Tuesday 01 December 2020, 05:12 PM
Pak Navy chief attempts to enhance country's image by naval deployments
By Sumit Kumar Singh | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 11/4/2020 10:05:54 AM
Pak Navy chief attempts to enhance country's image by naval deployments

New Delhi: With Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent hysterical and unstatesmanlike outbursts at the United Nations falling flat, the Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi is now attempting to enhance Pakistan's image through naval deployments.PNS Zulfikar is on 'goodwill visit' to Jeddah, Aksaz in Turkey and Aqaba in Jordan.

Talking about the visit, a senior intelligence officer said that the visits have to be viewed "in the context of desperation, dis-information and a bankrupt strategic discourse, which are hallmarks of the Pakistani state".He also said that the visit is unlikely to lead to any tangible outcome. The officer pointed out that the poor state of Pakistani economy and consequent lack of funds for foreign cooperation brings serious limitations.

"Sporadic port visits, press releases and photo opportunities mean nothing if not followed up by concrete actions on ground, something that Pakistanis have been unable to do," the officer explained.Foreign cooperation is an expensive business, especially when the partners that Islamabad is seeking to engage are swayed by the largesse shown by partner nations.

In January-February of 2020, Pakistan naval ships Maowin and Aslat were sent on 'goodwill visit' to Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, Mauritania, Ghana, and Nigeria. Except for Tanzania, which had pulled out of China's infamous and exploitative Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in July 2019, all other countries are BRI signatories.

The latent strategic reasons behind this deployment can be understood in light of this fact. The objective of Maowin and Aslat's deployment was apparently to foster a new era of cooperation and goodwill and one of the significant initiatives highlighted by Pakistani media was a medical camp onboard Maowin.

"The image of a scruffy-bearded, Pakistani sailor administering sugary pills to Tanzanian locals was undoubtedly publicised just for media optics," the officer said.This gesture also has to be viewed in context - Pakistan is ranked 122nd out of 190 countries in a WHO performance report. According to another Lancet study, Pakistan also ranks 154th in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare.

Such gestures therefore ring hollow, and seem almost complacent, if not outright laughable.It is pertinent that the real objective of these 'goodwill visits' is to spread canards about other countries in the region, and paint a grim picture of South Asia.

Media reports indicate that graphic banners with photographs of alleged atrocities were hung over the ship's hulls while in foreign ports."Such dishonourable use of Armed Forces reveals the smallmindedness and strategic myopia of the Pakistani dispensation," the officer said.

But smallmindedness is not a new trait for the Pakistan Armed Forces and their polity, who had refused to claim, rather disowned their own martyrs in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil conflict.To compound matters, the continued placement of Pakistan in the FATF grey list is only bad news.

"Limits to international funding access, adverse impact on remittances, imports, exports and poor risk ratings from agencies Moody's S&P, Finch etc are all dark clouds from an economic perspective," the officer said.They effectively make potential foreign investments a distant dream. However, the Pakistan military seems unconcerned with the suffering of the common citizens.

Using primarily Chinese loans, Pakistan is set to spend an astounding $48.5 billion on defence between 2020 and 2024.In fact, Pakistan is already one of the highest spenders on defence in the world in terms of GDP, at a stunning 4 per cent - by far the highest in South Asia.

Pakistan's limited capabilities with respect to indigenous defence production, maritime hi-tech industry, hydrography, maritime training as also the limited availability of naval platforms has resulted in a lack of substance to their foreign cooperation outreach.

The absence of specific areas where cooperation initiatives could progress, even if funds were available, limits the scope only to initial optics in conferences and meetings. Long lasting cooperation can only ensue when specific requirements of smaller nations are met.Earnest entreaties by Pakistan proclaiming that the country is a victim of terrorism, and not the cause, also does not have too many takers.

The international community has been showing reduced tolerance for terrorist violence and its proliferation. Western nations, which have long ignored Pakistan-attributed terrorism for geopolitical reasons, no longer seem to do so. The same thought process is being seconded by smaller nations, whether on their own volition, or under influence of the more influential, stronger powers.

The result is that a number of proposals by Pakistan Navy to foreign partners in respect of cooperation initiatives are met with bridled enthusiasm. The fact that Pakistan is not even a member of significant Indian Ocean initiatives such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association is telling.

"While prudence demands that one steers the ship away from a storm using a statesmanlike approach, Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be on a mission to feed his starving population on an opioid of weapon procurements and 'goodwill visits', instead of stabilising the economy," said the officer adding that the Prime Minister and his military seem to have been blindsided with their obsession to equate themselves with India and match the diplomatic outreach of its military.

Tags:

Pakistan,Navy Chief,Admiral,Muhammad,Amjad Khan,Niazi,

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