CPEC is the regional strategic power fulcrum. During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the US aspired to develop Gwadar port for its strategic engagement in Afghanistan, but the Russian decamping Afghanistan left the plan unfulfilled.
General Musharraf realized the economic and strategic vitality of Gwadar and received China’s attention. Now, CPEC has proven itself the Asian Trojan Horse. Along with other benefits of CPEC, it is a strategic power fulcrum. CPEC has strengthened Pak-China strategic ties joint endeavour against common enemy India.
India-US-Israel ties are posing serious threats to both. India-US imperialistic designs to control Central Asia are not favourable to any regional stakeholder. CPEC has jeopardized India economically, geopolitically and strategically. This fact compelled India to end its reluctance of shaking hands with the US.
Challenges facing India’s Chabahar port
India-US and anti-CPEC powers are heavily investing in Chabahar port to compete with CPEC as it is just 72 kilometres away from Chabahar. CPEC with its strategic significance poses severe commercial, economic and strategic challenges to Chabahar.
Chabahar is not in the Indian Ocean Region and geographically out of Indian reach. India is serving as a guest state in Chabahar with no territorial borders. All transportations for Chabahar will come under full monitoring of the Pakistani Navy or Pak-China Active Defense in Gwadar.
Iran will not allow Indian direct engagement in Chabahar port as the US-Iran controversies and India-US strategic ties are contrary to their strategic interests. CPEC is beneficial for Iran from a strategic angle because it is the road to regional integration.
Gwadar’s strategic importance
Gwadar is an important strategic port for Pakistan, China and CARs’. The port is also a strategic barrier for the US, being the unbidden extra-regional power in South Asia.
Gwadar port has weakened the US geopolitically and has strategic holds over Pak-India relations. It has substituted the US with China and Russian for strategic support for Pakistan.
CPEC is a corridor to Central Asian States which is another region for the US interests. It is aligning the Central Asian States with Pak-China and Russia instead of the US because CPEC is promising economic and strategic prospects for Central Asian states.
The strategic importance of the Gwadar port for China and Pakistan is enshrined in the unique location of this port. One-third of the trade of the world is done from the Strait of Malacca. There is no second thought Chinese import of oil products is done from this Strait up to 80%. The Strait is always prone to threats in case of strife among countries.
The Gwadar port also opens a gateway to the Indian Ocean. CPEC is a catalyst for balance in South Asia. It has surely strengthened Pakistan against arch-enemy India economically, strategically and on international fronts.
The US regional strategic monopoly, which has always been India centric, has lost its strongholds. Through CPEC, China will get an easy gateway to support and control its remote areas of the province Xijiang economically and strategically. For Pakistan, it will ensure to curb Indian backed insurgency in Balochistan.
CPEC is going to reshape the power fulcrum of South Asia, Central Asia and Europe. The strategic bonds between Pakistan and China have been on an upward trajectory with a moved thrust on economic interaction after the initiation of CPEC. CPEC was inevitable to safeguard common interests and mutual benefits, and strategic communication between China and Pakistan.
The real reason for CPEC
CPEC aimed to counterbalance the Pivot to Asia Policy designed by the US to contain and encircle China with an alliance including India, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.
This Corridor will serve as a substitute route for Chinese trade, thereby allowing China to outwit the threat of a blockade of Chinese oil supplies through the Strait of Malacca by the USA and allied navies in the wake of a future war in Asia.
CPEC will strengthen the strategic alliance between Pakistan and China. Gwadar port having tremendous reserves of cargo and shipment tackling capacity and numerous shipyards carries an imperative position.
CPEC is located close to the Strait of Hormuz which supplies about 40% of world oil. In case of war, this oil supply can be cut off and the power of oil bomb can be used. Gwadar port has key significance in protecting Chinese energy security by promising the Pakistan Navy with strategic depth beside its seashore as a nautical pedestal.
Through CPEC, Chinese trade, and power provisions significantly outwit Indo-US nautical coercion of commotion. The US-led wars have become the order of the day specifically in East Muslim zones. These imperialistic designs can be averted to a large extent through CPEC, assuring decisive wellbeing value to durable world peace.
A much needed strategic balance
The CPEC sponsored Kashgar-Khunjarab land route immensely alleviates the projection of conflict with the arch-enemy, India that could become a reality, either, by miscalculation, or, otherwise, over the ongoing high seas.
The Chinese economic presence in the Arabian Sea, and Gwadar, in union with Pakistan’s crucial geostrategic cooperation, introduces much needed strategic balance which is omitted from the Arabian sea.
The Indo-US strategic affiliation that has monopolized the strategic sphere of influence in the Arabin Sea-Indian ocean region will be restricted to acknowledge the impact of Sino-Pak charisma in the dominion of competitive naval interests.
India-US maritime joint ventures in the Indian and Arabian ocean have left Pak-China with no alternative to empower their naval forces to protect their sea lanes of communication. Pak-China Active Defense will enhance the capability of the Pakistan Navy and forces to better them. The protection of open seas and ports will boost up strategic efficiency of the sea combats.
In future years, Pak-China Active Defense can be jointly developed to the largest Asian Navy. CPEC is many times much safer than the narrow and dangerous nature of the Strait which endangers merchants to terrorist attacks. From Gwadar, China can keep a critical eye on the Indian-US adventures in the Indian Ocean and Basra Gulf.
The writer is an English Professor and freelance columnist, based in Lahore, Pakistan. He can be reached at Prof.abdulshakoorsyed@gmail.