Wednesday February 28, 2024

AMAN-23 to make region peaceful: PM

8th Edition of Multinational Maritime Exercise Aman-23 finally concluded

February 15, 2023
PM Shehbaz Sharif. PID/file
PM Shehbaz Sharif. PID/file 

KARACHI: While praising Pakistan Navy for successfully hosting Exercise AMAN-23 for promoting peace and security in the region, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday emphasized that AMAN-23 would pave the way to make the region more peaceful and secure with combined efforts by all stakeholders. He thanked the participating regional and extra-regional navies for displaying their commitment to collaborative maritime security and joining hands for peaceful co-existence.

The 8th Edition of Multinational Maritime Exercise Aman-23 finally concluded with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conducting the International Fleet Review.

Of the 53 participating navies, China, US, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, had deployed their frigates and helicopters. Besides five explosive ordnance teams, five teams of special operations groups and five marine teams. As many as 60 military observers and defence attaches from various countries also attended the mega event. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived by a PN helicopter on board PNS Moawin in the northern Arabian Sea to witness the naval prowess.

Earlier in the day, the fleet performed demonstrations of different operations, including replenishment at sea, mock-up of counter-piracy actions by SSGN, anti-submarine warfare and gunnery fire.

Earlier in the day, the fleet performed demonstrations of different operations including replenishment at sea, mock-up of counter-piracy actions by SSGN, anti-submarine warfare, and gunnery fire. As the fleet headed for the staging area in the North Arabian sea, Chinese PLA(N) Nanning, USS Truxton, Italian ITS Carlo Bergamoni, Indonesian Martadinata-331, Japanese Suzutsuki, Malaysian KD Lekiu, Sri Lankan SLNS Samudara joined the frigates from Pakistan including the newly inducted PNS Tugril, PNS Taimur, auxiliary PNS Moawin and PNS Nasr. Both PNS Tugril and PNS Taimur required refuelling from the utility tanker PNS Moawin. They joined the fuel tanker on its starboard (right) and port (left) side, simultaneously as the three proceeded to sail over the mildly swelling sea.

A mockup of a pirate attack and a demonstration of Vehicle, board, search and seizure (VBSS) action by a group of SSGN followed. The pirates installed their flag on one of the PNS frigates ‘acting’ as a defenceless commercial ship, harassing the crew and roaming the ship with steady guns. Soon, the SSGN boarded the sailing ship from two of the speeding Special Operation Forces boats and started to clear the different decks of the ship one by one to ‘take out’ the pirates. Another team of SSGN was rappelled on the ship by a helicopter. The demonstration ended with commandos swiftly pouncing on the unsuspecting “pirates” and detaining them.

The Pakistan Navy joined the US-led and Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in 2004 but upon realising the Extra Regional Forces-led military cooperative models (e.g., CENTO, SEATO, etc.) led to intra-regional rifts, suspicions and lack of trust, Pakistan embarked on ‘strategic autonomy’ and commenced patrolling the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden and the South Arabian Sea, as an initial step of Regional Maritime Security Patrols. They are focused on the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and choke points off the Maldives. The PN also established Task Force-88 (TF-88) for the security of Gwadar and adjacent sea lanes.

The navies participating in AMAN-23 coordinated and honed on 23 subjects including replenishment at sea (RAS), anti-piracy, main-gun firing, formation movement, air defence and vehicle boarding, search and seizure (VBSS) operations in the week-long exercise. The participation of 53 countries in Aman-23, from 28 countries in Aman-07, speaks for the success of naval diplomacy. Naval participants from European, Eurasian, Asia, southwest Asia, Saarc, ASEAN and American continents kindle a lot of interest among Pakistan’s strategic circles. This was manifested in the presence of commander Djibouti navy, Tanzania, and countries of the critical southwest in the Indian Ocean region, which are of specific interest to Pakistan. That region is rife with China and India competition.

As part of the anti-submarine warfare exercise, the two PN frigates were tracking a ‘hostile’ submarine and successfully engaged and destroyed the simulated submarine target by firing anti-submarine rockets. Gunnery demonstrations were also carried out by PNS frigates and other naval platforms by firing a barrage of gunfire at the target buoys degrading them in an exercise called Killer Tomato. The Killer Tomato was followed by a flypast of PAF JF-17 Thunders, PN’s Orions, ATRs, Alouette helicopters, Sea King helicopters and Z9EC helicopters.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was joined on the PNS Moawin by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Sahir Shamshad, COAS General Asim Munir, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Baber, besides the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and Federal Minister Rana Tanvir.

This led to the International Fleet Review, which was the power punch of the multinational exercise. They passed one by one in front of PNS Moawin hosting the prime minister who reviewed the fleet. The foreign ships conducted their respective national Man and Cheer Ship procedures. In the end, all the ships aligned to form the ‘A’ formation of the AMAN exercise to sail to the conclusion of the drill.

On the occasion, Naval Chief Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi assured that Pakistan Navy will continue to play a dynamic role in enhancing regional maritime security individually and in collaboration with partner navies.