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The Challenges and Threats for the Maritime Transportation in the Indo-Pacific Region

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Muhammad Irfan
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The maritime transportation is not only a source of income but also the benchmark of a Geo-political importance, a state can enjoy. Accordingly, Indo-Pacific region is full of marvelous characteristics in both economic and strategic spectrum, which can bolster the said stakes of the littoral states.

Currently, it appears strategically important in the global Geo-politics. This region remained significant throughout the history mainly because of its central position in the global interaction. It currently tempts the major and great powers to strengthen their interests in the region for the following reasons. (a) The energy-sought activities are at boom in the region. (b) The regional powers are struggling for power in the Pacific-Indian Ocean regions.

(c) The globalization has increased the maritime trade and transportation which is massively being undertaken in the region. According to estimates, every day, 1,00,000 ships pass through the Indian Ocean. Collectively, 40.5 % of world oil transportation is conducted through Strait of Hurmuz, Strait of Malacca and Strait of Singapore. (d) The sea-borne wealth has prompted the states to explore this wealth of Indo-Pacific region.

Under such scenario, the region is more important than ever before in the history.

However, there are many challenges which require rigorous attention. In fact, the littoral states have their own national priorities which they seem not to compromise. That is why they do not cooperate. Secondly, there is no super organization which may entice the maritime cooperation. ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), being primarily an economic forum, also lacks in mechanism to foster the maritime security and cooperation. Therefore, it is true to maintain that there is the absence of an adequate organization which may ensure the maritime cooperation. According to analysts, it is important to establish the international maritime order to cope with the said challenges.


This maritime order is also necessary due to the following threats. Firstly, the piracy has emerged as a grave threat to the free mobility of maritime ships in the deep sea waters. It is primarily Somalia-based which has attracted the global attention and the efforts are strategically being rendered to eradicate it.

Secondly, the maritime terrorism phenomenon has emerged in 2001 in wake of War against Terrorism (WAT) campaign. This (maritime terrorism) is, in fact, aimed at seizing the containers and demanding ransom in return. An International Coalition Task Force 150 has been established to cope with it. However, it needs much attention. Thirdly, the rise of narco-terrorism has posed serious challenge to the maritime transportation. Given these threats and challenges, the rigorous efforts are needed to be undertaken in order to ensure the economic growth of the world. This can promptly be achieved with the establishment of international maritime order.

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Muhammad Irfan has authored many books. He is an internationally recognized scholar. He has presented his papers in national and international conferences. He is also a freelance journalist and contributes to both national and international (more...)

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