AMAN is peace and slogan of Aman exercise is “Together for Peace”. The Aman series of multinational maritime exercises initiated in 2007, aimed to boost interoperability and demonstrate allied nation’s capabilities to collectively fight terrorism and other non traditional maritime threats such as piracy. In 2007, Pakistan Navy took the initiative to harmonize the efforts of international community by holding first ever multinational exercise comprising various regional and extra regional countries in the North Arabian Sea. Since then Aman has become a regular feature and is being conducted biennially.
The concept of Aman revolves around information-sharing, mutual understanding and identifying areas of common interest for participating navies. The exercise focuses on maritime security operations and humanitarian assistance operations which includes search and rescue operations as well. Based on this, the exercise sets to develop and practice Response Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (RTTPs) with a sole purpose of defending maritime infrastructure, assets and safeguarding Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) mainly from non-traditional threats.
It is appropriate, therefore, that Pakistan Navy is conducting in the Arabian Sea a multinational exercise, Aman, with many countries participating. The objectives are to display a united resolve against terrorism and other crimes in maritime domain; contribute to regional peace and stability; and enhance interoperability at a time when regional and international cooperation on the high seas to combat piracy, terrorism, WMD proliferation, narcotics and pollution and to keep sea lanes open is keeping peace with global concerns and policy. Over the years, Pakistan’s military training programme for the Army, Naval and Air Forces with other countries, particularly the GCC and other OIC states, has been an importance factor in creating close ties.
The Navy’s initiation of the Aman exercises in 2007 was a natural progression of this more activist external involvement. The Aman exercises of 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 attracted wide participation. The forthcoming Aman 17 in the North Arabian Sea will be the best attended of the series, with the highest number of representation in any previous Aman exercise with ships, sea borne helicopters, long range surveillance aircraft, Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams, and observers from different regional and extra regional countries
The first ever of its series Exercise Aman-07 was held in March 2007 which was a big success. During Aman-07, 14 ships of Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, UK and US navies participated. Besides, SOF/EOD team from Bangladesh and Turkey also participated in SOF Exercises and 21 countries attended the Exercise as observer, series. Exercise Aman-09 was held in March 2009. During this Exercise 23 ships, 13 Aircrafts and 9 SOF teams of Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, UK and Nigeria, Turkey and USA participated. Observers from 27 countries also attended the exercise.
Exercise Aman-11 was conducted from 8-12 March 2011. During this exercise, total of 39 countries have shown willingness in response to invitation by PN to take part in Aman-11. Out of which 28 countries have participated with naval assets and observers. Total of 11 ships from Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and USA participated. Three aircraft from Australia & Japan and 03 SOF/EOD/Marines teams from China, Turkey and USA also participated during the exercise Aman-11. Forty three observers and 26 countries participated in Aman-11.
Exercise Aman-13 was conducted from 4-8 March 2013, Navies of 29 countries participated in Aman-13 with naval assets and observers. Total of 12 ships from 10 different countries and 9 SOF/EOD teams from 6 different countries participated in Aman-13, 36 observers from 21 countries also participated in Aman-13. Aman-17 will also prove to be a positive step towards building bridges with other countries and for Pakistan’s standing as a consistent contributor to regional and international cooperation on global issues of concern. The exercise itself will be instrumental in enhancing tactical and operational readiness amongst its participating Countries, in general, and their Navies in particular.
— The writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.