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Multi-dimensional role of Pakistan Navy 

Salahuddin Haider

The writer is a senior journalist.

The half a century old adage—“if you want peace, prepare for war’, remains valid and relevant even today. And this philosophy or logic is not new to Pakistan, it is applicable universally. What is more important, and matter of satisfaction here is the key role that custodians of our seashores, have come to acquire.

It has moved with the world, owning the latest technological, strategic development,  keeping itself abreast with modern trends to be counted among the best. This is not only a matter of satisfaction for sailors of officers of the force but instills tremendous confidence among the countrymen.

The biggest proof of this, if at all proof is needed now, is the hosting of the fourth successive Aman exercises along the country’s coast, and the participation of top navies of the world, of USA, Russia, China, Iran, France, Japan, United Kingdom, and nearly 40 other countries of the world.

Such a massive exercise in the Arabian Ocean is not only a tedious job, it’s delicate handling, and with perfection, won accolades from major players that are now counted in geopolitics, for protection of trade routes for us as well as for those depending on our seashores, combating illicit drug trade and safety and security from international piracy, which at one time was a real menace in matters of maritime security.

History is replete with exemplary courage and bravery of the Muslim sailors. Tariq Bin Ziad is a glorious citation here. His decision to burn the boats after landing at Spanish ports injected commitment and determination, and the jazba-e- jehad displayed then, became a source of inspiration for all of us.

Centuries have passed since then, but the heartbeat of Pakistan Navy sailors, officers, commissioned, non-commissioned, seniors of juniors resounds with la Illaha illallah,  instills in them a spiritual spirit to consider no sacrifice too great for the security of their country and its people.

It was this Jazba-e- Jehad that motivated the Pakistani Navy in youthful years of its existence. Hardly 17 years old, and  could well be categorized as still in nascent years, PN ships destroyed the Indian communication centre at Dwarka, which was no less important than the second world war achievement by allied forces if finishing the Guns of Navarone. But allied forces had a long history behind them.

For Pakistan Navy, it was enormous encouragement, for it gave a decisive cutting edge to Pakistan armed forces to defend the motherland from those who had tried to cast an evil eye on our territorial integrity. Countries having forceful Naval force, had always remained ahead of others, in fact, some of them ruled the world. The Normandy landing by allied forces on June 6, 1944 to liberate France from Germany, despite heavy casualties, finally got a splendid reward.

Even in 1971 tragic events, Pakistani submarine Ghazi kept probing Indian waters when enemy remained totally unaware of its movement. The claim that Ghazi was sunk by the enemy, was a blatant lie. Ghazi fell victim to technical faults in its system, and blew itself up. Our Navy has come a long way since then, It is well equipped, has well trained, disciplined and motivates men to man and control its vessels. Let it also be said here that equipment and modernized machines remain a potent factor in times of emergency, but it is the man behind the machine that counts.

Navy’s role is multi-dimensional, from defence of country’s coastline to attacking those harbouring ill-will against our territorial integrity, being a troops carrier, and simultaneously ever ready to teach terrible lessons to aggressors. Resource constraints, are a problem no doubt but 200 percent marks to PN sailors, engineers, officers and those at command to develop a system of self reliant for overcoming the weaknesses caused by financial limitations.

The Dockyard has always been active, but reactivating Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Woks, lying ideal for various reasons, is a remarkable achievement. It is a massive step in moving towards self reliant for which credit goes to Naval leadership. The fact that Pakistan Navy is bestowed with the privilege of hosting multilateral exercises on its coasts and within its territorial waters, is an eloquent tribute to its credentials as a dependable force.

AMAN 21 therefore, will enable the Pakistan navy to establish a relationship of working on modern means of peace pursuits, update itself with means of modernisation of communications, engineering, and in a matter of dependable defence. Indians must have been taken aback by Pakistan Navy’s popularity and international recognition, and the loud applaud which we all are now hearing, and so does the well. AMAN 21 has earned it a name world-wide which surely is a source of immense satisfaction for the countrymen

Global Unity, inter-linkages, keeping the trade routes safe for international trade, almost upto 97 percent now, eliminating drug menace for which few years back PN and Russian navies signed an agreement in Karachi, are indeed creditable achievements. The peace Pursuit must and will continue as country marches ahead.