Harbingers of nation and humanity at seas
THE month of September brings special memories of victories Pakistan defence forces portrayed during the 1965 and 1971 wars and later on the long journey of rooting out terrorism from its soil.
Pakistan defence forces are considered among the world’s best defence forces not only because of valour they have but the kind of capabilities they possess.
While we mark 06 and 07 September as Army and Air Force day, the 08 September is dedicated to the custodians of the sea who are defending the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan in and across the seas.
Pakistan Navy is safeguarding the maritime interests of Pakistan while deterring any kind of aggression at and from the sea, providing relief during disasters or crises and also contributing an effective role to coastal communities apart from maintaining the cordial relations with navies across the world.
The world has witnessed how Pakistan defence forces played an eminent role in wiping out terrorism, whereas Pakistan Navy in maritime domain is playing an efficient role in countering terrorism and has operative influence as a peaceful navy in the region with global outlook.
Pakistan Navy is the only navy forming part of Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan, which is maritime component of Operation Enduring Freedom and UN resolution 1373 provides the legal basis for this and likewise maritime operations conducted for restoration of peace and security are provided under UN Charter, Chapter VII.
Pakistan Navy’s different branches and units are working vigilantly 24/7 to perform their duties and tasks. PN submarine force was raised in 1964 as a lead sub-surface arm of Pakistan Navy and being first in the region.
PNS Ghazi took active part in the Rann of Kutch crisis and in 1965 Indo-Pak War, where the presence of this submarine off the Indian west coast, resulted in bottling up of IN fleet in the safety of harbour, without posing any challenge to PN Fleet throughout the 1965 War.
PNS Ghazi in 1971 presented her sacrifice while engaged in offensive mining operation off Vishakhapatnam where 11 officers and 82 soldiers embraced martyrdom during 1971 War.
PN submarine Hangor won the distinction of sinking IN Destroyer INS KHUKRI and seriously damaging INS KIRPAN astride Kathiawar coast and proudly ranked as first conventional submarine of the world to score successful hits against surface units in combat since WW-II.
Against the Indian threats, which came up during February 2019 and PAF gave befitting reply to Indian false claims of surgical strikes, Pakistan Navy exhibited another example of professionalism where it detected Indian submarine intrusion in Pakistani waters and forced to let it go outside its territory, thus giving a gesture of peace for the seas.
During the post 1965 War analysis Pakistan Navy felt the need of establishing a special force, which could be used for covert offensive operations against enemy shore based facilities and the units at sea or in harbours, hence the formation of special marine forces group shows its state-of-the-art capabilities for such operations when required.
Likewise, Pakistan Naval Aviation has kept itself updated with the changing technology and grew from a fledgling force into a mature professional aviation force of today.
Another landmark achievement of PN is the establishment of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, PMSA, for the enforcement of national and international laws, policies and conventions at Sea.
While reaching coastal communities and those at sea, PMSA App with the name of Assistance Anytime Anywhere at Sea (AAAS), the said application is to facilitate coastal communities and those stuck at sea for immediate assistance, while giving beforehand information about rough seas or approaching calamity.
Furthermore, user can report incidents of human smuggling, sea robbery, piracy, foreign intrusion, pollution, vessel defect, transnational threats or other emergencies.
Pakistan Navy efforts for hydrographic surveys and Joint Maritime Information Coordination Centre are doing effective job for a coordinated response to maritime security challenges within EEZof Pakistan.
Apart from operational capabilities, which any navy can possess, Pakistan’s Navy efforts for humanitarian assistance anywhere in the world are recognized as efforts or peace and diplomacy.
For the past few years disaster relief operations are carried out in African Ocean littoral states to provide medical assistance and aid to the needy.
Likewise Pakistan Navy in the times of global pandemic effectively demonstrated its potential by utilizing its personnel and assets to shield coastal communities and borders against Covid-19.
Besides financial contributions in Corona Relief Fund, Pakistan Navy is continuously engaged in providing food rations, free medical camps and awareness to coastal communities for health and education particularly in Gwadar, Pasni, Bin Qasim, Somiani, Keti Bandar, Thatta, Sajawal and other adjacent areas.
Pakistan Navy while remaining cognizant is dealing with both traditional and non-traditional security threats, at one side completely prepared to take part in operational tasks and endorse plans in response to emerging regional and global challenges and on the other side, fully responsible to facilitate on humanitarian grounds whenever required.
Pakistan Navy has been able to maintain the image of naval diplomacy along with showing the real positive picture of Pakistan.
—The writer works at Maritime Study Forum, Islamabad based think-tank.