Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China, Pakistan to Deploy Naval Ships to Protect Gwadar port: Report

Chinese Naval Vessels at Gwadar port.

(Photo : Getty Images. ) A leading Pakistani Newspaper has claimed that China and Pakistan will jointly deploy naval vessels to safeguard the multibillion dollar Gwadar port in Balochistan. Such a move is likely to irk India.

China and Pakistan will jointly deploy naval vessels to safeguard the multibillion dollar Gwadar port in Balochistan, a leading Pakistani newspaper claimed quoting an unnamed navy officer. The move, if true, is likely to create a panic in the neighboring India.    

Apart from joint deployment of naval vessels, Pakistan is contemplating to acquire super-fast vessels from China and Turkey for deploying special squadron at Gwadar port, which will further help in securing the strategic port.

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 "A squadron may have four to six warships," a navy officer told Express Tribune on the sidelines of a defence exhibition program in Karachi, adding that the purchase of super-fast vessels is imminent to provide assistance to fleet and two warships that have already been deployed at Gwadar port.

The role of Pakistan's navy has increased since the Gwadar port become operational and economic activities have picked up under the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the navy officer added.

The Express Tribune quoted another Pakistani navy officer saying that Islamabad has the process of deploying the region's largest shipyard at Gwadar and similar project is being carried out at Gwadar and a similar project in being carried out in Port Qasim, Karachi.

"The existing shipyard, the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, lacks capacity to meet new requirements of the force. Its (PNSC) performance, however, would improve in competition with the two under consideration," he said.

Gwadar port is a core part of the CPEC project, which apparently is China's biggest investment project in the region. The project, though, has been plagued with controversies and unprecedented hype ever since the construction work began almost a decade ago.

India Wary About China's Presence in Pakistan  

India has never shied from expressing reservation over the $46 billion CPEC project. New Delhi claims that through this ambitious infrastructure project, China aims to gain strategic presence in South Asia as well as Indian Ocean region.

China has always chosen to remain tight lipped about possible deployment of its naval ship in Gwadar Port. However, with reports emerging about the imminent deployment, security officials in Indian government are likely to work overtime to formulate a counter strategy.

Expert says with presence in Indian Ocean and South Asian region, Beijing aims to counterbalance India's counterbalance in the region.     

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