Pakistan, China ink deal to handover Gwadar port to Chinese firm

"Chinese are now constructing that port on Pakistan's request. In one sentence, I can say that it is a matter of concern to us. My answer is simple and straightforward," he had said.

Gwadar port is situated at a strategic location as it is located at the apex of the Arabian Sea and the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is also only about 400 kms away from the Strait of Hormuz, a key global oil supply route.

It was being operated by Singapore's PSA International and needs further development to become fully operational.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira had said last month that PSA International could not develop or operate Gwadar "as desired".

The Chinese will make "more investments" to make the port operational, he said.

PSA International had signed a contract to manage and develop Gwadar for 40 years.

China, which is Pakistan's closest ally, had for long been a front-runner for taking over the port.

Beijing has been working to develop a string of harbours in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

It has funded ports in Sri Lanka and has been approached to help build a port in Bangladesh.

Pakistan's former defence minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar had said in 2011 that Islamabad would be "grateful" to the Chinese government if a naval base was built at Gwadar.

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