Shaping the Peace Process –– Shipping

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 20 December 2006  


As the peace process between India and Pakistan chugs along it seems President Musharraf was trying to condition his people to accept that all parts of India controlled Kashmir, including Jammu and Ladakh areas, were part of India and now has demanded only joint management of the Kashmir valley. It also seems that PM Dr Manmohan Singh, wants to make the peace process go forward and said he welcomed it. In any case the latest development has to do with shipping between the two countries and we must get ready for trade via this route. We feel India should offer Pakistan most favoured nation (MFN) status for trade even if they do not reciprocate. It will benefit our economy.

Pakistan and India will sign a shipping protocol in Delhi on 23rd Dec paving the way for sea trade between the two countries –– Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, Senator Babar Khan Ghauri confirmed this. Talking to newsmen before leaving for India, he said that after the signing of the protocol, private ship owners would be allowed to lift cargo from one another's country, and also from and to a third country. He said a feasibility study of the Bombay–Karachi ferry service had been completed and licenses had been issued. The service was likely to commence in February or March next year. Answering another question about Gawadar Port, he said that a Singapore based consortium had submitted the highest bid to manage the port operations and Gawadar Port Authority had made its recommendations

We predict that one day, sooner than we think, Gwadar will be a mini Dubai as it is well located and the Chinese are building a deep water port with a draught we in India do not have. Since the Pak President eliminated the cantankerous Bughti in Balochistan, he has persuaded the new leadership to help in the development of the area. It will not be easy but is possible.

A consortium led by Singapore port operator PSA International had submitted the highest bid to manage Gwadar Port but the tender had not yet been awarded, a Pakistani port official confirmed. “We cannot give the figure quoted by PSA International until the negotiations are final but they are the highest and the successful bidder,” the official of the Gwadar Port Implementation Authority said, declining to be named. The PSA bid was accepted at the weekend.

Under the concession, the winning bidder will take over the operation and management of the port for 40 years. The port official said the offer from the runner-up –– Pakistan International Container Terminal –– was ‘far behind’ that of the Singaporean operator. “We are in the process of finalising technical and financial terms and conditions with them and will take a decision very soon,” the official said. Pakistan’s AKD Group is part of the Singaporean consortium

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