Pakistan has always been an avid supporter of regional peace and stability. 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, participation in regional and extra-regional joint bilateral and multilateral exercises. To demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to peace, contribute towards regional maritime security and enhance cooperation and interoperability between regional and extra regional navies, Pakistan Navy took an initiative of holding Multinational exercise AMAN in 2007, which is being conducted biennially. Till to date six exercises have been conducted and 7th exercise is planned in February 2021. Since then, this exercise has become a major International Naval event which is evident from growing number of participations. This is also reflective of Pakistan’s growing positive image and success of Ex AMAN.
The main objective/ theme of AMAN series of multinational exercises are to promote regional cooperation and stability, greater interoperability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in maritime domain including piracy. The exercise concept is to develop Responses, Tactics, Techniques and procedures (RTTPs) against non-traditional threats through tactical warfare planning, followed by high-end warfare serials at sea such as Naval Gunfire, VBSS, Anti-piracy, Operations, Combine Anti-Submarine Exercise, Communications, Boarding and Air Defence.
Exercise AMAN is planned with focused objectives to project positive image of Pakistan as a country contributing towards regional peace/ stability and to consolidate PN’s position in the regional maritime arena. Displaying of united resolve against terrorism and crimes in maritime and to develop coalition building and multi-layered security cooperation to promote a safe & sustainable maritime environment. Enhance tactical interoperability between regional and extra regional navies thereby acting as a bridge between the regions and to validate tactical procedures to counter non-traditional threats in maritime domain. Overall, AMAN exercise is a intermingling of multinationals with depiction of their respective cultures.
A brief overview of yesteryears AMAN exercises include first exercise conducted in March 2007. During the exercise, 14 x naval ships from Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, UK and USA navies participated. Special Operations Teams (SOF)/ Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from Bangladesh and Turkey also participated in Special operations associated to the exercise. Overall, 28 countries participated in the exercise with naval assets and 29 observers. The second exercise, AMAN-09 was held in March 2009. During this exercise, 14 warships, 02 aircraft and 9 SOF teams of Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, UK, Nigeria, Turkey and USA participated. Overall, 24 countries participated in the exercise with the naval platforms and 29 observers. In third Exercise AMAN-11 held in March 2011 28 countries participated with naval assets and observers. Total of 11 ships from Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Saudi Arab and USA participated. Three aircrafts from Australia and Japan and 03 SOF/ EOD/ Marines teams from China, Turkey and USA also participated during the exercise. Overall 28 countries participated in the exercise with the said assets and 43 observers.
The fourth Exercise AMAN-13 was held in March 2013. Navies of 29 countries participated in the said exercise with 12 ships, 02 aircraft, 06 SOF/ EOD teams and 36 observers. Fifth Exercise AMAN-17 conducted in North Arabian Sea from 10-14 Feb 2017. 12 ships from Australia, China, Indonesia. Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UK and USA participated. In addition, SOF/ EOD/ Marines teams from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and UK also participated in the exercise. A total of 34 countries including Pakistan participated in the exercise with the said assets and 67 observers. The 6th Exercise AMAN-19 conducted from 08-12 February 2019. 11 x Ships from Australia, China, Italy, Malaysia, Oman, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UK and USA participated. Whereas, Japan participated with 01 x Ships and 2 x P3Cs as Pre-AMAN participation. Moreover, 15 x SOF/EOD/ Marines teams from China, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UK and USA also participated in the exercise. A total of 46 countries participated in the exercise with 113 observers.
The conduct of exercise AMAN is divided into Harbour and Sea Phases. Some of important events include Opening Ceremony on arrival of foreign warships. Wreath laying at martyrs monuments, Table Top Discussions on professional topics friendly sport matches, Maritime Counter Terrorism Demo by Special Services Group (N)/ Pak Marines. Various Calls and visits including inter-ship visits. International Band Display and International Cultural Display and Food Gala. Beside the other Activities, International Maritime Conference (IMC) under aegis of National Institute of Maritime Affairs, Bahria University. The highlight of the event includes presence of eminent speakers and delegates from across the globe. In the sea domain, an International Fleet Review (IFR) is scheduled toward the end of exercise. During IFR, various operational activities are conducted that include Replenishment at Sea, Counter Piracy Demo by PN MSW Team, Rocket Depth Charge (RDC) firing, Surface Firing on Killer Tomato, Fly Past by Air Units (Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Airforce and Foreign participating Aircraft) and Man and Cheer Ship in honour of the Chief Guest. In addition to IFR, other sea activities including various exercises to practice response against maritime security threats in a multinational environment are also demonstrated. On land, Special Operation Forces (SOF), Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Marines teams participate in the exercise. The SOF/ EOD/ Marine personnel have the frontline role against the threat of maritime terrorism and other crimes. Therefore, a number of exercises to develop Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) for combined action by multinational forces against asymmetric threats are also planned. Overall, AMAN series of exercise are is a manifestation of trust and confidence of international community on Pakistan’s efforts for ensuring peace & stability in the region and their desire to work/ operate with Pakistan and Pakistan Navy.