Indian Ocean militarisation to be threat to peace

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Delhi’s desire to monopolise Indian Ocean cause of concern; Pakistan wants dispute free ocean

Salahuddin Haider

Karachi

Warning that India’s design to monopolise Indian Ocean was “causing concern”, the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz reminded the Pakistan Navy of its mounting responsibilities, assuring it simultaneously of Pakistan government’s “unstinted support” to enable it to play its vital role of safeguarding the countrys’ sea-lanes, and shore establishments.
Inaugurating the 37-nation historic Naval exercises called “Aman-17” at a local hotel here, he said venture like CPEC had suddenly vitalized the importance of Gwadar and the Northern Indian Ocean. Many powers like US, had begun to show interest, China too will have its presence here, but India, as usual, was out to control it.
Although the multi-nation exercise, which enhanced Pakistan Navy’s role in the region manifold, had begun Friday with the flag hoisting ceremony, but on its second day, an International Maritime conference, titled “Strategic outlook in Indian Ocean region 2030 and beyond: evolving challenges and strategies”, was a major part of the 5-day epoch-making event.
He said Pakistan, being a peace-loving country, wanted to play its role fully to give a new dimension to plans and strategies by 2030, where peace and progress should rule, it would be beneficial for all, but if conflicts and tensions are adopted “political atmosphere in the region will be become murky”.
Militarisation in the Indian Ocean will be a “threat to peace” and is likely to intensify in years to come. That being the situation, it will be sad state of affairs, because Pakistan has high stakes in the region and will have to have a “significant naval presence”, realizing at the same time dialogue too was necessary to ease tension.
The Adviser, who had been country’s foreign and finance minister too, and is a seasoned parliamentarian and financial and foreign affairs wizard, emphasized that a “peaceful Indian Ocean” was essential for international peace in which maritime security has a competitive and dominant role to play. All stakeholders ought to have a peaceful and prosperous region.
Congratulating Pakistan Navy for hosting such an important event and a three-day seminar like the one he opened in the morning in which experts from different countries will share their experiences on a secured Indian Ocean. Drug control, human trafficking, and several other menaces like piracy, etc. demanded cohesive role, for no one nation can achieve that goal on its own.
Soon after the inaugural session, working sessions began with Australian and Sri Lankan naval experts expressing their views.
Sartaj Aziz reminded that 55 percent of oil trade passed through the region, other items of importance too were traded in substantial quantity through the route. That made the area extremely important. Indian ocean, therefore, have to have multi-dimensional approach for peace and progress. That meant that maritime security was linked directly to purposes, ideal and cohesive in characteristics.
The Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan delivered an important discourse, highlighting a ten-point plan to make the oceanic region safe and secured. He said that CPEC had enhanced the Indian desire to have a dominant role to patrol the sea lanes, with grudges against others, including Pakistan, who want to have their share of turning it into a peaceful region. Pakistan too had to test its Babar-3 Missile, and Chinese submarines have to play a huge role in defending out sea lanes, whose limit has now extended to 350 nautical miles.
The addition of Chinese sub-marines has been of great help in building our Navy. China, he said, is set to be robust power in the region. Masood said that Pakistan “will have to build a strong naval presence in the Indian Ocean, to defend itself, and counter spy work whose evidence was recently found by the presence of Indian submarine trying to intrude into our waters
He said that Karachi port, Port Qasim and now Gwadar will be great help and demands enhanced logistic support to Pakistan Navy, the defenders of our sea shores. He said that activities of the Indian military in occupied Kashmir was a “potent driver of conflict.”
The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah thanked the participants who have come to Pakistan from far and near, and said it was a moment of pride for Pakistan Navy to play host to them, and exchange notes with them.
Chief of Naval Staff said that Pakistan Navy is cooperating with navies of other countries for the protection of the territorial waters as no country is capable of doing it on their own. He expressed his optimism that the conference will prove to be effective.
Zakaullah also said, “The eyes of the world are set on the security of the sea routes for promotion of trade as there are several dangers in the seas which includes drugs smuggling.”
He added, “The country’s economy can be improved by making the sea routes secure.
Later the Naval chief presented a glittering shield as memento to Sartaz Aziz. It was a great function, and en enlightened seminar.