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Assessing the Commercial and Dual-Use Viability of Pakistan's Gwadar Port

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[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

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China has built or expanded commercial ports along the Indian Ocean littorals for the last two decades. Security analysts view these port investments in the context of Chinas increasing naval presence in the Indian Ocean. In particular, Gwadar Port in Pakistan has garnered much attention. While publicized as a purely commercial venture, the ports dismal performance thus far has led many to speculate whether China is actually building a dual-use facility for PLAN vessels. This thesis investigates these two claims using analytical frameworks to assess Gwadar Ports commercial and dual-use viability. This thesis concludes that Gwadar Port is not an economic gateway or even the most desirable transshipment port in Pakistan. While Gwadar Port appears to be a viable candidate for a dual-use port, it is likely neither the PLANs first nor second choice compared to Pakistans other naval bases along the Makran Coast. Nevertheless, China appears to have significant influence in Pakistan, indicating that if China eventually chooses to utilize Gwadar Port as a dual-use port, it has significant leverage to gain access. This finding suggests that security analysts are not misguided to be wary of Chinas intentions for Gwadar Port and should continue monitoring it, as well as the rest of Chinas port infrastructure investments in South Asia, for future indications suggesting a move to enhance their dual-use viability. This thesis provides an analytical framework to do so.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]