Gwadar’s Commercial And Military Importance For The Chinese And Russian

Danyal Hasnain Gondal

The writer is a law graduate from LUMS and is currently practicing civil litigation.

The geo-strategic positioning of this region is changing fast; strategic realignment is in the offing as Pakistan is inching towards Russia and China, whereas India and Iran are coming closer by the day. Old loyalties are fast eroding and the enemies of yesteryear are continuously forging new alliances, whereas ages old friendships are coming to a brisk halt. The importance of the two strategic ports, namely Chabahar and Gwadar, has increased manifold because of this ever- changing situation in the region.

Gwadar is strategic warm water deep seaport located on the Southwestern coast of Pakistan and is poised to become the backbone of the ambitious CPEC project. Gwadar’s importance is enhanced even further because of its close proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the most frequently used maritime routes of oil supply by the Middle Eastern countries. Also, it is located at a distance of 75 km from the Iranian port of Chabahar, thereby bringing it in direct competition with the Iranian port.

Gwadar’s significance is huge for China, as 60% of all oil supplies to China are made from Gulf and currently it takes the ships to travel 16000km to reach the port of Chinghai by covering a three-month long journey. Gwadar can thus provide China a quicker access to Gulf oil. This can add to the national security of China by a great deal, as access to oil is fundamental in any event of war in the East.

Most importantly, the recent cordiality ensued between Russia and Pakistan can play a great role in increasing Gwadar’s importance as Russia has always dreamed of gaining access to the warm waters of Arabian Sea. Therefore, if relations between Russia and Pakistan are solidified even further, it would allow the two countries to increase their volumes in trade quite significantly. Additionally, Pakistan can provide Russia with access to the warm waters of Arabian Sea through Gwadar. This can mean a huge deal for the Russian businessmen and military alike as Gwadar is not only a deep-sea port with enormous commercial potential but also has considerable naval bearings as well. Russian businessmen can export and import their goods towards African and other Asian states through Gwadar, thereby giving them the leverage of exploring new markets and improving their failing economic conditions.

Likewise, Russian military can utilize the refueling and maintenance facilities at Gwadar if an understanding is forged between the Navies of the two countries. Russia has always wanted that its naval presence is expanded in the Indian Ocean so that it can counter the ever-increasing American influence in the region. However due to lack of any strategic partner it has not been able to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, with the advent of the rising Russo-Pak cooperation, Russian Navy’s capabilities can be amplified manifold under this arrangement. If Russia is able to use Gwadar Port’s Naval facilities it can project itself onto the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, further in the Indian Ocean towards the East and so forth.

On the other hand, Pakistan can benefit enormously from this arrangement as Pakistan’s Navy fleet is quite timeworn and needs up-gradation. Moreover, since the Pak-USA relations are heading towards hitting their lowest ebb, Pakistani Navy can strike a working relationship with the Russians instead and try to upgrade its fleet against the rising threat from the Eastern Border. Therefore, it is in the interest of the Russian Navy to forge a strategic alliance with Pakistan as it can become a symbiotic relationship and benefit both the countries.

Hence, it can be seen that Gwadar Port has multifaceted significance and can prove to be a huge turning point for the entire region, not only commercially but militarily as well.

5 thoughts on “Gwadar’s Commercial And Military Importance For The Chinese And Russian”

  1. hamza tariq says:

    the main reason for china investing 50 billion dollar in CPEC is that it has its economical interest in it. Moreover this investment and military aid by china means that in case of war with America Pakistan will allow it to use its naval bases for military purposes.And in case of economy it will bnefit china more than Pakistan.
    the cost of moving goods will be be reduced by quite a large amount.the distance a cargo ship takes to travel from indian ocean to shangai port in china takes days but it will cut short by many times through Pakistan.Moreover if it will establish its export industry in Pakistan than the cost of exporting will also reduce.
    Russia on other hand always wanted to have access to warm seaport and if relations between Pakistan and Russia improves it may also use this port as mai port for its export and imports especially in winter season.In this way it will help both Pakistan and Russia.

  2. Engr Waqar says:

    An excellent review of the situation prevailing regionally, however, I would like to answer the question raised by a friend regarding Russia’s dependence on Iran, has rightly been judged by it as futile due to Irans subdued behaviour in front of international community whereby capping/surrendering its nuclear option, has added it to the list of countries who will compromise in future even, whereby, letting down any one standing with it, unlike Pakistan, who stood steadfast in the wake of world pressure in the past.

  3. Intizar Naqvi says:

    Well… A good analysis has been done by you , but i have a questiom that if Russia wanted its naval presence in this sea then Why She Has not used the Iran for that? As they have better relations with Iran and Iran also tried to balance the pressure of USA in this region … ?

    1. Jahangir Raza says:

      Dear Intizar,
      Good question. Since I’ve lived and worked in the middle east region for about a decade, I’ve observed that unfortunately Iran is not enjoying pleasant relationship with Arabs world. Specially with Saudi Kingdom, as Saudi kingdom consider Iran is a great threat for their kingdom-ship.
      Yet, Iran is absolutely right in their stands against concept of kingdom-ship in Islam is harram. As Islam do not support any kingdom-ship.
      Secondly, Makkah & Medina is not their property so that they are claiming as the custodian of holy Kaba’h and masjid e nabvi.
      Therefore, I think Russia don’t want to work with Iran, perhaps!
      Let’s stay positive… as we really needs it. We have enough of enemies of Pakistan (specially, within ourselves) who never wants to see Pakistan shining. Yet, they are ruling and active in politics.

  4. Sadia says:

    Well written. Good Work

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