On February 18th the Pakistani government transferred the management of its deep-sea Gwadar port to a Chinese state-owned company.
This raised concerns with India's Defense Minister that the Chinese regime was developing a military presence in the area.
China's ambassador to Pakistan dismissed this, insisting the move was only for economic purposes. But India's concern highlights China's growing influence in the area, and fear that China could be trying to counter western influences.
[Professor Frank Tian Xie, University of South Carolina, Aiken]:
"China and India are adversaries along the border. In fact, it actively supports Pakistan. China's presence in this region has caused strong vigilance in India. Western countries will continue to observe China's strategic intent."
Pakistan borders India, and the Gwadar port is one of three deep-water ports on the Pakistani coastline. It's not operation yet, but once built, the port could make available to 20% of the world's oil.
China provided around $200 million, or three quarters, of the initial investment to build the port but management of it was given to the Port of Singapore Authority. The Singaporean management failed to develop it according to plan and it has lain dormant since last November.
Now, with China's state-run Overseas Port Holding Company taking over management, it will not only provide Pakistan's cash-strapped government with much needed revenue, but help the Chinese regime establish presence in the region.
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