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Posted at: Feb 11, 2017, 4:50 PM; last updated: Feb 11, 2017, 4:50 PM (IST)

Pak concerned over peace in Indian Ocean: Aziz

Karachi, February 11

Pakistan's top diplomat Sartaj Aziz on Saturday claimed that India's "expansionist" maritime security strategy and un-demarked border of Sir Creek posed “a threat" to security of the Indian Ocean.

"The un-demarcated borders in Sir Creek have the potential to cast a shadow on maritime security. India's evolving expansionist maritime security strategy is a cause for concern for peace in Indian Ocean," Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif 's Advisor on Foreign Affairs, said at a conference on 'Strategic outlook in Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond – Evolving Challenges and Strategies' — an event organised by the Pakistan Navy as part of a multi-nation five-day naval exercise in the Arabian Sea.

"Nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean has also led to further instability in the region," Aziz claimed, adding that Pakistan’s trade — 95 per cent of which is through sea routes — depended on stability in the region.

"…Militarisation of the Indian Ocean region, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries are a threat to peace in the Indian Ocean Region. And this trend is likely to intensify in the coming years," he said.

"And to add to this complex scenario, today, the Indian Ocean faces many non-traditional security challenges and threats including piracy, illegal fishing, human trafficking, drug smuggling, trafficking of weapons, maritime pollution and climate change." 

Aziz said Pakistan was the third largest Indian Ocean littoral country and therefore continued to push for “realising economic potential of the region”.

"We are aware of our national interests and every effort would be made to strengthen our capacity to ensure that we remain ready to meet the emerging maritime security challenges. For us, to remain oblivious of the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean Region is not an option.

These developments have a direct impact on our security and prosperity," he said. — PTI


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