Pakistan-hosted multinational military drill kicks off

Some 45 countries – including Turkey, China, UK, US and Russia – taking part in week-long 'Aman-2021' navel exercise


News Desk February 13, 2021
Officials from international navy officials presenting salute during flags hosting ceremony of multinational naval exercise Aman-2021 at PN Dockyard. PHOTO: APP

KARACHI:

A week-long multinational naval exercise hosted by Pakistan begun on Friday in the Arabian Sea, a move that could set the tone for its enhanced bilateral relations with many countries.

With the participation of some 45 countries in Aman-2021 from February 11-16, including the US, Russia, China, and Turkey, the drill – a biannual affair since 2007 – began with a flag-raising ceremony.

Significantly, this is the first time Russia has joined a military drill with Nato members in a decade. The last such time was in 2011, in the Bold Monarch 2011 exercise off the coast of Spain.

Organised under the slogan, “Together for Peace,” Pakistan’s Navy says the exercise is aimed at “fostering international cooperation to fight piracy, terrorism, and other crimes” which pose a threat to maritime security and stability.

 

Regional countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia as well as African Union countries are taking part with their "surface and air assets" and maritime teams, according to Pakistan’s Navy.

Addressing an opening ceremony, Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf, the commander of the Pakistan Fleet, said the drill will help meet maritime challenges and ensure a secure maritime environment in the Indian Ocean.

The Commander Pakistan Fleet welcomed all the participants and said they have travelled from all across the globe and gathered to participate in the Aman-2021, and expressed profound gratitude to the countries for their participation in the exercise, despite the Covid-19 challenges.

He expressed hope that the interaction between the participating countries will be memorable and professionally rewarding.

Rear Admiral Ashraf said that he is looking forward to developing professional relationship among the participants of the Aman-2021.

Elaborating the title “AMAN”, he pointed out that the literal meaning of Urdu word “AMAN” is peace, which draws the motto of the exercise “Together for Peace”, therefore collaborative maritime security and collective efforts for maintaining good order at sea remains the spirit of the AMAN series of exercises.

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He said that today is a proud moment for Pakistan Navy when we began the 7th edition of our biennial multi-national maritime exercise Aman-2021.

"The purpose of the Aman-2021 is coming together and understand each other to fight with the common enemies, thereby achieve peace and stability at sea," he said.

He said that the AMAN exercise has encouraged and consolidated the process of collaborative maritime security among countries across the globe to demonstrate joint resolve against the threats emanating from the maritime domain and to enhance interoperability among the participating navies and finally to achieve sheer understanding of maritime security operations, counter-terrorism operations and humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

 

The rear admiral also said that the salient activities of Aman-2021 include professional interactions, cross-cultural events and exercises at sea.

He said that Pakistan is a firm believer in collaborative maritime security and therefore has been actively participating in maritime security and counter-piracy operations along with other partner navies since 2004.

He said that "we have institutionalised the Task Force (TF-88) for seaward security of Gwadar port and adjacent sea area.

He said that since 2018, Pakistan Navy has been undertaking another initiative of Regional Maritime Security Patrol which is aimed at making sea safer for the maritime community and contribute in freedom of navigation at sea in the Indian Ocean Region.

The concept of maritime navy, he said, is vast and multidimensional ranging from traditional security issues like state sovereignty matters, territorial disputes and, threats from conventional forces etc.

"No country can single-handedly tackle the diverse threats that exist or the new ones that emerge on daily basis."

He said that exercise AMAN is an effort to boost interoperability and exhibit a united resolve against multifaceted threats.

The Commander Pakistan Fleet said that some of the prominent activities of Aman-2021 include anti-piracy tactics, counter-terrorism operations, search and rescue manoeuvres and finally the hallmark of the sea-phase which is the international fleet review.

Commander of 25th Destroyer Squadron Commodore Imtiaz Ali, reading the message of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, welcomed the participants of the exercise.

In his message, the naval chief said that this exercise provides not only a medium to develop doctrinal synergy to tackle maritime security challenges, but also serves to enhance interoperability amongst navies at different pedestals of technological prowess to secure a safe and sustainable maritime environment.

"Today, threats to maritime security increasingly emanate from contemporary asymmetric challenges that have deeply impacted the maritime environment. In this regard Pakistan Navy continues to actively contribute towards regional maritime security," the chief of Naval Staff said his message.

Reading out the message, Commodore Imtiaz Ali said: “It is a matter of pride to see flags and ensigns of over 45 navies fluttering together as an embodiment of exercise motto, ‘Together for Peace’.

Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, in his message, extended gratitude to the participating navies for joining Aman-2021.

“The overwhelming response received for the exercise despite Covid-19 pandemic, reflects your firm commitment for a secure maritime environment, which is indeed inspiring. I look forward to a successful and rewarding exercise and thank all the participants who have travelled great distances to be our worthy guests and invaluable partners for peace," the message concluded.

The drill will last through next Wednesday, February 17.

With additional input from APP and Anadolu Agency

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