Will Gwadar Grow to Become a Major Metropolis Like Shenzhen?

"We believe Gwadar is following in the footsteps of Shenzhen which represented a historic population rise, from a population of 30,000 in 1980 to 11 million people in 2017. Gwadar is poised to see massive population growth due to incoming industries, and we expect this to be one of the most strategic cities in South Asia." Hao-Yeh Chang,  China Pak Investments Corporation

Gwadar: The Next Shenzhen?

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.

Recent Aerial View of Gwadar Hammerhead Growth

Gwadar Property Boom:

The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan’s largest real estate database, Zameen.com, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month. “It’s like a gold rush,” said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan to an Express Tribune newspaper reporter. “Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar.”

Chinese private investment company China Pak Investment Corporation has recently announced it is acquiring 3.6 million square foot International Port City project in Gwadar. It plans to develop a $150 million gated community to handle the influx of 500,000 Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2022.

China Pak Investment Announcement:

On October 20, 2017, Pakistan's Geo TV news reported that China Pak Investment Company plans to increase its commitment to  invest $500 million in Gwadar in the first phase of a project aimed at building homes for around 500,000 incoming Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2023. An earlier September 29, 2017 press release by China Pak Investment Corporation said as follows:

"The final master plan for China Pak Hills is currently being refined in Hong Kong, and will feature a range of state-of-the-art amenities including an open-air shopping boulevard; indoor shopping mall; restaurants and eateries; an international school and nursery; six community parks; indoor and outdoor sports facilities including tennis courts and a resident's gymnasium; a water desalination plant and recycling centre. China Pak Hills will also be home to the Gwadar Financial District, catering to the growing financial sector and adding much needed A Grade office space to Gwadar's growing market."

Gwadar Port Development:

Gwadar port's planned capacity when it is completed will be 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually.  It is comparable to the capacity of all of India's ports combined annual capacity of 500 million tons of cargo today.   It is far larger than the 10-12 million tons cargo handling capacity planned for Chabahar.

To put Gwadar's scale in perspective, let's compare it with the largest US port of Long Beach which handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar will handle upon completion of the project. Gawadar port will be capable of handling the world's largest container ships and massive oil tankers.

Gawadar port is being built in Pakistan by the Chinese as part of the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will eventually serve as Hong Kong West for  growing Chinese trade with the Middle East and Europe.  CPEC will also enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan to trade with Central Asia through China across China's borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

India's Strong Opposition: 

Pakistan suspects that India's real objective in Afghanistan and Iran is to locate its intelligence agents under the cover of Chabahar port construction workers to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and support Baloch insurgency to destabilize Pakistan. These suspicions were strengthened when Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, operating under the fake name Husain Mubarak Patel, was arrested in Balochistan in March, 2016. Yadav confessed he was operating as an undercover RAW agent from his base in Chabahar, Iran. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no secret of his strong opposition to CPEC and his support for Baloch insurgents.

Chinese Commitment to Pakistan: 

Unlike US-Pakistan ties that have been essentially of a transactional nature, Pakistan-China relationship appears to truly strategic.  A recent book "The China Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics" by American policy analyst Andrew Small quotes a top Chinese official as saying to his American counterparts that "Pakistan is China's Israel". Earlier, in 2011, some news reports quoted Chinese officials as warning that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".  Growing Chinese investment commitments in Pakistan now exceed $100 billion, a further indication of the importance China attaches to Pakistan as one of its closest allies.

Summary:

China-Pakistan ties appear to be truly strategic.  The strength of Chinese commitment to Pakistan is increasing with growing investments in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects. It is now highly visible in terms of the influx of the Chinese money and citizens into Pakistan. China's actions on the ground reinforce the credibility of Chinese officials' reported quotes describing Pakistan as "China's Israel" and warnings to the United States that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#China Turning #Pakistan's #Gwadar Port Into Regional Giant. #CPEC

https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-china-gwadar-port/4084175.html

An unprecedented Chinese financial and construction effort is rapidly developing Pakistan’s strategically located Arabian Sea port of Gwadar into one of the world’s largest transit and transshipment cargo facilities.

The deep water port lies at the convergence of three of the most commercially important regions of the world, the oil-rich Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Beijing is developing Gwadar as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, known as CPEC. The two countries launched the 15-year joint mega project in 2015 when President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad.

Under the cooperation deal construction or improvement of highways, railways, pipelines, power plants, communications and industrial zones is underway in Pakistan with an initially estimated Chinese investment of $46 billion.

The aim is to link Gwadar to landlocked western China, including its Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, giving it access to a shorter and secure route through Pakistan to global trade. The port will also provide the shortest route to landlocked Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan, through transit trade and offering transshipment facilities.

