International maritime symposium concludes

Lahore: A two day International Maritime symposium organized by Pakistan Navy War College ended here today. National Centre for Maritime Policy Research was also co-sponsor of the symposium. Different national and international scholars presented their papers in the symposium. The theme for various sessions of the last day of the symposium was “Security of the Maritime Domain”.

Addressing the closing session of the symposium, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila said that in the present era, which is increasingly deemed as a ‘maritime century’, the oceans have an increasing strategic position in international order and security calculus of nations. Oceans are central to competing geopolitics, economic development, military and technology.

He said that “a strong navy is a global slogan these days. Navies are considered an invaluable instrument of foreign policy. They protect, and preserve a nation’s maritime interest and concurrently advance its strategic interests abroad in perhaps the most rapid, flexible and sustained manner. By virtue of their inherent qualities, a navy is also the best force to respond to any crisis, natural disasters or swiftly answer to search and rescue calls”.

He added that Pakistan Navy has taken huge strides in spreading the ‘maritime light’ across the country frontiers. The Admiral hoped that the thoughts and ideas carried from here by the audience, particularly youth will largely shape the maritime future of Pakistan and also urged the academia of Punjab to institutionalize and promote maritime education in their respective institutes.

Earlier addressing the opening session of 2nd day of the symposium, Secretary Defence, Lt Gen (Retd) Asif Yaseen Malik said that for a variety of reasons including land geography, continental mindset and economic limitations, Pakistan could not contribute wholeheartedly towards maritime development and maritime sector has truly struggled to survive let alone expand. But significance of this sector can no longer be ignored. Government is fully cognizant of the economic dividends which come with the expansion in maritime sector of the country and are essential for long term sustainable development of country’s maritime potential.

The Chief Guest acknowledged that ‘this city and its large academic community were perhaps never exposed to maritime issues on this scale and symposium like this provide huge momentum to the Government’s resolve in this direction’.

General Rashad Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) was the chief guest of last session of the symposium. He addressed the audience and reiterated the importance of oceans in contemporary era which cannot be overstated. It is the maritime domain that facilitates international commerce, which advances a well-integrated global economy. He also said that more and more nations are now turning towards sea to protect, preserve and exploit its riches, consequently, there is a collaborative effort to protect the trade through the global commons. This has necessitated a fresh look towards the national maritime resources and need for stronger Navy.

The symposium was attended by a large number of national and overseas dignitaries, scholars and renowned speakers, says a Director General Public Relations (Navy) release.

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