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PESHAWAR: Academics have expressed concern over Indian Navy’s big ambitions and called for a comprehensive response strategy to cope with the implications of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) and other alliances formed by the United States to contain China, for Pakistan’s security.

The experts were speaking at a seminar on ‘Strategic Environment in Indian Ocean Region and Policy Options for Pakistan’, jointly organised by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), an Islamabad-based think-tank, and China Study Centre, University of Peshawar, a press release issued by the think-tank on Friday said.

The speakers looked at various steps taken by the QUAD members for executing China containment through the lens of military, and other hard-power solutions and how those would contribute to the growth of Indian military might with serious consequences for Pakistani security. They also proposed various solutions in the light of those assessments.

Experts voice concern over Indian navy’s ambitions

Director of SVI Dr Nasir Hafeez said that provision of state-of-the-art military equipment to India by the United States for promoting it as a counterbalance to China and projecting it as the ‘net security provider’ would negatively affect Pakistan’s security and economic interests.

He said it was, therefore, critical that a renewed effort be made for strengthening Pakistan’s capability to meet emerging challenges, protecting exclusive economic zone, and ensuring freedom of navigation.

“A comprehensive maritime policy is, moreover, necessary for tapping the potential of Pakistan’s maritime sector.”

Dr A. Z. Hilali of Abasyn University said Pakistan had strong geo-political reasons to challenge Indian dominance and cooperate with China in the blue water region.

Dr Amir Raza of the University of Peshawar suggested that Pakistan should develop bilateral relations with QUAD member states and their growing cooperation should not become a reason for preventing progress on this front. He also called for closer cooperation with other regional bodies.

Dr Zahid Anwar, pro vice chancellor of University of Peshawar, said that the US Indo-Pacific policy was disturbing the balance of power in the region by emboldening India to have an aggressive posture. This, he contended, would not only affect Pakistan, but other littoral states also.

Dr Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi of University of Peshawar called for more investments in development of navy and coastal areas. He said that the potential of blue economy needed to be effectively utilised. The current approach which gives little attention to navy and maritime sector, he regretted, was unhelpful.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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