Chinese fuel imports and trading cargo will be loaded on trucks and ferried to and from Xinjiang through the Karakoram Highway, snaking past snow-caped peaks in northern Pakistan.

‘Qualitative change’

Gwadar will be able to handle about one million tons of cargo annually by the end of the year. Officials anticipate that with expansion plans under way, the port will become South Asia’s biggest shipping center within five years, with a yearly capacity of handling 13-million tons of cargo. And by 2030, they say, it will be capable of handling up to 400-million tons of cargo annually.

China has in recent months begun calling CPEC the flagship project of its global Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI. The “qualitative change” from an experimental project to flagship project underscores the importance Beijing attaches to CPEC, said Zhao Lijian, the deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad.

Out of 39 “early harvest” projects under CPEC, 19 have since been completed or are under construction with a Chinese investment of about $18.5 billion, Lijian told VOA. The progress makes it the fastest developing of all of at least six BRI’s corridors China plans to establish, added the Chinese diplomat.
Riaz Haq said…
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS
Pakistan’s construction industry – the hot cake for foreign investors

By Tehreem HusainPublished: October 23, 2017

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1538687/2-infrastructure-building-pakistans-construction-industry-hot-cake-foreign-investors/

The construction industry is playing an important role in economic growth of Pakistan. Recent (provisional) estimates published in the Economic Survey of Pakistan show that the industry grew 9.1% in FY17 and contributed 2.7% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

BMI Research has also provided a healthy growth outlook for the sector, putting it at 11.8% annually from 2016-20 and 9.1% over 2016-25.

The signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement and improvement in the country’s security situation have been the key to giving boost to not only the construction industry, but Pakistan’s image abroad. With China having the first-mover advantage in injecting foreign investment into the country, other countries have followed suit.

The sector has also been an important recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). This can be judged from the latest figures provided by the State Bank of Pakistan, which show that the construction industry received a net inflow of $35.7 million in August 2017.

How attractive the industry is perceived to be for foreign investors can be gauged from the fact that in the current fiscal year from July-August FY18 the industry has received $55.7 million relative to $1.6 million in the same period of last year.

Locally, investment has also been boosted by government policies such as reduction in duties and taxes on building materials like steel, construction machinery and equipment and computerisation of land ownership records.
Riaz Haq said…
Despite #Tillerson, #US Won't Abandon #Pakistan for #India | RAND. #China #CPEC #Modi

https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/10/despite-tillerson-us-wont-abandon-pakistan-for-india.html


It has become commonplace to caution American policymakers against irrational exuberance when dealing with India: Keep expectations low (conventional wisdom goes) and you won't be disappointed. In the wake of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to New Delhi this week, perhaps the same advice could be directed to India's leadership. Despite a warm welcome by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the pleasantries at Gandhi Smriti, and the promises of “an even brighter future,” don't expect a radical change in U.S. policy. There are structural reasons for India to moderate its expectations of what it can realistically expect from the Trump administration, regardless of anything the secretary of state—or even the president—might say.

There is no new U.S. policy towards Pakistan—and there won't be one soon. On August 21, Trump announced a “change [in] the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent,” he stated. Ears pricked up in Islamabad and New Delhi alike. But in the two months since the administration's roll-out of its new strategy for South Asia, no significant actions towards Pakistan have been made public. If a sea-change is underway, it is hidden beneath the waves.

This should not be a surprise: So long as the U.S. has troops in neighboring Afghanistan, it will be reliant on Pakistan for logistical support, transit, and—perhaps most importantly—Islamabad's influence with both the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani Network. With the addition of about 5,000 U.S. troops to the effort in Afghanistan—roughly a 50 percent increase over the baseline at the end of the Obama administration—U.S. exposure will grow rather than recede.

A concrete demonstration was provided just two weeks ago: On October 12, an American woman, her Canadian husband, and their three children were released after five years of Haqqani captivity. Whether this was a conveniently-timed military rescue or a secretly-negotiated operation, it reminds the U.S. of Pakistan's ability to help—and to harm. Afterwards, Tillerson expressed his “deep gratitude to the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Army,” and posited “a U.S.-Pakistan relationship marked by growing commitments to counterterrorism operations and stronger ties in all other respects.”

The U.S. and India don't see eye-to-eye on China. Earlier this month, Tillerson made a major speech contrasting America's relationships with India and China. “We'll never have the same relationship with China, a non-democratic society,” (PDF) he said, “that we can have with a major democracy” such as India. He criticized China's Belt-and-Road-Initiative (BRI) infrastructure program, and proposed a joint Indo-U.S. effort towards “countering that with alternative financing measures.”

