Home > Article > The most important city in the world: Gwader the next Dubai

The most important city in the world: Gwader the next Dubai

The most important city in the world: Gwader the next Dubai

Some analysts think that Gwader was the reason for the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the US occupation of the country.  Many thinktanks are of the opinion that the imminent control of the Chinese spells the creation of a new Dubai in Pakistan. The US-Pakistani strategic dialogue is an exercise to prevent the exclusion of America from West Asia. Pakistan holds a key to this important port and is using its geographic location to leverage its clout to gain strategic depth. The US is desperate for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, and Islamabad is helping America cement a peace deal in Kabul.

The sailors of yesteryear, and the nations they represented, Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus and Vasco De Gama stepped over each other seeking a the shortest route to the South Asian Subcontinent. Today many of the same nations plus the ancient powers who are now independent, are seeking the shortest route to Central Asia. Stopping the supply chain that rains terror on Pakistan.

The trade route from Gwadar, on the other hand, to Central Asia and possibly to Russia will pass through only a narrow strip, i.e. Wakhan, in north-eastern Afghanistan. But the real value of Gwadar port lies in its use for Chinese trade with Gulf States, Middle Eastern and European countries. The bulk of the cargo handled by Gwadar port is expected to either originate from or destined to China. And the route for that trade is already nearing to be fully functional. For the trade route to Central Asian states and Russia, the only segment to be built anew is Wakhan part. The construction of that segment, ensuring the safety of trucks in that area, and negotiating the terms and conditions with Afghanistan are more of a need and responsibility of Central Asian states and Russia – and not a headache of Pakistan.

The world’s “busiest and most important interstate,” journalist Robert D. Kaplan says, is the Indian Ocean, with 50% of all container traffic and 70% of all petroleum traffic traversing its waters. It is this region — with China and India jockeying for dominance, the United States trying to maintain its infl uence and unstable regimes threatening the fl ow of resources — that will be the setting for most of the global confl icts in the coming decades.

In his new book, “Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power” (Random House), Kaplan notes that US leaders already realize this, with the Navy suggesting that it will not have a forward operating presence in the Atlantic, shifting to this area instead. But the battle for the Indian Ocean will not be like the conflicts of the past. China, for instance, will not be a straightforward foe like the Soviet Union.

“The real lesson here is the subtlety of the world we’re entering, of which the Indian Ocean provides a salient demonstration,” Kaplan says. “Instead of the hardened military bases of the Cold War and earlier epochs, there will be dual-use civilian-military facilities where basing arrangements will be implicit rather than explicit.” Here, Kaplan runs down the region, including the little-known city that could loom large:


At the intersection of empires, the port city of Gwadar “could become the new silk route nexus,” Kaplan says. The Middle Eastern nation of Oman held Gwadar until 1958, when it was ceded to the newly formed Pakistan. Russia coveted it as a port during its long war in Afghanistan. Now the Chinese are funding a sophisticated, deepwater port in Gwadar. China also is constructing the Karakoram Highway, which connects the city to China through Pakistan. “Come back in a decade and this place will look like Dubai,” a developer says. “Gwadar is the litmus test; it is an indication of the stability of the whole Arabian Sea region.”


Pipelines from Turkemenistan and other countries need to pass through Afghanistan to carry natural gas and oil to the coast. “Stabilizing Afghanistan is about much more than just the anti-terrorist war,” Kaplan says. “It is about securing the future prosperity of the whole of southern Eurasia, as well as easing India and Pakistan towards peaceful coexistence through the sharing of energy routes.”


By 2015, China will be the world’s most prolific shipbuilder, and Shanghai already is the world’s busiest port. Like the US, China sees itself as a benign power. It does not look to occupy other nations (besides Taiwan), but wants to protect its interests and extend its influence. Kaplan believe we will both “compete and cooperate” with them.


“An unsinkable aircraft carrier,” Gen. Douglas MacArthur called it. Kaplan likens China’s quest for the island to the Indian wars in the US; once they were resolved, America could look abroad. If China can consolidate Taiwan, “it would be the real emergence of a multipolar world.”


Soon to be fourth-largest energy consumer after the US, China and Japan, India will remain non-aligned, Kaplan says, but leaning more toward the US. Its answer to the Chinese port at Gwadar was an $8 billion naval base at Karwar. It will hold 42 ships, including submarines.

US fleet

At end of WWII, US had 6,700 ships; Cold War, 600. It’s now fewer than 280. Though the US Navy still has no equal, the way the carrier Abraham Lincoln responded to the tsunami — providing assistance and projecting American goodwill and power — sparked a lot of discussion in China about whether to acquire or build its own aircraft carriers.


A churning mini-empire of nationalities, with an abundance of oil, natural gas and minerals, ruled by a despotic regime. “It is a prize to be fought over, as China and India are not so subtly doing,” Kaplan writes. As with North Korea, Beijing does not particularly like the ruler — Gen. Than Shwe — but supports him anyway for access to the Indian Ocean and natural resources.

“Malacca dilemma”

The Strait of Malacca, the narrow corridor for trade to the Middle East and Africa, hosts 50% of the world’s merchant fl eet capacity; 85% of the oil China imports passes through it. It’s rife with piracy. For now, the US and other nations patrol the area, but China is taking a greater role in keeping the peace.


To bypass Malacca, there’s speculation that China will help finance a new, $20 billion canal in the Isthmus of Kra to provide a faster link to the Indian Ocean. It could be as important to them as the Panama Canal was to us.

