ISLAMABAD -UNS – The chairman of the parliamentary committee for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Mushahid Hussain Syed said that Gwadar port was the pivotal point of the corridor.

The senator said that maritime economy is crucial to the country’s economic state of affairs. Mushahid Hussain also said that the conference will be attended by delegations from China, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran and the USA.

Vice Admiral (r) Iftikhar Rao said that a maritime security force had been formulated to protect Gwadar port and CPEC projects. This force will be equipped with standard coastal and blue water defence and surveillance equipment. The land route, he said, has already been catered to by the ground troops of Pakistan army, and a special battalion of Pakistan navy special services troops has been deployed to guard the coast.

Mushahid Hussain added that 12,000 army troops had been designated for the land route. Punjab has raised 5,000 policemen and Sindh has raised 2000 police personnel to guard the land route; so there is a comprehensive plan in place.

He said that maritime economy was an important aspect of this whole project and Pakistan would provide fool-proof security to safe-guard our mutual efforts.

In 2012, with the new administration under President Xi Jin Ping, the Silk Road economic belt project was accelerated and steps were taken to actualise it. Now the whole world wants to be a part of this project. Except for India, a lot of countries want to participate. And China wants the whole region to prosper along with itself.

The admiral said that Pakistan navy wanted to develop the port long before the era of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. But it was not conceived due to the financial state of affairs. Instead a naval base was subsequently developed at Ormara.

The admiral also said the coast was always pertinent to the dangers of piracy and marine terrorism. The naval task force assigned to this project is fully capable of dealing with these dangers. He said that aerial support was very crucial for reconnaissance and strike backup, because the enemy could strike at the naval defence installations.

Mushahid Hussain Syed said that as Afghanistan was a landlocked country, CPEC could open new avenues of trade for Afghanistan and it will largely benefit.