ISLAMABAD: Gwadar has the potential to be developed into a full-fledged regional hub and transshipment port, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
Addressing a maritime conference in Karachi on Monday he said that the port will place Pakistan at a point of convergence to provide a sea route to landlocked Central Asian countries for shipment of oil, coal, and agricultural products.
“Gwadar Port also provides new vistas for businesses, extraction of live-saving medicines, coastal tourism, and the development of the coastal real estate,” Qureshi said.
These are the industries that are attracting local and foreign investments, he pointed out.
The minister said that the maritime sector in Pakistan requires “substantial investment” for building, operating, and enhancing its profitability. “Revenue generation for this sector, however, still lacks behind.”
The government has, therefore, enhanced its efforts for the development of the maritime sector and has marked it as a “priority area”, he revealed.
Qureshi emphasised that 2020 was declared the year of the blue economy, which is a new concept that recognises the seas as an essential area for economic development.
“Blue economy is important for the reaping of socio-economic benefits for our upcoming generation,” he said, adding that the market is worth an estimated $25 trillion.
The minister highlighted that the Indian ocean is the world’s thirst largest water body and is an important avenue for global trade, linking producers, linking producers, globalizing supply chains, and bringing nations together
The ocean’s maritime traffic includes half of the world’s containerised cargo, 1/3rd bulk cargo, and 2/3rd oil shipments.
Qureshi pointed out that among the emerging issues in this economy, one is the aggressive policy driven by India’s Hindutva ideology. “This approach poses an immediate and pervasive threat to the international policy.”
India is using the Indian ocean for the delivery of advanced weapons systems, the minister pointed out, adding that despite this, Pakistan will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure security.
“The Pakistan Navy continues to maintain a robust security posture to prevent illicit activities in this domain,” Qureshi ensured.