KARACHI - It needs no emphasis that present day navies are increasingly focused on policing roles and sharing of resources for maritime security operations against asymmetric threats.

They also equipped themselves for contemporary challenges, including piracy, terrorism, narcotics, arms and human smuggling which have a great impact on the maritime environment.

Countering these multifarious maritime security challenges requires collaborative approach at regional as well as international level. To this end, Pakistan Navy as a responsible maritime power is contributing relentlessly in maintaining legitimate maritime order at sea through conduct of Maritime Security Operations in Arabian Sea and beyond.  Pakistan Navy regularly conducts bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional and extra regional navies to improve its interoperability with international navies. These exercises are a clear manifestation of Pakistan’s commitment towards maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Naseem Al Bahr is one such bilateral maritime exercise conducted with brotherly navy, Royal Saudi Naval Forces. Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) not only enjoy deep-rooted fraternal ties, but also share historic maritime traditions. Naseem Al Bahar (NAB) is a biennial exercise, which was evolved as manifestation of the unique Pak-Saudi interpersonal relationship and mutual resolve to enhance bilateral cooperation in facing the common challenges. Participation of RSNF ships in this exercise will further strengthen existing bilateral relations between two brotherly navies. At this juncture, we thank Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and particularly, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, for their participation in Exercise Naseem Al Bahr – X which is scheduled from 12 to 22 January off Makran coast.

It is also a milestone in the history of Pakistan Navy in which the complete exercise will be conducted from Jinnah Naval Base, Ormara. Naseem Al Bahr series of exercises is indeed a concerted effort from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to promote maritime security awareness for collaborative maritime security in the region.

First Naseem Al Bahr series of exercise was conducted in January 1993 and the present exercise also marks the twentieth year of this interaction with Royal Saudi Naval Forces. The aim of the exercise is to foster friendship, develop common understanding and increase interoperability with RSNF in the domains of traditional as well as non-traditional warfare in order to maintain peace and stability for the larger good of the region. In the traditional warfare domain, the objective is to share and refine tactics, techniques and doctrines through jointly undertaking anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air operations with RSNF units.

In the non-traditional domain, the exercise will mainly focus to improve inter-operability and tactical proficiency in the execution of combined maritime security operations against asymmetric threats like piracy, counter terrorism and defence of port infrastructure to mention a few.

Four RSNF ships which include frigate (HMS MAKKAH) embarked with Dauphin helicopter, a guided missile equipped patrol craft (HMS TABUK), Mine Counter Measures Vessel (HMS SHAQRA) and a tanker (HMS BORAIDA) are participating in this exercise. In addition, one platoon of RSNF Marines and 1 Special Operations Force team along with Explosive Ordnance Disposal elements have also arrived Pakistan for various exercises. Three PN destroyers/frigates, missile boats, mine hunters, submarines, PN Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Helicopters, elements of Pak Marines, Special Services Group (Navy) and PAF fighters are representing Pakistan in this exercise.

After arrival of RSNF ships, the exercise will progress through phased activities in harbour and at sea for gradual improvement and coordination in all professional realms. The exercise will culminate with Live Weapons Firing by RSNF and PN units. The activities in harbour include professional seminars on information security, counter piracy, mine counter measures and host of other events which will provide opportunity to share experiences and knowledge. Sea phase of the exercise is planned from 15 Jan 13 till 20 Jan 13 in which RSNF and PN units will operate together and will exercise all facets of modern warfare.

In order to draw pertinent lessons based on exercise interactions, detailed analysis of all phases of exercise will be conducted jointly by PN and RSNF sea training teams on January 20 and 21. It will be followed by debrief of the exercise on January 22. The good thing about NAB series exercise is that each series is refined and improved based on lessons learnt from previous editions.