Hosting of the multinational maritime exercise ‘Aman-2021’ reflects Pakistan’s intentions for building collaborative maritime security mechanisms to counter all sorts of non-traditional security threats in the Indian Ocean region, including, but not limited to, growing sea piracy, environmental, cyber, and satellite communication sabotage, and maritime policing issues such as illegal fishing, smuggling, drugs, and human trafficking, etc.
This was stressed by maritime experts and security analysts at a webinar titled ‘Security Cooperation in the Western Indian Ocean Region and Significance of AMAN 2021’, which was hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).
The session was chaired by Vice Admiral (r) Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, former deputy chief of naval staff, and co-chaired by Khalid Rahman, chairman, IPS. Dr. Maliha Zeba Khan, IPS’ Research Fellow, moderated the seminar which included as speakers and discussants, Dr Shabana Fayyaz, in-charge, defense & strategic studies department, Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr. Azhar Ahmad, a naval expert, and associate professor, Bahria University, Dr. Khurram Iqbal, head of IR department, National Defence University, Vice Admiral (r) Asaf Humayun, Rear Admiral (r) Saleem Akhtar, Mirza Hamid Hassan, and Aneela Shahzad while a number of researchers and analysts from National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), Maritime Study Forum (MSF) and other relevant institutions and organizations from across Pakistan participated actively in the online event.
V/Admiral (retd) Rao said Pakistan’s peace initiative in the IOR in the shape of Aman exercises has created a conducive environment for regional and extra-regional players. He warned that India, with its hegemonic designs in the Indian ocean, is trying to pose itself as a maritime regional power and is interested in holding sway over the choke points in the IOR. However, this is not possible owing to the magnitude of China’s military and economic prowess, he added.