Hosted by Pakistan Navy, the 2019 iteration of five-day long biennial multinational maritime exercise, AMAN-19, commenced in Karachi on 8th February. Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force also participated in the exercise, to the purpose of which Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, while addressing the opening ceremony as the chief guest elaborated that Aman, which means ‘peace’ in Urdu, is a step to enhance cooperation between the participating countries and forces. He further emphasized that maritime security is pivotal for national security and safeguarding maritime routes is essential for the economy, and like any other maritime nation, Pakistan has substantial stakes in the maritime domain.
|Officers From The Participating Navies|
"Our interest in safer and crime-free seas is rooted into three conspicuous realities: 1) Our extraordinary dependence on the seas for trade, 2) Operationalization of CPEC project; and 3) Our strategic location astride the global energy highway. " he added. Navies from 46 countries participated including, USA, UK, Russian Federation, China and Italy.
The exercise was divided into two major segments: one part at harbor and another at sea. Activities in the harbor included seminars, discussions and demonstrations. Along with this, a three-day International Maritime Conference also took place on the topic “Global Geopolitics in Transition: Rethinking Maritime Dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region”. Eminent scholars, expert in the maritime field from USA, Canada, UK, China, Russian Federation, Republic of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Romania, Turkey, Iran and Denmark in addition to scholars from Pakistan read their papers and interacted with the learned audience from Pakistan and the delegates of visiting Navies.
Geopolitically Pakistan which sits in a very vital point as the Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world, covering about 20 percent of the water on the Earth’s surface. Most importantly it provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and North and South America, in other words, it connects both the East and the West. It carries heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the East and the Middle East. Large reserves of hydrocarbons are present and are being regularly extracted in the offshore areas of Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, and Western Australia. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean. Thus, making the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean among the most strategically important in the world with more than 80 percent of the world’s maritime trade transits through the Indian Ocean and its vital choke points as about 40 percent passes through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and eight percent through Bab el-Mandeb.
Aman exercises had been conducted since 2007. From the beginning the some of the main objectives were to display united resolve against terrorism and crimes in maritime domain, develop collation building and multi-layer security cooperation to promote a safe and sustainable maritime environment, enhance tactical interoperability between regional and extra regional navies there by acting as a bridge between the regions and last but not the least validating response, tactics , techniques and procedures to counter nontraditional threats, e.g. piracy, in the maritime domain.
[Source:The Express Tribune, Naval Today]