PNS NASR’s HADR MISSION TO BENIN-AFRICA: A VIBRANT STEP FOR COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY

(Written by Naveed Mushtaq)
By definition, collaborative security is linked directly with human Security and is extended to the broader conception wherein security of States and their common survival are interlinked. With such a vast scope, collaborative security and diplomatic efforts are persistent in the contemporary time with exclusive intra state initiatives like EU based Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP). Under such initiatives, helping other nations in terms of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) the most important pillar of non-traditional form of security, has become a focal agenda of international navies. Hence, on a similar ground, Pakistan Navy participate in multiple common Foreign and Security initiatives of the region.

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In continuation of the process, recently PNS NASR has rendered HADR service to Djibouti, Sudan, Benin, and Niger. In its recent visit to Niger, Pakistan Navy Ship NASR, as a gesture of solidarity and friendship, delivered gift of food from the people of Pakistan to the people of Niger during the ceremony held at Port Cotonou of Benin. Previously, Pakistan Navy Ship NASR also handed over similar food assistance support to Djibouti and Sudan. This ongoing deployment of Pakistan Navy Ship to African region is to further strengthen the bonds of friendship with African countries and hence, the continued PN’s engagements and HADR efforts are in this way contributing in Pakistan’s engage Africa foreign policy initiative. Having rich history of HADR in African continent, the same PNS NASR recently visited Eastern African countries of Djibouti and Sudan in the month of January 2021 with provision of basic food ration, creating Pakistan’s positive image. It is indeed a clear message of common empathy and a manifestation of continued process of Pakistan Navy helping the African Nations from the Horn of Africa to the Western African nations.

Under the ‘Engage Africa’ policy, Pakistan always allots its support to the rest of African nations through United Nations (UN) peace keeping missions and Pakistan Navy’s HADR and overseas deployments. If history is a prism than the PN’s HADR missions are not limited to even African continent. The Pakistan Navy’s assistance rendered to Maldives and Indonesia after horrific Tsunami in 2004. Likewise, the rescue of MV Suez Crew from pirates in 2011, the successful conduct of humanitarian operations to evacuate stranded Pakistanis and foreign nationals at Yemen in 2015 and the support rendered to the flood stricken Sri Lankan populace is among the few glorious chapters of the zeal and commitment of Pakistan Navy. Keeping its conducts to animate, Pakistan Navy in 2019, had sent its two ships namely PNS ASLAT and PNS MOAWIN to 8 African states covering from West to east Africa. These Ships offered diplomatic leverage through port visits along with providing humanitarian assistance to the visiting countries by organizing free medical camps.

Benin, Niger and Pakistan share cordial and brotherly relations as the countries are members of common international forums including Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Group of 77. Benin is bordered by the Niger to the north and both countries have an estimated population of 12 million and 23 million respectively. Importance of these two countries lie more in their transit position than direct market of goods. Some companies of Pakistan, dealing in food items, have recently established offices in Benin to coordinate exports from Pakistan to the region. hence, Pakistan Navy’s HADR efforts will pave the way for our traders, diplomats and overseas communities to further expand the footprints in the region.

Similarly, During the contemporary age of great power politics in Indian Ocean Region (IOR), any effort in HADR domain in continuity to recently concluded AMAN Exercise 2021 and Pakistan Navy’s Command of CTF-151, will further mandate Pakistan’s highly productive approach of common development and mutual co-existence. Current HADR sailing to Niger and Benin, is a hallmark segment of Pakistan Navy’s continued multilateral and multi-dimensional engagements to promote mutually shared interest of regional peace and prosperity. It is time that such efforts in naval domain are translated into economic, diplomatic and informational domains through highly assertive “whole of a nation” approach.

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