With focus on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Navies of both sides are presently engaged in a joint exercise aimed at promoting maritime security and stability in the region. The fourth joint exercise, which began on Thursday, will continue till November 21, reports the Dawn. Commodore Mirza Foad Amin Baig, Commander 18th Destroyer Squadron, told the media that the fourth exercise carried far more importance in the context of the CPEC project. He said that the drill was aimed at enhancing security in the strategic region including port areas and the sea where ships would sail out.
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“The [fourth] exercise will help improve the naval capability of both countries to protect Gwadar port activities while providing a safe and conducive environment for the movement of merchant ships from there,” said Chi Qingtao, Senior Captain Flotilla Commander Chinese Naval Force. The Chinese Naval Commander said that in addition to enjoying “solid friendship”, both sides share waters and mountains, “which we will protect together”.
Chinese naval ships Changxingdao and Handan reached Karachi earlier on Wednesday to participate in the exercise. Providing details of the exercise, Commodore Baig said that it would have harbour and sea phases. He said that this exercise was aimed at exchanging and making use of combined maritime operations to ensure a stable maritime environment, which was vital for economic stability, growth, peace and security of the region. “The exercise is reflective of a strong mutual desire to improve the level of coordination and interoperability at operational and tactical levels,” he said.
“The navies of both China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather relationship with joint maritime collaboration, including regular exchange visits of senior naval leadership and fleet units, joint construction of naval ships and submarines, PLA(N)’s regular participation in Aman series of exercises, and annual joint SOF exercises. The current visit of PLA (N) ships to Karachi and… this bilateral exercise is a testimony of the same,” he added. The Chinese Naval Commander said that this exercise would further refine the operational capabilities of both navies.
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