An agreement was signed in Islamabad on Monday to hand over management of the strategic Gwadar port to a Chinese company, according to Pakistani media.
Observers said the move will boost regional development and should not concern any third country.
Under the agreement, China Overseas Port Holdings Ltd will fully assume the responsibility of the port from Singapore’s PSA International. The port will remain property of Pakistan and the Chinese company will share the profit, The News International reported.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian dismissed speculation that China would use the port for military purposes, the Nation newspaper reported on Monday.
Liu also rejected India’s concerns over the handover, saying no third country should have reservations about the bilateral arrangement, which "is in the economic interest of the peoples of China and Pakistan", the newspaper reported.
Experts said the move aims to develop the port region, which has long been dogged by security threats, and strengthen stability in Pakistan, and the move is in line with China’s interests.
China provided about 75 percent of the initial $250 million funding for the construction of the port, which is close to the Pakistan-Iran border and the Strait of Hormuz in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province. The Pakistani cabinet on Jan 30 approved the transfer of the port because the Singaporean company had not developed the deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea "as desired".
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