Pakistan and China hold largest-ever naval exercise Sea Guardian-3

The Chinese and Pakistani navies commenced their largest-ever joint exercise ‘Sea Guardian-3’ in the northern Arabian Sea to bolster their capabilities of safeguarding strategic sea lanes and regional peace.

The exercise, inaugurated at the Karachi Naval Dockyard, saw participation from a Marine Corps detachment from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy as well to showcase a united front to address maritime security threats.

The week-long exercise from November 11 to 17 encompasses various training courses, including:

  • VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure)
  • Formation maneuvering
  • Helicopter cross-deck landing
  • Joint search and rescue
  • Joint anti-submarine and main gun shooting

The exercise also facilitates professional exchanges and mutual visits, emphasizing the joint commitment to maritime security.

It is the third and the largest edition of the Sea Guardian exercises. The first edition was held in 2020 in the northern Arabian Sea waters, and the second edition was held in 2022 in waters off Shanghai.

Vessels participating in Sea Guardian-3

The exercise features Chinese vessels including

  • Type 052D guided missile destroyer Zibo
  • Type 054A guided missile destroyers Jingzhou and Linyi
  • A conventional attack submarine
  • A submarine support ship

As many as nine vessels from Pakistan Navy took part in the drills including

  • PNS Shahjahan
  • PNS Saif
  • Three shipborne helicopters
  • Four fighter jets
  • One fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft

Exercise to boost defense cooperation

“The exercise is dedicated to enhance the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, boost defense cooperation and deepen professional cooperation,” said Rear Admiral Liang Yang, commander at a PLA Navy base and the general director of the exercise from the Chinese side, at the opening ceremony.

Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, chief of the naval staff of the Pakistan Navy, emphasized the importance of the Sea Guardian exercises in fostering interoperability and sharing professional experiences to counter contemporary security threats.

Experts underscored the common interests of China and Pakistan in safeguarding strategic sea lanes, particularly in the Indian Ocean, where piracy, terrorism, and other threats jeopardize maritime transport.

These joint drills play a crucial role in protecting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a vital component of the Belt and Road Initiative, contributing comprehensively to peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

Beyond joint exercises, China-Pakistan naval cooperation extends to high-level visits, expert talks, training exchanges, and equipment cooperation.

China recently delivered four Type 054A/P guided missile frigates to the Pakistani Navy, with ongoing construction of Hangor-class submarines in both countries. Observers anticipate further deepening of cooperation between the PLA Navy and the Pakistan Navy, reinforcing their strategic partnership in the maritime domain.

Sayyar Gul
Sayyar Gul is doing his MS Computational Sciences & Engineering from National University of Science and Technology. He is technology enthusiast with keen interest in new technological developments from around the world.

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