06 March 2024

Conference of Middle-East Naval Leaders Discusses Maritime Passages Security's Role in International Stability

  • Qatar
  • Qatar

Doha, March 05 (QNA) - The conference of naval leaders in the Middle East, held today as part of the 8th edition of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX 2024), discussed a range of current issues and challenges facing the world today, including the security of sea lanes and maritime passages, the concept of maritime security and its relationship to national security, securing submarine cables, cybersecurity technology and its role in security and defense sectors.
Speakers at the conference, which discussed the prospects for economic growth amidst security challenges and their global impact, emphasized that the security of maritime passages is a fundamental cornerstone in maintaining global strategic balance and ensuring the continuous flow of global trade. Often, these passages are pivotal points for geopolitical and international diplomatic tensions, meaning that securing these passages and maritime crossings is of utmost importance not only for sustaining international trade but also for national security and global stability.
They pointed out that more than 80% of global trade and over 80% of oil and gas pass through maritime passages, and that 95% of data and information are transmitted via submarine cables. Preserving them is vital for maintaining global security and economic stability. They noted that border disputes in many regions of the world have highlighted the geopolitical dimension of maritime security, affecting freedom of navigation, accelerating naval arms races, and demonstrating the importance of strategic balance for naval power.
Emphasizing the need for collective addressing of these challenges and careful balance, conference speakers warned that confronting maritime security challenges requires a comprehensive multi-dimensional strategy and regional and international cooperation. These joint efforts include establishing international legal frameworks, security and regional alliances, maritime patrols, and understanding that maritime security responsibility does not solely lie with naval forces but requires cooperation across various sectors, specialties, and coordination between national navies, coast guards, maritime law enforcement agencies, international organizations, the private sector, and environmental agencies.
The experts stressed that the legal framework plays a pivotal role in this comprehensive strategy, facilitating international dealings, delineating maritime boundaries, and setting guidelines for the management of marine resources and wealth. They highlighted that the comprehensive approach to maritime security emphasizes regional cooperation and enhances maritime capabilities for countries with limited resources.
In addition, they noted that the comprehensive strategy integrates military, legal, technological, and environmental elements, through which the international community better conveys global maritime interests and ensures the flow of global trade. Diplomatic engagement and joint international treaties play a crucial role in maintaining the strategic balance that leads to global and regional stability. 

In this context, Director of the Strategic Studies Center, Brig Gen. (Pilot), Dr. Rashed bin Hamad Al Nuaimi, expressed his satisfaction with the continued hosting of the Strategic Studies Center by the Armed Forces for this conference accompanying the DIMDEX exhibition. He explained that this year's conference discussed a range of significant and emerging topics related to maritime security and its impact on the global economy, with the participation of distinguished scientific figures and experienced experts.
The Commander of the Strategic Studies Center at the Armed Forces said that despite living in a world where interests and generations have intertwined with the advancement of communication and information technologies, and despite the internet's compression of space and time, almost becoming an extension of human senses, the sea remains the most crucial strategic determinant and the primary political geography element and political driver of interstate relations. He noted that, given this reality, the conference began its first session with the concept of maritime security, which has become one of the most important additions to the vocabulary of international security, and the significance it holds for national security for many countries.
He added that the conference addressed another concept that achieves the full vision of maritime security, which is naval power ensuring blue economy. Within this framework, he stressed that the concept of maritime security should include an approach to balance between security and free trade by addressing the numerous challenges associated with maritime navigation. These challenges necessitate a comprehensive approach that combines international cooperation, technology, and agreement on legal frameworks to ensure safe and free maritime trade.
He said that the conference discussed maritime strategic balance and its continuous impact on defense budgets. The Asia-Pacific region embodies a vivid example of this intense competition, particularly in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and extending to the Black Sea.
He emphasized that with the digitization of maritime industries, concepts such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity have become deserving of independent focus. Cyber threats can still disrupt ship operations and compromise sensitive information, leading to significant material damage. Therefore, the conference dedicated a special discussion on cybersecurity technology and its role in security and defense sectors. Furthermore, the importance of maritime safety for environmental protection, such as preventing damage from hazardous material shipping and environmental risks resulting from climate change phenomena like global warming, was not overlooked.
He highlighted that this edition of the conference, addressed the most important issues in waterway security, maritime transport safety, and their effects on the economy and global growth. It examined the economic, regional, and global implications of various maritime challenges, showcasing the profound insights and extensive knowledge of experts and specialists to deal with these challenges.
For his part, HE Commander of the Qatari Amiri Naval Forces Staff Maj. Gen. (Navy) Abdullah bin Hassan Al Sulaiti, stressed that maritime security today is of utmost importance, as the seas and oceans represent the most critical routes for global trade between countries. He pointed out that maintaining the safety and security of these maritime routes is necessary, especially amidst various crises that lead to closures and create global economic disruptions. Therefore, he said, ensuring maritime environmental safety is essential for the global economy, achievable through enhancing and solidifying joint coordination among all relevant parties, including naval forces, coast guards, maritime law enforcement agencies, international organizations, the private sector, and environmental entities.
He concluded by expressing gratitude to all the speakers who enriched the conference sessions with their opinions, experiences, knowledge sharing, and exchange of expertise to address the latest developments facing the world. He expressed confidence that this year's conference would be fruitful, meeting our aspirations to provide a safer and more stable world, especially in light of the region's developments and their global ramifications. (QNA)


General, Qatar
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