AMAN-23: PN’s Multilateral Naval Cooperation

Hassan Zeb

NAVAL cooperation refers to the collaboration and coordination between various countries’ naval forces. It is an important aspect of international relations and is aimed at promoting stability and security in the world’s oceans. The purpose of naval cooperation is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of each country’s maritime capabilities and to ensure the peaceful use of the seas. There are several forms of naval cooperation, including joint military exercises, information sharing, and collaboration in maritime security operations. Joint military exercises are an important aspect of naval cooperation as they provide an opportunity for countries to train together and improve their ability to operate effectively in this multinational world.

To maintain peace at sea through multilateral naval cooperation, Pakistan Navy hosts AMAN exercise after every two years aimed at promoting regional peace and stability, and strengthening cooperation and collaboration among participating navies. The exercise has been aptly named “AMAN”, which is the Urdu term for “PEACE”. It signifies Pakistan’s endeavor for peace while remaining fully prepared to ensure peace in the region. Pakistan Navy till to date had conducted seven AMAN exercises. This year’s exercise is the 8th in number, which have been held biennially since 2007. All previous naval exercises of the AMAN series have been highly successful and not only were participated wholeheartedly by navies of friendly countries, ushering goodwill to Pakistan, but have also resulted in all participants including the host Pakistan Navy, gaining tremendous professional experience.

The main objective of AMAN series of multinational exercises is to promote regional cooperation and stability, greater interoperability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in maritime domain including piracy. This time alongside AMAN-23, an important maritime conference is also going to be held for the first time at Karachi expo center. Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference (PIMEC) is an initiative of Pakistan Navy which is being organized under the patronage of Ministry of Maritime Affairs in order to jump start development of maritime sector in Pakistan and spur Blue Economy. PIMEC will bring together stakeholders and companies from diverse maritime fields to exploit and explore the potential of Blue Economy. It is actually to venture new chapter where we explore the true potential of much more that is to follow. Not only it will give us livelihood and vibrancy to our economy but also provide endeavors to mitigate climate change effects.

A soft diplomacy or soft power seems to have acquired much importance during the last two decades. This implies persuasion and attractiveness rather than the use of coercion to change the behavior of state. Moving ahead with this notion, Pakistan Navy has always contributed towards peace and stability in the region. Pakistan’s commitment to the principle of ‘peaceful coexistence’ and desire for greater regional harmony and cooperation is also reflected through Pakistan’s armed forces participation in UN Peacekeeping missions, UN mandated Combined Maritime Task Forces 150 & 151, as well as various bilateral and multilateral exercises. Pakistan Navy is wisely practicing the idea propagated by Albert Einstein which says “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding”. Therefore, AMAN exercises are playing a pivotal role against regional and extra regional threats faced by the participated countries in general and the region as a whole. The shared knowledge and skills enhance interoperability between participants that will help to increase cooperation among all stakeholders.

In conclusion, maritime security and naval cooperation are critical components of ensuring the safety and security of the world’s oceans and seas. Effective cooperation between navies can help to address common security challenges, build capacity and enhance the capabilities of regional navies, and increase the overall level of maritime security in the region. However, to be effective, international naval cooperation must overcome challenges such as limited resources, the lack of trust and confidence between countries, and competing interests and priorities.