Rising Against All Odds: Ex AMAN-2021 — A Huge Victory of Pakistan Navy
Despite many challenges and constraints, Pakistan Navy has risen above all and has not only emerged as strong and formidable regional power for peace in the region but has also thwarted the Indian objectives to isolate Pakistan
Pakistan Navy continues to promote peace and bridge cordial ties between regional & extra-regional navies to fight against the “common threat”. Pakistan Navy has hosted the 7th International Naval Exercise AMAN-21, from February 12 to 16, in which navies from 45 countries including Russian, American, Turkish, and Chinese naval forces have participated. Despite many challenges and constraints, Pakistan Navy has risen above all and has not only emerged as a strong and formidable regional power for peace in the region but has also thwarted the Indian objectives to isolate Pakistan. The Exercise AMAN-2021 has helped Pakistan Navy to line up with the best navies of the world and also significantly boosted the geostrategic importance of Pakistan.
AMAN is a biennial Multinational exercise conducted under the slogan of “Together for Peace”. The exercise demonstrates Pakistan Navy’s commitment to peacefully contribute towards regional maritime security and enhance interoperability between regional and extra-regional navies, particularly against asymmetric threats. AMAN exercise is a major international event meant to promote regional cooperation, stability and to display united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain. The first exercise was held in March 2007 and now the number of exercises has reached seven.
In the recent exercise, the navies from 45 countries have participated and this is interesting to note that this is the first time the Russian Navy has joined NATO members in an exercise in a decade. Extra-regional navies such as the US Navy, Chinese Navy, and Russian Navy and regional navies such as Bangladesh Navy, Sri Lankan Navy, and Indonesian Navy have participated in the exercise. This is a huge victory of the Pakistan Navy that the naval exercise which started with three (3) participants in 2007 now the number of participants has grown to forty-five (45). The Call of Peace by the Pakistan Navy has brought the eastern and western navies closer despite the differences. Therefore, Pakistan Navy deserves salutation to act as a bridge for NATO and non-NATO navies and provide them a platform to come together for peace.
The Exercise AMAN-21 was divided into two phases: A Harbour Phase and A Sea Phase. In Harbour Phase, presentations, discussions, and meetings were included. For example, the International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) was organized by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) under the auspices of the Pakistan Navy from February 13 to 15 in this phase. In the Sea Phase, demonstrations of tactical maneuvers on anti-piracy, counterterrorism, gunnery firing and search and rescue missions were included. Moreover, the International Fleet Review (IFR) was a distinctive characteristic of the sea phase as several operational maneuvers and drills were held during the IFR.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, while interacting with foreign naval officers, stated that the AMAN exercise demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment to peace, reinforces regional maritime security, and enhances interoperability between regional and extra-regional navies. He further added that camaraderie generated herein will grow in the future and shall bring us closer to the mutual goal of peace and prosperity and appreciated their participation in the naval exercise to fulfill the common resolve of “together for peace”.
Coming towards the significance of Ex AMAN-21 for Pakistan Navy and Pakistan, for Pakistan Navy, it has brought immense opportunities to learn from the experiences of the best navies of the world to enhance its capacity and capability to mitigate the traditional and non-traditional security threats to territorial integrity and also to the security of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) and economic resources. Moreover, the exercise has further strengthened the military-to-military ties of the Pakistan Navy with regional and extra-regional navies. While talking about AMAN-21, Commodore (R) Syed Mohammed Obaidullah, an ex-officer from Pakistan Navy, said, “It is a huge achievement for Pakistan Navy that the number of participating countries grew immensely in a few years as the message of peace and collaboration appealed to both eastern and western navies, NATO and non-NATO members.”
In addition, the exercise has also significantly boosted the geostrategic importance of Pakistan at the global level. Pakistan has continued to play its traditional role as a peacemaker in the maritime domain and bringing the Russian Navy and navies of NATO members close to each other is a huge success for Pakistan. An Indian ex-army officer and an author, Pravin Sawhney, while tweeting about AMAN-21, wrote “Getting together US, PLAN, & Russian navy speaks volumes of Pakistan’s geopolitical clout based on its geography, military professionalism & ability to build mutual understanding & mutual trust – a lesson for India in this!”
Furthermore, the Exercise AMAN-21 has given a befitting response to Pakistan’s arch-rival India which has been trying hard to isolate Pakistan regionally and internationally. Even, the Indians have acknowledged Pakistan’s success. For example, a former Indian diplomat, M. K. Bhadrakumar, while commenting on AMAN-21, said, “Spectacular display of Pakistan’s uniqueness as a regional power in a world torn apart and morality play for India on the failure of its Pakistan policy. Time is overdue for Delhi to introspect how and where things went so horribly wrong.”
The exercise AMAN-21 reflects the efforts of Pakistan’s Navy to enhance interoperability between regional and extra-regional navies and for the peace and stability in the region as this exercise is not against the country but for the benefits of all states. This International exercise could be a great opportunity for India if it would not have been a warmonger and standing against the peace in the region. There is also a lesson for India; peace is the only key to move forward otherwise you will be “isolated”. The significant increase in the number of the participants in Pakistan’s International Naval Exercise is irrefutable evidence of the Pakistan Navy’s success to build mutual trust between regional and extra-regional navies to come “Together for Peace”.