Pakistani City of Fishermen Set to Become A Major Port in Central Asia
GWADAR, This city of mostly poor fishermen and their families sits on an isthmus between two picturesque bays, its most distinctive feature a flat-topped mountain of rock that extends into the sea like a fortress wall.
But by next year Gwadar stands to become one of the most strategic deepwater ports in the region that includes Central Asia and China. It will open new links to oil and markets in Central Asia for both Pakistan and China. It will reduce Pakistan’s dependence on its port at Karachi, which India blockaded in 1971, and ease China’s reliance on a volatile Persian Gulf for its growing energy needs. It will also give China another route for its exports, and speed the industrialization of its west.
Pakistan identified Gwadar as a possible port site in 1964. But it has taken the interest of the newly independent landlocked Central Asian republics in a warm-water port – and the active engagement of China – to make that vision a reality.
“Long live Pak-China Friendship,” read signs posted in the bazaar here, a testament to a mutually profitable alliance…