VISIONARY project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has started showing its dividends with more and more countries showing deep interest to become part of this multidimensional project being described as a big leap to integrate different regions of the world. After Iran, Turkey and Central Asian States, Russia reportedly has expressed its interest to join the project while talks with Pakistani officials.
Russia, which is already aspiring to develop strategic defence ties with Pakistan and has also inked an agreement for sale for helicopters, during talks with Pakistani officials requested to use the Gwadar Port for trade to have an access to warm waters. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in Turkmenistan to attend an international conference on sustainable transport, welcomed the Russian request and maintained that Pakistan would appreciate participation of any country in the gigantic project. Given the geo-strategic location of Gwadar Deep Seaport and its capacity to handle more cargoes than any other ports in the world, the day is not far when it would emerge as the most busiest port and hub of world’s trade activities. China has already started its shipments through Gwadar port and when two important and big countries like China and Russia start operating their cargoes from this port, the trade activities would definitely take a quantum jump and also attract others to turn to the port for trade. All this would mean the country would earn millions of dollars a year in terms of port and cargo handling charges and also as freight charges for import of cargoes and export of material goods. Enhanced trade activities at the port would also create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for the youth of Gwadar and Balochistan. But at the same time, we should not forget the heartburn of India, which sooner or later would also have to accept the importance of this port for its trade with other countries. Until that time and given the plots Indian intelligence agency is orchestrating against CPEC, we need to develop a full umbrella of security for CPEC and Gwadar Port. For this capacity of Pakistan Navy be further strengthened and it should be equipped with required high-tech weaponry to ensure safe transit of shipments from Gwadar.