The three-day International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) organized on the theme of ‘Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment: A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region’ by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) under the auspices of the Pakistan Navy has commenced.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi graced the Opening Session as Chief Guest. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi was also present on the occasion. The conference is being held in tandem with the 7th Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 2021.
Eminent international and national scholars from Australia, Bahrain, China, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, UK, and the USA are participating in the three days conference and will share their thoughts on the dynamic theme. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, international scholars are also joining the Conference online.
While addressing the audience, the Chief Guest emphasized the strategic importance of the Western Indian Ocean Region for international commerce & trade and also underlined that government is cognizant of the importance of the blue economy and has initiated major policy reforms to support the maritime industry and maritime stakeholders.
The Honorable President added that the global economic system was significantly dependent upon unhindered activity in the maritime domain, which demanded a collaborative approach for maintaining a secure maritime environment. Pakistan, blessed with an important geostrategic location, is in a unique position to provide global connectivity through CPEC to promote and facilitate economic integration between Asia, Africa, Europe, and beyond.
The President assured the organizers and participants of the Conference that their suggestions will be given due consideration at appropriate forums and will go a long way in supporting the Government’s efforts for the development of our maritime sector. He congratulated NIMA for hosting the Conference and expressed his hope that the institute will continue its endeavors to promote research and discourse on maritime issues.
The President also appreciated Pakistan Navy for actively promoting maritime thought in the country and spearheading efforts for the development of the Blue Economy in the country. Earlier, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi in his opening remarks welcomed the guests and participants of the Conference.
The Naval Chief highlighted Pakistan Navy’s efforts for promoting maritime awareness in the country and the Blue Economy through a variety of initiatives and pointed out the key role of the Pakistan Navy in enhancing regional maritime security through its contributions in international and regional collaborative security mechanisms. The Admiral thanked all the worthy speakers, participants, and guests from Pakistan and abroad for their valued participation in the Conference.
International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) is a three days conference held in tandem with the 7th Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 2021. The first day of the IMC was divided into three Sessions. In the First Session, apart from opening addresses by the Chief Guest and the Naval Chief, IMO Secretary-General, Honorable Kitack Lim presented the opening remarks whereas, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan delivered the keynote address. In addition, CEO Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives (ZERO) South Africa, Dr. Gunter Pauli talked on ‘Blue Growth Strategy for the Future World’ as the other online keynote speaker.
During the Second Session, former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General (Retd) Ehsanul Haq graced the conference as the Chief Guest. Prominent speakers of the session comprised, Senator Sherry Rehman who expressed her thoughts on the Geo-Strategic Environment in Indian Ocean Region – Opportunities for Developing Countries. Besides, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command, Vice Admiral Samuel Paparo also delivered his keynote online address on Enhancing Regional Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean through Effective Mechanism.
The last speaker of the Second Session was Australian National University Professor Dr David Brewster, who talked about the challenges and opportunities of changing maritime dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region and its implications for the regional states.
Minister for Defence, Mr. Pervez Khan Khattak was the Chief Guest of the third and last Session of the IMC-21 Conference.
In this Session, Rear Admiral, YMGB Jayathilake of the Sri Lankan Navy highlighted the Challenges of Maritime Security and proposed a Future Course of Action for Regional Navies. Later, Dr. Timothy Walkers from South Africa discussed South Africa’s Perspective on the Blue Economy and Security Management. Besides, Professor Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, of Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad also presented a critical analysis on ‘Emerging Geo-Strategic Environment and Indo-Pacific Strategy’. The last speaker of the session was Ms. Camille Lons, Research Associate from the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Bahrain.
The First Day of International Maritime Conference was attended by a large number of dignitaries from across the globe, Officers from the Defence Forces of Pakistan and friendly countries, academia, media representatives, and researchers from local and international think tanks. International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) will continue for the next two days and would cover the thoughts of distinguished International and National scholars.