China has dispatched three warships and Russia has sent an anti-submarine ship to take part in the Pakistan Navy-led international exercise in the Arabian Sea that begins on Friday.
The Aman-17 exercise will be held off the Karachi coast till February 14.
Initiated in 2007, the naval drill is held every two years. This time, the drill will see the participation of the navies of 12 countries — Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, observers from 31 countries will also attend the event.
“This is the fifth time that China has participated in the joint drill. The Chinese Navy fleet will include the guided-missile destroyer Harbin, guided-missile frigate Handan and the comprehensive supply ship Dongpinghu,” Xinhua news agency reported.
According to Russia’s Sputnik news agency, the Russian Navy’s large anti-submarine ship Severmorsk will participate in the exercise in what could be a sign of increasing military collaboration between Moscow and Islamabad.
The Severomorsk, according to the news agency, participated in “Russia’s naval campaign against terrorists in Syria”.
“It is noted that during the exercises, the Severomorsk crew would interact with colleagues from Pakistan, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey and several other countries to enhance efforts on combating piracy and protecting the international trade routes,” the report said.
The Xinhua report added that the Aman-17 exercise will feature “harbour and sea phases, where participants will witness a variety of activities including search and rescue operations, gunnery drills, anti-piracy demonstrations, replenishment at sea (RAS) and maritime counter-terrorism demonstrations”.
The five-day exercise will involve a wide variety of ships, aircraft, helicopters, special operations forces, explosives ordinance disposal, marine teams and observers from regional as well extra-regional navies.
According to Xinhua: “This exercise provides a platform for the navies involved — some of which do not work together very often — to hone their skills and build cooperation and friendship to promote peace and stability.”
“With the theme ‘Together for Peace’, the Aman-17 naval exercise has helped clear the Arabian Sea of pirates,” Pakistan fleets commander Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini told a press conference in Karachi. “These exercises help the participating countries come together and further their relations,” he was quoted by Dawn newspaper as saying.