Karachi first?
    Our grandchildren might make the direct road, but not in our lifetime.


  • hole me
    Feb 18, 2013 - 9:01PM

    Its better to give it to China than anybody else. Also this should make India think and all the other foreign bullies with hidden agendas that Pakistan and China have been friends for a very long time and they mean peace. China wants stability in the region unlike India who brutally killed a lone soldier who was surrendering and just executes a Kashmiri just because he is Muslim when the people who killed Rajiv Gandhi more than 30 years ago are still alive and well and the Shiv Sena group always tells Hindus that all muslims have to be obliterated from the face of India. It takes time to develop a trustworthy friendship and China has been developing this for a long time with Pakistan unlike the fake and phony India.


  • Indian
    Feb 18, 2013 - 9:02PM

    Sea port to china,Buses from Turkey,aid from USA, what else…A country
    publically(in paper) run by government but privately(actually) run by outsiders…


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 18, 2013 - 9:11PM

    Three years ago when PPP government made Chinese language compulsory studies in schools they said that it would increase employment opportunities for Pakistanis in China.


  • usmanyy
    Feb 18, 2013 - 9:20PM

    Sea port to china,Buses from Turkey,aid from USA, what else…A country
    publically(in paper) run by government but privately(actually) run by outsiders…

    An what about 160 Billion dollars of aid india has taken from international donors? pot and kettle.


  • Worried
    Feb 18, 2013 - 10:26PM

    First it was a part of Kashmir and now a part of Baluchistan … bit by bit Pakistan breaking?


  • Silas
    Feb 18, 2013 - 10:32PM

    So now from strategic depth we’ve moved on to extra strategic depth. Yeh bhi theek hay.


  • Indian
    Feb 18, 2013 - 10:33PM

    India now a days become more donar than recipients, check google…..


  • Health Care
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:05PM

    Pakistan China Friendship Zindabad…. Dear indian kindly keep your nose out of every issue in Pakistan. Thanks.


  • DevilHunterX
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:10PM

    Bring in the Chinese army. They will bury all the terrorists!


  • QC
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:29PM

    Finally the boots have arrived. What else is on sale next?


  • Atif
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:54PM

    wake up guys Dragon Navy is coming…..


  • poleturtle
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:55PM

    And a slap in the face of Musharaf who, to please his Masters had thrown out the Chinese !!


  • Sardar KHAN
    Feb 18, 2013 - 11:59PM

    All indians,
    The grapes are sour.You people can’t digest Pakistan and China friendship.Hard luck.My dear father use to say,”I will wait to make up my mind on anything concerning Pakistan until indians will put their nose in.If they oppose it,will be extremely good and if they support it,will be dangerous for Pakistan and must be avoided at all costs.”
    In my experience on acting his advice,found 150% correct every time indians put their nose in any matter concernng Pakistan.We are happy with our own decisions but these,indians will put their nose,where it is not wanted at all.
    I think the indian government employs indians to poke their nose in Pakistani affairs,inspite of us ignoring their stupid intervention.One day,they will get the message.Recommend

  • LMAO
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:12AM

    anything in Pakistan that generates so much of concern in India – is an obvious advantage to Pak. The deal must go on and even further.


  • usmanyy
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:41AM


    redirect the aid to 700 million people in india who need it….


  • jat2ferozepuria
    Feb 19, 2013 - 12:59AM

    Heartiest congratulations on successful sale of Gwadar. Also your leaders have sold your river waters to India. Check this link and be grateful to your leaders whether political, military, judicial or social.


  • Hafeez
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:12AM

    I hope that part of the deal is to employ people from Pakistan.


  • Sami
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Pretty soon we can see Pakistanis with last names like Wing, Wong, Wen, Ting, Tong, Dong, Deng etc. In a couple of generations, they will be claiming their founding fathers came from China riding on horses and created Pakistan!

    On the bright side, more Pakistanis can see happy endings from Chinese aunties running ‘medical clinics’. No need for showing passports to obnoxious TV reporters.


