Pak Navy to conduct Exercise Aman, 45 countries will attend - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 10 February 2021

Pak Navy to conduct Exercise Aman, 45 countries will attend

The Pakistan Army has traditionally treated the navy as inconsequential, but the latter has begun gaining strength with Chinese warship purchases, such as the Zulfiqar-class frigate shown here 

By Ajai Shukla

11th Feb 21


Underscoring Islamabad’s insistence that Pakistan remains relevant and important to the global community, 45 countries are coming together for a combined naval exercise being organised by the Pakistan Navy in mid-February in the Arabian Sea.


“This year, 7th edition of Exercise Aman is scheduled this month, where around 45 countries are participating with surface and air assets, special operations forces, marine teams and observers and senior officers”, stated a Pakistan Navy press release.


The exercise will kick off with a “harbour phase” from February 11-14, followed by a “sea phase” on February 15-16.


The participants will include navies of the United States (US), China, Russia, UK, Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and several African countries. This will be the first time in a decade that the Russian navy exercises alongside warships from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries.


Since Exercise Aman began in 2007, participation in the multilateral exercise has steadily risen from 28 countries the first year to 45 countries this year.


Briefing the media in Karachi, the Pakistan Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf, stated that the Pakistan Navy, which believes in “collaborative maritime security”, has been participating in counter piracy operations since 2004. It has also partnered foreign navies in “regional maritime security patrols” since 2018.


Ashraf cited three reasons for Pakistan’s interest in safer and crime-free seas: “Firstly, our extraordinary dependence on the seas for trade; secondly operationalisation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project; and lastly our strategic location astride the global energy highway.”


The Pakistan Navy, which has traditionally been treated by that country’s army-dominated military establishment as relatively inconsequential, has begun coming into its own with warship purchases from China. 


Last week, Pakistan’s navy chief, Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi told China’s Global Times newspaper that the Pakistan Navy had contracted with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company for eight Hangor-class submarines. Four will be built in China and the remaining four in Pakistan.


These will join five French Agosta submarines that the Pakistan Navy already operates.


In addition, Pakistan has contracted with China for four Type 054A/P frigates, the second of which was launched at a shipyard in China last week. These will join four F-22P Zulfiqar-class frigates that Pakistan has already bought from China.


After that, Pakistan plans to induct another four frigates in collaboration with Turkey and another six guided missile frigates that it may build indigenously.

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