KARACHI — Pakistan on Friday concluded a four-day multinational exercise and seminar aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region.
The Aman-13 /Peace-13 exercise brought together ships from 13 countries — including the U.S. and China — and observers from 20 others.
It was the fourth in the biannual series, which was designed to provide a platform for information sharing, develop tactics against asymmetrical and traditional threats and boost interoperability between all navies working in the region.
Though there are other threats to regional peace and stability, the main ones in the Indian Ocean region remain terrorism and piracy. Some of the warships participating in the exercise regularly engage in missions to combat these threats.
However, during the seminar, some questioned whether there was sufficient resolve to stamp out terrorism, given that the vast resources arrayed against the Somali pirates operating in the region have not been completely successful.
Some participants speculated that piracy had become lucrative for more than just the pirates, and that some insurance companies at least appeared to be content with the current situation. But others pointed out that the sheer size of the area that the anti-piracy naval task forces must cover made it impossible to physically eradicate the pirates.
The exchange in ideas and techniques also extended to special operations. Little information was released about that aspect of the exercise, but Indonesia was acknowledged to have participated only with a team from its KOPASKA underwater demolition team.
The U.S. Navy also sent an explosive ordnance team, as confirmed by U.S. personnel present during the sea phase of the exercise.
Local VIP visitors observing the exercises were headed by Pakistan’s Naval Staff chief, Adm. Muhammad Asif Sandila, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) chairman, Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne.
Speaking to Defense News, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, and members of the Office of the Defense Representative stressed the importance of Pakistan due to its strategic location and its participation in international maritime security endeavors such as Combined Task Force-150 and CTF-151.
The U.S. Navy also participated with the destroyer William P. Lawrence, which joined frigates from Australia, Britain and Turkey; a replenishment vessel, destroyer and frigate from China; corvettes from Italy, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates; a Sri Lankan fast attack craft; and a Bangladeshi offshore patrol vessel.
Japanese forces were represented by a pair of P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft that joined helicopters from some of the participating warships.
Two of Pakistan’s F-22P Zulfiquar-class frigates participated, along with its single Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, as well as a tanker, which conducted simulated replenishment exercises, and a range of smaller fast attack and patrol craft.
The sea phase consisted of a series of exercises including a special operations demonstration, gunnery trials and anti-surface warfare drills.