The Gwadar & CPEC story – China’s deep inroads into Pakistan

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As China pushes deeper into Pakistan, it poses a long-term challenge to both that nation, and India as well. A strategic response is awaited.


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The Gwadar & CPEC story – China’s deep inroads into Pakistan



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  1. Gwadar is the turning point : In February 2013, the China Overseas Port Holding Company took over operations of Pakistan's strategic Gwadar deep sea port from the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) that ran it since its completion in 2007. China’s control of Gwadar (through the China Overseas Port Holding Company) was a move towards its ambitious plan to safeguard its Persian Gulf route, through which over 60 per cent of its oil supplies flow.
  2. Asian geopolitics takes a turn : The opening of the Gwadar port has manifold implications for the geopolitics of the Indian subcontinent. This is not a good news for India, and will complicate security issues manifold in the coming years. Reasons – (1) The Chinese want Gwadar to help them circumvent the Malacca Strait region, (2) China’s restive Xinjiang province will have more access, (3) It will develop as a new transit hub for Central Asian republics, (4) It will bring Chinese claims directly into the Indian Ocean Region, etc.
  3. All weather friends with nothing in common! For many decades, despite no similarity in culture, food, language or religion, the Pakistanis and Chinese have stuck with each other. The process of Chinese support to Pakistan has intensified. Since 2010, China has stationed 11000 soldiers in the sensitive PoK region. The Gwadar port is a strategic conduit to middle-east and of course to Africa as well. Besides, China has been providing arms and ammunition to Pakistan Military forces for many decades now. Chinese are in.
  4. CPEC coming of age : With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor becoming a reality on the back of the supposed $46 billion investment by Chinese, the scenario of a Chinese “occupation of Pakistan” is not a daydream any more. Like most things in Pakistan, the CPEC (despite its name) is as much about security and military as it is about economy. These roads can be used for movement of troops and landing of aircrafts in the event of a war.
  5. Once in, Always in : The Chinese cannot afford to let Pakistan go. Their Silk Road revival plan (One Road One Belt or OBOR) and the rapidity at which they are executing it, is at stake. In the long run Pakistan’s greatest enemy will prove to be neither India nor internal militancy, it may will be China.
  6. Chinese dreams for the future : China is pursuing Deng’s reforms of 1978, with a renewed fervour. Those reforms very clearly articulated the “superpower” phase, and for that, the Chinese require secure, fast and wide access to Africa for its natural resources. The Karakoram highway is already open to China, which will now need to build fast goods trains from Karachi, Gwadar and Pasni to Karakoram. It will also require the land transport to be safe and secure.
  7. Deep Dive : Read more on OBOR and CPEC here
  8. The Gilgit-Baltistan story : GB has been under Pakistan’s control since April 1949, when the leadership of the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) was forced to sign away this territory. It is clear that China has lately been advising Pakistan to absorb the region as a province so that the ‘disputed’ tag is removed and CPEC can avoid Indian objections. Pakistan’s attempt to declare it the fifth province has not been welcomed by any group, not even the Kashmiri separatists.
  9. Karakoram Highway : The N-35 or “China-Pakistan Friendship Highway” is a 1300 km national highway in Pakistan from Hasan Abdal in Punjab to the Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit-Baltistan, where it crosses into China and becomes China National Highway 314. It connects Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan with China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The highway is a popular tourist attraction, and is one of the highest paved roads in the world.
  10. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence and Vocabulary Booster series of learning resources, here
  11. Download Resources : PDFs on world politics available on Bodhi Resources page here. And, here are some facts and images to help the case better.


Gwadar port - unprofitable yet desirable

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The Karakoram highway

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O B O R - One Belt One Road




String of Pearls, or a noose?





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Bodhi Saar: The Gwadar & CPEC story – China’s deep inroads into Pakistan
The Gwadar & CPEC story – China’s deep inroads into Pakistan
As China pushes deeper into Pakistan, it poses a long-term challenge to both that nation, and India as well. A strategic response is awaited.
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