Naval exercise to prove endeavour of readiness for peace: Nawaz

KARACHI: The AMAN-17 multinational naval exercise will be an endeavour of readiness for the promotion of peace, according to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The premier is due to visit Karachi today to witness the exercise in person, according to a statement from the PM’s office, which adds that the premier also extended his gratitude to the participating countries for joining Pakistan Navy at the exercise in such large numbers.
He also stated that maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean are multidimensional and multifaceted. Threats like maritime terrorism, drug trafficking, and piracy have acquired international dimensions. Cooperation between international navies imperative to counter these emerging threats, the PM said.
Pakistan, Nawaz affirmed, being a major stakeholder in maritime security of Arabian Sea is fully committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and lawful maritime order.
During his visit to the metropolis, the PM will also be meeting the Sindh governor and chief minister at Governor House, where he will get briefings on progress on infrastructure projects including the Green Line Mass Transit, Lyari Expressway, and the Karachi Circular Railway projects. The premier will also be briefed about the Karachi Bulk Water Supply (K-IV) project.
On Saturday, the PM’s top foreign policy aide Sartaj Aziz said that maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean have grown and are affected by ‘key variables’ such as militarisation, the involvement of major external powers, and non-traditional security threats due to the presence of several conflict zones in the region.
Indian ocean has emerged as a key arena of geopolitics as strategic interests of the world are routed in this region, said Defence Minister Khawaja Asif while winding up the 3-day 7th International Maritime Conference here Monday, to make it clear that the role of Pakistan Navy in keeping the area peaceful and protected has increased manifold.
The Conference, held as in tandem with Multinational Exercise AMAN 17, concluded after three days of deliberations on maritime security, economy and marine environment. A large number of public and private sector participants from Pakistan and around the world createdan ideal opportunity for the exchange of ideas.
The defence minister said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is rightfully considered as a game changer not only for Pakistan but for the economic development and prosperity of the entire region”,
The minister said that overwhelming reliance on the sea routes and increasing volume of global sea borne trade has enhanced the importance of Indian ocean region for the world community.
He added that with the operationalization of CPEC and Gwadar Port, maritime activities would increase exponentially in North Arabian Sea and beyond. Consequently, the responsibilities of Pakistan Navy would also increase for maintaining a secure maritime environment for smooth flow of sea trade.
He acknowledged the maritime security initiatives taken by Pakistan Navy for ensuring peace and order at sea individually and in collaboration with the partner navies. He also appreciated convening of the conference which is a step in the same direction and is indeed praiseworthy.
The minister assured that the recommendations of the conference will be given due consideration by the government and all possible efforts will be made for their pursuance.
Earlier, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah in his closing remarks said that the initiatives of developing economic corridors and linking to maritime routes have provided impetus for economic integration of the regional countries and beyond. He further said that CPEC is one such development in the region and with the operationalization of CPEC and Gwadar port the scope and potential of blue economy will increase further.
The admiral also said that Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean Region has gained particular significance in the recent past due to increased dependence of the world on sea borne trade and quest for energy resources. Any disruption in the free flow of trade would not only impact the regional states but also have implications for the overall global economy. At the end, the Defence Minister also congratulated and distributed prizes among the students of Bahria University and NCMPR,who won the article and poster competitions held on the sidelines of the Conference.
A large number of foreign delegates, PN officials, civil and military dignitaries attended the Conference. Staff Reporter