Pakistan, China hold Naval drills

BEIJING: The ongoing China-Pakistan joint naval exercise “Sea Guardians-2020” in the North Arabian Sea is to be the first of many to come, as the two countries have now developed a series of joint exercises covering the navy, army and air force. The exercise is also the first between China and Pakistan that will feature anti-submarine and submarine rescue trainings, indicating a high level of strategic mutual trust, experts told Global Times on Wednesday. The exercise started on Monday in the port city of Karachi and will continue in the North Arabian Sea until January 14. This is the sixth joint naval exercise between China and Pakistan, but it is the first time the exercise was named “Sea Guardians.” The exercise is expected to become a series of naval exercises with Pakistan,similar to the “Warrior” series of joint land exercises and the “Shaheen” series of joint air exercises. Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute said that serializing the drills and making them a routine will further enhance China and Pakistan’s friendship and cooperation. The Chinese troops mainly come from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command Navy, including the guided missile destroyer Yinchuan, guided missile frigate Yuncheng, comprehensive supply ship Weishanhu, submarine rescue ship Liugondao, two ship-based helicopters and some 60 Chinese Marines. Pakistan will have two frigates, two missile boats, a fixed-wing anti-submarine aircraft, two vessel-based helicopters and about 60 members of special forces participating in the drills. They will conduct joint cruising, air defense, maritime interception, anti-submarine and live-fire exercises at sea. Zhou Hanwen, an executive director of the exercise, said that previous China-Pakistan joint naval exercises did not feature anti-submarine and submarine rescue training, and the exercise this time will enhance the two countries’ capability of dealing with underwater threats. Zhang said that the training involving submarine will boost the two navies’ combat capabilities and show a high level of strategic mutual trust. The goal of the Sea Guardians-2020 drills is to boost the two countries’ military cooperation, enhance their all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, build a safe maritime environment and enhance the two navies’ capability to deal with maritime terrorism and crime.–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item