But Tillerson said nothing about where the funds for such an ambitious venture might come from. China has pledged $46 billion for the Pakistan piece of its framework alone. The U.S. administration plans to reduce its foreign affairs budget by 28 percent—a cut that Tillerson fully supports. India is unlikely to spend countless crores for the construction of roads and railways in other nations when it has so many infrastructure needs of its own. Moreover, India has consistently balked at any suggestion of a de facto alliance geared at limiting China's influence. Perhaps this summer's stand-off at Doklam will turn out to be a game-changer? If so, Delhi may remember that the Trump administration—in contrast, for example, to that of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—refrained from any statement in support of India throughout its most serious confrontation with China in a quarter-century.
Riaz Haq said…
Large-scale #manufacturing in #Pakistan sees 11.3% growth in first two months of FY 2017-18

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/business/large-scale-manufacturing-sees-11-3pc-growth-in-two-months/


LSM share stands at 80pc in total manufacturing

Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) observed a growth of 11.3 percent during first two months (July-August) of fiscal year 2017-18 on year-on-year basis.

According to the data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the sector recorded an increase of 13 percent in July. The annual growth target for the LSM is 6.3pc, while it had achieved 5.6pc in previous financial year 2016-17.

In August, the LSM observed a growth of 8.5 percent on annual basis.

In total manufacturing, LSM’s share stands at 80pc, while small-scale manufacturing constitutes 13.7pc. Similarly, the mega manufacturing constitutes 10.7pc of total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) against 1.8pc of small level manufacturing.

As per Ministry of Industries’s data regarding 36 products, these items made 5.44pc of total LSM growth in August. The share of 65 items, whose manufacturing data is provided by provincial bureaus of statistics, recorded at 1.3pc.

The Oil Companies Advisory Committee’s (OCAC) data regarding 11 items stated that theses items contributed 1.8 percent in growth of LSM during the second month.
Riaz Haq said…
Bank of #China (BoC) is 2nd Chinese bank to open in #Pakistan after Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/bank-of-china-becomes-operational-in-pakistan-117110701224_1.html

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has already opened two of its branches in Karachi and Islamabad and is providing various services, including corporate finance, investment banking, foreign deposits, project loans, and working capital loans.

The Bank of China (BoC) became operational in Pakistan as it inaugurated its first branch in Karachi on Tuesday.

Emphasising that it was "a great honour" for the bank to be launched in Pakistan, BoC Chairman Chen Siqing noted that the Karachi branch was its first in South Asia.


The Dawn quoted him as saying that the bank would strengthen the "brotherly relations" between the two countries in the financial sector.

Siqing also highlighted that the bank could help Pakistan effectively reap the benefits of Beijing's economic prosperity.

Welcoming the bank to Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa, said that the increased diversity of foreign banks would increase the country's economic resilience.

He also expressed hope that Pakistan would learn from BoC's expertise in the small and medium enterprises sector.

Speaking during the launch, Acting Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhao Lijian said that the opening of the bank "marked the confidence of the Chinese corporate sector in Pakistan's economic situation."

President Mamnoon Hussain, who was also present on the occasion, expressed confidence that the newly-launched bank will help accelerate infrastructure development and overall economic growth of the country.

He termed the BoC's arrival to Pakistan a "memorable event in the everlasting friendship between Pakistan and China".

President Hussain assured the BoC of the continued support of the government and State Bank of Pakistan in expanding its operations in the country.

The BOC was allowed to commence banking business in Pakistan on September 19 this year.

This is the second Chinese bank which has been allowed to operate in Pakistan. The State Bank of Pakistan had issued a license to BoC in May 2017.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has already opened two of its branches in Karachi and Islamabad and is providing various services, including corporate finance, investment banking, foreign deposits, project loans, and working capital loans.

Riaz Haq said…
Govt denies rumours of $500 million Chinese investment in Gwadar real estate

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/10/23/govt-denies-rumours-of-500-million-chinese-investment-in-gwadar-real-estate/

The federal government on Monday warned the general public not to pay any heed to the rumours about a heavy investment, allegedly made by a Chinese in the real estate business in Gwadar, and asked the investors not to invest in any phoney company which might be involved in a massive fraud.

In an official statement, the spokesman of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform cautioned the public at large not to pay heed towards an alleged investment of US $500 million in Gwadar’s real estate business under the name of ‘China Pak Hills’.

Apropos news item – “Chinese company invests $500 million in Gwadar residential project” – published in a section of the press, has claimed that China Pak Hills has invested US $500 million in Gwadar’s real estate business. It is to put on record that Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) has not issued any No Objection Certificate (NOC) to a housing project named as ‘China Pak Hills’, said an official handout by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Secretariat at Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

“The report is baseless and highly exaggerated. Even GDA has no information about $500m Chinese investment in the housing sector,” said the spokesperson.

