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March 14, 2020

Seaspark-20: a pledge to national security

“And prepare against them whatever you can of (military) power and of war-horses, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah, and your enemy, and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them.” Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) Al-Quran

It’s the time of peace that determines the triumph or defeat in a war, as is commonly said that “the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war”. A battle-hardened force employs the time of peace to prepare for war by formulating strategies, upgrading and modernizing its hardware, deploying and training personnel along with simulating exercises.

The armed forces of Pakistan are committed to ensure that the defense of the country is impregnable by showing preparedness during peacetime through conducting various exercises in a multifarious threat environment. Correspondingly, Pakistan Navy conducts exercises like SEASPARK, AMAN, Shamsheer-ul Bahr, etc. in order to deter the enemy- known and unknown- by demonstrating combat readiness.

Pakistan, by virtue of its location is enshrouded in a hostile strategic environment with an ambitious India and unstable Afghanistan as neighbors. More recently the country has been facing traditional as well as non-traditional threats on both terrestrial and maritime fronts.

The global and regional strategic realities are transforming as is evident by the increased interest of the global powers; most notably USA and China, in the South Asian region. Likewise, the contiguous Indian Ocean Region has also seen increased activities over the recent years in the form of new alliances and strategic partnerships, amplifying the threat to the security of Pakistan.

Pakistan Navy as Guardian of Sea Frontiers has been constantly working to augment seaward defense of the country and ensure national security by demonstrating the naval might and battle readiness to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Battle readiness is a state where surface and subsurface combatants, weapon systems, air power etc. is in the state of highest preparedness to acquire irrevocable edge over its adversaries.

Earlier this month, SEASPARK-20, a biennial maritime exercise spanning over two months conducted by Pakistan Navy, commenced to assess the operational preparedness of the naval fire power via simulating war games in the Arabian Sea.

It is the largest of naval exercises conducted by Pakistan Navy for the fortification of the country’s Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC), littoral waters, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) including extended continental shelf, along with a comprehensive strategy to defend Karachi Harbor, Port Qasim and Gwadar Port by deploying Army Air Defense and Pakistan Air Force.

In addition to that, another role of SEASPARK is to ascertain the inter-operability by the engagement of sister services (Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Army) and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) so as to manifest Pakistan Navy’s war strategy. The officials from the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Interior and Finance are also part of the exercise.

The prevalent challenges faced by Pakistan require perpetual watchfulness and preparedness to make the national maritime interests unassailable against internal as well as external threats. In the backdrop of latest Indo-Pak tensions, SEASPARK-20 shows the resolve of Pakistan Navy, to maintain peace by promoting sustainable and secure maritime environment in the region and depicts Pakistan as a dependable ally. Pakistan Navy (PN) is a four-dimensional force and has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, in recent years.

It has exceptionally elevated role of Pakistan as an advocate of peace by contributing towards the security of Indian Ocean Region. It has time and again proven its professionalism and acumen by commanding CTF 150 & 151, many times along with being a respectable and capable partner of international maritime force.

In the maritime exercise, the Pakistan Navy emphasizes on conventional as well as non-conventional war games. It involves Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Army pitching against Pakistan Navy to ascertain naval capabilities via joint operations in multi-threat environment. Moreover, the deployment of the PN assets including active duty surface and subsurface combatant, aircrafts, UAVs will take place during this exercise.

Pak Marines, Special Forces and elements of PMSA are also utilized to protect national maritime interests during peace and war times.