The Chinese and US navies are participating in the ‘Aman-21’ maritime exercise in Pakistan amid increased military tensions between the two countries in the disputed South China Sea and Straits of Taiwan.
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A Chinese PLA Navy flotilla, led by a Type-052D destroyer, has joined the multinational maritime exercise being held in Pakistan. The PLA Navy 119 Flotilla arrived in the waters near Karachi in Pakistan on the invitation of the Pakistan Navy.
As reported by the PLA Daily on February 12, the Chinese Navy flotilla is participating in the exercise after wrapping up its escort mission in the Gulf of Aden.
Opened at the dockyard of the Pakistan Navy on Friday, the AMAN 2021 is the seventh edition of the multinational maritime exercise which will see the participation of more than 40 countries around the globe.
According to reports, the naval forces belonging to nations like the US, Russia, and some NATO members are taking part in the exercise.
It is the eighth time that the PLA Navy has participated in the Pakistan Navy-initiated Aman-series drill which aims at enhancing professional communication and friendly interactions among the navies.
According to the Pakistan Navy, the exercise has been planned to improve the interoperability among the navies across regions. Another objective of the drill is to display a united resolve to fight terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain.
Significantly, the exercise comes amid tensions between the US and China over the disputed South China Sea.
According to a Chinese military expert, the drill comes amid increased military tensions between China and the US in regions like the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and “the former US President Donald Trump’s play of military cards on China”.
It also marks the first time China and the US have taken part in the same military exercise since US President Joe Biden assumed office in January, he said.
According to China’s state-owned Global Times, the Aman-21 exercise has been scheduled in two phases — the Harbor phase and the Sea phase.
The Harbor phase will include the International Maritime Conference, seminars, table talks, cross ships visits, calls on, and the international band display and maritime counterterrorism demonstration.
The Sea Phase will include the practical execution of operational plans and activities finalized during the harbor phase. The exercise will also be a rare occasion when Russia will join other NATO countries.
“The exercise this time is unique in the sense that it provides an opportunity to navies from China, Russia, and the US, and other Western navies to come under one the platform,” said an officer from the Pakistan Navy.