Camaraderie created by drill to grow further, says naval chief

Updated February 11, 2019

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Speakers appreciate Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maritime security. — File
Speakers appreciate Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maritime security. — File

KARACHI: Day three of the multinational naval exercise Aman-2019 saw Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visiting the foreign navy ships docked at the naval port.

The naval chief was given a warm welcome on his arrival on board the ships. The foreign contingents also presented a guard of honour.

Admiral Abbasi held interactions with senior and commanding officers on board HMAS Ballarat of Australia, PLA(N) Kunlunshan of China, ITS Margottini of Italy, RMK KD Mahawangsa of Malaysia, RNOV Al-Rahmani of Oman, SLNS Sayurala of Sri Lanka, TCG Gokceada of Turkey and HMS Dragon of the UK. He was given briefings on board.

Speakers appreciate Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maritime security

During the discussions, the naval chief highlighted that Pakistan Navy has always been a forerunner in the quest for collaborative security in this region of immense strategic importance and the Aman series of exercises are anchored on this concept.

While appreciating their participation in the exercise to fulfil the common resolve of ‘Together for Peace’, Admiral Abbasi further expressed that the camaraderie generated herein would grow in future and bring all participants of the exercise closer to the mutual goal of regional peace and prosperity.

Friendly sports matches between the officers and men of the participating countries and Pakistan Navy were also held during the day.

An international food gala and ­cultural show was also organised to provide an opportunity to the officers and sailors to appreciate the diverse cultures of the participating ­countries.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah graced the occasion as the chief guest.

Sunday also included the second day of the International Maritime Conference that went under way a day after the beginning of the exercise.

Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat and Pakistan Institute of International Affairs Chairman Dr Masuma Hasan graced the first and second sessions of the conference as chief guests, respectively. Whereas Chief of Coast Guard State Border Service Azerbaijan Lt Gen Afgan Taghiyev Veli and Chief of Romanian Naval Forces Vice Admiral Alexandru Mirsu PhD attended as the guests of honour.

During the first session, former vice chairman the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Owens stressed upon the significance of global navies for facilitating peace and cooperation among nations. Com­mander Task Force, PLA(N) China Senior Captain Shao Shuguang ex­­pressed his desire to keep the Indian Ocean stable in the wake of non-traditional security threats at sea where the interests of multiple stakeholders converge. The speaker was followed by Commander Karachi Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq, who highlighted contemporary maritime security challenges from Pakistan’s perspective. The last speaker of the first session was Commander of Turkish North Task Group Rear Admiral Mehmet Cen Okyay, who said that freedom of high seas is the core principle for maritime commerce and shipping.

The next session was themed on ‘Maritime Dynamics of the Western Indian Ocean Region’.

Eminent speakers included Pro­­fessor at Copenhagen University, ­Den­mark, Dr Christian Bueger, who stressed the need for security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean for a sustainable and stable future.

Dr Syed Riffat Hussain of the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) added that the scope of seaborne trade had expanded to new folds due the combined effects of globalisation and technological changes.

The distinguished scholar and lecturer at General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka, Bhagya Senaratne, stated that the Indian Ocean was one of the busiest shipping routes of the globe that is presently being confounded by distrust.

Finally, in his keynote address, the head of Boustead Heavy Industries, Malaysia, Dr Nazery Khalid, explicated the opportunities for development of a blue economy in the Indian Ocean littorals. He was followed by retired Vice Admiral lftikhar Ahmed who was of the opinion that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would make Gwadar into an unparalleled hub of economic activities.

The head of Business Management Programme, COMSATS, Dr Aneel Salman, presented a paper on the sustainable oceanic economic growth strategy for Pakistan. Director Special Projects at International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Irfan Rahim emphatically appreciated Pakistan Navy’s efforts in ensuring maritime security as a common goal in the Indian Ocean Region. He not only highlighted Pakistan Navy’s maritime security initiative of establishing the regional maritime security patrol, but also appreciated PN’s ­contribution in fighting transnational crime out at sea.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2019