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We will oppose domination of Indian Ocean: Shaukat Aziz

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD, MARCH 8. The Pakistan Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, has said that Pakistan will oppose "domination" of the Indian Ocean by any country.

Speaking at the Navy facility, PNS Jauhar in the port city of Karachi on Monday, Mr. Aziz said his Government would do whatever it could with available resources to enable the Navy to maintain and sustain the sanctity of the country's coastline and to face challenges.

Pakistan had a long coastline with enormous maritime potential but it was neglected for many years, he said.

The development of the Gwadar deep water port was a manifestation of "our resolve" to harness the economic potential.

"Our vision is to develop Gwadar as a major trans-shipment port, thereby making it a regional hub port, providing a trade route for the landlocked Central Asian republics, as well as Afghanistan and Western China. However, to realise the potential of Gwadar, maritime security in the region was imperative, Mr. Aziz said.

A strong and credible defence was vital for national security and peace in the region.

"Our vision for national security is embedded in economic sovereignty, strong defence, continued political process, good governance and friendlier international environment," Mr. Aziz said.

On the occasion he was briefed about three war games titled "Shamsheer-e-Bahr-II."

The Sindh Governor, Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, the Sindh Chief Minister, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and the Defence Minister, Rao Sikandar Iqbaal, attended the briefing.

Mr. Aziz said his Government believed in retaining a minimum deterrence as a responsible and acknowledged nuclear nation of 150 million people. "We would continue to play a positive role in international efforts aimed at non-proliferation and combating terrorism.

"Our command and control system to secure our nuclear arsenals is one of the best in the world."

Mr. Aziz said Pakistan had no aggressive design on any country while being "alive to defence needs" to protect the integrity of the motherland.

The country's economic policy during the next decade would be based on five pillars: water security by building water reservoirs, energy security for which a 35-year plan was now in place, development of infrastructure, human development and, second generation reforms.

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