According to the consensus reached between Chinese and Pakistani Navies, the joint drill is taking place from January 6 to 14 in waters of northern Arabian Sea, with the purpose of enhancing security cooperation between the two countries, consolidating the development of the all-weather strategic partnership, and promoting the joint construction of a safe marine environment. The joint drill also aims at innovating the methods of conducting China-Pakistan joint naval drills and enhance the capabilities of the two navies to jointly cope with maritime terrorism and crime. The drill has nothing to do with the regional situation and is not targeted at any third party.
Vice Admiral Dong Jun, general director of the Chinese side and deputy commander of PLA Southern Theater Command, and Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq, general director of the Pakistani side and commander of the Pakistani Naval Fleet delivered speeches at the opening ceremony. VA. Khaliq then announced the start of the drill.
The Chinese participating troops mainly consist of the naval forces under the PLA Southern Theater Command. The PLA Navy deployed five warships including destroyer, frigate, supply ship and submarine rescue vessel with two ship-borne helicopters and dispatched more than 60 special operations soldiers.
The Pakistani participating troops mainly include two Zulfiquar-class F22P/F21 frigates, two fast attack craft (FAC), one fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft, two ship-borne helicopters and more than 60 special operations soldiers.
The drill consists of two phases including port training and maritime joint drill. The drill covers subjects including discussion and exchange, tactical deduction, formation movement, joint patrol, air-defense and anti-missile, maritime interception and temporary inspection, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, joint anti-submarine, maritime live-firing, and joint marine training.
The Chinese participating naval ships, including the guided-missile destroyer Yinchuan (Hull 175), the guided-missile frigate Yuncheng (Hull 571), the comprehensive supply ship Weishanhu (Hull 887), and the submarine rescue ship Liugongdao (Hull 865) have already docked at Karachi military port on January 4 and 5 local time.
The Pakistan Navy held a grand welcoming ceremony for the Chinese naval fleet at the dock on the morning of January 5. Over 200 people including Commander of the Pakistan Navy Fleet Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq, President of the Pakistan Navy Tactical School Commodore Zafar Iqbal, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, Chinese Military Attaché to Pakistan Chen Wenrong, staff member of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and representatives of Chinese-funded institutions, Chinese students and local overseas Chinese welcomed the Chinese warships at the dock.
Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq, Ambassador Yao Jing and Rear Admiral Huang Fengzhi, commanding officer of the Chinese participating forces and deputy chief of staff of the Navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command, all spoke at the welcome ceremony.
VA. Asif Khaliq said that the Sea Guardians drill is a strong witness to the continuous development of relations between the two countries and the continuous deepening of maritime cooperation between the two navies. The concept of the “Sea Guardians” bilateral naval exercise is to provide a platform for the two navies to share information, enhance understanding and deepen their common interests. This concept will eventually become the basis for the two navies to test and improve their technical and tactical capabilities, maintain regional marine security, learn from each other and enhance the level of cooperation and synergy.
Ambassador Yao Jing said that the peace of the oceans is related to the safety of each country and region. The name of the joint drill, Sea Guardians, fully reflects the good wishes of the Chinese and Pakistani navies in jointly building a community of shared maritime destiny, and demonstrates the confidence and capability to jointly guard marine peace and security. This is the sixth time that the two navies hold a bilateral joint drill. Yao Jing believes that the Sea Guardians series will be another famous brand of cooperation and exchange between the Chinese and Pakistani armed forces along with the Warrior series between the two ground forces and the Eagle series between the two air forces.
TURKISH MARITIME NEWS