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    Pakistan to Maintain Naval Presence in Indian Ocean - Foreign Office

    © AFP 2019 / RIZWAN TABASSUM
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    A formidable naval presence of Pakistan in North Arabian Sea and West Indian Ocean continues to remain critical for the country in defense of its interests, Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said at the International Maritime conference in Karachi on Saturday.

    KARACHI (Sputnik) — A formidable naval presence of Pakistan in North Arabian Sea and West Indian Ocean continues to remain critical for the country in defense of its interests, Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said at the International Maritime conference in Karachi on Saturday.

    The International Maritime Conference is one of the main events of the Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-2017 that is currently taking place off Pakistan's port city of Karachi in the Arabian Sea.

    "The maritime challenges of the Indian Ocean is well known and effected by key variables such as militarization, the involvement of major and extra-regional powers among other security threats. For Pakistan to remain oblivious of the development taking place in the Indian Ocean is not an option, therefore, Pakistan has to maintain significant naval presence to defend our interests," Sartaj Aziz said.

    He also noted that India has been steadily increasing the scale and frequency of its conventional naval deployments through the Indo-Pacific region.

    The official added that Pakistan is an important regional state having a coastline that is over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) long and an exclusive economic zone of 300,000 square kilometers and cannot remain oblivious to the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean as they can have a direct impact on the country's security and prosperity.

    Satraj Aziz added that nations concerned with maritime security and stability in North Arabian Sea and Western Indian Ocean should pursue shared maritime objectives in the region.

    "The dialogue between the stakeholders has never been so important. Pakistan is ready to pay an important role in providing maritime security," the foreign policy adviser said.

    The AMAN-17 is the fifth Multinational Exercise of AMAN series, held in Pakistan since 2007. Navies of 37 countries are participating in AMAN-17, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, the Unites States and Japan. The drills are held on February 10-14 in the Arabian Sea off Karachi.

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    security, defense, marines, increased naval presence, Sartaj Aziz, Indian Ocean, Pakistan
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