China’s New Silk Road Hinges on a Small Pakistan Port

Source: Bloomberg

This is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s biggest gambit in his so-called One Belt, One Road project to rebuild the ancient Silk Road, a trading route connecting China to the Arabian Sea that slices through the Himalayas and crosses deserts and disputed territory to reach the ancient fishing port of Gwadar, about 500 miles by boat from Dubai.

The progress of the new trade route has been eyed with concern by India, which has forged a rival $20 billion plan with Iran to expand Iran’s Chabahar port, 100 kilometers along the coast. Tension between the two South Asian neighbors has been escalating, with both sides claiming some of their troops were killed by the other nation this month, the worst confrontations since 1999.

Xi’s plan envisages a network of ports, railways and highways snaking through Asia to Europe and Africa, that would lift China’s global standing and provide its companies with new markets and investment opportunities.

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