China to build military base near Chabahar port ?

Beijing : US President Donald Trump’s recent outburst on Pakistan will further boost economic and defence ties between Beijing and Islamabad, including China acquiring a Pakistani military base close to Iran’s Chabahar port, an official media report said on Friday.

Trump’s January 1 Twitter attack against Pakistan where he accused it of providing safe havens to terrorists appears to be helping boost already close ties between Pakistan and China, a report in the state-run Global Times said. It attributed Islamabad’s decision to allow Chinese currency in bilateral trade and financing transactions as China has stepped up its investments in the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The report quoted a ‘Washington Times’ report that China is in talks with Pakistan to build its second overseas military base as part of a push for greater maritime capabilities along strategic sea routes.

The facility could be built at Jiwani, a port near Iran’s Chabahar close to the border in the Gulf of Oman, and is located a short distance from Gwadar in Balochistan province which is currently being developed by Chabahar port being jointly developed by Iran, India and Afghanistan to ensure a trade corridor for Indian exports to Afghanistan.

On China establishing a military base at Jiwani, a South Asian studies expert said “both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air facility in Pakistan, but it is unnecessary at this time”.

China has established its “first overseas military base in Djibouti” , in the Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean. However, China officially states that it is only a logistics base to service its naval personnel deployed for anti-piracy operations.

Besides Djibouti, China has also acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease.

Source : TOI

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