‘Great to be back in Balochistan’: Top US diplomat in Pakistan visits CPEC hub Gwadar

By The Print

The officiating US Ambassador in Pakistan Thursday visited Gwadar, a key port area in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in the first such visit to the port by a US official in 15 years.

US Chargé d’affaires Angela Aggeler said the visit serves as the latest example of US-Pakistan cooperation on shared interests. “I would like to thank my Pakistani hosts and counterparts for hosting me at #Gwadar today. It is great to be back in Balochistan,” Aggeler said in a statement tweeted by the US Embassy Islamabad.

“I am hopeful it is the first of many to encourage and strengthen commercial and economic ties between Balochistan and the US,” Aggeler said. “I am proud of US and Pakistani efforts to promote maritime security through naval exercises and professional exchanges, and I look forward to expanding our cooperation across sectors.”

The move came around two years after the US warned Pakistan that the CPEC, under which the Gwadar port is being developed, would push the country deeper into an already-stifling debt burden, foster corruption and repatriate jobs and profits to China.

Growing differences
Sources in the Indian defence and security establishment told ThePrint that contrary to popular opinion, not all is well between China and Pakistan.

According to them, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa realised in 2017 itself that the CPEC, under which Chinese are to invest over $60 billion in Pakistan, was a debt trap.

CPEC is the flagship programme under China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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