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Full text of Speech by FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi at 9th International Maritime Conference

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KARACHI, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi participated in the ongoing 9th International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) in Karachi on Monday as the Chief Guest.

The three-day IMC-21 kicked off in Karachi on February 13 under the auspices of the Pakistan Navy, and it will last till February 15, 2021.

The Conference is being organized by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) under the theme “Development of Blue Economy under a Security and Sustainable Environment – A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region”.

The following is the full text of remarks by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the 9th International Maritime Conference;

 

“Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral M. Amjad Khan Niazi

Distinguished members of academia from Pakistan and abroad

Ladies and Gentlemen

At the outset, let me congratulate Pakistan Navy for regularly hosting the Multilateral Maritime Exercise, AMAN, on a biennial basis since 2007.

I recall that this initiative was launched by Pakistan Navy to promote peace and harmony in the Indian Ocean region. A large number of foreign Navies attend this exercise along with Ships, Aircraft, Special Operations Forces, Marine Teams and Observers.

I am happy to note that the number of participating navies have increased from 28 in 2007, to over 40 this year. Successful conduct of this exercise is a manifestation of Pakistan’s abiding commitment and contribution to the promotion of international peace and security.

I am thankful to the Naval Chief for inviting me to share my thoughts with you today at the International Maritime Conference 2021, on “Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment – a Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region.”

This is indeed an important emerging area with great significance for Pakistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

A sustainable Blue Economy is critical for reaping the socio-economic benefits for current and future generations.

Economists have estimated the global value of Blue Economy to be over US$ 24 trillion.

Moreover, it can have profound implications on the region in the coming decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 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.

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

The Indian Ocean hosts international maritime traffic that includes half of the world’s containerized cargo, one-third of its bulk cargo, and two-thirds of its oil shipments.

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

The 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 jeopardized that potential.

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.

In pursuance of its hegemonic designs, India has nuclearized the Indian Ocean and continues to induct advanced weapons systems and naval delivery platforms.

In light of these developments, Pakistan will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure its security and to maintain credible minimum deterrence.

The international community needs be cognizant 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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Blessed with an over one thousand-kilometer-long coastline, and avast Exclusive Economic Zone, Pakistan is an important maritime state. The maritime sovereignty of Pakistan spans an area of 290,000 square kilometers, around 36.4% of its mainland.

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.

We are proud that the Pakistan Navy 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.

The Pakistan Navy has always been appreciated for its efforts to promote peace and security. Among others, it has been actively participating in the Combined Task Forces 150 and 151 in the larger interest of the international community and regional maritime security.

Our Navy has also provided valuable assistance at the high seas to vessels in distress, including during anti-piracy operations, and has extended humanitarian assistance to regional countries on several occasions.

One example is that one of our naval ships is currently on a humanitarian relief supply mission to Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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.

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.

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.

Gwadar Port also provides new vistas for businesses. Extraction of life-saving medicines, coastal tourism, and the development of coastal real estate are industries that are attracting investment, both local and foreign.

Pakistan’s Liner Shipping Connectivity Index is reasonably high (comparable to Australia). But our maritime sector requires substantial investment for building, operating and enhancingits profitability. Revenue generation from this sector, however, still lags behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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.

The erstwhile Ministry of Ports and Shipping was renamed as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to widen the scope of its activities.

Let me highlight some of the potential that currently remains untapped:

  • The fisheries sector only contributes 0.4% percent to the country’s GDP;
  • According to one estimate, coastal tourism in Pakistan can contribute US$ 4 billion to the economy. Currently its contribution is negligible; and
  • Pakistan’s mangrove area is the sixth largest in the world. Around US$ 20 million annually can be extracted from mangrove dependent industry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to bring Blue Economy to the center 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.

As part of economic diplomacy initiatives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s Missions abroad, in collaboration with the concerned Ministries, have been actively engaged in attracting investments to the maritime sector.

There is also a need for concerted efforts to strengthen partnerships and collaboration among businesses, academia, research institutions, and social and environmental organizations to unlock new opportunities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Pakistan recognizes 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.

We are ready to cooperate and collaborate with other friendly nations and partners around the world, to realize this goal for mutual benefit of the entire humanity.

I thank you.”

Mati
Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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