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Gwadar Port Vs Chabahar Port: Muscle-Fight Over Eurasian Trade

Both the ports can only yield best results when there are no major regional threats

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China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), which opens gates for China to enter middle-eastern and in-turn Eurasian markets, also stabilizes Pakistan’s economy. One of the most major assets of CPEC is the Gwadar Port, as it the link between One Best, One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Road projects. Gwadar Port was aimed at linking northern Pakistan and western China, also the deep-water seaport will be a site of a floating liquefied natural gas facility as part of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

Inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Gwadar Port started operating on 14th November 2016. Main benefits of Gwadar Port:

ALSO READ: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant

  • It could act as a port for western China via Karakoram highway
  • It could act as a port for the new land-locked central Asian states
  • It could enable development of Balochistan
  • It would lie on the important sea route through the straits of Hormuz

However, only 72 kilometres away lies New Delhi’s latest bid to flex its economic muscles i.e. Chabahar Port. India signed an agreement with Iran to develop the $500 million Chabahar port. It is currently being seen as a gateway for Indian goods into Central Asia. Both ports pose tangible economic, commercial, and strategic challenges to each other. However, Gwadar possesses the advantage from many angles:

Gwadar Port is a major part of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor. Wikimedia Commons
Gwadar Port is a major part of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor. Wikimedia Commons

Geographical Advantage

  • Though Chabahar is a geographical outreach for India (since it is not in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) where India has many functional ports and the shielf of Indian Navy), it still will be a guest state whose borders and territorial waters are at far away distance.
  • The vessels transporting goofs to Chabahar would be subjected to active monitoring by the Pakistani Navy.
  • Whereas, Gwadar Port’s control is with China. We need to note here that Iran won’t do the same with India.

Afganistan Dilemma

  • Following Chabahar, Indian goods will land in Afghanistan; following which, suspected outreach towards Central Asian states is possible.
  • Even though the two governments of India and Afghanistan share good relations, non-state actors like insurgent groups pose a security threat. For example, the Taliban poses a major threat.
  • Gwadar Port is also witnessing security threats since it is in the Balochistan province. Though separatist brawls have decreased in recent years, militant groups still are a major concern.

ALSO READ: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

Chabahar Port will open gates for India towards Central Asian Markets. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will open gates for India towards Central Asian Markets. Wikimedia Commons

Iranian Angle

  • Iran is facing sanctions after violating a UN Security Council resolution because it launched a nuclear-capable missile. The sanctions could have negative consequences for the India-Iran Chabahar deal.
  • On the other hand, Gwadar has no such problems. There are no restrictions on China’s investment anywhere nor is Pakistan subject to any kind of UN sanctions.

Rivalry Between Partners

  • There is absolutely no competition between Pakistan and China. Even, Chinese investment is aimed at boosting trade with the rest of Asia.
  • Moreover, Pakistan is currently on the receiving end of the huge Chinese investment, hence it won’t become a hurdle in China’s quest to reach the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.
  • Whereas, following July 2015 agreement, Iran is trying to come into the mainstream international arena by accelerating trade and it won’t allow India’s Central Asian dream to come true at the cost of Iranian interests.

In the end, both Gwadar port and Chabahar port can assist millions of people. Both the ports can only yield best results when there are no major regional threats. Above all, South Asia needs economic cooperation and integration.

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Also Read: British Parliament Access Internal Facebook Data Scandal Papers: Report

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)