Taking over of Gwadar is part of continued help to Pak: China
Beijing: Set to take over operations of Pakistan's strategic Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea, China today said it is part of the continued cooperation between the all-weather allies.
"China and Pakistan are friendly neighbours. Chinese companies have long been actively participating in Pakistan's foreign cooperation projects in all fields", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told media briefing here today.
He was replying to a question on Pakistan's Cabinet decision to permission to allow transfer of concession agreement from Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) to the China Overseas Port Holding Limited (PRC).
China will actively support cooperation in all areas as long as it is good for China-Pakistan friendship and the development and prosperity of Pakistan, Hong said.
Taking over Gwadar operations means that Beijing would be undertaking the biggest infrastructure project in Pakistan after it Karakorram Highway road project connecting the two countries in 1976.
China will be stepping into the port located at the entrance of the Persian Gulf about 75 km east of Pakistan's border with Iran.
It also evoked apprehensions among the Indian strategic community in India as it is in the proximity of Mumbai's port.
PSA pulled out of its 40 year old contract to run the port citing a host of difficulties including Pakistans failure to fulfil its commitments to build a motorway link to service the port and transfer land for the port's expansion.
Pakistan officials have been pushing for long for China's take over of the port to make it oil pipeline hub for China connecting with the Karrakoram Highway.
Currently the bulk of the Chinese oil supplies from Middle East pass trough the Indian Ocean. Use of Gwadar could drastically reduce the distance.