Pakistan Navy, an anchor of peace

by Nimra Javed

THE Pakistan Navy has started its biennial multinational maritime exercise, Aman 2023, today, and it will lastuntil the 14th of February in and around the waters near Karachi. The exercise involves the participation of naval vessels, special operations forces, and air assets from 50 different countries.

The focus of the exercise this year is on training drills for counterterrorism, piracy, narco-arms trafficking, and climate change, and there are two phases to complete the exercise: the harbor and the other is the sea. Apart from counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance operations, the activities will also involve several response tactics, techniques, and procedures training events to counter other traditional and non-traditional threats.

One who controls the sea controls the world, a quote by naval strategist and retired US navy Alfred Thayar Mahan gained vast popularity in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Indian Ocean Region has become necessary because of the geopolitical competition between the regional and extra-regional countries. The Indian Ocean has become a hotbed of competition between them. Many scholars and strategists relate this quote as one who controls the Indian Ocean will control the world.

Pakistan’s Navy is going beyond this mentality of control and bringing countries together in the region through Aman Exercises. It plays a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability in the region by performing various duties, including maritime security operations, disaster relief, and promoting regional cooperation through joint exercises and training programs.

Additionally, the Navy helps to ensure the safe navigation of shipping lanes, countering piracy and smuggling, and protecting the country’s maritime interests. By fulfilling these responsibilities, the Pakistan Navy contributes to a stable and secure regional environment, promoting peace and stability in the area. Moreover, Aman’s exercises are the best stakeholder in Pakistan’s attribution toward peace and harmony. The Pakistan navy conducted the first Aman exercise for the first time in 2007, in which 28 countries participated with their naval assets and 29 observers. Pakistan will organize its eighth multinational naval exercise, AMAN, for which 110 countries have been invited.

Pakistan’s 8th AMAN exercise is divided into two phases. The first phase is the harbor phase, in which Pakistan Navy Special Services Group troops would perform maritime counterterrorism demos. The Pakistan international maritime expo and conference would be the key events. In contrast, in the second phase, the sea phase, Pakistan Navy would perform rocket depth charge firing and surface firing on killer tomato, which is the most popular events.

The notable fact of the exercise is its notion of “Together for Peace.” There were many naval exercises, but the purpose of their origin was conventional, and the wisdom these Aman exercises got marked their uniqueness and durability of Peace and Security in the region and collectively for the world. These AMAN exercises serve as a bridge to connect the countries through their navies despite political-strategic differences. Human Trafficking, piracy, terrorism, and illegal Smuggling of Drugs, automobiles, electronic devices, and equipment are the asymmetric threats faced by Indian Oceanic states.

In contrast, the militarization of the Indian Ocean Region by world powers is a symmetric threat that could cause a high level of destruction of sea life and organic compounds. In this critical situation, the implementation of such peaceful coordinated exercises echoed its unpretentious foreign policy towards the world. Moreover, the growing instability in the region has marked a significant threat to nations lying across it. The US deployment of more than 60% of its naval troops in the region and the increment of China’s investment in the region compelled the world to intensify its demands.

Pakistan has a friendly foreign policy relationship with world power and incorporated itself in the region as an anchor of peace and stability. The politics and strategies of world powers in the Indian Ocean Region have threatened the world so far. However, Aman’s exercises could, in the future, make the severe rivals “good friends” against the asymmetric threats of the high seas. On the other hand, there seemed to be an absence of India, a significant power of IOR, in the exercises.

India is busy militarizing the region with more nuclear submarines, and the utilization of these can be the reason for chaos and movement in the region. The national song of AMAN, released by the Pakistan Navy, is also a sign of peace, harmony, and cooperation. These exercises help promote a positive image of Pakistan and its Navy, improving its standing in the region and beyond. The militarization of the Indian Ocean impacts the blue economy of the IOR, and it depends on the balance between the positive effects of enhanced security and the adverse effects of increased risks and restrictions. A carefully managed and balanced approach is needed to ensure that the blue economy can continue to grow and develop in a stable and secure environment.

—The writer is Researcher at CISS, AJK working on emerging technologies and new trends in warfare.

This article was originally published in Pakistan observer.

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Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir