A Strong Regional Role
A potent fighting force run by motivated professionals, the Pakistan Navy is a trusted guardian of the country’s sea frontiers. It holds regular joint exercises with other leading naval arms. Here is an account of the PN’s Aman Naval Exercises.
The Pakistan Navy has been interacting with regional and other navies through joint bilateral and multilateral exercises called AMAN. This is a multinational exercise organized by the Pakistan Navy every two years since 2007 with friendly regional and other friendly navies enhancing interoperability and mutual understanding. AMAN-17, the fifth exercise is scheduled from February 10 to 14 this year. Navies from 71 countries have been extended an invitation to participate in the exercise. They will be participating with ships, aircraft, SOF/ EOD/marine teams and observers in the exercise.
The objectives would be to project a positive image of Pakistan as a country contributing to regional peace and stability, consolidate PN’s position in the regional maritime arena, enhance interoperability with regional and extra regional navies to act as a bridge between the regions and display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain.
The exercise has been designed to provide a common forum for information sharing, mutual understanding and identifying areas of common interest for group analysis and dialogue through the International Maritime Conference.
The exercise will also serve to develop and practice response tactics, techniques and procedures against asymmetric and traditional threats during its sea phase. This will be an opportunity for nationals of various countries to intermingle and present their respective cultures during the cultural shows and food galas.
Overall, the exercise will be divided into Harbour and Sea Phases. The Harbour Activities will feature arrival of participating units, the opening ceremony, laying of a wreath at the Mazar of the Quaid-e-Azam, friendly sport matches, a maritime counter terrorism demo by SSG(N)/ Pak Marines, ships visits and an International Maritime Conference (IMC) under the aegis of the National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR) at the Bahria University, Karachi.
The Sea Activities would feature an International Fleet Review (IFR) which is scheduled at sea on February 14, 2017. During the IFR, various operational activities/ serials will be conducted such as Fly Past by Air Units, RAS (L) Token, an Anti Piracy Demonstration by the PN MSW Team, Surface Firing on KILLER TOMATO (Floating Baloon Target), Man and Cheer Ship and Formation AMAN/ PHOTEX.
In addition to the IFR, other sea activities would include MISCEX-830 (Simple Manoeuvres),RAS Approaches, Surface Practice Firing with main armament on KILLER TOMATO (Floating Balloon Target), SVBSS Ops, SAR Exercise (Responding to distress call of stranded boats), RAS (L) Token, Cross Deck Landing, SAR Exercise (Recovery of Stranded Personnel), CASEX C-2 (Basic ASW Coordinated Exercise) TBC, ASMDEX 0403/0404, MISCEX-832 (Screen Exercise), MIOEX (Identifying and Classifying COI) and SURFEX 993 (MOD) (Combined MIO Boarding Ops).
The major events of the SOF/EOD/ MARINES TEAMS would be an SOF/ EOD Seminar, a Maritime Counter Terrorism Demo by PN SSG(N), a scenario based Anti Terrorist Exercise, a display of EOD equipment, table top discussions, a mine disposal workshop and scenario based exercise, boarding rehearsals, display of weapons, SVBSS/HVBSS rehearsals, table top Anti Terrorist Team (ATT) discussions and scenario-based exercise, equipment familiarization and Combat Marksmanship Training.
The naval assets of participating nations would include ships, aircraft and helos. SOF/EOD/Marines Teams of 35 countries are partcipating with observers.
The first such exercise, AMAN07 was held in March 2007. A total of 28 countries participated in it with their naval assets and observers. The countries included China, UK, Italy, France, Malaysia and Bangladesh. A total of 14 ships from these countries actively participated in the mega event. In addition, SOF/EOD teams from Turkey,
USA and Bangladesh also participated in Special Operation Forces Exercises. Furthermore, 21 countries participated in the exercise as observers. The inception of AMAN series of exercises in 2007 was a significant effort to improve maritime security in the western region of the Indian Ocean.
Besides the operational exercises, an International Maritime Conference in 2007 was also an integral part of the AMAN exercise, which was organized from March 4-6, 2007, by the National Centre of Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University, Karachi. Hundreds of intellectuals, delegates, representatives of various diplomatic missions, policymakers and maritime stakeholders from around the globe gathered for the common purpose of addressing the issues confronting the maritime horizons of the Indian Ocean region and to devise a common strategy for a mutual beneficial use of the Ocean. The topic of the first IMC was “Maritime Threats and Opportunities in the 21st Century – A global perspective on the Indian Ocean.
The papers read by eminent scholars at the conference included “Security of the Indian Ocean – A global naval perspective” by Dr. James Boutilier, “Integration of the Indian Ocean” by Vice Admiral (R) Jacques Mazor, “Importance of Secure Maritime Environment in Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf – The Coalition Contribution” by Rear Admiral Neil Morissetti, “Maritime Security within the International Strategic Milieu” by Dr. Shireen Mazari, “Maritime Laws and Regimes” by Mr. Bilal Sufi, “Managing the Village Pond” by Ms Romany Rasquinho, “War and other disasters: A Historic Approach to Security Strategy” by Mr. David N Griffiths and “Economy, Environment and Security” by Dr. Hassan Waqas Rana.
