By Li Yun
KARACHI, Pakistan, Jan. 15 -- The PN-PLAN Bilateral Exercise, code-named Sea Guardians-2020, held the closing ceremony on January 14 at the Karachi Port after completing all the subjects of the two phases, including port training and fleet drill. This nine-day joint naval exercise can be summarized in eight keywords.
Keyword 1: coordination. This was the 6th bilateral naval exercise between China and Pakistan. Based on multiple practical exchanges, the two navies have developed a set of methods of organizing and carrying out joint exercises on the sea, and their capability of organizing and commanding joint maritime operations has been greatly improved, with a high level of coordination in commanding, communication, tactical moves and fire attacks.
Keyword 2: high efficiency. The nine-day-long China-Pakistan joint exercise included both traditional and non-traditional subjects. In addition to discussions, exchanges and demonstration during port training, there are up to 16 subjects in the maritime drill phase, featuring the largest number, widest coverage and fastest pace of all bilateral joint exercises over the years.
Keyword 3: being realistic. Aiming to enhance the Chinese and Pakistani militaries’ capability of jointly coping with maritime terrorism and crimes, the joint exercise designed realistic subjects commensurate with the weapon and equipment performance and technical and tactical level of the two navies. Participating troops of both sides credited the exercise for improving their training effects and methods.
Keyword 4: rigorous preparations. Ten vessels of various types with the total tonnage of over 55,000 tons were mobilized in the joint exercise, but they differed widely in technical performance. Meanwhile, the Chinese and Pakistani participating officers and soldiers faced other difficulties such as language barriers, unsmooth communication and poor meteorological and sea conditions. However, they made rigorous preparations and coped with the obstacles flexibly, not only accomplishing several highly demanding subjects, but also ensuring the security and success of the exercise in general.
Keyword 5: trust. Both the Chinese and Pakistani sides demonstrated complete trust during the exercise, and all services, contingents, disciplines and departments of the participating troops held discussions and exchanges in a confident and candid way. They also boarded their counterpart vessels to observe their tactics and presentation, assigned observers to participate in each other’s vessel exercises, and exchanged weapons for shooting experience.
Keyword 6: friendship. The joint exercise demonstrated to the world the unshakable traditional friendship between China and Pakistan. During the exercise, Chinese and Pakistani soldiers had friendly basketball, football and tugofwar competitions, organized deck receptions, and presented souvenirs to each other. The Chinese participating troops received warm welcome from the Pakistani host, and were invited to visit the Mazar-e-Quaid, otherwise known as the National Mausoleum, the tomb of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jannah, military museum, naval museum, and so on.
Keyword 7: transparency. Before the exercise, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense held a press conference to announce the dates and contents; and both sides proactively released exercise information and progress while it was in process. When the participating vessels berthed at the port for rest and replenishment, the Chinese side invited military officers, government officials, overseas Chinese and representatives of Chinese organizations in Pakistan to visit their vessels and take photos while onboard.
Keyword 8: switch of task. After the conclusion of the joint exercise, the guided-missile destroyer Yinchuan (Hull 175), the guided-missile frigate Yuncheng (Hull 571) and the comprehensive supply ship Weishanhu (Hull 887) switched to escort mission immediately as the 34th escort contingent, heading to the Gulf of Aden to replace the 33rd escort contingent and carry out a months-long escort mission.