  • Feb 19, 2013 - 4:57AM

    @Raj – USA:
    Students in American public schools are learning Chinese . There is nothing wrong with that.


  • Khaksar
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:25AM

    If selling off/mortgaging national assets is something to be proud of or to show off…well…I am confused about a Pakistani’s sense of patriotism.


  • amit (India)
    Feb 19, 2013 - 8:59AM

    Congratulations to Pakistan for this strategic move. I’m sure it will be even more strategic than the bases Pakistan provided to the US during the cold war. I wish Pakistan even more success in getting more such deals with friendly nations such as China, Saudi Arabia, UAE and US for air-bases, highways and sea-ports of a ‘strategic’ nature. Pakistan also needs to make sure it has the winning hand in the Afghanistan endgame. These projects and the strategic depth from Afghanistan will surely make Pakistan the economic and military powerhouse of the Islamic world.

    But jokes apart, doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that you were providing bases to the US some decades back, and now you are doing the same for China. The client has changed, but the client state is still there. One country hunts terrorists with drones, another country hunts endangered birds using falcons and now a third country has taken charge of what’s is a rare natural resource – a good port with a great location. All in pursuit of strategic depth I’m sure. Meanwhile, I guess the real threat to Pakistan – which is manifesting itself as a low level genocide of Shias, Ahmedis, Christians and Hindus – continues unabated. I guess those that the gods want to destroy, they give delusions of strategic grandeur.


  • Queen
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:38AM

    @Sardar KHAN:
    Well said Mr Sardar Khan, very well said indeed :)


  • Feb 19, 2013 - 9:52AM

    Wrong Sentence:

    China took control Monday of a strategic Pakistani port on the Arabian.

    Right Sentence:

    China took control on Monday of a strategic Pakistani port on the Arabian


  • Ashraful Makhlooq
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:00AM

    Bye bye USA and cordially and heartfelt most welcome People’s Republic of China to Pakistan…..
    China-Pakistan comradeship always long live……..
    USA at least now admit and confess that USA is loosing its monopoly and supremacy in South East Asia most especially importantly in Pakistan because first Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project agreements and now Gwadar Port’s handing over to China…..


  • A Peshawary
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:09AM

    An isolated Pakistan having no foreign relations; perhaps this what an Indian want.

    A Peshawary


  • tahir abdul subhan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:36AM

    right decision ( hamain apna interest dekhna hai )


  • A Peshawary
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:50AM

    @amit (India):

    Sir, where the India’s stance of having leadership of Non Alignment of cold war age; is gone. Perhaps, Pundit J l Nehro is dead and non align movement is also buried. India has become the most trust worthy partner and second fiddle to USA in the region, please wake-up and see the shift of ideology & mind set in India. It worth quoting flying of B 52 Bombers from India for the bombardment on Iraqi cities which use be one of the best friends of India in times of Non-Align Movement. Falcon hunting is popular in India as well in addition Bollywood provide attraction of an other sort enjoyed and cherished by the India economically, socially and diplomatically. Off late India has made many deals with china, Pakistan has to make decisions that suit them; be matured and accept the reality of Pakistan as a sustainable country and society.

    Pakistan will definitely take care of its problems you don’t have to worry rather concentrate on your own problems like bus gang rape in the Capital Delhi and many more.

    A Peshawary.


  • Patriotic Pakistani
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:02PM

    @Indian: just jealous :P


  • Surya
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:30PM

    @Sardar KHAN:
    Get a life..Go thru the comments and you’ll find more pakistanis talking about Indian being jealous than comments from Indians. In other words, you want Indian’s poking in to your matters when in reality, we are happy that the Chinese will face the music now..Lol..


  • JSM
    Feb 21, 2013 - 6:03PM

    This is a good news for India. Pakistan can not manage its Ports, its Railways, its Airline, its law and order system and so on. Why should India worry about such an incompetent adversary.


  • Mar 22, 2013 - 1:58PM

    High time to handover Pakistan to China for a better developed future..


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