The second exercise AMAN-09 was held in March 2009. A total of 24 countries participated in the exercise with naval assets and observers. Countries including USA, UK, France, Malaysia, Australia and Bangladesh took part in the exercise with their naval assets. These assets included 14 ships from the participating countries. In addition, 2 aircraft (P-3C) from Japan participated in the exercise. SOF/ EOD teams from China, USA, Turkey, Nigeria and Bangladesh also participated in Special Operation Forces exercise. 22 countries sent their naval experts who witnessed the exercise as observers.
The International Maritime Conference was also held from March 5-7, 2009 in Karachi. The theme of the conference that year was “Traditional and Non Traditional Threats, Force Postures and Extra Regional Interests: Implication for Arabian Sea and Gulf Littorals”. The conference was attended by a large number of intellectuals and representatives from the maritime sector. Papers presented at the conference included “Arc of Instability” by Dr. James Boutilier, “China and Harmonious Indian Ocean” by Dr. Wang De Hua,“Emerging Non-Proliferation Trends” by Ms. Maria Sultan, “China’s Perspective of Maritime Security in the Gulf and the Malacca Straits” by Dr. Ye Hailin,“Key Issues in Maritime Security” by Rear Admiral Philips Jones, “Legal issues in Anti Piracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden” by Dr. Hanling Wang and “Extra-regional Presence and Maritime Force Postures: Implication for Arabian Sea and the Gulf littorals” by Stanley B.Weeks.
The resounding success of the first two AMAN exercises encouraged the Pakistan Navy to expand the canvas of the exercise with an increased number of participating countries in AMAN11. The third exercise of the AMAN series was conducted from March 8-12, 2011. The exercise was attended by 28 countries which participated with naval assets and observers. These countries included Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and USA. Their naval assets included 11 ships from the participating navies and 3 aircraft from Australia and Japan. In addition, 3 SOF/ EOD/Marines teams from China, Turkey and USA also participated in Exercise AMAN-11.
The International Maritime Conference was held from March 8-9, 2001 under the auspices of the National Centre for Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University, Karachi. “Maritime Security Management Contemporary Challenges and Need for Global Cooperation” was the theme of the conference. Papers presented by scholars of international repute Included “Security of Ports and Shipping” by Captain Hashim Husnain, “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in the Maritime Sector” by Mr. Bari Malik, “Policing the Arabian Sea – Challenges and Pitfalls” by Commodore Azir Mumtaz, “Regional Impact of Maritime Security Regimes” by Prof Chris Bellamy and “Non-Traditional Security Challenges and International Cooperation in Construction of Harmonious Indian Ocean” by Prof Wang Dehua.
AMAN-13 was the fourth exercise of the AMAN series which was conducted from Mar 4-8, 2013. The exercise proved to be instrumental in enhancing tactical and operational readiness as well as friendly ties amongst the participating navies. With the participation of 36 countries, which was the largest number compared with previous exercises, the Pakistan Navy endeavoured to establish an understanding between the cross-cutting cleavages encompassing maritime security operations, antiterrorist operations and humanitarian assistance operations. The naval assets comprised 12 foreign ships, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, ship-borne helicopters, two Japanese P3Cs, 9 SOF/ EOD teams and 5 senior officers from participating navies. In addition, more than 40 observers from 24 countries witnessed the exercise.
Like in preceding exercises, an IMC was also organized during AMAN 13 which was held from March 5-7, 2013. The topic selected for the conference was “Regional Maritime Security Dynamics, Imperatives and Inter-Dependencies.” This conference was attended by renowned scholars, professors and experts from the maritime sector who presented their papers on such topics as: “The Asia Pacific Strategic Environment and Maritime Security Challenges: Implications for North Indian Ocean Maritime Security” by Dr. Stanley Byron Weeks, “Strengthening Cooperation – Maintaining the Security of Sea Lanes on the India Ocean Together” by Rear Admiral Yuan Yubai,“Maritime Security Dynamics in the North Indian Ocean and Sino-Pak Cooperation” by Dr. Xia Liping, “Emerging Maritime Challenges in the Indian Ocean Region an Role of the Pakistan Navy” by Rear Admiral Abdul Aleem,“Indian Ocean Maritime Security Cooperation: The Need to Address Shared Risks and Vulnerabilities, particularly from Non-Traditional Security Challenges” by Commodore (R) Lee Cordner RAN, “Ocean of Unity: Promoting Economic Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region” by Mr. Nazery Khalid, “An Integrated Approach to Disrupting the Piracy Business Model in the Horn of Africa” by Dr. Lucia Fanning and “Enterprise and Innovation in the Maritime Sector: The Tri-Partnership of Knowledge, Capital and Policy” by Khillat Bari Malik.
ASMDEX: Anti Ship Missile Defence Exercise; CASEX: Combined Anti Submarine Exercise; EOD: Explosive Ordnance Disposal; MIO: Maritime Interdiction Operation; RAS (L): Replenishment At Sea (Liquid) SAR: Search And Rescue and SOF: Special Operation Force.
The writer is a freelance contributor.