He further stated that the news item presented a highly exaggerated scenario about Chinese professionals shifting to Gwadar by 2023. “The newspaper should have contacted the ministry of planning before publishing such news item having such content,” the statement added.
Riaz Haq said…
Experts divided on economic benefit of Chabahar Port
SANJAY KUMAR | Published — Monday 4 December 2017

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1203746/world

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the port would “provide alternative access to landlocked Afghanistan into regional and global markets… an integrated development of connectivity infrastructure including ports, road and rail networks would open up greater opportunities for regional market access and contribute towards the economic integration and benefit of the three countries and the region.”
However, Phunchok Stobdan, a former Indian ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and a distinguished academic, questions the economic viability of the port.
“In terms of slogans, yes, you can call it a new era of connectivity. But how much substance is there, we don’t know. It is just a beginning. It is more about political opportunism than economic benefits, as I see it,” said Stobdan, who is also a senior fellow at New Delhi-based think tank, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA).
“What do you want to export and what you want to import?” he continued. “There are no high-value items to trade between India and Afghanistan.
“I feel the Indian government should also work out some mechanism to open the Wagah border,” he continued. “But Pakistan has been using the strategy of denial for very long time. It is working in their favor. It is a larger political issue; it is not an economic or connectivity issue.”
Stobdan also claimed that “the significance lies in the fact that, before Trump puts (forward) lots of objections, India has been brought into the picture.”
The Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran’s southern coast, is seen by some as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port — which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located around 85 km from Chabahar — and, by extension to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We can say lot, but the economy will speak,” Stobdan said. “You think the Chinese did not know about the Chabahar port? They knew. The market is in Pakistan. The market is in India. The market is not in the Sististan-Baluchistan area.”
Afghan ambassador Abdali said: “The Chabahar port will be open to everyone. All the stakeholders and I hope that no one thinks of it as a counter to any other initiatives. At the same time, I consider it a major development for the whole region.”
Riaz Haq said…
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS
Egyptian billionaire ventures into Pakistan's real estate with $2b project
By Bilal MemonPublished: December 22, 2017

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1590668/2-egyptian-billionaire-ventures-pakistans-real-estate-2b-project/

Pakistan is set to see a new real estate venture – this time in the federal capital – as demand for housing keeps motivating projects across different parts of the country.

The $2-billion project, named Eighteen Islamabad based on its location, was formally launched in Islamabad on Friday and is a partnership between Egypt-based Ora Developers and Saif Group, the Pakistani conglomerate with business interests largely in textile, energy and real estate sectors. Additionally, Kohistan Builders and Developers is also partaking in the project.

Spread across 2.77 million square yards that will also feature a 18-hole golf course, the project will look to sell over 2,000 residential units – 1,068 villas of different sizes and over 900 apartments – along with commercial properties, meant to serve the upper-middle income groups.

The project also brings Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris back to Pakistan after Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding, in which he has a majority stake and is also the chairman, had acquired Mobilink before the company sold its stake to VimpelCom.

Sawiris, however, is now on a different mission to Pakistan.

“I was here around 20 years ago when we started Mobilink,” said Sawiris, the chairman of Ora Developers, as he addressed a gathering of journalists at Serena Hotel.

“We wanted to continue our business in Pakistan and as we ventured out of telecom we thought of real estate development because I was horrified at the prices people were paying for villas and apartments in Islamabad,” he continued, referring to the phenomenally high prices of real estate in Pakistan that have continued to shoot in the last few years.

According to a World Bank estimate, there is a shortage of 10 million housing units in Pakistan, a deficit that continues to grow in urban areas. With population growth at 2%, the shortage will keep piling.

Sawiris said his aim would be to expand to other cities including Karachi and Lahore, but the challenge would be to find land in the provincial capitals.

“Land availability is the biggest issue facing the real estate sector in the country. Until the issue is resolved, challenges will remain.”

The $2-billion project features a 30% component of equity, to be injected by the investors, along with a 30% stake to be financed with major banks in Pakistan. Talks of these modalities are ongoing, said Eighteen Islamabad Chief Executive Officer Tarek Hamdy.

He also said no-objection certificates have been obtained from the Capital Development Authority in Islamabad and transfer deeds will be given to buyers since Eighteen Islamabad owns the land already.
Riaz Haq said…
First #Djibouti ... now #Pakistan's #Gwadar tipped to have #China's naval base. #India #Iran #Chabahar #Navy #Military #Hormuz #RedSea https://sc.mp/2CINAJb via @SCMP_News

Beijing plans to build its second offshore naval base near a strategically important Pakistani port following the opening of its first facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa last year.

Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the base near the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea would be used to dock and maintain naval vessels, as well as provide other logistical support services.

“China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Zhou said.

“It’s a common practice to have separate facilities for warships and merchant vessels because of their different operations. Merchant ships need a bigger port with a lot of space for warehouses and containers, but warships need a full range of maintenance and logistical support services.”

Another source close to the People’s Liberation Army confirmed that the navy would set up a base near Gwadar similar to the one already up and running in Djibouti.

“Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships ... Public order there is in a mess. It is not a good place to carry out military logistical support,” the source said.

The confirmation follows a report this week on Washington-based website The Daily Caller in which retired US Army Reserve colonel Lawrence Sellin said meetings between high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani military officers indicated Beijing would build a military base on the Jiwani peninsula near Gwadar and close to the Iranian border.

Sellin said the plan would include a naval base and an expansion of the existing airport on the peninsula, both requiring the establishment of a security zone and the forced relocation of long-time residents.


Gwadar port is a key part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a centrepiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s broader “Belt and Road Initiative” to link China through trade and infrastructure to Africa and Europe and beyond. The corridor is a multibillion-dollar set of infrastructure projects linking China and Pakistan, and includes a series of road and transport links.

Sellin also said the Jiwani base could be “signs of Chinese militarisation of Pakistan, in particular, and in the Indian Ocean”.

Chinese military observers said Gwadar had great geostrategic and military importance to China but China was not about to “militarise” Pakistan.

Zhou said China wanted better access to the Indian Ocean, which was now largely limited to the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia. The Gwadar port could be a transit hub for sea and land routes once the corridor’s railway was up and running, helping improve and cut the cost of logistics for China.

“The Chinese naval flotilla patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and other warships escorting Chinese oil tankers in the Indian Ocean need a naval base for maintenance as well as logistical supplies because they can’t buy much of what they need in Pakistan,” Zhou said.

Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said India was well aware of China’s plans in Pakistan.

“China finds it very useful to use Pakistan against India and ignore India’s concerns, particularly on terrorism issues. That has created a lot of stress in the relationship between Beijing and Delhi,” he said.

“[But] Indian naval capabilities and experience in the Indian Ocean region are fairly good. Much better than Pakistan and China.”

Riaz Haq said…

Dubai vs Gwadar: port cities chart a course for share of world’s economy

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid and 3 collaborators

https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/01/11/pakistan/dubai-vs-gwadar-port-cities-chart-a-course-for-share-of-worlds-economy/30686/

A strategic port at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in southern Pakistan is continuing to push its rival megaports in the United Arab Emirates, pitting the lesser-known Gwadar against Dubai in a bid to move goods faster and more cheaply to some of the most populated countries of the world.

“Many economic analysts believe that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map,” said Tariq al-Shammari, a writer and self-described activist, who wrote about the expansion of the Pakistani port for OpenDemocracy, a UK-based political website. “Gwadar port will become the main sea gate for Central Asia.”

As it becomes easier to send goods through Gwadar, Dubai may see a threat to its regional influence, al-Shammari said.

“This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries; Pakistan, China and Qatar on one side, India and the UAE on the other,” he wrote.

How the ports stack up

Dubai’s two major commercial ports — Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali — provide significant revenue to the UAE. Jebel Ali has the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the biggest Middle East port, and more than 5,000 companies from 120 countries rely on its services for goods ranging from consumer items to heavy construction machinery.

Gwadar’s deep sea port is strategically located to provide easier access to the Gulf region and the Middle East for China, especially the northwest Xinjiang region, and central Asia countries. The overland distance from Gwadar to Kashgar, in China, is 1,500 miles, while it is another 2,500 miles to move across China to Shanghai. Cargo ships have to move double the distance, again, to reach the Middle East waters.

The Gwadar corridor will reduce the transport time for goods to Western China by about 60 or 70 per cent, according to Liu Ying, a research fellow at the Chongyang Institute who studied the economics of the port (The Telegraph).

China’s influence

The Gwadar port is a key project in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative (South China Morning Post), which seeks to build strong economic connections between China and the countries along the old Silk Road – and well beyond.

Gwadar was built with financial and technical assistance from China, which took operational control after the Port of Singapore Authority pulled out of a 40-year port management and development contract because it was unable to get the land it sought to develop a free trade zone. The Gwadar port had been unable to become fully operational because of unsettled issues between Islamabad and the port authority.

