KARACHI: The flag hoisting ceremony at the Pakistan Dockyard formally kicked off the 8th edition of Multinational Maritime Exercise Aman-23 in which over 50 navies have arrived to participate.
The naval participants from European, Eurasian, Asian and American continents have brought together ships, aircraft, special operation forces and explosive ordnance disposal teams. Dozens of military observers are also attending the multinational exercise, which will continue till February 14.
By Friday, frigates and destroyers from US, China, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka had arrived whereas other countries have deployed their helicopters, five explosive ordnance teams, five teams of special operations groups and five marine teams.
As many as 65 military observers from various countries are also attending the mega event.
Karachi Dockyard hosted a colourful flag hoisting ceremony. Flanked among Pakistan Navy frigates and some of those from the participating navies, marching columns brought in national flags of all the countries, which were later hoisted amid a gun salute followed by national anthem. A large number of senior military representatives from participating countries, observers, diplomats and Pakistan Navy officials attended the ceremony.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi in his message read out on the occasion identified contemporary asymmetric challenges and adverse impacts of climate change as the new threats to the maritime security. He underscored the importance of collaborative efforts to counter and manage maritime threats and challenges to preserve maritime order as individual navy alone cannot effectively neutralize the myriads of threats in the vast expanse of oceans.
The Naval Chief recalled that Pakistan Navy initiated the Aman series of multinational exercises in 2007 to promote collaborative maritime security in the region. He was hopeful that the camaraderie generated with the participation of navies from all major regions would enhance interoperability to act as a bridge between the regions. This would also provide an opportunity to practice and hone response tactics and procedures to counter asymmetric and traditional threats.
Welcoming the participating navies, Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Owais Ahmed Bilgrami said the exercise motto ‘Together for Peace’ underscores the collaborative working for free flow of trade and commerce in the oceans and seas. He said the Aman series provides a platform to the participating nations to participate in operational activities, building relationships and fostering greater understanding.
Highlighting Pakistan’s concerns and interests, Commander Pakistan Fleet said maritime stability becomes a vital national security interest owing to the country’s dependence on the seas for trade, operationalisation of the CPEC project and our strategic location astride the global energy highway. He said the importance of maritime security is not only critical for Pakistan but also for all other countries whose prosperity and progress are tied to the seas.
The non-conventional threats, including piracy, terrorism, narco-arms trafficking and climate change, are equally serious, he said which can only be neutralized through robust collaborative maritime security and Aman showcases the acknowledged reality of combating the maritime threats collectively, he said.
Talking to the media, Indonesian Ambassador Adam Tugio described the Aman exercise as a wonderful opportunity for Indonesian Navy and those of other countries to exchange and learn from best practices, tactics and procedures. Talking about the Aman exercise moto of ‘Peace Together’, Ambassador Tugio said it is imperative to build and expand partnerships and collaborations against the asymmetric transnational crimes that respect no boundaries and rule of law.
An special operations forces officer from Azerbaijan thanked the Pakistan Navy and the people of Pakistan for their hospitality while looking forward to learn from PN against maritime threats.