ANCIENT TRADE ROUTES CREATING TENSIONS TODAYThe 5000 year old ancient trade routes between Pakistan and China are being revived with modern freeways that were constructed 20 years ago. 5000 years ago the Harrappan Pakistanis were trading with the Chinese.Pakistan is linked to Afghanistan via the Khyber pass. This is Afghanistan’s only access to the ocean. New roads are being constructed to build alternate routes to Kabul via Iran. Because the US does not work with Iran directly, India has been chosen as a proxy to build the road and connect it to the new Iranian port of Chahbahar.

  • US Rehyphenating Islamabad Delhi relationship
  • PAKISTAN, CHINA ROAD AND RAIL LINKS:-The supply routes through Pakistan are a matter of much discussion in Pakistan. Allowing the US access through the Khyber is very unpopular and increasingly dangerous. The Khyber Pass is very hard to go through. It is a long winding valley with no exits. A few strategically placed enemy gunmen can choke the pass. Pakistan to US: No pay-No play: Tough lessons on geography!The Karokaram highway from Pakistan to ChinaThis is an all weather road that connect the Northern Areas of Pakistan to the Chinese Ughuristan. A Loan Agreement for Karakoram Highway Upgradation Project between the government of Pakistan and Export/Import Bank of China was signed here Friday. The qualitative upgrade of the Pakistan-China Road Linkage will further facilitate tourism and trade between the two friendly countries. Under the agreement the People’s Republic of China will provide credit of US$327 million. The KKH upgradation project is being executed jointly by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the Pakistan’s National Highway Authority (NHA). The Agreement was signed by the Ambassador of Pakistan to China H.E. Salman Bashir and Xin Bin, Deputy General Manager Commercial Loan Project. (PPI) Gwador to Karokaram, Tue, Jan. 22, 08

    CHINESE STRING OF PEARLS PORTS STRATEGY: The Gwader link to China is part of the Chinese “String of Pearl” strategy that encircles India with many naval bases from Pakistan to Thailand.The Chinese have surrounded “India” with a string of pearls strategy with bases in all of India’s neighbors–in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mayanmar (several ports), and the Malacca straits. India is powerless to do anything about being surrounded except for sounding off, turning on an occasional alarm bell and trying to impress Washington by raising a red flag about the grave threat from Mao’s People Liberation Army. India paranoid cries of wolf elicit a yawn and ridicule among the think tanks. The port in Gwader is already functional and is being linked via high speed train, road and fiber-optics to Beijing. The Sri Lankan port of Hambantota is raising hackles in New Delhi and with the defeat of the Tamils on the horizon, Lanka will remain a hostile state for India.

    Chinese string of pearls ports strategy map

    India’s ocean is Chinese lake: “String of pearls” threaten India. CHENNAI: The Gwadar port being built by Pakistan with Chinese assistance in its Baluchistan coast has “serious strategic implications for India“, Naval Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said. “Being only 180 nautical miles from the exit of the Straits of Hormuz, Gwadar, being bulit in Baluchistan coast, would enable Pakistan take control over the world energy jugular and interdiction of Indian tankers,” he said delivering T S Narayanaswamy Memorial lecture in Chennai on Monday night. The challenge for India was to balance relations with China in such a manner that competition for strategic significance of space in the Indian Ocean leads to cooperation rather than conflict, he said

  • Encircling India: China’s string of pearl strategy
  • China’s Gibralter (Gwader) and Guantanimo (Hambantota) defies India in the oceans
  • The pressure for countries to cooperate in the maritime military domain to ensure smooth flow of energy and commerce on the high seas will grow even further,” he said speaking on “Oceanic Influence on India’s Development in the next Decade.” Talking about “Chinese designs on the Indian Ocean,” Mehta said China had a strategy called `String of Pearls,’ as per which it seeks to set up bases and outposts across the globe, strategically located along its energy lines, to monitor and safeguard energy flows.

  • India’s ocean is Chinese lake: “String of pearls” threaten India
  • Each pearl in the string is a link in a chain of the Chinese maritime presence,” he said. “Among other locations, the string moves Northwards up to Gwadar deep sea port on Pakistan’s Makran coast. A highway is under construction joining Gwadar with Karachi and there are plans to connect the port with the Karakoram Highway, thus providing China a gateway to Arabian Sea,” he said adding that this could pose a problem for India.Indians think that Gwader is of no value to Pakistan because Pakistan already has two commercial ports of Karachi and Port Qasim. The Indian Naval Chief thinks that the Gwadar port is part of a Chinese strategy.

    “Other “pearls” that China has been developing are naval facilities in Bangladesh, where it is developing a container-port facility at Chittagong; in Myanmar, where it is building radar, refit and refuel facilities at bases in Sittwe, Coco, Hianggyi, Khaukphyu, Mergui and Zadetkyi Kyun; and in Thailand and Cambodia.”Pak’s new port has strategic implications for India: Navy chief, 22 Jan 08


    The pearls in the Chinese strategy.

    Chittagong Bangladesh


    Sittwe Burma

    Coco, Burma Hianggyi

    Khaukphyu, Burma

    Mergui Burma

    Zadetkyi Burma

    Kyun; and in Thailand and Cambodia


    Gwader is the most important Port City n the world. The management of the port was given to the Singapore Port Authority for 40 years. However SPA has failed to develop it at the pace that should keep up with Pakistani aspirations and Chinese requirements. The port is now being handed over to China and this creates colossal headaches for US policy makers.

    Categories: Article
    1. kennethttellis
      October 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Gwadar is now on a Pakistani5 Rupee banknote

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