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Why Bangladesh should Use Gwadar Port

CPEC can be used by other countries

Pathik Hassan

Pakistan’s Gwadar port has brought a new dream for the region. This port is not only for Pakistan but also all regional states. Chinese Investment has accelerated the pace of aspirations in this regard. China’s multibillion-dollar project CPEC is linked with Gwadar port. This port creates some sort of possibilities and potentials for the whole of South Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, Western Asia, Eurasia, East Asia and the Middle East.

Bangladesh is a rising South Asian economic miracle and star. The country under the leadership of its PM, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is moving forward. There are many industries and companies in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a major exporter of ready-made garments. Its apparel industry is booming. So, it needs cotton. But the production of cotton in Bangladesh is very low. Therefore, it used to import cotton from western China, Central Asia and Pakistan also. But Bangladesh has no direct connectivity or shipping lines with these states. Bangladesh is using the Malacca Straits now for import and export from China. It has been using Singapore port. So, cotton imports from Western China are expensive for Bangladesh.

So, Bangladesh should use Pakistan’s Gwadar port. There is no alternative for each and every state in the world without being connected with others. There is huge potential for Bangladesh in this regard. Now is the time for Bangladesh to utilize this
On the other hand, Bangladesh exports medicines, apparels, frozen foods, halal foods and potatoes to different countries. Bangladesh exports large amounts of apparel, potatoes and mangoes to Russia and the Central Asian states. On the other hand, It imports cotton and wheat from Russia and the Central Asian states. Recently Bangladesh and Russia have agreed to boost business ties. Bangladesh wants to export mangoes to Russia and import fertilizer from Russia. But the transportation cost by air amongst these states is very high.

Bangladesh can utilize the facilities of Gwadar port to boost its trade with Central Asia, Western China and Pakistan. Pakistan’s Gwadar port is going to be a regional trade hub in the region. Bangladesh can reach in Western China, Central Asia, and Pakistan easily. Pakistan has some regional connectivity with the Central Asian states through Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is now viable and politically stable. The Taliban have formed a government. Regional states including China, Russia are interested to invest in the development of infrastructure and connectivity of Afghanistan. Bangladesh can also play a role in taking part in the development process in Afghanistan.

Therefore, Bangladesh should use Gwadar port to reach in these countries for ensuring its own business interest. There might have been some problems between Bangladesh and Pakistan. But both governments of these two states should solve then for their own mutual interest. Pakistan should play an important role in this regard. It has some responsibilities to Bangladesh. It has to be understood and realized. But these problems must be solved diplomatically with bilateral efforts.

Pakistan’s Gwadar port has very strategic significance. China and Pakistan are working together to establish Gwadar port as a regional hub. Using Gwadar port, Bangladesh can easily access the markets of Central Asian states, the western part of China, Pakistan, even Afghanistan and Western Asian states.

Bangladesh products can be exported from those regions easily. The raw materials for apparel sector (cotton) can be imported easily from Pakistan and the Central Asian states. In such a way, the business relations amongst Bangladesh and other Muslim countries will be strengthened. Bangladesh-Pakistan economic ties will be further bolstered.

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There is no shipping line connection between Bangladesh and Pakistan. Bangladesh imports raw materials and products from western China and Central Asian Countries through either Singapore via the Malacca Strait or by air. So, the cost of transportation and wastage of time is huge for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh can easily overcome this by utilizing Pakistan’s Gwadar port. Bangladesh had already joined the China-run BRI project in 2017.  Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka all are the members of the Chinese BRI project. If Bangladesh’s ports, such as Chittagong (Chattogram), Payra, and Mangla, can be connected with Pakistan’s Gwadar port, Karachi port or Port Qasim via Sri Lanka’s Colombo or Hambantota ports, both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would benefit. Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian states would also benefit.

The whole of South-East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia would benefit. ASEAN and SAARC free trade zones could be created. Bangladesh could benefit ultimately. The dependence of Bangladesh on India will be decreased. A greater regional interest could be confirmed.

For ensuring its own business interest.
To strengthen the economic and trade ties with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asian States, West Asian countries and Even Russia and China.

To decrease its huge dependence on India,
For creating the ASEAN and SAARC free-trade zones.

This connectivity could unite the ASEAN and SAARC free trade zones.
All states in those regions would benefit mutually in the sector of trade, counter-terrorism approaches through multilateral ties.
Enhancing bilateral relations could contribute to the growth of trade and investment relations with ASEAN and BIMSTEC countries. This will create an opportunity to serve greater regional interest.
Re-establishing the Himalayan-South Asian connectivity can occur if political and diplomatic solutions of Bangladesh-Pakistan strained ties can be found.
Use of Gwadar port by Bangladesh would ensure the maximum benefit of the people.
So, Bangladesh should use Pakistan’s Gwadar port. There is no alternative for each and every state in the world without being connected with others. There is huge potential for Bangladesh in this regard. Now is the time for Bangladesh to utilize this.


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