The pivot to China “will also enable the dragon to swim in the Indian Ocean, which is strategically important for China as it expands its influence across the region, according to The National, a newspaper based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“To ensure the security of shipments along existing routes, a Chinese naval presence at Gwadar could also patrol the Indian Ocean sea lanes. Of concern to Washington and New Delhi is the Chinese naval presence near the Strait of Hormuz and its strategy of building a ‘string of pearls’ presence on the Indian Ocean rim,” the newspaper reported.

The Gwadar Development Authority is working on developing residential and commercial areas at the port, spurring growth in real estate and services. As observers note, some of the projects mirror those in Dubai, of which it may always be more of “sister city,” than a true rival (The Express Tribune).
Riaz Haq said…
Mega #oil city to be constructed in #Gwadar as part of #CPEC. Plan includes oil terminal and storage tanks, oil #refinery and #petrochemical #industrial complex. #Pakistan #China

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/271367-mega-oil-city-to-be-constructed-in-gwadar-under-cpec

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to construct a mega oil city at Gwadar on 80,000 acres under much hyped China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This mega oil city will be used for transportation of imported oil through the Gwadar Port to China. The oil will be imported from Gulf and will be stored at this proposed mega Gwadar oil city.

The distance to China will be reduced, and it will take just seven days to cover the distance from Gwadar to Chinese border as import through western China took almost 40 days by covering double distance.

“We have forwarded PC-1 to the Ministry of Petroleum for acquiring 80,000 acres for this mega oil city at Gwadar with estimated cost of Rs10 billion. There will be additional cost for construction of its storage and other aligned facilities with the help of investments,” Director General, Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), Dr Sajjad H Baloch, told Islamabad based journalists who visited the Gwadar Port last week. This visit was arranged by the Planning Commission in order to show case different ongoing projects under CPEC.

A refinery, petrochemical industries and storage will be established in the oil city, he added.

The Gwadar oil city, he said, would be used for storing oil for its onward transportation to China. Usually, it takes 40 days for vessels to transport oil to China but via Pakistan it will reach China within 7 days, he added. He said that the total area of Gwadar Model City is 290,000 acres which includes 160,000 acres of residential area while the remaining is for industrial purposes. A Chinese company is working on the Model City Plan and it will be ready by August 14, 2018.

To another query regarding different measures for overcoming water shortages at Gwadar, he said that the current water requirement stood at six million gallons per day and there is no direct water supply taking place to the area. Two MGD water is being supplied from two water small dams through tankers and nearest distance is almost 70 kilometres.

“We have a deficit of four million gallons per day in water supply to the area,” he said and added that by 2020, the water requirement of Gwadar would be 12 million gallons per day, for which additional arrangements were made to get 10 million gallons of water.

New Gwadar International Airport: Earlier, the journalists visited the site of proposed new airport at Gwadar. The China Airport Construction Group Engineering Company representative Jianxin Liao told the visiting journalists that they were conducting soil investigation on the basis of which, the design of new airport at Gwadar will be finalised. He said that the procured land for this new airport stood at 4,300 acres, and this airport will possess capacity to handle one million passengers on annual basis. He said that by April this year the design will be completed after which the cost of the project will be estimated. It will be the biggest airport of Pakistan.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) representative Zohaib Soomro said that the initial cost of the project was estimated at $228 million, but its cost would be finalised after completion of design, and it would be estimated again.

The sources said that it would be premature to give any assessment related to cost, but it would be more than $2 billion to $2.7 billion at least if we want to construct state of the art airport in accordance with international standards.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan, China Jointly Showcase Arabian Sea Gwadar Port

https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-china-jointly-showcase-arabian-sea-gwadar-port/4229612.html

Pakistan and China have jointly organized the first international exhibition to showcase the significance of the Arabian Sea Gwadar Port and its economic free zone as an emerging international business hub.

The warm water deep sea commercial port, which overlooks some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes, has been built and recently expanded with Chinese financial assistance.

More than 200 companies from both China and Pakistan were present in Monday’s event at Gwadar, while six Chinese provinces also sent their representatives, said Beijing’s ambassador to Islamabad, Yao Jing, while addressing the ceremony.

Foreign diplomats and business leaders were also invited to the opening session of the two-day event.

Chinese operators of the port say the Gwadar Free Zone shall bring extensive economic benefits, like a tax holiday for 23 years and land lease up to 99 years to the upcoming businesses along with other incentives and pro-business policy frame work for general trade, services, manufacturing, logistics, trans-shipment and bunkering business.

Direct benefit for Pakistan

Gwardar port is to be a trans-shipment hub connected to landlocked western Chinese regions, giving Beijing a secure and shorter international trade route through Pakistan.

