Sunday, September 10, 2006
China also has invested another $200 million into building a coastal highway that will connect the Gwadar port with Karachi.
To connect western China with Central Asia by land routes, Pakistan is working on building road links to Afghanistan from its border town of Chaman in Baluchistan to Qandahar in Afghanistan.
In the northwest, it is building similar road links between Torkham in Pakhtunkhaw (officially known as the Northwest Frontier Province) and Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
Eventually, the Gwadar port will be accessible for Chinese imports and exports through overland links that will stretch to and from Karakoram Highway in Pakistan's Northern Areas that border China's Muslim-majority Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.
To counter Sino-Pak collaboration, India has brought Afghanistan and Iran into an economic and strategic alliance. Iranians are already working on Chabahar port in Sistan-Baluchistan, which will be accessible for Indian imports and exports with road links to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
India is helping build a 200-kilometer road that will connect Chabahar with Afghanistan. Once completed, Indians will use this access road to the port for their imports and exports to and from Central Asia. Presently, India is in urgent need of a shorter transit route to quickly get its trade goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Baluchistan, where the project is located, is once again up in arms against the federal government. The most important reason for armed resistance against the Gwadar port is that Baluch nationalists see it as an attempt to colonize them and their natural resources.
Several insurgent groups have sprung up to nip the project in the bud.
The three most popular are: the Baluchistan Liberation Army, Baluchistan Liberation Front, and Balochistan People's Liberation Army.