Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar has affirmed that the country is appreciative of China’s willingness to operate Gwadar port, and is also keen to see that “a naval base is constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan”.
Predictably, the remarks attracted international attention. They reinforced existing views among foreign commentators, who believe that China has intentions to build a series of naval bases in the Indian Ocean, which have been referred to as the “string of pearls”.
Nonetheless, it should be equally emphasized that any analysis of Gwadar should be seen as a microcosm of China’s wider relations and interests with Pakistan and the region, which often tend to be understated.
In response to Minister Mukhtar’s comments, China was quick to issue a statement denying that it has any interest in setting up a naval base at Gwadar. “Chi...