THE HEART OF OPPORTUNITY
Gwadar is geographically located in Baluchistan, the largest province of Pakistan by area. Gwadar as a district of Baluchistan is situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulf adjacent to Strait of Hormuz. In this regard, Hormuz is considered one of the important trading routes of the world. Moreover, the coastal belt of Gwadar is at the flank of the Arabian Sea which is about 72 km away from Iran and 32 km from Oman and is connected with the Persian Gulf.
This port city on the south western tip of the country has been attracting interest from overseas investors for some time but why is Gwadar such a focal point?
Talk of Gwadar port investment directly involves China while the Saudis are also closely connected to the growth of this strategic location.
There was no investment in Gwadar for decades and the port project was left dormant until the turn of the new century. In 2007, the first phase of port construction took place under General Musharraf at a cost of $248 million. Since then, China has taken major steps towards port investment.
There are other port cities in Pakistan and in terms of the map, Gwadar is at the very south west tip of the Pakistan coastline, close to the border with Iran and looking over the Arabian Sea
The real key to this vital Pakistan port lies with its close proximity to the Strait of Hormuz – the body of water that lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It’s estimated that some 20% of the world’s petroleum supplies pass through the Strait on an annual basis but until Gwadar port came along, there was no significant deep sea port available that was close enough and big enough to take advantage of this fact.
According to experts, Gwadar port is a natural deep sea water port where there is no need to do much. Ships can easily land at the harbor.
Baluchistan is blessed with tremendous natural resources and it has a significant geographical location. For this reason, Baluchistan is not only considered important strategically for Pakistan but also many regional and international players such as Iran, India, United Kingdom, United States, Russia, Arab Gulf and China, all have certain interests in Baluchistan
The development of Gwadar will raise the living standards of the people of Baluchistan and provide job to the locals.
It will be a duty-free port and Free Economic Zone (FEZ), which increases its importance at regional as well as international levels.
Source: 'Geo-Strategic Importance of Gwadar Port' JOIS, Vol. 4, No. 1, January – June 2018, pp. 53 – 64