Pakistan Navy’s role in multinational combined maritime forces
Rising in stature day-by-day, and occupying an honorable place in the list of world Navies, Pakistan Navy had been a front row participant in international and regional maritime security and peace endeavors. Shouldering-international obligations in the realm of maritime security have always been on top priority for Pakistan Navy. If it is said that, Pakistan Navy ships, aircraft and men, remained committed with multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) for over fourteen years and are still a part of CMF, it will not be wrong.
Since year 2004, Pakistan Navy contributed with 1 to 2 Destroyers/ Frigates with embarked helicopters in Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan which is the maritime component of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). CTF-150 was aimed at deterring maritime terrorism. This task force was later placed under the Commander of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), based at Bahrain. Subsequently, several mission-oriented task forces appeared, as constituents of CMF, e.g. CTF-151 (Counterpiracy), CTF-152 (Persian Gulf Security), etc. Pakistan Navy, as a responsible regional maritime force, welcomed these initiatives and joined CTF-150 and 151. Senior Pakistan Naval officers have commanded the CTF-150 & 151 for ten and eight times since 2004 and 2009, respectively. At present, the tenth command of CTF 150 is in progress and Pakistan Navy is rigorously maintaining maritime security of the region. Pakistan Navy deployed its front-line warships, along with aircraft, for pursuing objectives set for two task forces for well over a decade and a half. In numerical term, 100s PN ships rendered services in Combined Maritime Forces Operations for maintenance of security and stability in Indian Ocean Region.
With a remarkable history of huge contributions to support order in maritime arena, Pakistan Navy is recognized as a key upholder of international maritime laws in the region. Furthering these pursuits in the wake of recent politico-strategic developments and to pursue national interests with strategic autonomy, Pakistan Navy has decided to institute Regional Maritime Security Patrols (RMSP) in areas of interest particularly Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Choke points off Maldives.
The concept of RMSP seeks to conduct Maritime Security Patrols in critical maritime areas/ choke points within Indian Ocean region in order to maintain a robust security posture and protect national and international shipping while ensuring freedom of navigation at high seas according to international laws.
In broad term, RMSP would contribute in projecting Pakistan as a responsible state shouldering Regional Maritime Security. Additionally, the RMSP will enable PN to protect National and International shipping plying along Indian Ocean region against threats of Piracy, Maritime Terrorism, narco-arms smuggling and human trafficking etc. RMSP will also help in generating rapid support to contingencies like Humanitarian Assistance, Search and Rescue and non Combatant Evacuation Operations in times of need.
Lauding the efforts, during an address to a gathering of Naval Officers Chief of Naval Staff Admiral ZafarMahmoodAbbasi said that in order to pursue our national interest with strategic autonomy, we have now decided to institute Regional Maritime Security Patrols independently, in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Regional Maritime Security Patrols initiatives are in line with the UN Resolutions and UN Convention on Law of the Sea. The initiative is aimed at maintaining robust security posture in the critical sea areas and choke points in the Indian Ocean Region for protection of national and international shipping against the threats of maritime terrorism, piracy, narco-arms smuggling and human trafficking etc.