Islamabad: Pakistan Navy kicked off one of the largest naval exercises in the Arabian Sea along with the participation of navies of 45 countries.
The opening ceremony, held on Friday at Navy Dockyard in Karachi, was attended by a large number of military representatives, observers and diplomats from participating countries. Strict COVID-19 protocols have been put in place to ensure safety this year. Naval forces from 45 countries, including the US, UK, China, Russia, Turkey as well as several Arab and African countries are participating in the week-long exercise called ‘Aman-21’ (Peace) from February 11-16. The exercise is held every two years since 2007.
‘Together for peace’
Welcoming the participants, Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi said the 7th exercise of the series would provide a platform to “develop doctrinal synergy to tackle maritime security challenges” and to enhance interoperability among navies “at different pedestals of the technological prowess to come together and secure a sustainable maritime environment.” In his speech, the admiral also highlighted Pakistan Navy’s initiative of Regional Maritime Security Patrols (RMSP) to fulfil international obligations besides protection of national interests in the Indian Ocean Region. The maritime collaboration will “bring us even closer to the cherished goals of realising regional peace and shared prosperity through collaborative efforts” he said.
Commander Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf, acknowledged the support of the participating states towards Pakistan’s quest for peace and order at sea under the motto of ‘Together for Peace’.
Pakistan Navy initiated the exercise in 2007 with only three participants but the message of collaborative maritime security was widely accepted and the participation greatly expanded as 45 nations including the three largest navies, US, China and Russia, have joined the exercise this year. Experts say “it is a huge achievement for Pakistan as Aman-21 brings the world superpowers together for peace under one platform for maritime collaboration.”
Aman-21 includes two phases, harbour and sea. The harbour activities include seminars, demonstrations and get-togethers, while the sea phase would demonstrate tactical manoeuvres on anti-piracy, counterterrorism, gunnery firing and search and rescue missions. The international fleet review would be the hallmark of the sea phase.
Bridging gaps, strengthening partnerships
One of the key goals of the Exercise Aman is to bridge gaps and to operate together in the pursuance of shared objectives to achieve stability, peace and prosperity at sea. The naval drills exhibit a united resolve against multi-faceted maritime threats. “The exercise is a reflection that nations can play a constructive role in building new ties, establishing innovative relationships while strengthening existing ones” Rear Admiral Ashraf said.
Exercise Aman (Peace) aims to strengthen and develop naval cooperation among the world navies to promote regional stability and counter maritime threats. It offers the participating counties a chance to “work together keeping differences aside to defeat common adversaries” and hybrid warfare such as terrorism, piracy, terrorism, drugs and arms trafficking, human smuggling, climate change, Pakistan Navy Chief said.
Objectives of Aman Exercise:
· Contribute towards regional peace and stability.
· United resolve against terrorism, crimes and other threats in maritime domain.
· Bridge the gap and enhance interoperability between regional and extra-regional navies with Pakistan Navy acting as a bridge in the region.