Pakistan Navy and Chinese Navy began sixth bilateral exercise Sea Guardians 2020 in Karachi on Monday.
Deputy Commander of Chinese Navy’s Southern Theater Command was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Commander Pakistan fleet Vice Admiral Asif Khaliq said Exercise Sea Guardians will usher into a new era of cooperation between navies of the two countries. According to Pakistan Navy spokesperson, besides Pakistan Navy’s assets, Chinese naval assets including warships, fleet tanker and marine forces will take part in the exercise.
The sixth bilateral naval exercise between China and Pakistan, code-named Sea Guardians-2020, commenced on Monday in the northern Arabian Sea, with the purpose of enhancing security cooperation between the two countries.
China is being represented by five major ships, including the guided-missile destroyer Yinchuan, the guided-missile frigate Yuncheng, the comprehensive supply ship Weishanhu, and the submarine rescue ship Liugongdao. Pakistan Navy has deployed two Zulfiquar-class F22P/F21 frigates, two fast attack craft, one fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft, two ship-borne helicopters and more than 60 special operations soldiers.
The two sides will pursue a number of training objectives, including joint patrol, air-defence, joint anti-submarine, maritime live-firing, and joint marine training. The two countries have also been conducting warrior series exercises between the two ground forces and the eagle series between their air forces.
Overland access to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan holds prime importance for Beijing, as it will provide an alternative route to China in the event of a conflict with India near choking points such as the Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean region. Currently, around two-third of China’s fuel imports pass through the Strait of Malacca, which is very close to India’s tri-service command, located at Andaman and Nicobar Island.