Issue Brief on “Gawadar and Chabahar: Implications for the Region”

Gawadar and Chabahar have unique geostrategic and geopolitical features and should ideally develop as sister ports. Both ports are situated near the Strait of Hormuz which holds two thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Massive trafficking of the crude oil, estimated at 17 billion barrels, takes place every day through the Indian Ocean. Moreover, both ports are economically and strategically vital which provide conduits to the Indian Ocean, where about 100,000 ships traverse yearly and 70 percent of the world’s petroleum trade passes. If both these ports function parallel to each other, their potential would increase manifold and competition for regional domination would ensue. Iranian and Pakistani leadership have shown the willingness to make Gawadar and Chahbhar sister-ports not rival ports. Though, there are some quarters that doubt the Indian motives in building Chahbhar, it needs to realize that in this interdependent world economic cooperation can lessen the chances of confrontation.

The ongoing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is considered to be a game changer for the region. The corridor will not only connect the Gawadar port to Xinjiang, but it will also reduce geographical distances. Successful completion of the project will lead Pakistan towards prosperity and help it become economically strong.

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