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India to Skip OBOR summit in China

India will skip the two day grand OBOR summit organised by China to showcase its plans to build a network of trade routes under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is an ambitious China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade that will that will connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

The summit is expected to be attended by nearly 65 countries. However, only 20 heads of state is expected to attend the summit. The US and Japan who were initially reluctant to attend the summit have decided to send a representative at the last minute. India, however, has refused to send any representative owing to sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  

The countries like Russia, South Korea, France, Germany and UK will send either ministerial or official delegations to the summit. As far as india’s neighbours are concerned, Pakistan is sending the largest delegation consisting of four chief ministers and five federal ministers. Others like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives will also have official representations. Bhutan will not participate as it has no diplomatic relations with China.  

India’s Concerns

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a 3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR initiative of China. The CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The Chinese presence in the disputed region has raised sovereignty concerns for India. The Gwadar Port offers China to have its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and to the Indian Ocean. Already, China has plans to station its marines in Djibouti in Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean. The other projects under the OBOR in South and South East Asia also have security implications for India.
Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.

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China hands over two ships to Pakistan Navy for Gwadar Port security

China has handed over two ships to the Pakistan to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

These ships have been named as Hingol and Basol, after two rivers near Gwadar. They will be part of Pakistan Navy and are equipped with state-of-the-art guns. They will be used to protect the sea-lanes in the Arabian Sea.

Besides, China will also provide two more ships to Pakistan Navy which have been named Zhob and Dasht after two districts in Balochistan.

Background

In recent times, China has actively started extending its help and cooperation to Pakistan for security along the $46 billion CPEC’s land and sea routes. As a follow up, Pakistan Army already has raised a new division of the army to ensure security along the CPEC route and around the strategic Gwadar port. The security of Gwadar city also has been handed over to the Pakistan Army’s new division raised during the tenure of former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif. In the past, China restrained itself from deploying its naval ships in Gwadar, as it could had raise alarm in US and India.

Gwadar port

The strategic Gwadar port is located in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. It has been developed under CPEC which link western China through Pakistan with the Middle East, Africa and Europe.  The revamped port became operational in November 2016 after two cargo ships laden with containers set off for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and European Union.

For more information: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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CPEC becomes reality as Pakistan inaugurates Gwadar port

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the operational activities of the revamped strategic Gwadar port in the south-western Balochistan Province.

With the operationalisation of the deep sea port, the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking western China to the Arabian Sea became a reality.

Key Facts

  • The port was operationalised after a Chinese commercial ship laden with around 250 containers set off for West Asia and Africa.
  • The ship was carrying Chinese goods which were ferried by major trade convoy that started from Kashgar in western China on 30 October 2016 reached Gwadar on 12 November 2016.
  • It was considered as watershed moment in the history of Pakistan and symbol of Pakistan’s commitment to China’s ‘One Belt-One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, of which CPEC is a key port.
  • Benefits to Pakistan: China’s OBOR initiative integrates with Pakistan’s Vision 2025 which seeks to transform the country into a hub of trade and commerce. The CPEC would ultimately integrate South Asia, China and Central Asia.
  • India’s concern: The CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

For more information: (i) CPEC (ii) CPEC Analysis

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