A week after the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan and the subsequent announcement of an economic package of around USD 46 billion to develop infrastructures including fiber optic telecommunications, the south Asian country India has announced plans for the development of an Iranian port. Media in South east Asia see this as a strategic counter from India against the Chinese foothold near its border. China will develop Gwadar port in Pakistan by deploying fiber optic networks that will link back to China.
Generally perceived as a countermeasure to the Chinese presence near its coastal areas, New Delhi is set to ink a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development and operation of Chabahar port in Iran. New Delhi has plans to build a road-railroad network from Chabahar to Milak in Iran in order to link it with the Indian-built 223-km Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan so that aid could be pushed to Kabul and beyond. China developed Gwadar port is just 72 kilometers away from the Iranian port in Chabahar. Port Chabahar, on the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, provides India a land-sea access route into Afghanistan and Central Asia through the Bandar Abbas-Caspian Sea axis.
Bejing announced a network of roads, railway, optical fiber cable networks and pipelines linking the strife-ridden Xinjiang province to Gwadar via the Karakoram highway. China will push the optical fiber link to Afghanistan via Pakistan so that Islamabad continues to have a big say in Kabul. The 1,300-km Karakoram highway links Kashgar in Xinjiang to Hassan Abdal in Punjab province in Pakistan.
What we are interested in the news from both Pakistan and India are not the rivalry between the neighbors but the new job opportunities these projects will create in fiber optic sector. Many of our friends in the fiber optic industry can find new business opportunities and jobs in China, India, Pakistan, and Iran. While these projects provide an opportunity for international suppliers to sell their products, local businesses in Pakistan and Iran will get a boost from infrastructure development projects.
The economic corridor and development of ports will energize the fiber optic cable and accessories manufacturing companies in Pakistan and Iran. There are three known fiber optic cable manufacturers in Pakistan, such as Frontier Cables, Premier Cables, and LT Engineering.