Strategic Analysis of Pakistan Navy’s Multilateral Exercise AMAN-2021

Key Points:

  • Pakistan Navy recently concluded the seventh iteration of its flagship multilateral exercise “AMAN”.
  • Countries in Asia (including West Asia/Iran/Gulf) comprised the largest share of AMAN-2021 participants region-wise, followed by Europe.
  • The AMAN series of multilateral exercises are “significant in fostering regional cooperation for maintaining good order at sea, improving interoperability and exhibiting a common resolve against crimes and illicit activities in the maritime domain.”
  • The most-cited example of AMAN-2021’s success was the common platform available for the US, NATO, Russia, Iran and China to huddle together under a neutral banner for engagements in a purely apolitical environment. A prominent takeaway was the International Fleet Review that culminated in the North Arabian Sea.
  • AMAN-2021 provided a platform to promote a better understanding between Pakistani and US naval officers.
  • The exercise received limited mainstream media projection outside Pakistan, despite the fanfare that it provided a platform for the Russian Navy and NATO member states to hold maritime manoeuvres together after almost a decade
  • Limited Southeast Asian participation suggests Islamabad’s casual approach in executing economic diplomacy with Southeast Asia.
  • Despite its success, certain aspects of AMAN-2021 merit a high-level review by the authorities concerned, including improving public relations operations, regulating foreign media activities, and juxtaposing AMAN with RMSP. Also, there is a need to strengthen relations with the and IOR Island States and to fortify the lobbying for IORA membership.
  • AMAN exercises remain the largest of their kind in the Western Indian Ocean, and in lieu of its geostrategic significance among extra-regional actors, bear extensive symbolic value.

Zaki Khalid

Zaki Khalid is a strategic analyst and freelance commentator based in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. His areas of interest include national security, geopolitics, cyberspace and maritime affairs. He is also the founder and editor of 'Pakistan Geostrategic Review (PGR)', an independent platform publishing a premium newsletter and podcasts on geostrategic developments. He can be reached on Twitter @misterzedpk.

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