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Pak, China hold joint naval drills in Arabian Sea

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ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan and Chinese naval forces on Monday began their sixth joint maritime exercises in the Arabian Sea near Karachi to enhance the strategic partnership between the all-weather allies.

Titled 'Sea Guardians 2020', the exercises are aimed at sharing professional experiences on contemporary and non-traditional threats at sea, improve security cooperation and promote safe and sustainable maritime environment in the region.

The drills are a reflection of strong bilateral military cooperation between the Pakistan Navy and China's People Liberation Army (Navy) and will foster greater bilateral cooperation between the two navies, according to Pakistan Navy.

The Pakistan Navy said the opening ceremony of the exercises was held at Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Karachi.

Deputy Commander of Southern Theatre Command People Liberation Army (PLA) Vice Admiral Dong Jun was the chief guest. Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq was also present on the occasion.

Vice Admiral Khaliq welcomed the Chinese officers and personnel, alluding to the evergreen, warm and eternally cordial relations between the two countries in general and navies in particular, the Pakistan Navy said.

Khaliq hoped that the exercises will prove to be another stepping stone in augmenting interoperability and strategic cooperation between both the navies, it said.

Dong thanked the Pakistan Navy for hosting the drills and hoped to have a mutually benefiting and professionally rewarding experience from the joint exercises, it added.

The exercises boast Chinese warships and fleet tanks as their marine forces participate as well.

During the exercises, frontline destroyers/frigates along with air and other assets and marines/special forces from Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) will carry out advance level joint drills and naval manoeuvres in the Arabian Sea.

Also, during harbour phase, various professional and social activities will be conducted. The exercises will also be witnessed by senior officials from both the navies.

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