Full-fledge naval base suggested at Gwadar

Date : 16-12-2016   By : Daily Times 

Full-fledge naval base suggested at Gwadar

GWADAR: A two-day International Maritime Conference (IMC), organised by the Pakistan Navy in coordination with the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and the Parliamentary Committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), concluded.

The conference, CPEC and Gwadar Port as harbinger of regional integration and maritime economic development, was aimed at examining the politico-strategic, maritime economic and security dimensions of the multi-billion project and the challenges and the opportunities arising in the economic domain from its implementation. In his keynote address, Donghua University's Glorious Sun Institute of Management Executive Director Professor Xu Ming said that CPEC was a great strategic design, which would greatly benefit both Pakistan and China. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah said that the Task Force 88 also mark resolve of the Pakistan Navy for provision of safe and secure maritime environment for CPEC, trade and the Gwadar Port.

He emphasised that the Gwadar Port was not in competition with any other port rather it was better for the whole region as the volume of trade will be increased. Former federal minister Senator Mushahid Hussein Sayed said that Gwadar and Chahbahar were sister ports, there has to be road and rail connectivity between the two countries. "Pakistan Navy's role in maritime security and CPEC is pivotal," he said, adding that there was a need for policymaking on maritime economy.
Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Siddique chaired the opening session as moderator. Presenting paper on CPEC-emerging security paradigm in the Indian Ocean, senior trans-Atlantic fellow Andrew Small said that CPEC was unique in a sense that it was a power settler in the region, thus, shall be accessible to all states and one should refrain from counter-productive competition. Vice Admiral (retired) Asaf Humayun spoke on importance of maritime security and the role of the Pakistan Navy.

Keeping in view the enhanced spectrum of threats due to hybrid warfare by adversaries, he said that there was a dire need to augment the capabilities of the Pakistan Navy and the Maritime Security Agency to fulfill needs of a multilayered defence system for an effective seaward defence of CPEC and the Gwadar Port. "Pakistan Navy also needs to enhance interaction with PLA Navy as well as a full-fledge naval base at Gwadar is inevitable," he underlined.

The sessions were also attended by Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Vice Admiral (retired) Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, Balochistan ministers, Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Alireza Bikdeli, former naval chief, lawmakers, foreign delegates, local dignitaries, government officials, experts of maritime sector and notables of the civil society.

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