–Adviser says investing in marine eco-systems can help improve ocean management
–Speakers express concerns on nuclearisation of maritime domain in Indian Ocean
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has assured unstinted support of the government for the development of the maritime sector, and emphasised the importance of the uninterrupted use of seas for the common good.
Addressing the three-day International Maritime Conference – in tandem with the Multinational Naval Exercise-AMAN 2017 – being organised by the Pakistan Navy, he said that the marine environment was also an essential component of global life support system and investing in marine eco-systems can help improve ocean management.
The National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR) has invited eminent scholars from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UK, and the US to deliberate on the topic – Strategic Outlook in The Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond – Evolving Challenges and Strategies.
In his opening remarks, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah highlighted the significant role being played by the Pakistan Navy in the sustenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region. He said that the operationalisation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Gwadar Port would lead to an exponential increase in maritime activities off the coast.
He said that the responsibilities of the Pakistan Navy for maintaining secure maritime environment would also increase manifold. The recent establishment of the Task Force-88 is also a step forward in this regard. As keynote speaker, Azad Jammu Kashmir President Masood Khan accentuated the challenges and opportunities of geopolitical and economic trends in the Indian Ocean region.
In the second session, Sri Lankan Naval Chief Vice Admiral RC Wijegunaratne appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan Navy in holding AMAN-17 and conduct of the maritime conference. The dignitary also called on Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah in a separate meeting. During the meeting, the matters of bilateral naval collaboration and role of PN’s effort in maintaining security and stability in the Indian Ocean were discussed.
Karachi Commander Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmed deliberated on the strategic options for the Pakistan Navy in emerging geopolitical scenario, whereas Dr Christine Bueger from the United Kingdom spoke on the role of Pakistan in the western Indian Ocean security architecture. Afterwards, Martin A Sebastian from Malaysia talked about the organised maritime crimes and discussed different strategies for their effective management in the region.
In the last session, the speakers presented research papers on noteworthy topics like, Indian expansionist designs remain the greatest security risk to South Asia, the strategic outlook in the Indian Ocean region: nuclear dimensions and impact on deterrence stability, and expressed serious concerns on nuclearization of the maritime domain in the Indian Ocean. Former navy chief Admiral Shahid Karimullah also attended the session.