Pakistan: leading the AMAN
“Would you learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers, comprehend its mystery!” – Henry Wadsworth
Water is the most significant of the resources on our planet. It makes up approximately 71% of Earth’s Surface out of which 96.5% of Earth’s water is estimated to be contained within Oceans.
Oceans are the magnanimous source of life and survival for human beings. They regulate our climate, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, provide us with food and for centuries, have also served as the arteries of connecting trade routes for the world economy.
Post-World War II, the changing world witnessed massive globalization resulting in an increase in trade and migration. Revolution in technology and transportation has brought the world closer and made it more accessible for the masses. Oceans, being the most favourable and affordable mode of transportation, created new horizons for global economic and trade routes.
According to UN Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), since 1960 world population has increased 2.5 times while sea trade has increased to 7.5 times. Today, more than 85% of global trade by volume and more than 70% by value are said to travel by ship.
“Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.” Walter Raleigh.
Every new opportunity brings along a new challenge. Along with the ecological challenges, the most concerning challenges for sea trade were piracy and maritime security. These challenges adversely affected investments in this sector including shipping of cargo goods, fishing trawlers, and crude oil tankers among others. This, resultantly, allows the development of illegal offshore trade corridors consequently damaging countries economically and denting their trade potential. These concerns have been globally acknowledged as affecting the blue economy.
Pakistan has an important strategic and geographical position on the World map. In the north, we share our border with China, India on our eastern border, Afghanistan and Iran on our western border and in the south, Pakistan has a massive coastline of 1,046 KM which gives us access to Arabian Sea which is the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
Indian Ocean, since the 3rd Century BCE, has connected South East Asia to the Middle East and further to East Africa. This connection that helped flourish trade via the Indian Ocean for hundreds of years is referred to as the Indian Ocean Trade Route, which, to date remains one of the greatest trade networks in history.
Having hostile borders on Eastern and Western fronts, Pakistan has had a fair share of challenges regarding security and stability. Blessed we are to have one of the best trained and competent militaries which are ranked 7th in the World. Be it the defence of land territory by the Pakistan Army, the vigilant Pakistan Air Force securing our airspace or the Pakistan Navy (PN) that safeguards the territorial waters of Pakistan, we stand out as the most efficient and effective in areas of our national security.
Defending the coastal lines of 1,046 KM along the Arabian sea, PN has been on the front lines to combat and deter any misadventures and ensure and facilitate the maritime industry for trade interests. Being in a pivotal strategic location, our Navy has a greater responsibility for countering sea-based terrorism, including illegal trafficking and smuggling.
Having commanded the UN-mandated Combined Maritime Task Force 150 and 151, PN has been a torch bearer in professional excellence. Providing a platform to the global countries, Pakistan Navy initiated the idea of AMAN Exercises in 2007 (Peace for all).
The idea behind AMAN Exercises is to highlight Pakistan’s contribution and willingness towards regional peace and stability while displaying a united resolve against terrorism and maritime crimes including piracy, illegal immigration and smuggling. From 2007 to 2021, PN has hosted AMAN Exercises 7 times, giving the platform to more than 45 countries for information sharing, identifying & addressing common interests and countering mutual threats. Countries like the U.S.A, U.K, China, Russia, Australia, Japan, Italy, France, Poland, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria and Maldives have been part of the journey of AMAN exercises focusing on sharing strategies, resources, expertise and capabilities necessary for maintaining peace along the coastal borders of the nations across the globe.
Hosting the global naval forces, PN is not only reaffirming Pakistan’s position in the global maritime arena but is also bridging the regions for mutual cooperation and interests. The shameless malice campaigns against Pakistan by our adversaries to isolate us diplomatically in the global arena are well responded to when the world witnesses and participates in the AMAN Exercises realizing Pakistan’s efforts and contribution in safeguarding and promoting regional peace and stability. Pakistan remains committed to the principle of peaceful coexistence and strives for better and more fruitful regional harmony with PN being one of the key stakeholders and contributors to this cause.
“A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guarantee of peace.” Theodore Roosevelt