ISLAMABAD: As offense is universally acknowledged as the best defense; a balanced and capable military force is equally imperative for peace among the nation and in regions.
This capability becomes more inevitable when nations house in volatile regions where unending hegemonic wishes and insurgencies continue to repeat over the decades.
Therefore, countries have to opt for better defense capabilities to ensure regional peace with an aim to promote bilateral and multi-lateral peace overtures at parity with other countries.
For the purpose, the defense forces carry out different exercises like Pakistan Navy (PN)’s biennial multinational exercise with its AMAN 2023 commencing in Karachi this year from February 10.
Its core objective is to project country’s positive image, consolidate PN’s position in regional maritime arena and enhance interoperability with regional and extra regional navies and demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to peace.
It was in view of the importance of regional peace that Pakistan Navy (PN) started multi-national AMAN exercises from 2007 to strengthen maritime security and enhance regional and extra regional cooperation and interoperability.
Since commencement of multinational drill, the PN had successfully conducted seven exercises so far with 8th exercise planned for current month inviting over 110 countries to participate.
This Exercise has emerged as a major International Naval event as evident from growing number of participants and reflects Pakistan’s growing positive image.
Its main attraction is the maiden Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference (PIMEC), aimed at showcasing country’s maritime potential and promoting regional cooperation and stability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and maritime crimes including piracy.
Chronological AMAN series reveal that first AMAN Exercise held in March 2007 participated by 14 ships from Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, UK and USA that further expanded to Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Sri Lanka and Poland in coming years.
In 2007, Special Operations Forces and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (SOF/ EOD) teams from Bangladesh and Turkey also participated in SOF exercises. Overall 28 countries participated in the exercise with 29 observers.
The 2nd Exercise, AMAN-09, conducted in March 2009 was participated by 24 countries with military assets besides 29 observers as as AMAN-11 was participated by 28 countries with naval assets and besides 43 observers and in AMAN-13 Navies of 29 countries participated in exercise with 36 observers.
Similarly, AMAN-17 conducted in North Arabian Sea from in 2017, was participated by 34 countries including Pakistan participated with military assets and there were 67 observers; AMAN-19 was led in North Arabian Sea with 46 countries including participating in it with 11 ships, two P3Cs, 15 SOF/EOD/ and other equipment with 113 observers.
AMAN-21 was the last of the series conducted in North Arabian Sea from February 11-16, 2021 where some 11 ships from seven nations, one Turkish MPA, four SOF teams/ Observers, three EOD teams/Observer, 11 Senior officers and 117 Observers along with PN Ships, aircraft, SSG (N) teams and PAK Marines assets took part in the drills.
This year 110 countries have been invited to participate in the Exercise to provide them a common forum for information sharing, mutual understanding and identifying areas of common interests for group analysis and dialogue.
It is also expected to developing and practicing response tactics, techniques and procedures against asymmetric and traditional threats during sea phase of the exercise, intermingling of multinationals with depiction of their respective cultures during cultural shows and food galas.
The Exercise is being divided into Harbor and Sea Phases wherein the former includes arrival of participating units, opening ceremony at PN Dockyard, wreath laying, friendly sport matches, Maritime Counter Terrorism Demo by SSG (N)/ Pak Marines, table top discussions (TTDs) on professional topics, calls and visits including ship visits, international band display, international cultural display and food gala and the first ever Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference (PIMEC) at Expo Centre Karachi.
The sea activities include an International Fleet Review (IFR) being scheduled at sea on February 14, 2023. During IFR, various operational activities mainly RAS (L) Token, Counter Piracy Demo by PN MSW Team, Rocket Depth Charge (RDC) firing, Surface Firing on Killer Tomato, Fly Past by Air Units (PN, PAF and Foreign participating Aircraft), Man and Cheer Ship have been planned in the honor of the Chief Guest.
In addition to IFR, various exercises would be conducted to practice response against maritime security threats in a multinational environment.
Special Operation Forces (SOF), Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Marines teams will also participate in these exercises.
The SOF/EOD/Marine personnel have the frontline role against threat of maritime terrorism and other crimes.
Therefore, a number of exercises have been planned to develop Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) for combined action by multinational forces against asymmetric threats.
The objectives for the flagship PIMEC are to provide opportunities to maritime industry to display products at one forum and interact directly with International Maritime Industry.
Experts believe that inviting International Maritime and Defence Manufacturers for joint ventures would not only help transfer of technology to boost Pakistan’s Industrial setup but also highlight country’s vast potential for Blue Economy and reinforce efforts in the realm of Maritime Diplomacy.
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