World yet to fathom dynamics of Indian Ocean rim’s geopolitics

Speakers say it is the channel to the biggest resource market of Asia

News Desk February 24, 2018
Chinese MSA vessel Hai Xin 01 is seen from a RNZAF P-3K2 Orion aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean, as the search continues for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan has yet to tap the full potential of the maritime economy and the strategic location of its maritime territory, speakers said at a conference on the importance of Indian Ocean Rim region.

“Nothing is in isolation. The Indian Ocean and the power politics that it holds within its folds are perhaps not fully understood,” said, National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua.

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He was speaking at a one-day national conference on, “Maritime Economy and the Geopolitics of Indian Ocean Rim: Challenges for Pakistan”, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with Bahria University Islamabad.

Janjua outlined how Asia has the world’s largest human and natural resources, consumer markets, development scope, and connectivity potential of the Indian Ocean.

Regarding the big game of US, Russia and China in the region, he said the region has become more competitive than cooperative. There is a perpetual war in Afghanistan, which has no end in sight. For Pakistan to multiply its potential, it should recognise that the common future lies with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics, China and sometimes with Russia. Furthermore, both India and Pakistan should engage, resolve their disputes and look towards the future.

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Bahria University DG Institute of Maritime Affairs Mukhtar Khan said the government should adopt the 'blue economy' or the maritime economy approach, he said.

ISSI Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said that Gwadar is not going to be an ordinary port, it will be the lynchpin of CPEC's multi-billion dollar strategic investment because of its location, and that it will survive the challenges of modern shipping.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2018.