Gwadar is celebrated as the gateway to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a flagship of President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road Initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Under CPEC, networks of road, communications, rail, economic zones and power plants are being built and upgraded in Pakistan with an estimated Chinese investment of $62 billion.

Around $27 billion in projects are underway or completed, including “early harvest” energy projects, adding much-needed electricity to Pakistan’s national grid.

“I would like to say that the Chinese government will continue to invest and send our input to further support the development of this project. Also, we will encourage Chinese companies and Chinese businessmen to join the development of Gwadar,” vowed Chinese envoy Jing.

Wider benefit planned

During the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said CPEC is the “most visible part” of China’s of BRI, saying the mega project will cater not only to the needs of his country, but to the needs of the region.

Officials expect Gwadar’s cargo handling capacity to increase to 1.2 million tonnes by the end of this year and it will be able to process about 13 million tons by 2022, making it the largest port in South Asia.

Chinese partners say they would need around 38,000 skilled workers by 2023 for the Free Zone, according to Dostain Jamaldini, Chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority. He says of the 2,500 current workers, around 500 are Chinese nationals and the rest are locals.

An international airport with a 12,000 meter runway is being constructed in the once sleepy town with a Chinese financial grant of around $300 million.

The Arabian Sea port is located in Pakistan’s largest province of Baluchistan where militant groups, including Islamic State, and a low-level insurgency remain key security challenges to CPEC.

Additionally, the corridor runs through Pakistan-controlled portion of the divided Kashmir region, drawing objections from rival India. The United States suspects China may also turn Gwadar into a military base.

But Chinese officials reject those concerns, maintaining “CPEC is merely an economic cooperation project,” and Islamabad dismisses New Delhi’s opposition as politically motivated.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s port city gains economic vitality after free zone launched. Will #Gwadar be next #Honkong or #Dubai? #CPEC #China #SEZ http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/pakistans-port-city-gains-economic-vitality-after-free-zone-launched/ …

For decades, Pakistanis have dreamed for Gwadar to become the next Dubai. Yet the port city in southwestern Pakistan, despite its advantageous location on the shores of the Arabian Sea, had long remained underdeveloped in the past.

Recently, the economy of the prominent city in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan seems to gear up, especially with the launching of the Gwadar free trade zone on Jan. 29, reviving hopes for it to become a global trade hub.

Launching of the free trade zone was a historic moment. It is the beginning of a dream coming true, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistani Minister for Interior and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, said at the launching ceremony.

RAPID PORT DEVELOPMENT

Less than a year ago, the Gwadar port complex was still a giant construction site. Now it has become a brand new modern harbor boasting giant brand new cranes, hotels, warehouses, factories and a business center.

The unprecedented pace of development convinced locals of the future of Gwadar.

“Gwadar will lead the take-off of Pakistan’s economy. It will be the next Dubai or Hong Kong,” local banker Masood Awan said.

Gwadar Expo, a two-day trade fair, coincided with the opening of the free trade zone. Muhammad Niazi, a seafood exporter, had planned to represent his company at the event, but failed to get a booth as more than 5,000 companies had vied for just 150 vacancies.

More than 25,000 people visited the trade fair, according to China Overseas Ports Holdings Co. (COPHC), which took over the operation of the port in 2013.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had to increase the frequency of its flights from Karachi to Gwadar from one to two per day, while announcing that a new flight from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to Gwadar will be open by the end of the year.

Even without a booth, Niazi and his colleagues flew to Gwadar from Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi. He stayed after the trade fair closed on Jan. 30, busy making new business contacts.

“We are determined to expand our business to Gwadar. The speed of development is just amazing,” Niazi said.

BETTER CITY LIFE

More than 30 Chinese and Pakistani companies are investing some 500 million U.S. dollars in the free trade zone, said Hu Zongyao, deputy general manager of the Gwadar free trade zone, which is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the fishing city of less than 100,000 population.

Also, COPHC have worked with the local government and Chinese organizations to help improve living conditions in Gwadar, including the installation of desalination facilities to provide a million gallons of drinking water to local residents.

China’s Red Cross Society helped build a medical station, while China Foundation for Peace and Development help set up a primary school there.

“Better living conditions means better investment environment and more talents. Helping the locals is also helping ourselves,” Hu said.

“Investment by experienced and competent Chinese companies is encouraging for the future of Gwadar. The port will one day become a top destination for business and tourism, a regional, even global trade center,” said Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of Gwadar Port Authority.

The construction of the city is a long-haul endeavor. It takes time to build infrastructure, find investment and talents and cultivate economic vitality. Eventually the city will grow as evidenced by many global cosmopolitans that had been fishing villages.


