April 7, 2021
Pakistani and Iranian naval ships conducted a day-long “passage exercise” in the waters of the Gulf, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Navy has said, adding that the drill was not planned or part of a memorandum of agreement between the two nations.
The exercise comes around two months after the Pakistan navy’s seventh biennial multinational “Aman” (peace) exercise in Pakistani waters aimed at fostering international cooperation to fight piracy, terrorism and other crimes threatening maritime security. Around 45 navies, including those of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain and China, took part in the Arabian Sea exercise with ships and observers.
“There was no planned exercise between the two countries [Pakistan and Iran] but we can say that this was a passage exercise,” the spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday, referring to routine exercises with friendly foreign navies that take place while visiting each other’s ports or during a rendezvous at sea.
The spokesperson said the Pakistani ships were returning from Dubai via Qatar and took part in the exercise with Iran as a goodwill gesture.
“There is no memorandum of understanding between the two countries and neither were these exercises part of such a thing,” he added.
Pakistani ships recently participated in an exhibition in Dubai, traveling onwards to Qatar and Bahrain and on their way back stopped at the Bandar Abbas port in Iran, the spokesperson said.
“As a routine, Iranian ships were to accompany us up until Pakistani waters, then this exercise happened which was a passage exercise,” he said, explaining that maritime transfers and passing exercises were meant to streamline communication and cooperation in the event of a war or humanitarian crisis. “These passage and peace exercises are routine with other countries to share and learn from each other’s experiences.”