It is dichotomous to compare Chabahar port of Iran with Gwadar deep-sea port of Pakistan. Iran, India, Afghanistan as well as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan would primarily benefit from Chabahar port, located on the Makran coast of Sistan and Balochistan province, if it gets going provided that the recent development particularly the sanctions imposed by the USA do not bring about a hitch. India seems quite enthusiast for the operation of Shahid-Besheshti terminal of Chabahar port by 2019 which actually reminds of 2003 when due to sanctions the plans went into abyss. India has invested in infrastructure by constructing a road connecting Iran and Afghanistan and is looking forward to the operation of Chabahar port since it would provide India an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan and beyond.
Gwadar deep-sea port in Pakistan would revolutionize the trade activities of at least three continents and there is no hitch rather the things are moving with fast pace to draw the attention of the entire world to this mega project.
Chabahar port may be a kind of component of Gwadar port in one way or other since there are great brotherly relations between Iran and Pakistan. Sheer magnitude of Gwadar port fascinates the entire globe. China’s global trade is over $4 trillion and the balance of trade is in favor of China, which currently has irked the USA. China is on the go to enhance its global trade and Gwadar deep-sea port is going to benefit tremendously to both China and Pakistan alike.
Iranian’s GDP is $460 billion, India’s GDP is $2.8 trillion and Afghanistan’s GDP is $21 billion whereas the main stakeholders of the Gwadar port namely Pakistan’s GDP is $300 billion and the economy of China is worth GDP $14 trillion. There is no comparison in terms of the economic strength of the stakeholders of both the projects. China was given multi-billion dollars contract in 2013 to operate Gwadar port, however, prior to this the same was given to Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) in 2007 which faced hiccups.
The pessimists and the short-sighted critics do talk about the issues of electricity shortage and non-availability of potable water at the Gwadar port and there are certain elements who do refer to the plight of the 185,000 fishermen fraternity which constitutes around 80 percent of the total population in Gwadar. The huge investment by China up to $56 billion through CPEC has ensured all basic amenities since it is going to be a project to be envied by the world. Certain critics do say that Gwadar port is a BOT (build-operate-transfer) so 91 percent of the revenues would go to China for the next 40 years whereas the Gwadar Port Authority would get 9 percent share. However, the optimists and the individuals with real thinking do praise the decision of Pakistan in 1958 to buy the area from Oman, which now is going to be a game-changer and all eyes are on Pakistan due to its strategic location, which is a concern for some countries since Pakistan’s economy is going to enjoy upside shortly. The proximity of the Gulf countries to Gwadar would facilitate the trade and particularly shorten the distance for the 60 percent of Chinese import of crude oil coming from the Gulf region.
China’s handling of the Gwadar port would benefit Pakistan in terms of the transfer of technology, experience and the management. Seven out of the 10 largest container ports of the world are in China. Except the Singapore Port, Busan of South Korea and Jebel Ali Port of Dubai, seven ports namely Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, S.A.R., Ningbo-Zhoushan, Qingdao, Guangzhou Harbor and Tianjin are in China. The Shanghai port was declared in 2010 as the largest port in the world.
The Gwadar port would bring about prosperity in Gwadar, Balochistan and Pakistan in the larger perspective. It won’t only bring about economic prosperity, employment generation, poverty alleviation but also connect Pakistan to the world with value-addition. Pakistan’s dream of having a deep water port at Gwadar has come true.
Pakistan’s industrial revolution is not far behind. There is going to be influx in terms of manufacturing activities in Pakistan since industrial activities all over the globe take place in the coastal belts that is in the vicinity of major ports.