Wade Shepard, a Forbes contributor, believed a “clearly stated plan” is behind CPEC’s progress. China and Pakistan publicized a long-term plan for CPEC in 2017.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s secret war against #Pakistan. by Praveen Swami #KulbhushanJadhav #Balochistan #RAW #ajitdoval

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/indias-secret-war/article10055129.ece

he implications of the questions raised by the Kulbhushan Jadhav case go far beyond Jadhav’s fate. It is time India reflects seriously on its expanding programme of covert action and its long-term consequences. By PRAVEEN SWAMI
FOR six hours, the hired car had driven through a forest of shadows, cast by the mountains of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province—for generations, a refuge for smugglers, insurgents and spies. Heading towards Saravan, a town of 50,000 some 20 kilometres from the border with Pakistan, the car was carrying a businessman from Mumbai to a meeting. The men he wanted to meet were waiting, but there were others, too: like every spy story, this one ended in betrayal.

India knows something of what happened next: Kulbhushan Jadhav is now on death row, awaiting execution, after a hurried trial by a military court in Pakistan which found him guilty of espionage.

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Ever since 2013, India has secretly built up a covert action programme against Pakistan, seeking to retaliate against jehadists and deter their sponsors in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and now by Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW) Anil Dhasmana, the programme has registered unprecedented success, hitting hard against organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Muhammad. But the story of the man on death row illustrates that this secret war is not risk-free. Lapses in tradecraft and judgment, inevitable parts of any human enterprise, can inflict harm far greater than the good they seek to secure.


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the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ought to raise questions about whether India’s intelligence bosses are devoting the kind of granular attention that the issue requires to insulate the country from the potential risks. The questions over Jadhav’s passports, the opacity of his business operations and, most important, the lack of transparency about his connection to the Indian Navy, have all made it difficult for the government of India to dissociate itself from his cause—the usual, necessary fate of the spy. It is also not clear why, if he is indeed a spy, he was not withdrawn after Uzair Baluch’s arrest, an elementary precaution.

Perhaps more importantly, there ought to be a serious political debate cutting across party lines on the possible consequences of covert action.

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Precedents do exist to resolve situations like this. Gary Powers, the pilot of a CIA espionage flight shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960—and reviled by his colleagues for not committing suicide—was eventually exchanged for the legendary KGB spy Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher.

In both New Delhi and Islamabad, there are rumours the two capitals are working on just such a deal—possibly involving former ISI officer Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Zahir Habib, alleged to have been kidnapped by India—or a wider deal, which could see the release of multiple espionage convicts.

Both countries have much to gain from a dispassionate conversation on the case—on the norms that ought to govern covert activity of the one against the other, and on the inexorable consequences of the secret war Pakistan has long run.

For that, the Kulbhushan Jadhav case needs to be elevated above prime-time ranting and opened up for rational discussion.
Riaz Haq said…
Chinese giant to build Gwadar’s first luxury Golf Community

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/307352-chinese-giant-to-build-gwadars-first-luxury-golf-community

State-owned Chinese construction company China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has announced that it has entered into agreement for the construction of Gwadar's first luxury gated Golf Community with a Pakistani company.

Empire Properties, the Pakistan registered company, and the CCECC have signed a memorandum of understanding as the prospective contractor for the construction of China Pak Golf Estates, Gwadar's first luxury Golf Community.

The $265 million development is a milestone in the development of Gwadar and will deliver the emerging port city’s most premier residential and lifestyle destination, said a joint press release issued here.

Commenting on the partnership Mr Wang Lei, Managing Director CCECC (Pakistan) said: "It is a great honour to be working alongside a forward thinking international conglomerate like CPIC. China Pak Golf Estates is a ground breaking development for not only Gwadar but Pakistan and we are honoured to be a part of this monumental project and contributing to the growth story of Emerging Pakistan. CCECC are a leading global contractor with 39 years of experience in over 40 countries delivering high quality projects ranging from civil engineering design and consultancy to real estate development. We aim to deliver a timeless community in China Pak Golf Estates that will set a new standard to master community development in Pakistan."

Afzal Shah, CEO or Empire Properties said: "China Pak Golf Estates will truly set a new standard to real estate community development in Pakistan and there isn't a better company we could be working with to deliver this grand vision than CCECC. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Wang Lei and his team as we embark on this virtuous journey together. Our vision extends beyond developing Pakistan's finest communities, we will change the fabric of Pakistan's real estate industry by setting a new benchmark for integrity and transparency in a market that at times can be described as less than open. Our goal is to elevate the market to the same standards as established international markets. This will result in the introduction of institutional investment which in turn will revolutionise the country’s real estate sector and deliver the quality of life Pakistanis deserve".

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