INTERNATIONAL

Nawaz Sharif inaugurates Gwadar port; CPEC becomes a reality

The revamped Gwadar port, a strategic deep seaport in the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, became operational on Sunday in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan after a Chinese commercial ship laden with around 250 containers set off for West Asia and Africa.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the start of operational activities at the coastal town of Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan Province, which saw a suicide bombing claim as many as 52 lives on Saturday.

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

‘Watershed moment’

The $46 billion CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), sparking concerns from India.

In his address, Mr. Sharif called the development as a “watershed” moment in the history of Pakistan and the entire region. He called it a symbol of Pakistan’s commitment to China’s ‘One Belt-One Road’ initiative, of which the CPEC is a key port.

“We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the CPEC and all the projects under its umbrella are materialised within the given time,” he said.

Mr. Sharif also commented on the ‘One Belt-One Road’ initiative by China and said that it integrates with Pakistan’s Vision 2025 which seeks to transform the country into a hub of trade and commerce.

He said the CPEC would ultimately integrate South Asia, China and Central Asia.

Officials said a major trade convoy that started from Kashgar in western China on October 30 reached Gwadar on Saturday, where Chinese vessels were ready to take the shipment of Chinese goods to West Asian and African countries. — PTI

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