Gwadar, Pakistan's vital trade route with Iran and importance of security in Balochistan

Islamabad, IRNA -- The Government of Pakistan is seeking to establish a new trade route with the Islamic Republic of Iran by uplift of Gwadar, a strategic port in Balochistan Province, while ensuring lasting peace and security in the border province, said Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Prime Minister Imran has just performed the groundbreaking of phase two of the Gwadar Free Zone (GFZ) and launched a number of other development and infrastructure projects, including an expo center, agriculture industrial park, and three factories.

Gwadar, located 70 km from the Rimdan-Gabd Crossing, the second official border between Iran and Pakistan, is now set to become an important route for Pakistan to develop trade with neighboring Iran and regional ties.

Chairman of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt. Gen. (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa has also said that the work for Iran’s trade through the Gwadar Port was in progress and trade would start soon through the port.

“The Ramadan-Gabd Crossing Point near Gwadar is active and fully functional now; fencing work with Pakistan-Iran border is going on rapidly and new border markets are being established at the crossing points,” he said, adding that smuggling to and from Iran is decreasing due to increase in regulated trade.

With a 600-kilometer coastline, Gwadar is an important deep-sea port for Pakistan currently operated by China. The country seeks direct access to the Indian Ocean under the $ 64 billion Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project.

Simultaneous with the signing of the Iran-China Strategic Cooperation Document, the issue of the importance of Chabahar Port and the strengthening of the Chinese partnership with Iran was considered very important by the Pakistanis.

The print and electronic media in Pakistan have been discussing the 25-year Iran-China Strategic Partnership Plan as a hot topic and seeking regional interests in this macroeconomic partnership and its positive consequences for Pakistan, often with positive reactions from Pakistani politicians and experts.

Gwadar, Pakistan's vital trade route with Iran and importance of security in Balochistan

** Opportunity for cooperation between Iranian and Pakistani ports

Development of infrastructures such as roads, railways, airports and ports are the most important economic infrastructure priorities of any country and play an important role in achieving economic goals and complementing economic cooperation in the region, so cooperation between Chabahar and Gwadar ports is very vital in this regards.

Each of these ports plays an important role in developing trade and meeting the logistical and communication needs; at the same time, they can have a complementary function for each other. In order to achieve this goal, a memorandum of understanding was signed in December 2014 between these ports.

Iran’s then minister of roads and urban development proposed, during his visit to Pakistan in April 2016, construction of a 170-kilometer railway line between Gwadar and Chabahar with an aims to help develop the joint economic corridor project between Pakistan and China, as well as expand Pakistan's rail links to Central Asia and Europe.

In addition, Iran announced its readiness to operate a passenger shipping line by shipping companies between the ports of the two countries through establishing infrastructure facilities for passenger reception in Chabahar Port.

Gwadar, Pakistan's vital trade route with Iran and importance of security in Balochistan

** Imran Khan wants to ensure the security of Balochistan Province

The prime minister of Pakistan while performing the groundbreaking of phase two of the Gwadar Free Zone (GFZ) said that sustainable security in Balochistan is an important element for the efficiency of development plans and the use of the fruits of livelihood by the people of Pakistan.

Imran Khan announced his decision to negotiate with opposition groups and insurgents in Balochistan Province, adding that the efforts of Islamabad are focused on the development and prosperity of Balochistan Province, but without security and peace, it will be very difficult to achieve these goals.

Speaking about the security situation, the prime minister said that peace in Afghanistan remained a major concern and that the result of any violence or civil war would be felt on Gwadar's trade with Central Asian states.

He also said that his government was involved in efforts and had talked with Iran as well to bring the opposing parties in the Afghan conflict towards a political settlement.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and President-elect of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, during a telephone conversation on Sunday, expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral relations and agreed on further boosting existing cooperation, in particular in its economic dimension.

They affirmed that the establishment of border sustenance markets along Pakistan-Iran border was an important step, which would yield economic and social benefits for the people of both countries.

The second and third official border crossings of Iran and Pakistan were also officially opened in Rimdan (Gabd) and Pishin (Mand) in December last year and April this year, respectively, with the presence of Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and Pakistan’s Minister of Defense production Zobaida Jalal and other officials.

During the Pakistani foreign minister's visit to Tehran in April, the Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers signed a MoU to establish joint border markets with the aim of strengthening cross-border economic exchanges.

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