Since times immemorial, mankind has had a valuable relationship with the seas. With their vast reservoir of living and non-living resources, oceans have served as highways for discovering new worlds and as pathways for ferrying merchandise across continents. The contemporary geo-economic and geo-strategic dynamics have however increased the significance of oceans as never before. Almost all progressive economies are dependent on sea for transportation of their trade.

For the past few years however a proportional rise in various maritime challenges has been recorded. This is especially true for the Indian Ocean. The region is quite significant as half of the world trade passes through it. Huge quantities of energy goods including oil and gas are shipped through its sea routes to developing countries. Threats like maritime terrorism, piracy, arms smuggling, human and drug trafficking as well as climatic changes pose a challenge to both, the regional as well as extra-regional states. A multilateral cooperative mechanism to counter these threats is therefore essential.

Pakistan is a littoral state in the Indian Ocean in the North Arabian Sea, which constitutes the western extension of the Ocean. As the country’s maritime military arm, Pakistan navy’s efforts in curbing maritime terrorism and other threats in the Indian Ocean over the past decade or so have been noteworthy. It’s participation in international naval coalitions’ and contributions in stamping out piracy have been impressive.

The recently held naval exercise, AMAN-13, was a continuation of Pakistan navy’s effort to identify and counter maritime challenges in the Indian Ocean through a cooperative approach. Organizing International Maritime Conference along with a large scale exercise like AMAN-13 is indeed fulfilling. It becomes even more significant given the critical times confronting Pakistan and disturbing situation in Karachi. Gathering maritime scholars from world over and large naval contingents from overseas countries is timely and assuring. AMAN has underscored the true image and spirit of Pakistan as a nation striving with global community to advance peace and security in the region.

UMM-E-HABIBA,

Rawalpindi, March 10.