Pakistan cabinet approves Gwadar port transfer to China

Islamabad, Jan 31: The Pakistan cabinet has approved the multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, as well as a deal transferring the management of the Gwadar port from Singapore to China was also given the go-ahead.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet gave approval to transfer Gwadar port operations from Port of Singapore to Chinese Overseas Port Holdings Limited, adding that the decision was taken to meet the country’s soaring energy requirements, reports The Express Tribune.

He, however, did not give a timetable for the transfer.

Kaira said that Singapore’s PSA International could not develop or operate Gwadar “as desired” and said he hoped that under the new management the strategically located deep-sea port would soon contribute to Pakistan’s flagging economy.

He said that the Chinese will make more investment to make the project operational.

China provided about 75 percent of the initial 250 million dollars in funding for the construction of the port in Balochistan. It is currently being operated by Singapore’s PSA International, but needs further development work to become fully operational. According to PSA’s Gwadar website, there has been no ship in the port since November.

According to defence and strategic analysts, China wants to use the port for commercial and defence purposes, which will undermine US influence in the Arabian Sea. (ANI)