FM Qureshi lauds PN on hosting Aman-2021

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday – February 16, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The foreign minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi lauded, Monday, the number of participating navies in the multilateral maritime exercise Aman-2021, which have increased from 28 in 2007 to over 45 this year, the successful conduct of Aman-2021 is a manifestation of Pakistan’s abiding commitment and contribution to the promotion of international peace and security.

According to a press release, the FM spoke, as the chief guest, at international maritime conference (IMC-2021) on development of blue economy under a secure and sustainable environment — a shared future for western Indian ocean region.

FM Qureshi said, “At the outset, let me congratulate Pakistan Navy (PN) for regularly hosting the multilateral maritime exercise, Aman, on a biennial basis since 2007” adding “I recall that this initiative was launched by PN to promote peace and harmony in the Indian ocean region.”

He appreciated, “A large number of foreign navies attend this exercise along with ships, aircraft, special operations forces (SOFs), marine teams and observers.”

FM Qureshi informed, “The idea of ‘Blue Economy’ is a relatively new concept, it recognises the seas and oceans as drivers of socio-economic development” educating “A wide-ranging notion, it encompasses diverse fields from renewable energy to fisheries, coastal tourism, waste management, maritime transport, ocean engineering and climate change.”

He noted, “A sustainable blue economy is critical for reaping the socio-economic benefits for current and future generations” adding “Economists have estimated the global value of blue economy to be over $24 trillion.”

FM Qureshi highlighted, “Moreover, it can have profound implications on the region in the coming decades” adding “Indian ocean is the world’s third-largest water body, while retaining its significance for global security, it represents an increasingly important avenue for global trade.”

He emphasised, “Rising prosperity in Asia, growing dependence on natural resource flows linking producers and consumers across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and globalised supply chains and distribution networks, are knitting the region even closer together.”

FM Qureshi communicated, “Indian ocean hosts international maritime traffic that includes half of the world’s containerised cargo, one-third of its bulk cargo, and two-thirds of its oil shipments.”

He narrated, “Yet, emerging issues, ranging from piracy and territorial water disputes, to global environmental pressures on coastal and marine resources, pose considerable challenges for policymakers.”

FM Qureshi lamented, “Indian ocean offers promising potential for mutual cooperation and collaboration but geo-strategic competition and the pursuit of military dominance by some States have gravely jeopardised that potential” grieving “In particular, India’s belligerent and aggressive policies — currently driven by an extremist Hindutva ideology — pose an immediate and pervasive threat to international and regional peace and security.”

He lashed, “In pursuance of its hegemonic designs, India has nuclearised the Indian ocean and continues to induct advanced weapons systems and naval delivery platforms” reiterating “In light of these developments, Pakistan will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure its security and to maintain credible minimum deterrence.”

FM Qureshi asserted, “The international community needs be cognisant of the fact that any military conflict in South Asia could endanger stability in a region that is critical for global trade flows and security.”

He described, “Blessed with over one thousand kilometre long coastline, and a vast exclusive economic zone, Pakistan is an important maritime State” adding “The maritime sovereignty of Pakistan spans an area of 290,000 square kilometres, around 36.4 percent of its mainland.”

FM Qureshi articulated, “Maritime zones of Pakistan are richly endowed with living and non-living resources, Pakistan is an important stakeholder in the Indian ocean security framework, which includes counter-piracy as well as human trafficking and narcotics smuggling.”

He lauded, “We are proud that the PN continues to maintain a robust security posture along Pakistan’s coast and in the regional seas, in order to prevent nefarious elements from illicit activities in the maritime domain” praising “The PN has always been appreciated for its efforts to promote peace and security, among others, in the larger interest of the international community and regional maritime security it has been actively participating in the combined task forces 150 and 151.”

FM Qureshi stressed, “Our navy has also provided valuable assistance to vessels in distress at the high seas, including during anti-piracy operations, and has extended humanitarian assistance to regional countries on several occasions” highlighting “One example is that one of our naval ships is currently on a humanitarian relief supply mission to Africa.”

He reiterated, “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and development of the Gwadar port are game-changing projects that have further enhanced the geo-economic significance of Pakistan” adding “The Gwadar port, which occupies a strategic location overlooking the Strait of Hormuz and the North Arabian Sea, has the potential to develop into a full-fledged regional hub and a trans-shipment port.”

FM Qureshi continued, “It places Pakistan at a point of convergence, linking active sea-lanes to landlocked Central Asian Republics for shipment of oil, coal and agricultural products” adding “Gwadar Port also provides new vistas for businesses, the extraction of life-saving medicines, coastal tourism, and the development of coastal real estate are industries that are attracting investment, both local and foreign.”

He informed, “Pakistan’s liner shipping connectivity index is reasonably high (comparable to Australia)” adding “But our maritime sector requires substantial investment for building, operating and enhancing its profitability, the revenue generation from this sector, however, still lags behind.”

FM Qureshi disclosed, “Recognising its importance, our government has enhanced focus on the development of maritime sector as a priority area” adding “We have taken a number of initiatives to transform Pakistan’s ports into regional transshipment hubs, including by up-gradation of port infrastructure.”

He revealed, “2020 was declared the ‘Year of Blue Economy’ by the government to highlight the significance of its massive potential of contributing to the country’s sustainable economic growth and development” adding “The erstwhile ports and shipping ministry was renamed as the maritime affairs ministry to widen the scope of its activities.”

FM Qureshi reported, “The fisheries sector only contributes 0.4 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP); according to one estimate, coastal tourism in Pakistan can contribute $4 billion to the economy, currently its contribution is negligible; and Pakistan’s mangrove area is the 6th largest in the world, around $20 million annually can be extracted from mangrove dependent industry.”

He said, “In order to bring blue economy to the centre of our national economic development paradigm, there is need to create awareness among all stakeholders about its potential economic, social and environmental benefits, and to create an enabling ecosystem to help attract investments in related sectors” adding “As part of economic diplomacy initiatives, the foreign affairs ministry and Pakistan’s missions abroad, in collaboration with the concerned ministries, have been actively engaged in attracting investments to the maritime sector.”

FM Qureshi stressed, “There is also a need for concerted efforts to strengthen partnerships and collaboration among businesses, academia, research institutions, and social and environmental organisations to unlock new opportunities.”

He reaffirmed, “Pakistan recognises the importance of safeguarding the world’s oceans — as a global public commodity — to promote the prudent use of marine resources for socio-economic development, while ensuring environmental sustainability” informing “We are ready to cooperate and collaborate with other friendly nations and partners around the world, to realise this goal for mutual benefit of the entire humanity.”

Among other notables, the chief of naval staff (CNS) admiral M. Amjad Khan Niazi was present along with members of academia from Pakistan and abroad.