Does China’s new high-security compound in Pakistan indicate future naval plans?

The high-security compound is not the only one.

Analysts have been watching for the first hints of a long-expected Chinese naval base at Gwadar in Pakistan. The latest satellite images appear to show various new complexes that have been constructed in the last few years.

One of them, spotted as being used by a Chinese company involved in port development, has uncommonly extensive security.

The Chinese high-security compound is at the northern end of the planned port extension at Gwadar. H I SUTTON (IMAGERY FROM SENTINEL HUB)

China first appeared to be planning a naval base in Gwadar in January 2018, and while the plan has never been officially authenticated, it would be a natural path.

The high-security compound has been identified as being used by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC Ltd). This is mostly a state-owned company that is intimately involved in various Chinese civil engineering projects. While some degree of security is standard in the region, the level of protection seen here is extensive.

It has security fences, anti-vehicle berms, and a high wall. Sentry posts and tall guard towers cover the perimeter between the wall and the inner wall. This all hints towards armed guards with rifles.

The compound has various layers of defense, including raised sentry posts. H I SUTTON

The high-security compound is not the only one. There are two smaller sites, as well, built last year with rows of blue-roofed buildings. It has been proposed that these might be barracks for a Chinese Marine Corps garrison.

China was alleged to be deploying marines there back in March 2017. Yet the sites lack the level of security that would be expected. Whatever their exact purpose, their location, and timing suggest that they are connected to the port expansion. The sites can be visibly seen in these tweets by Twitter user @Civil_Int:

So far, the commercial port at Gwadar appears to have been under-used. Yet Gwadar’s luck as a port is already changing, and not due to the Chinese base. Recently, A deal was made to allow Afghanistan-bound trade to use the port.

The first vast merchant ship, the MV Manet, carrying 17,600 tons of wheat, landed there two weeks ago. Yet the economic benefit of the Chinese port and potential naval base could be much more significant.

Whether the Chinese naval base materializes still remains to be seen. But these latest sites, including the heavily defended compound, may suggest that the next phase of port construction is at hand. And if the Chinese Navy does start using the port, it might solidify its capabilities in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.

  • No, they are making base just for fun, ha nothing to do with CPEC, control over water and etc.

  • Isn’t obvious, from both an economic and military strategic point.. Gwadar ticks a lot of boxes!

  • China has never attacked or hurt anyone

    They don’t attack countries like America for resources

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