Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says India has nuclearized the Indian Ocean and continues to induct advanced weapons systems and naval delivery platforms in pursuit of its hegemonic designs.
Addressing the International Maritime Conference in Karachi on Monday, he said 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.
He said in the light of these developments, Pakistan will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure its security and to maintain credible minimum deterrence.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said India’s belligerent and aggressive policies pose an immediate and pervasive threat to international and regional peace and security. He said 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.
He said Pakistan recognizes the importance of safeguarding the world’s oceans to promote the prudent use of marine resources for socio-economic development, while ensuring environmental sustainability.
He said 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.
The Foreign Minister said Pakistan is an important maritime state blessed with an over one thousand kilometre long coastline. He said maritime zones of Pakistan are richly endowed with living and non-living resources.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan is an important stakeholder in the Indian Ocean security framework, which includes counter-piracy as well as human trafficking and narcotics smuggling. He said 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.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said 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 has the potential to develop into a full-fledged regional hub and a trans-shipment port.
The Foreign Minister said the present government has enhanced focus on the development of maritime sector as a priority area. He said we have taken a number of initiatives to transform Pakistan’s ports into regional transshipment hubs, including by up-gradation of port infrastructure.
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