Islamabad, April 23, 2014 (PPI-OT): Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Asif Sandila NI (M) hosted a deck reception on board Pakistan Navy Ship Shamsheer here on Tuesday evening. The reception was attended by top naval brass from Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) member and observer states including Bangladesh, China, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Poland ,and USA among other invitees, says a press release received from Beijing here today.
The Chinese Naval Chief Admiral Wu Shengli was the chief guest on the occasion. The reception commenced with the playing of National anthems of Pakistan and China followed by the cake-cutting ceremony. Traditional Pakistani cuisine was served to the guests.
Talking to media persons, Admiral Asif Sandila said that the day was momentous as Pakistan had been granted the observer status at WPNS. He said that the member states had reached a consensus on allowing Pakistan to become an observer.
He said that Pakistan navy had contributed significantly over the years to maintaining peace and security in the seas and had exhibited well-developed skills and expertise in anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, anti-drug smuggling, anti- human trafficking as well as at international maritime search and rescue missions.
He apprised that the 21 member states of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) had endorsed Pakistan Navy’s observer status on 22 April 2014 with full consensus. This signified the level of trust and clear understanding of the commonality of purpose that WPNS navies reposed in Pakistan Navy, which was so reassuring, he added.
He said that there was no denying the fact that in the face of ever growing transnational asymmetric threats, especially in the maritime dimension such as piracy, maritime terrorism, drugs/arms/human smuggling etc, the interdependence among navies continued to increase and a cooperative and collaborative maritime security approach was the only way ahead.
Western Pacific Naval Symposium being an important forum possessed the potential to increase cooperation amongst the member states in the maritime domain to curb the menace of maritime terrorism and resolve major issues in the maritime realm.
The valuable interactions through this forum enabled exchange of information and expertise in various fields for capability enhancement of all the members. Pakistan Navy (PN) he said, was an ardent believer in the concept of collaborative maritime security and this was manifested by its extensive participation in Combined Task Forces 150 and 151.
PN is also a member of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. As an Observer in the WPNS, PN would contribute significantly towards maritime security through this forum, he maintained. Admiral Asif Sandila thanked the Chinese hosts and other member states for their support saying that it was an acknowledgement of Pakistan navy as a worthy candidate and recognition of its services and manifestation of trust and confidence reposed in its potential to significantly contribute to WPNS.
Ambassador Masood Khalid also attended the reception. Shamsheer had reached Qingdao naval port in China earlier this Sunday to take part with Chinese PLA Navy and other participants in multilateral maritime exercise involving joint drills on maritime search and rescue missions.
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