AMAN exercises, as a part of Pakistan’s naval diplomacy started in 2007 in Arabian Sea with three participant countries and 50 countries participated in the naval drill this year. It depicts the success of Pakistan’s naval diplomacy. AMAN exercises are the joint naval venture of multi-nations. They play an important role in bringing positive image of State at international level by highlighting its commitment towards regional peace. These exercises contribute to strengthen maritime security and enhance regional and extra-regional cooperation and interoperability. Their purpose is to make the Indian Ocean secure from terrorism, piracy and other illegal trafficking or smuggling and maintain peace and security as it is the hub of great economic and strategic activities.
As these challenges are not confined to one state hence collective effort is required to deal with these issues. Pakistan via successfully implementing naval diplomacy has brought the states on one platform for collaboration. Furthermore, the dynamics of the great power competition is also shifted towards Asia-Pacific. The states are increasing their naval presence in the Indian Ocean. The US-China competition resulted in different naval adventures among the US allies such as QUAD and AUKUS. It has militarized the Indian Ocean and going to turn it into a war zone. To make the Indian Ocean safe for economic activities and restrain the hegemony of any other regional state, AMAN exercises have significant contribution.
Pakistan’s eighth AMAN exercises 2023 were held from February 10-14 with 50 countries at Navy Dockyard in Karachi. AMAN exercises contributed towards professional interlinkages synergy. These exercises were divided into two phases such as harbour and sea. The harbour phase involved activities such as seminars, operational discussions, professional demonstrations, international get together and pre-sail planning of evolutions at sea. It provided platform for professional growth of navies by giving them an opportunity to learn from each other and platform for team work. The sea phase included tactical manoeuvres, exercises related to maritime security such as anti-piracy and counter terrorism, search and rescue, gunnery firings and air defence exercises. It provided an arena to the navies of different countries to learn from each other and improve their capabilities. It also provided an opportunity to observe the varied cultures of participating countries.
Pakistan is at forefront as far as international peace and security is concerned. Pakistan always adopted an inclusive approach to contribute towards regional harmony. AMAN joint military exercises were one of those initiatives, with main slogan ‘Together for Peace’ highlighted its commitment to counter terrorism and maintain peace and security in the region with collaboration of other states. It provided a place where states can exchange information, identify the common goals, understanding one another’s position and formulate strategies for common challenges at sea. Its purpose is to make the sea safe and secure for positive activities by the states. As the secure sea is also essential for operationalization of CPEC project. AMAN incorporates navies of regional and extra-regional states for joint military exercises. AMAN exercises last year involved navies of almost 45 countries except India.
AMAN exercises also gave message to the states having regional ambitions in South Asia that Pakistan is not easy to be replaced or isolated through propaganda and other maligning tactics. Pakistan Navy has always contributed towards peace and stability in the region. AMAN exercise emerged as a major international naval event as evident from the growing number of participants and reflects Pakistan’s growing positive image.
—The writer is a Research Officer at the Centre for International Strategic Studies, AJK.
This article was originally published in Pakistan Observer.