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Cover Stories Series 2012> China's First Aircraft Carrier> Archive
UPDATED: March 31, 2009 NO. 13 APR. 2, 2009
Cooperation at Sea
Pakistan builds confidence in antiterrorism at sea by hosting the Aman 09 multinational naval exercise

When the flags of 11 countries and the Pakistani Navy began to lower at the Pakistani Navy dockyard in Karachi on March 14, the 10-day Aman 09 multinational naval exercise came to a formal end.

DEBARKATION: A Pakistani Marine holds a beach landing drill on March 10 (WANG XIANG)

The exercise included harbor and sea phases. The harbor phase consisted of a pre-sail conference, safety briefs and a coordination meeting, while during the sea phase warships, mine hunters and auxiliary ships along with naval aircraft, submarines and Marine forces conducted extensive exercises in the North Arabian Sea and coastal areas.

"The contributions and participation of the international community were the biggest highlights of this year's exercise. It illustrates that maritime security is a cooperative affair," Asaf Humayun, Vice Admiral of the Pakistani Navy, told Beijing Review at the fleet review. "People from all over the world have come to demonstrate how cooperative maritime security works."

SALUTE: Navy commanders from participant nations attend the flag-lowering ceremony on March 14 (WANG XIANG) 

A BIRD'S EYE VIEW: Ships from participant nations, including U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (far), attend the Aman 09 fleet review on March 11 in the North Arabian Sea (WANG XIANG) 

Humayun said Pakistan defines the northern shores of the Arabian Sea and is located at the crossroads between Arab, Persian, Central Asian, Chinese and Indian civilizations; most of the world's oil flows in the area, which is also a key corridor in the worldwide energy supply chain. More importantly, the piracy issue at Aman 07 was not as serious as it is today.

"The biggest contribution a country can make to maritime security is to remain cooperative and not consider the sea its national domain. Countries should help each other," Humayun said.


 LANDING: A soldier from the Pakistani Navy Special Service Group descends from a helicopter during an antiterrorism drill on March 11 in the North Arabian Sea (WANG XIANG)

"The Pakistani Navy contributes very efficiently, although we are very small," he continued. "I see it as a weightlifter who is lifting four or five times his own weight. For example, we sent one ship permanently to the international maritime campaign plan, and also offered to contribute a ship and an aircraft near the waters off Somalia. We'll definitely continue to contribute more to regional maritime security and stability. We have decided to hold the Aman exercise again and we hold it every two years.

In addition, the Third International Maritime Conference on "Maritime Threats and Opportunities in the 21st Century" was held at the National Center for Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University in Karachi, as part of the biennial Aman series.

"The conference is very useful and informative because every region faces the same problems in terms of non-traditional threats at sea, such as piracy, illegal migration, drug trafficking, typhoons, tsunamis and so forth. Security cooperation is one way to address it," Captain Patchara Pumpiched, the Royal Thai Navy's observer at Aman 09, told Beijing Review, advocating more efforts in regional cooperation against non-traditional threats.

"A harmonious Indian Ocean is crucial for regional security and stability. As the frontier in the fight against terrorism, Pakistan has been making efforts to combat terrorists since the September 11 attacks on the United States," said Wang Dehua, President of the Special Commission for South Asian Studies, Shanghai Society for International Relations. "The experience Pakistan has gained since then is valuable. I think Aman 09 exercise will help accumulate more experience in antiterrorism at sea and frighten the pirates in Somalia as well."

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