February 01, 2010

Chinese Investment Returns to Gwadar - Future Overseas Base?

Pakistan's National Economic Council approved nearly $4 billion (US dollars) worth of mega projects last week including New Gwadar International Airport. The projects are financed by the Pakistani federal government, the export-import banks of China and the USA, Oman, and others. The Gwadar airport anticipates 300,000 passengers per day with capacity for cargo and 50 flights and hour. Once again there is big talk of pipelines and power plants. Meanwhile Indian interests are speculating that Beijing wants a military base in Pakistan. An op-ed by prominent Fudan University (Shanghai) professor Shen Dingli (an expert in international security matters) raised a lot of eyebrows late last week with its call for Chinese overseas bases. Many interpret the editiorial as proof that Beijing is building a 'string of pearls' of Navy bases around India to gain independent control over trade lanes across the Indian Ocean and into the South and East China Seas.

Of course the idea that a Chinese Navy base or two in support of Chinese shipping could alter America's military supremacy is absurd. As the map pictures, China is ringed by US military installations. And all Chinese traffic in the seas around China are at the mercy of US Navy ships, carriers, and submarines. More probably Dr. Shen's editorial is more a salvo in the war of words over Obama's arms sales to Taiwan.....

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