Pakistan is set to hold a four-day multinational naval drill, which will commence on 10 February with nearly 35 countries participating. The drill is code named Aman-17 – meaning peace in Urdu.
Hosted by the Pakistani navy, the exercise will be held in the northern Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi. Pakistani officials said that the drill will be helpful in protecting the region from pirates.
"These exercises help the participating countries come together and further their relations," Commander Pakistan Fleets Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini told reporters in Karachi. Islamabad, which has been conducting Aman biennially since 2007, said that the main aim of the exercises is not just to boost defence capabilities, but to hone the skills of participants.
Karachi's Mayor Wasim Akhtar also paid a visit to the area on Wednesday (8 February) where the drill would take place to oversee arrangements. "We all have to make it sure to finish all preparations for this event on time," the mayor said.
Anti-piracy demonstrations, maritime counter-terrorism response, gunnery drills, and search and rescue operations are all expected to be performed during the exercise. Naval vessels, helicopters and other aircraft would showcase their mettle.
Navies from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed to be part of the exercise while observers from more than 30 countries are expected to view the event. The Chinese fleet includes guided-missile destroyer Harbin and guided-missile frigate Handan.