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January 21, 2020

PN ships reinvigorating Pakistan’s ‘Look Africa policy’ in Kenya

National

January 21, 2020

Greater collaboration between Pakistan and African countries is accredited with engaging the African countries. Pakistan as of now only has its resident missions in 13 African countries whilst others are engaged and covered through concurrent accreditation. Moreover, Pakistan’s total trade value with Africa is only 3 billion dollars against the total trade volume of 3 trillion dollars, making Pakistan’s total trade with African countries to mere 0.3 per cent. Thus, in order to further the collaboration between Pakistan and African countries, there exists a dire need to engage in addressing common challenges like poverty and illiteracy besides enthralling their cooperation in trade and security.

Pakistan’s ‘Look Africa’ policy is both timely and marvel in its nature for the African economies across the globe are considered as the ‘lions on the move’. The African continent is a rising market of 1.26 billion people; it is rich in mineral resources and is also an exporter of energy resources. Furthermore, Pakistan has always championed the cause of the African countries at the UN and remained in the forefront of peacekeeping missions in Africa. Apart from Africa being a huge potential market for Pakistani goods, the country’s geo-strategic location and connectivity offers opportunity for African goods to reach Central Asia and South Asia. Thus in this milieu Pakistan Navy Ships namely PNS MOAWIN and PNS ASLAT on a support role to further Pakistan’s foreign policy objectives sailed to the shores of the African continent. The Pakistan Navy ships with an aim to create goodwill among the residents also established free medical camps during their voyage to the African countries.

The Pakistan Navy ships’ overseas deployment to African continent is also crucial in a way that Pakistan so far has been unfortunate that despite being connected historically and religiously too with many African countries, it has negligible trade with them with diplomatic presence to only a few countries. On the contrary, India has been assaying to bolster its presence not only in African countries but almost to the whole Western Indian Ocean Region and the Vanilla Islands. African resources are crucial for the brisk growth of the Asian nations like China and India. In the newly-emerging geopolitical equations, these island countries like Madagascar, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles are recognising their new-found strategic importance and are therefore looking ahead for forging partnerships with the major powers. This is therefore a high time for the policymakers and Foreign Office to deliberate and find avenues to integrate trade and commerce ministries to help tap the untapped potential of African countries in their favour.

The Pakistan Navy ships as part of their overseas deployment to Africa recently visited the port Mombasa, Kenya. Pakistan and Kenya maintain and enjoy close and cordial relations, which are characterized by a shared sense of history and perceptions on important regional, international and maritime issues. The imprint of this cooperative relationship also transcends down to the cultural, social and economic fields. Furthermore, the people and government of both countries have been very helpful to each other in the hours of need.

Upon arrival at port of Mombasa, the visiting Pakistan Navy ships were extended warm welcome by Kenyan Navy. Mission commander along with commanding officers of Pakistan Navy ships called on commander-in-chief of Kenyan Navy, county commissioner of Mombasa and other Kenyan authorities. During engagements, both the sides displayed commitment to further enhance brotherly relations and expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and Pakistan Navy’s role in ensuring maritime security were also underlined which were duly acknowledged by the host country and the deteriorating situation and human rights violations being committed by Indian armed forces against innocent people in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) were also highlighted.

In nutshell, the ongoing deployment of Pakistan Navy ships to Africa is aimed at further strengthening friendly ties with African countries, extending humanitarian assistance and developing interoperability with the host navies. However, Pakistan can encourage investment in agro-based industry and meat processing units in Africa besides exploring more avenues for cooperation in close coordination with China. There are also prospects for closer defence cooperation with many countries of the region and Pakistan can help meet their defence procurement needs.