KARACHI: The deep sea phase of the Pakistan Navy and China’s People’s Liberation Army — Navy (PLA-Navy) third bilateral exercise concluded at the Arabian Sea on Tuesday.

The PLA Navy Task Group comprising two destroyers and one fleet tanker, headed by Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang, visited Karachi to participate in the exercise last week.

The phase of the exercise covered a wide spectrum of maritime and naval operations by ships, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, fighters and special forces. Joint boarding operations by Special Forces, air defence exercises, communication drills and joint manoeuvres by ships were the hallmark of the events. A de-brief/hot wash-up of the exercise was also held at sea upon culmination of the exercise.

Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) have been interacting since long, however, bilateral naval exercises are unique in the entire spectrum of multifaceted maritime operations.

Earlier, the maiden exercise of the series was held in September 2014 at Karachi. It laid a solid foundation for the second exercise in Shanghai, China from Dec 28, 2015 to Jan 3, 2016.

The third Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) bilateral exercise is reflective of the strong mutual desire to improve the level of coordination and inter-operability at operational and tactical levels.

The exercise provided a further impetus to growing mutual naval collaboration to effectively contribute towards contemporary maritime security challenges in the region.

The deep-rooted naval collaboration between Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) has become even more important against the backdrop of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to effectively handle complex asymmetric challenges in the maritime domain. In this regard, bilateral exercises are expected to go a long way in promoting maritime security and stability in the region in the years to come.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2016

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