Commodore Asif Khaliq, Pakistan Navy, Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 recently visited Djibouti as part of his regional engagement plan, which is aimed at improving maritime security in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of operations.
The meetings were with the Djibouti Defence Minister, S.E.M. Hassan Darar Houffaneh, and Director Djibouti National Security Council, Mr Hassan Said Khaireh, in their respective offices.
Commodore Khaliq explained the CMF mission, which is designed to enhance coordination between regional countries for active participation in CMF, a professional naval force comprised of 29 countries who work together to maintain security and stability in the area.
Commenting on the regional role of Djibouti, Mr Houffaneh said, “Djibouti is a relatively small force, but remains committed to supporting the CMF in the fight against terrorism.”
He added, “Our naval and coast guard assets are ready to cooperate with CMF. Cooperation amongst regional countries, continuous patrolling in the area and intelligence sharing is the most effective way ahead to combat illegal activities at sea.”
Mr Khaireh praised the cooperation in the region with a strong desire to work closely with CMF, to ensure maritime routes are protected for safe trade and the maintenance of security. He said, “Djibouti forces have participated in the past and will continue to cooperate with the CMF. Joint exercises are a good opportunity to learn from each others’ experiences.”
Pakistan has been in charge of CTF 150 for two months, with the remit to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities in a region, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
To accomplish this goal, it is essential that CTF 150 works together with regional states. With Djibouti positioned at the southern end of the Bab al Mandeb strait, it is an important contributor in helping CTF 150 to achieve its aim of ensuring that maritime trade continues to flow unhindered through strategic chokepoints.