The Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, while addressing a ceremony held on the occasion of World Maritime Day, revealed a plan to build a joint maritime security center in collaboration with Oman and Pakistan. At this event, the commander also discussed about Iran’s efforts to maintain security in international waterways, he said that five combat flotillas of the Iranian Navy are presently conducting security missions in the Indian Ocean at the same time which depicts the progress of Iran’s naval industry.
In recent years, Iran has held several joint naval exercises with the naval forces of both the maritime neighbors i.e. Pakistan and Oman. Last year, a combined naval exercise was organized in Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman by Iran and Pakistan. The spokesperson of the joint exercise said “the major goal of the exercise was to highlight the naval power and synergy as well as to build constructive and dynamic interaction for lasting peace and security in the region, improving combat capability and exchanging information between the naval forces of Pakistan and Iran”. Oman and Pakistan also made efforts for bilateral maritime security cooperation to promote naval cooperation. Since 1990, naval exercises are being conducted regularly between the Pakistan Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman. In the year 2021, the two countries took part in the naval exercise which included participation of surface and air units, besides Special Operations Forces from both navies with an aim to eradicate illegal sea activities.
Significance of Indian Ocean and Joint Maritime Security Center
The Indian Ocean will be the center’s primary focus, additionally, the communication between all the maritime security centers at global level will be conducted by the joint maritime security center of Iran, Oman, and Pakistan, according to the commander of Iranian Navy. The Indian Ocean region is heavily rich in natural resources with almost 16.8% of the world’s oil reserves and 27.9% of natural gas reserves. Meanwhile, the region is significant because of its sea routes that connect Middle East, Africa and East Asia with Europe and America by promoting maritime trade, carrying sea-borne oil and hosting top 23 container ports of the world.
This joint partnership is a great initiative between Pakistan, Iran and Oman for joint maritime security center as it will help to preserve and maintain the maritime order of Indian Ocean. In addition, it will assist the three countries to consider the options and opportunities that will increase the connectivity of these states with each other, within the region, and to strengthen ties with external partners through maritime trade individually and collectively. Furthermore, despite the complex problems related to the domain of maritime security, the challenges will be addressed efficiently by working together.
Research Associate, Pakistan House