Gwadar Port is not in competition with any other Port rather it is better for the whole region: Naval Chief

Karachi, December 14, 2016 (PPI-OT):A two day International Maritime Conference (IMC) on CPEC and Gwadar Port concluded at Gwadar today. The Conference was organized under the auspices of Pakistan Navy in coordination with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and Parliamentary Committee on CPEC. IMC, under the theme ‘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 CPEC project and the challenges and opportunities arising in the economic domain from its implementation.

The opening session of the day, under the theme of Maritime Security, commenced with the keynote address by Professor Xu Ming; Executive Director Glorious Sun Institute of Management – Donghua University. Prof Xu Ming said that CPEC is a great strategic design, which will greatly benefit both Pakistan and China.

Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Siddique chaired the Opening session as Moderator. Mr Andrew Small, Senior trans-Atlantic Fellow, while presenting paper on CPEC-Emerging security paradigm in the Indian Ocean, said that CPEC is unique in a sense that it is a power settler in the region, thus, shall be accessible to all states and one should refrain counter-productive competition.

Vice Admiral (Rtd) Asaf Humayun spoke on CPEC – Importance of Maritime Security and Role of Pakistan Navy. He said that keeping in view the enhanced spectrum of threats due to hybrid warfare by adversaries, there is a dire need to augment the capabilities of Pakistan Navy and Maritime Security Agency to fulfill the needs of a multilayered defence system for an effective seaward defence of CPEC and 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.

Vice Admiral (Rtd) Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, while presenting last paper of the session on ‘Geo Politics and Maritime Security: changing dynamics of North Arabian Sea’, said that Gwadar is the nucleus of all the big game ‘One Belt One Road (OBOR)’. He said that CPEC will be just an extension of KKH without Gwadar Port, as it’s the sea part which makes CPEC global. Therefore, the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned.

Senator Mushahid Hussein Sayed in the closing session emphasized that Gwadar is the hub and centre piece of CPEC and it’s the way forward for Pakistan in the 21st century. He added that Gwadar and Chahbahar are sister ports, there has to be road and rail connectivity between the two countries. He concluded his address saying that Pakistan Navy’s role in maritime security and CPEC is pivotal and there is a need for policy making on maritime economy. He also complimented Pakistan Navy on raising of dedicated Task Force 88 for maritime security of CPEC, holding and pushing out of Indian Submarine from Pakistan’s EEZ and extension of Continental Shelf, being significant achievements.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah thanked all the participants, speakers and foreign dignitaries for making the Conference a success and achieving objectives set forth in raising awareness and making recommendations for the way forward. He said that concurrently, the raising ceremony of Task Force 88 also mark the resolve of Pakistan Navy for provision of safe and secure maritime environment for CPEC, trade and Gwadar Port. He further added that Pakistan Navy is being strengthened with the full support of GoP. The Naval Chief emphasized that Gwadar Port is not in competition with any other Port rather it is better for the whole region as the volume of trade will be increased.

The sessions were also attended by Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Provincial Ministers, Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, HE Alireza Bikdeli, Former Naval Chief, Members of Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Foreign delegates, local dignitaries, Government Officials, Experts of maritime sector and notables of civil society.

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