Poll Question: Do you think the capacity of Pakistan Navy should be strengthened once CPEC and Gwadar become operational?
The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) recently generated an online poll to assess public opinion pertaining to the need of strengthening navy’s capacity after operationalization of Gwadar Port. Challenges lie beside opportunities. In order to provide safe maritime environment, the maintenance of good order at sea becomes imperative. The need is further augmented in the wake of increased sea trade due to CPEC. Pakistan Navy is focusing to bring in qualitative as well as quantitative enhancements to ensure safe maritime trade.
A majority of 76.5% of the respondents expressed that Pakistan Navy should strengthen its capacity to cope with the challenges CPEC is likely to face. While 5.9% viewed the current capacity as sufficient to deal with any possible threat, a mere 17.6% of the respondents had no clear idea on the matter.
In the changing dynamics of global architecture, the sea politics is getting complex with more focus on commercial activities and economic prosperity. Gwadar port is the warm water and deep sea port of Pakistan. It sits astride the busiest Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and holds two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. The port holds great strategic and economic significance for Pakistan. It is third important deep sea port of Pakistan after Karachi and Qasim ports. It is located at the cross junctions of international sea shipping and oil trade routes. Gwadar can act as an international trade hub for Pakistan. Gwadar port would connect three regions, i.e. Central Asia, South Asia and Middle East. It would open new job opportunities and help in the development of Baluchistan. Pakistan would be able to explore minerals, hydrocarbons, oil and gas resources of CARs. The port will attract foreign investment and tourism. It would provide foreign reserves and free trade zones and special economic zones (SEZ) that would help in the economic prosperity of Baluchistan and Pakistan. It would help to increase Pakistan’s trade and commercial activities particularly in Baluchistan province, so provincial grievances will be addressed.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a framework of regional connectivity. CPEC will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will have a positive impact on the regional countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics, and even Russia. The enhancement of geographical linkages having improved road, rail and air transportation system with frequent and free exchanges of growth and people to people contact, enhancing understanding through academic, cultural and regional knowledge and culture, activity of higher volume of flow of trade and businesses, producing and moving energy to have more optimal businesses and enhancement of co-operation by win-win model will result in well connected, integrated region of shared destiny, harmony and development. CPEC is journey towards economic regionalization in the globalized world. It founded peace, development, and win-win model for all of them. The Corridor is hope of better region of the future with peace, development and growth of economy.