ISLAMABAD--A Chinese state-run company will take over management of the strategically important Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan, fueling fears that Beijing is aggressively expanding its maritime military influence.
“It is a matter of a concern,” India’s defense minister, A.K. Antony, said at a news conference on Feb. 6.
The Gwadar Port was built in 2007, with China covering about 75 percent of the $250-million (23.1 billion yen) cost.
A Singaporean company signed a 40-year contract to manage the port, but it decided to withdraw reportedly because of the unstable security situation and a shortage of funds.
The Pakistani government on Jan. 30 decided to shift management to the Chinese state-run company.
Facing the Arabian Sea, the Gwadar Port is located near the Strait of Hormuz, a key route for crude oil exports from the Middle East. China plans to transport oil from the port to western China through pipelines, according to some experts.
China has also assisted in the bayside developments of other countries around the Indian Ocean, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Ports funded by China now create an arc along India’s sea lane.
The United States and India have voiced concerns over the possibility that the ports could be refurbished into military ports, and that China is increasingly exerting its influence on waters ranging from the Indian Ocean to the Middle East.
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