The evolving nature of Pakistan China Maritime security collaboration is mutually beneficial across multiple dimensions. It provides a joint front of peace and security in terms of regional stability as well as a channel for economic prosperity for all the stakeholders involved. Certain factors are necessary to ensure the vitality of this cooperative initiative.  

The most essential component in this framework is the guarantee that the sea channel stays open in order to carry out smooth implantation of its operations. The majority of the global trade sector is heavily dependent upon shipping through the ocean; it constitutes 60 percent of oil transport worldwide.[1] While the Indian Ocean alone controls 50 percent of container shipment and nearly 70 percent of transport of oil-related products from the Middle East to the Pacific, it is also responsible for the trading passages across the Strait of Malacca and Hormuz Strait, which are accountable for the transportation of 40% of the world’s crude oil. This is of utmost importance for China as it follows the exact trade passage for its oceanic oil trade with the Middle East.[2] China’s ever-developing industries are in constant demand of petroleum, which is met through this channel that is spread across the Indian ocean and thus highlights its significance as the backbone for China’s economic development. With the US’s threat to take control of the channels and China’s global implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative on the horizon, the necessity to secure the sea channel is more imperative than ever.[3]  

The Strait of Hormuz has a significant role to play in the construction of Gwadar port

Coming to Pakistan, the dominance of maritime security is requisite for its role as a sizeable force in the region.[4] Due to the strategic geographical location that Pakistan enjoys, it must advocate a strong and effective channel of supremacy that can easily be obtained by controlling the maritime trade activities and upholding naval primacy. In the face of growing regional competition from India, the role of the Indian Ocean for the overall hegemony over Asia is becoming evidently clear. As a result, the role of CPEC is not only fundamental for Pakistan’s economic growth of developing it as a trade hub, but it is also crucial for its national security.[5] The Gwadar port plays another elemental role. It lies at the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, which as the major route of the global oil supply, places Gwadar as a vital instrument for the security of China’s energy needs. Beyond this scope, a naval base in the area will also provide an also an effective ground to counter the regional hold of the US.[6] The unique strategic position presents a huge potential for Pakistan and China to extend their channel as a hub for the Gulf States and the Central Asian Republics.[7] Since the extensive nature of conditions and challenges that are applied with regard to the domination of maritime security, a state alone might not be able to handle them as effectively. Still, with a persistent corporation with other states, it can be more enabled to tackle any issues that come forward. The collaboration of the Pakistani Navy with the Chinese is all the more necessary under these circumstances.

The current scenario is fixated on enhancing Pakistan’s maritime capacity. The focus has mainly been on developing and strengthening the maritime capabilities in the form of technological and equipment assessment as well training exercises.  Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) has time and again got into a contract with China to build patrol vessels, submarines, and ships. This not only enhances the working capacity of the governmental organization but also ensures productive use of Pakistan’s resources, contributing further to the growth of its various industries and economic sectors.

Indian Ocean alone controls 50 percent of container shipment and nearly 70 percent of transport of oil-related products from the Middle East to the Pacific

The biggest and most recent milestone in this joint collaboration under CPEC has been the construction of a deep-water port at Gwadar. Due to its strategic location near the Iranian border links China with the Arabian Sea as well as the Middle East.[8] This provides China with an immense opportunity to secure its energy resources and extend its channel further. While on the other hand, it safeguards and develops Pakistan’s oceanic borders. This bilateral network is among the many maritime projects working in Pakistan. The Strait of Hormuz has a significant role to play in the construction of Gwadar port. The vast trading channels that run across the Strait of Hormuz provides Gwadar port with direct access. With the launch of Gwadar port, the channel will connect Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan, as well as Central Asian states. The nexus of these countries will go a long way towards changing the operating dynamics of the region. Gwadar would be the center of trade and the main connecting point for China to secure its energy requirement and its economic growth. Pakistan, on the other hand, would experience the development of its industrial sector in terms of employment and growth opportunities.


[1] Haiquan, L. (2017), “The security challenges of the ‘one belt, one road’ initiative and chcina’s hoices”, Croatian International Relations Review, Vol. 23 No. 78, pp. 129-147.

[2] Kaplan, R.D. (2009), “Center stage for the 21st century; power plays in the indoian cean”, Foreign Affairs, Center stage for the 21st century, pp. 19-20.

[3] Haiquan, L. (2017), “The security challenges of the ‘one belt, one road’ initiative and chcina’s hoices”, Croatian International Relations Review, Vol. 23 No. 78, pp. 129-147.

[4] Kok Giok, K. (2013), “Sea power as a stratdegic omain”, Pointer Jounal of the Singapore Armed Forces, Vol. 41 No. 3, p. 15.

[5] The Value Walk (2017), “CPEC and pakistan’s Maritime security [ANALYSIS]”, available at: www.valuewalk.com/2017/10/cpec-maritime-security-pakistan/

[6] Waedlich, C. (2017), “Legal aspects of China-Pakistan ecconomic orridor”, available at: www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4260

[7] Kazmi, S. (2016), “CPEC and the Maritime security”, available at: http://foreignpolicynews.org/2016/10/31/cpec-maritime-security/

[8] Khan, M.T. (2016a), “CPEC and significance of Maritime security”, (December), available at: https://pakobserver.net/cpec-significance-of-maritime-security/

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