The mega CPEC Project in Gwadar is facing serious issues. As per a media report, 40 geologists both from Pakistan and China will conduct a survey on the Makran Trench in Balochistan. China is now concerned that there is a likelihood that a massive earthquake can hit & affect Gwadar Port.
Gwadar is the hub of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it links China’s Xinjiang province via Kashmir.
Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported, “It has been more than 70 years since the last big earthquake shook the Makran Trench off the south coast of Pakistan but if and when the next catastrophic one happens, it could disturb more than the landscape.”
Gwadar Port is located quite near the Makran Trench. Makran Trench is the area where two tectonic plates meet. In 1945 the strongest earthquake occurred there. Last year as well an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 on the Richter scale was witnessed.
Seismologist Yang Hongfeng from the Chinese University of Hong Kong commented on conducting the survey saying, “A lot of important scientific questions remain unanswered. The results will definitely advance our understanding [while] providing critical data to reduce the risk in the region.”
Michael Kugelman Senior Associate for South Asia at the US-based think tank Wilson Centre said, “There’s a whole lot at stake. The port, if fully developed and operationalized, can be a critical asset for Pakistan, and there’s no nation that Pakistan would be more comfortable entrusting it to than its close friend China.”
He added, “Still, given issues of proximity and general vulnerability Pakistan doesn’t cope or respond well to natural disasters, given a lack of resources and incapacity there’s certainly reason to believe that intense earthquake activity would pose a clear and present danger to Gwadar.”
China is pouring billions on CPEC and clearly Gwadar Port in the center of China’s ”Belt and Road Initiative.” The stakes are very high for not just China but Pakistan as well. Too much effort, capital, time & work has been done on the project. Thus nothing can be left on chance. Even the slightest chance of an earthquake or tsunami in the area will be disastrous for the CPEC project.
Also read: Motels will be established along CPEC route
Now the positive point is that both countries have identified that there might be a chance of an earthquake. Thus they will conduct survey & take the necessary precautions. Risks will be minimized with effective planning.