Gwadar a commercial port, to receive port calls by ships of different navies: Pakistan Navy chief

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Liu Xuanzun and Guo Yuandan

The Gwadar Port is a commercial port that may receive port calls by ships of different navies, said Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, Chief of the Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy, in a recent exclusive interview with the Global Times, in response to media reports claiming the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is mulling to build a naval base in Pakistan.

Explaining the context of the Gwadar Port, rumored to be the designation of the Chinese naval base, Admiral Niazi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an economic integration initiative of China which will improve interconnectivity and usher massive growth across regions, and the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the BRI, would contribute significantly toward economic prosperity of all the stakeholders.

Infrastructure development under the CPEC Project will create job opportunities and economic development for the people of Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan and along the Makran belt, Admiral Niazi said. “The CPEC is a manifestation of strong and fortifying ties between China and Pakistan that will play a key role in the economic uplift and betterment of the entire region.”
“Gwadar is a commercial port that will serve as the lynchpin of the CPEC project. As the port gets fully operational, like any other commercial port, it may also receive port calls by ships of different navies,” Admiral Niazi told the Global Times.

The Karachi Port, for example, receives ships of different navies quite often. Visit of a commercial port by naval ships does not alter the commercial nature of the project, he said.

Moreover, the Pakistan Navy is taking all possible measures to ensure protection of Gwadar Port and its seaward approaches through sustained presence in and around the adjoining waters off Gwadar, the admiral said.

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