Scholars urge to tighten security of CPEC, Gwadar Port for enhancing regional connectivity

Source : Pakistan-China Institute (PCI)   Date : 15-12-2016   

Scholars urge to tighten security of CPEC, Gwadar Port for enhancing regional connectivity
Scholars urge to tighten security of CPEC, Gwadar Port for enhancing regional connectivity

Islamabad, Dec. 14: Two-day International Maritime Conference on CPEC and Gwadar Port concluded on Wednesday at Gwadar city in Balochistan province of Pakistan on Wednesday.

Pakistan Navy in coordination with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and Parliamentary Committee on CPEC hosted the conference, which was attended by Govt.officials, military top brass, civilians, Chinese delegates, security experts, policy makers, researchers, scholars, diplomats and journalists from Pakistan and China.

The theme of conference was “CPEC & Gwadar Port as Harbinger of Regional Integration and Maritime Economic Development”.

During the two days event, local and foreign experts highlighted various aspects of the development opportunities at Gwadar port under CPEC, arrangements and challenges for security of CPEC, a mega infrastructure development project enhancing regional connectivity through land and sea routes.

According to the organizers the conference was aimed at examining the politico-strategic, maritime economic and security dimensions of the CPEC project and the challenges and opportunities arising in the economic domain from its implementation.

Speaking at the conference, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat said Pakistan’s economy will be strengthened from the Gwadar port, which he termed ‘the crown of the CPEC’.  Special task force will be deployed at Gwadar port, and around its sea lines to boost security of the CPEC project, he added. He hoped that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor along with the new port would also usher in an era of prosperity in the entire region.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah while highlighting the significance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) said the Indian Ocean has emerged as a critical maritime space which evokes the greatest interest worldwide. Its importance stems from vitality of its choke points and sea trade.

Therefore, Maritime Security in the region is of prime importance and Pakistan Navy has been playing an active role for ensuring a secure and stable maritime environment. CPEC with the potential to set off economic connectivity and growth on a broader geographic canvas will reinforce this need.

He further stated that Pakistan Navy has formulated robust employment and development strategies to safeguard national maritime interests. Pakistan Navy is being strengthened and continues to receive government patronage as necessitated in the emerging scenario.

Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri in his address said that Gwadar Port will become hub of economic activities by connecting Pakistan with China through Kashghar under the CPEC for which a net of highways, railways and pipelines were being laid. Visualising the future of this port, he asserted it occupied a unique position among the regional ports by dint of its deep water and geographical location.

CM also lauded the efforts of law enforcement agencies for foolproof security to Chinese engineers and workers by dint of which no terror incident had taken place in Gwadar for last eight months.“CPEC as a flagship project of this initiative conceived in 2013 has attained great achievements. Today, we are so proud here to celebrate the success of the project and to testify the deepened friendship between China and Pakistan “he added.

Chinese Vice Minister and Chairperson of Research & Development International Dr Baige Zhao in her address said that CPEC is the link between this region and rest of the world and Gwadar port is the materialization of the dream of “one belt one road”, an initiative of regional connectivity launched by Chinese president in 2013.

She said as the most and 6th populous countries in the world, China and Pakistan bear great potentials in contributing to the world. The success of CPEC tests and proves our great strength and solidarity, and promises more robust cooperation prospect. “Together, we shall maintain regional and global stability and extend the fruit of development to everyone,” she added.

Dr Zhao added that we recognize and appreciate the role of Pakistan Navy in stability and security of this project, which is embedded with huge dividends of prosperity for this region.

Chinese Ambassador Mr Sun Weidong, in his speech said CPEC will create millions of direct and indirect jobs for the youth of Pakistan paving the way for national progress and development. He added CPEC offers huge development potential towards making Pakistan prosperous and stronger too.

Prof. Li Xiguang   fromTsinghua University of China while presenting his paper highlighted various aspects of role of CPEC for regional economic development.

Commenting during question answer session, an Iranian expert Ali Bikdeli said "Chahbahar is an Iranian Port in Iranian territory, not Indian port in Indian territory".

The other speakers of  two-day conference were Zhang Baozhong (Chairman COPHC),  Minister of Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Kamran Nisar (CEO JS Global), Tan Sri Rastam Muhammad Isa (President ISIS Malaysia), Dr Sajjad Baloch (Director General GDA),  Alireza Bikdeli (IPIS Iran) and Jahanzeb Khan (Addl Chief Secy Energy & Planning).

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