KARACHI: Chinese Navy Ships CHANGXINGDAO (Ocean Salvage & Rescue Ship) and PLA(N) Ship HANDAN are in Karachi these days on a good-will visit to Pakistan. The visiting ships will participate in the 4th Pak-China naval exercise.
A joint media brief was held in this regard here at Pakistan Navy Fleet Headquarters wherein Commander 18th Destroyer Squadron Commodore Mirza Foad Amin Baig and Flotilla Commander Chinese Naval Force Senior Captain Chi Qingtao gave details of the exercise.
Commodore Foad Baig said that this exercise comprises Harbour and Sea phases. The harbour phase is currently in progress and consists of various calls on, mutual visits to ships and table top discussions as preparatory warm up for sea phase. The sea phase of the exercise will be conducted in the open sea and cover wide spectrum of maritime and naval operations by ships, helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Joint Boarding Operations by Special Forces, Air Defence Exercises, Communication Drills and Joint Manoeuvres by ships.
Underlining the aims and objectives of the exercise, he said that it is aimed at improving interoperability for conducting combined maritime operations to ensure a stable maritime environment vital for economic stability and growth as well as ensuring peace and security in the maritime commons. The exercise is reflective of strong mutual desire to improve the level of coordination and interoperability at operational and tactical levels, he added.
Commodore Baig further said that Pakistan and Chinese Navies enjoy ‘all weather’ relationship which has a long history of Joint Maritime Collaboration including regular exchange visits of senior naval leadership and fleet units, joint construction of naval ships and submarines, PLA(N)’s regular participation in AMAN series of exercises, annual joint SOF exercises and conduct of PN- PLA(N) bilateral exercises. The current visit of PLA(N) ships to Karachi and conduct of the exercise is a testimony of the same.
Highlighting the efforts of Pakistan in eradicating the menace of terrorism, he said that the government of Pakistan, its armed forces and the people of Pakistan are fighting against terrorism for over a decade now.
“Pakistan Navy is actively pursuing the government’s policies and has taken number of measures to promote peace and stability in the maritime commons of the world’s most important sea route through regular participation in Multinational Task Forces CTF 150 and CTF 151. Similarly, PLA(N) is also actively engaged in the efforts to thwart terrorism and piracy in the Indian Ocean region through continuous deployment of a task force,” he said.
Senior Captain Chi Qingtao, Flotilla Commander of Chinese Navy said that these bilateral exercises will further refine operational capabilities of both the navies. He said that these exercises are also significant in the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pak-China Naval Exercises will continue till 21 November and certainly the conduct of these exercises will help improve the capability to protect Gwadar Port activities and provide a safe and conducive environment for the movement of merchant ships.