Pakistan wants China to build a naval base at a
deep-sea port in southwestern Baluchistan province, its defence minister
said Sunday, while also inferring that Washington was a fair weather
Ahmad Mukhtar, who accompanied Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during a
recent visit to China, said the request was made during the trip, when
Pakistan thanked Beijing for constructing Gwader Port, on the Arabian
“However, we would be more grateful to the Chinese government if a naval
base was being constructed at the site of Gwader for Pakistan,” Mukhtar
said in a statement.
The deep-sea port was around 75 percent financed by China, which
Pakistan has been trying to draw in as a strategic partner, especially
since the discovery and US killing on May 2 of Osama bin Laden north of
The commando raid rattled US-Pakistan relations, with American
politicians angered at how the Al-Qaeda leader had managed to conceal
that he was living barely two hours drive from the Pakistani capital.
Gilani and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao have both made a point of
lauding mutual ties, just as Pakistan finds itself under pressure about
whether its security services knew where bin Laden was.
“China is an all-weather friend and the closest ally of Pakistan, and it
could be judged from the fact that in which ever sectors Pakistan
requested assistance during P.M’s recent visit to China, they
immediately agreed with Pakistan,” the defence minister’s statement
India, however, has voiced “serious concern” about defence ties between
China and Pakistan and said it would need to bolster its own military
capabilities in response.
New Delhi’s comments follow reports that China plans to accelerate
supply of 50 new JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat jets to Pakistan.
Pakistan also last week opened a nuclear power plant in central Punjab
province with Chinese help and said Beijing had been contracted to
construct two more reactors.