KARACHI: The sixth multinational Aman Exercise reached its conclusion on Tuesday with the Pakistan Navy’s newly commissioned replenishment tanker PNS Moawin taking centre stage as it hosted dignitaries, including President Arif Alvi and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, for witnessing the international fleet review.
It was like a scene from a war movie with ships, frigates, boats, special forces elements and a big support ship in the sea, all present and ready for action. The refuelling demonstration began with two frigates — PNS Aslat and PNS Saif — which were moving side by side with PNS Moawin. The two receiving ships had hoses sent their way from Moawin through which fuel was supposed to be transferred to them.
It was also pointed out that PNS Moawin — built with the cooperation of Turkey — is Pakistan Navy’s largest indigenously built ship that was commissioned in October 2018. PNS Aslat has also been built at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Limited with the cooperation from China.
The refuelling demonstration was followed by a rocket depth charge (RDC) firing demonstration from both PNS Aslat and PNS Saif. Both frigates then manoeuvered themselves to align behind each other to look like they were just one ship from behind. The frigates and others taking part in the exercise then fired at a given pre-deployed target in the form of a giant red killer tomato.
The exercise also included an impressive flypast with P3-C Orions, ATRs and Fokker aircraft and Seaking and Allouette helicopters of not just Pakistan Navy but those of Italy, China and Turkey as well.
President Alvi and the naval chief witnessed the international fleet review which comprised Turkish frigrate ship TCG Gokceada, China’s Peoples Liberation Army (Navy) Kunlun Shan and Luoma Hu, United Kingdom’s destroyer ship HMS Dragon, Royal Australia Navy’s frigate Ballarat, American destroyer USS Decatur, Sri Lanka’s offshore patrol vessel SLNS Sayurala, Royal Malaysian Navy’s support ship KD Mahawangsa and small warship KD Kasturi, Italian Navy’s frigate Carlo Margottini, Royal Navy of Oman’s warship Al Rahmani and Pakistan Navy ships Aslat, Saif, Shamsheer, Khyber, Azmat, Alamgir and Pakistan Maritime Security ships Kashmir, Zhob, Himmat and Basol.
The president congratulated Pakistan Navy for hosting the mega event and appreciated the participation of a large number of like-minded nations and emphasised that Aman-19 would pave the way to make the region more peaceful and secure with combined efforts by all stakeholders. He stressed the need for strategic cooperation to counter transnational maritime threats and encourage safety, security and stability in the region.
Aman-19 was conducted in two phases — the harbour phase and the sea phase. Other than seminars, table talks, cross ships visits and an international band display, the harbour phase also included the International Maritime Conference conducted by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs.
Earlier, the International Maritime Conference which was being held on the sidelines of the exercise also came to its conclusion.
While addressing the audience, chief guest Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak said that among the recent maritime development in the region, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was rightfully considered a game changer, not only for Pakistan but also for the economic well-being and prosperity of the entire region.
“With the progress of CPEC and the Gwadar Port, maritime activities would increase manifold, especially in the western Indian Ocean. The responsibilities of Pakistan Navy would also increase for maintaining a secure maritime environment for smooth flow of sea trade,” he said.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2019