ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy has started independent maritime security patrols in the region for which two of its units were previously attached with Combined Taskforces 150 and 151 comprising the US, the UK, Australia and other countries. However, the vessels have now been shifted for the independent operations.
According to maritime sources, international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea allows Pakistan to conduct independent patrol which provides the country the ability to guard CPEC and Gwadar port in the deep sea.
The Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 and 151 were formed 14 years ago at the international to check pirates and terrorism. However, Pakistan has taken a strategic shift and assumed the responsibility of protecting international and the country’s trade shipping. As a result, the Pakistan Navy will now check pirates and terrorism in an area of 290,000 sq miles.
It will guard not only guard the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – an area of 200 nautical miles from the coast – but also the 350 nautical miles of continental shelf.
The sources say the Pakistan Navy will also operate against pirates and terrorism at many choking points [narrow navigation paths] around the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The region to be covered by Pakistan Navy includes the trade routes from the South China Sea to Europe with points like 1.5 to 2 nautical miles wide Malacca Straights as well as the areas close to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz.
Pakistan Navy in collaboration with the friendly countries has decided to deploy its ships in Maldives’ area, South Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. In this connection, the naval chief recently visited Oman and Maldives.
The independent regional maritime security patrols is a result of effective diplomatic efforts and the country’s navy has already formulated the future plans which are being implemented.
The independent maritime patrols have thus ensured the security of the ships using the Gwadar port and CPEC as the Pakistan Navy is now able to fight terrorism and pirates even outside the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.