Pakistan Navy conceived the idea of hosting a series of naval exercises in 2007. The primary motivation behind this proposition was to promote regional naval integration and enhance compatibility inter alia.
The Urdu word ‘AMAN,’ meaning “peace,” was chosen to represent the envisioned naval exercise.
More than a decade later, what was once a vision has graduated into a regular feature of the country’s naval calendar.
This year, 45 countries will be participating in the “Aman – Together for Peace” exercise along with their maritime assets. This opportunity will be used to strengthen multi-layered security cooperation and enhancing inter-operability in maritime and Naval Ops and cross-cultural interaction.
The Indian Ocean Region is experiencing a variety of security and geostrategic changes, which have brought forth a number of challenges for littoral states including Pakistan.
These changes include the emergence of several issues on the regional screen such as militarized zones (Ops Enduring Freedom), piracy off Somalia, the Yemen conflict, rise of the ISIS, the ever dynamic Iran-West-Saudi relations, the Arab spring and turmoil in Levant. These challenges are inevitably a threat to regional peace and stability.
Besides these, existing and emerging non-conventional threats have further complicated the Indian Ocean Region.
The specter of non-conventional threats is much wider and intertwined with conventional means such as climate change, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, illegal immigration, smuggling of arms and drugs, piracy and maritime terrorism.
However, non-conventional threats have also provided many opportunities to regional states to enhance collective security and regional cooperation by channelizing and mechanizing collective efforts.
Pakistan Navy being cognizant of changing security dynamics of the Indian Ocean seized the opportunity to augment the cooperation and integration among navies through the AMAN Exercise.
Pakistan, being an extremely important stakeholder in the Indian Ocean security framework, has always been a vocal proponent of freedom of navigation, peace and regional harmony in the Indian Ocean and has always played its due role in promoting dialogue and cooperation in the region.
Moreover, Pakistan Navy, being the guardian of the country’s maritime interests, has remained at the forefront in exhibiting Pakistan’s intent for collective security and mutual cooperation for peaceful co-existence in the sea. Therefore, despite their multiple resource constraints, Pakistan Navy not only participated in a number of important regional and global cooperative efforts in the region but also initiated this multinational exercise to augment regional peace and integration.
The primary concept of the exercise is to provide a common forum for information sharing, identifying areas of common interests and enhancing mutual understanding for group analysis and dialogues. The exercise also allows for practicing and generating response tactics, techniques and procedures against all traditional and asymmetric threats.
Based on this concept, the AMAN Exercise aims to develop and improve Response Tactics Techniques and Procedures (RTTP) for protection of a number of collective sea assets including Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs), maritime infrastructure and maritime resources against non-traditional threats.
Since 2007, the AMAN Exercise is hosted biennially by and the seventh Multinational AMAN exercise has been scheduled to take place in February 2021.
Much like previous editions, this year’s AMAN Exercise will also entail several modules and programs to achieve its objectives.
to build RTTP unconventional and conventional threats through operational and strategic warfare planning and exercises at the sea, AMAN 2021 will witness a whole host of VBSS, naval gunfire, anti-piracy, anti-submarine, communications, operations, Combine Boarding and Air Defence exercises.
In its programs at sea, the exercise will include advance naval drills and maneuvers including Counter Terrorism Ops, Maritime Security Ops, Antipiracy Tactics, surface firing practices, Search and Rescue maneuvers and an International Fleet Review.
Moreover, it will also include an International Maritime Conference, Maritime Terrorism demo, Table Top discussions on professional matters and various cross cultural activities in harbor.
Finally, Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team, Special Operation Forces and other marine units will also display, learn and synchronize themselves with advance weapons and modern technological equipment during this exercise.
Over the years, Exercise AMAN has steadily gained traction internationally. This can can be gauged from the fact that the first AMAN event in 2007 saw participants from 28 countries; today this number has risen to 45.
Contrary to recent propaganda from across the border, the participation of such a large number of countries in the exercise quite evidently implies that the international community endorses Pakistan’s key role in the region and supports its efforts for collective regional peace and security. The rising strength of AMAN participants also shows willingness of regional countries to support and join hands with Pakistan in its efforts to enhance regional integration for harmony and cooperation in the Indian Ocean.