NEW DELHI: Russian Navy’s large anti-submarine ship Severmorsk arrived in Pakistan on Thursday for participation in the Aman 2017 international naval exercises, Indian reports said quoting Xinhua.

This is the second time within six months that Russia and Pakistan are holding joint military exercises and Indian officials appeared to see it as a normal event, Indian Express said.

The ship, that set off from Oman’s port of Salalah, will take part in the naval exercises scheduled on Friday in the waters of the Arabian Sea and at the Pakistan Navy base located at the Karachi port. Navies from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States are participating in the joint exercise.

The Indian Navy, unmoved by India’s current political doctrine of isolating Pakistan, downplayed apprehensions over the naval exercises, reports said, terming it as a “normal maritime activity” every nation was entitled to.

“This is an exercise hosted by Pakistanis once in two years. And 16 nations are taking part in it. It is a normal maritime activity any nation is entitled to,” Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff, told reporters at the sidelines of a conference organised by the National Maritime Foundation, according to Press Trust of India.

A senior US naval officer was recently quoted as saying in India that it was routine for American and Indian navies to jointly track Chinese submarines in the Arabian Sea region.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2017