Gwadar: The city of the future | By Imtiaz Rafi Butt

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Gwadar: The city of the future

THERE are hardly any cities and geographic regions of the world which are comparable with the potential and prospects of Gwadar.

With the revival of major economies in the post-pandemic scenario, Gwadar is back on the rise and is being noticed by investors and analysts from all over the world. It is, without a doubt, a Jewel Port city at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is located at a spot which is going to cater to a huge portion of international trade by 2030.

A large part of that trade will consist of vital supplies back and forth from China, the next superpower of the planet. The Western developed nations are scrambling to find a worthy adversary of Gwadar.

As the influence of the United States dwindles and Europe falls back in economic hyper-recession, the stage is set for the Asian Dragon to rise with the leadership of Xi Jinping. And Gwadar is of vital importance to both China and Pakistan and the future of trade in the region. The American dominance of the 70s, 80s and the 90s is nowhere to be seen.

Chinese growth is now outpacing American progress. With the development and expansion of CPEC and OBOR, the Chinese footprint will expand exponentially and Gwadar is the front foot forward.

Gwadar is not just the trade-hub of the future, it is an evidence of a paradigm shift. Superpowers like the British Empire in the past and the Americans at present, have almost always resorted to profound violence, manipulation and aggression as their guiding principles.

The Americans, since the Cold War and the dissolution of the then mighty Soviet Union, have committed unchecked abuse of power. In the last 50 years, the Americans have violated the UN Security Council resolutions over 20 times with impunity.

That includes launching unilateral invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. There were no justifications for either of them. The NATO alliance became a centre-piece of dominance with the consent of other nations in favour of Washington.

In the case of Iraq, the misinformation of having weapons of mass destruction was equivalent to war-crimes. The invasion of Iraq led to deaths in thousands and the creation of the dreadful terrorist organization Daesh. The instability spread in the whole region.

Not just there, the Americans have actively destabilized governments that did not align with the agenda of Washington through non-state actors. Naom Chomsky has clearly written about the dubious moral authority of complaining about Russian interference in American elections during the Trump era when the Pentagon has been interfering in elections all over the world which includes Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and Iraq being recent examples.

On the other hand, the Americans have actively granted support to Israelis in their bloody campaign against innocent Palestinians. At the same time, Washington has sanctioned Iran for its nuclear program while Israeli nuclear program goes unchecked.

Among all these abuses of power, the Americans have never changed their guiding principle but the situation is inverse in case of China. The superpower of the world is on a different path.

China is on the rise and to the amazement of geopolitical analysts and researchers, it has adopted the path through a model of mutual growth and win-win scenarios.

Since its inception, China has raised more people out of abject poverty than any other nation in a short span of a few decades. At break-neck speed of growth in trade, industry and commerce, China is now ahead of many developed countries in Europe.

Contrary to the fact is that many developed Western countries are now reliant on China for their economic security and stability. Beijing has ushered in a new era in global supremacy. It has adopted a model of regional and international growth.

Instead of launching military campaigns in foreign lands, intervening in their internal matters and sabotaging stability in distant regions, China has decided to expand its influence through investment, industry, joint-ventures and mutual growth. As of today, China has engaged with the rich and the poor countries of almost all continents of the globe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa in particular. Pakistan is the prime example of this Chinese strategy.

Pakistan has been referred to by China as an “all-weather brother nation”. China Pakistan Economic Corridor and the One Belt One Road Project are one of a kind. With CPEC, China intends to connect its Western region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea.

CPEC is a joint collaboration capitalizing on the geo-strategic position of Pakistan and the future growth requirements of China as the next most powerful nation on the planet. OBOR revives the traditional Silk Route of trade which has been in use for the last two thousand years on modern lines. Regional connectivity is the hallmark of CPEC.

More so, it emphasizes regional connectivity as well as regional sustainability. China is now the hub of manufacturing and exports, which makes it an energy deficient country. With the connectivity of Chinese trade routes to Central Asia and the Middle East via Gwadar, there are two-fold benefits for both Pakistan and China.

First and foremost, for Pakistan, there are enormous possibilities of Foreign Direct Investment and a jump-start to the dwindling economy, secondly, Gwadar along with other projects under OBOR and CPEC, projects Pakistan as the main Transit-Trade hub in the region.

The trade will go in both directions. Energy supplies, raw material and semi-finished goods can make their way into Pakistan and then into China while finished products in the form of exports from China can flow out of China and Pakistan and into the oil-rich countries of the Middle East.

Similar situation arises for Central Asia. This in-turn will reduce the cost of Chinese exports making them much more attractive in competitive pricing to European and American products.

Not to mention that many American firms have already moved their manufacturing facilities to China which is one of the primary reasons for the trade war between Washington and Beijing. Gwadar is at the heart of the matter.

There are no comparisons to Gwadar which will be the key transit port and a city of trade of the future.

For long, the Americans have initiated hostile agendas against China. South China Sea Dispute, Taiwan and creating controversy in Hong Kong via non-state actors are a few of the issues that have been created to push China into a defending position.

The United States has also forged alliances against China which includes Australia, India, Japan and the United Kingdom as key allies. As a reply, the new bloc coming up with China is a coalition between China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Russia which is more than capable of dominating global diplomacy including the United Nations.

As the United States continues to falter in Afghanistan, Syria and in Europe, it is China that is making the right choices. The Chinese coalition has been formed out of mutual gain and common progress.

Gwadar has now completed phase-I of its development with CPEC. The Chinese Holding Company in-charge of Gwadar is now on track to develop and activate Gwadar for world trade as per timeline.

International imports and exports are being cleared from Gwadar in tons. The port has been completed and work is going on to complete the Gwadar Airport. State of the art housing, water and industrial facilities are cropping up by the days.

Pakistan will be at the helm of affairs in the future of global trade and Gwadar will be the star port city of Asia, it is a dream that has been realized and marvellous future within reach.

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