Gwadar will act as the spanner in the World politics at this point of history
The Russians strived for it tooth-and-nail and went to the extent of invading Afghanistan to realise their dream of shoring their vessels at ease in the Arabian Sea. The rest is history: two decades of warfare, chaos and policy confusion. Now the Chinese too have started thinking loud in search of warm waters and especially for a land and water channel that should come as a shot in the arm for its robustly expanding trade and commerce in Asia, the Mideast and Africa. If the host of agreements signed with Pakistan the other day are any criterion, it goes without saying that Beijing is restless and wants the shortest possible route to navigate deep into the south not only to boost its economic growth but also bring critical oil supplies to the mainland much faster.
The proposed 2,000km transport link through the troublesome Pakistan territory enabling the communist giant to ship its merchandise to prospective markets around the world at a relatively cheaper cost of commutation, however, won’t be a bed of roses for either countries. Pakistan and China, who for long had been time-tested geopolitical friends, unfortunately had not been able to register hallmarks in trade, commerce and joint ventures and had settled for peanuts. So is the case with other regional alliances that eyed the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean as the ultimate destinations of transit from the cold and sleepy plains of Central Asia, China and Russia. The fractured Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline deals and the trans-Turkey-Central Asia-Afghanistan oil shipment projects just come to remind the slip between the cup and the lip.
At this point of history, what will come to act as the spanner in the works is world politics! The Pakistani port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, which had been built with Chinese assistance, is already in the eye of the storm as regional competitors see its rise as part of militaristic muscle flexing. What is needed, however, is an across-the-board strategy wherein not only China and Russia enjoy the privilege of trading down to the south but also countries like Afghanistan find access to markets and are not locked down by geographical realities. The era of globalisation has not been too transparent for more than 2.5 billion people in the region, as congeniality had suffered at the hands of double standards. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, let the indispensability of geography act as a bond, rather than a curse.