Pakistan Navy raises the Task Force-88 to protect CPEC projects

Karachi:  A two day International Maritime Conference (IMC) Aiming to ensure security of Gwadar Port and CPEC in maritime domain was organized under the auspices of Pakistan Navy in coordination with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform and Parliamentary Committee on CPEC at Gwadar port on 13,14 December. IMC, under the theme ‘CPEC & Gwadar Port as Harbinger of Regional Integration and Maritime Economic Development’, was aimed at examining the politico-strategic, Pakistan Navy raises the Task Force-88 at Gwadar, to ensure the security dimensions of the CPEC project and the challenges and opportunities arising in the economic domain from its implementation. The Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the Chief Guest of the Ceremony. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah received the Chief Guest on his arrival.

While addressing the ceremony, the Joint Chief lauded the initiative taken by Pakistan Navy in raising a dedicated Task Force for maritime security of CPEC. He said that the initiative by Pakistan Navy would contribute significantly towards the success of CPEC. The Chairman also acknowledged the role being played by Pakistan Navy in ensuring safe and secure maritime environment which is an essential pre-requisite for maritime economy to flourish. ‘The role of Pakistan Navy is deeply embedded in the maritime operationalization of CPEC as it will be required to shoulder greater responsibilities to ensure protection of growing maritime trade and to provide security to our sea lanes’, He underlined. The Chairman also handed over the traditional Command Telescope to the first Commander of Task Force-88, Commodore Muhammad Waris, on the occasion.

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 Ceremony was attended by Federal Ministers, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and other Civil, Military and Foreign Dignitaries. 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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