KARACHI: Threats in the maritime domain have evolved manifold necessitating innovative and collaborative ways to maintain required order at sea. The evils of piracy, drug trafficking, human smuggling and terrorism are a few manifestations of this menace. Owing to the magnitude and diversity of the threat, no nation alone can single-handedly cope with these multifarious threats. Thus the concept of Collaborative Maritime Security has emerged as a preferred option to deal with these threats.
Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (Operations) expressed these views at the inaugural session of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) working group activities being hosted by Pakistan Navy (PN) on Tuesday.
The theme of the working group is “Information-sharing and interoperability” amongst regional countries of the Indian Ocean. Eight nations are being hosted by the PN considering that the information-sharing and interoperability among the countries in the Indian Ocean region is the need of the hour.
The Indian Ocean region is facing a plethora of challenges such as illegal trade, human trafficking and risk of maritime terrorism. Pakistan is located astride the world’s most important trade routes including ‘energy highways’. Around 95 per cent of trade and 100pc of oil imports are transported through the sea. The safety and security of our trade is therefore essential.
The Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff further said that the PN, being fully cognisant of its role, had always supported such initiatives. Pakistan Navy is actively contributing towards regional maritime security through its ongoing participation in the two multi-national Combined Task Forces 150 and Counter Piracy Combined Task Force 151. The PN’s participation in this coalition had made it possible to effectively monitor and control drugs and arms smuggling in the North Arabian Sea.
He added: “Pakistan Navy being a member of IONS is also committed to contributing its share for peace and security in the Indian Ocean region and hosting of IONS working group is manifestation of our commitment. The IONS provides a platform to participating navies and maritime security agencies to work together for safety and security in the region. Pakistan believes in collaborative maritime security to deal with transnational threats including natural disasters, and above all to contribute towards global economy. Therefore, we envisage that every regional country through its navy and maritime security agency must be a part of this effort and contribute in overall security of the region.”
The event is being attended by delegates from Australia, Bangladesh, France, India, Oman, Thailand and the UAE, besides naval officers and representatives of various ministries/organisations.
Pakistan became a member of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in March 2014. This is the first time that its hosting any IONS activity.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2015