Says, with CPEC reaching advanced stage, navy needs budget increase given its pivotal role in emerging geopolitical scenario; calls for developing maritime security plan
Senate Defence Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain has termed as ‘pivotal’ the role of the Pakistan Navy in the emerging geopolitical scenario with Gwadar Port and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reaching advanced stage.
Talking to media on Sunday after the recent visit of the Senate Defence Committee to the naval installations in Karachi, Gwadar and Ormara, Senator Mushahid praised the Pakistan Navy’s proactive role, its readiness as well as its activities in promoting social-economic and educational development in the coastal regions of Balochistan, thereby promoting national integration.
Senator Mushahid Hussain said the senators, during their visit, received high-level briefings led by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zakaullah, whom he called a ‘top-notch professional’. He said that in the emerging regional scenario, the focus will be on protecting sea-lanes with greater competition, especially among US, China, Japan and India, involving their respective navies. He said Pakistan too will play a strategic role since Gwadar Port is pivotal for CPEC, and because Pakistan is part of the Maritime Silk Road as well as the Silk Road’s land corridor.
The Defence Committee chairman informed the media that he will be presenting the report of the Senate Defence Committee’s recent visit during the Senate’s session today (Monday), so that the Senate can discuss and debate this issue in the context of the increasingly important role of the Pakistan Navy.
Senator Mushahid Hussain also proposed that the government prepare a national maritime security plan given the emerging regional scenario and the role of the Pakistan Navy and establish a new shipyard in Gwadar to supplement the one in Karachi.
He also proposed that the government prepare a strategy on how best to use the 50,000 square km of the continental shelf that Pakistan had gained for its economic and security benefit, because such a large continental shelf can have the potential of being transformed into the ‘fifth province’ of Pakistan.