A multinational fleet successfully carried out a search and rescue drill yesterday in the Arabian Sea off the Pakistani coast.
Although there were 12 vessels from eight countries joining the two-hour operation under the command of the Chinese navy, the communication and coordination went smoothly and they all performed professionally, said Luo Xianlin, chief of staff of the two-vessel Chinese flotilla, adding that it was the first time for the Chinese navy to lead and coordinate a multinational drill on such a scale.
Lianyungang and Sanming have spent the last few days participating in the Chinese navy's first-ever multinational naval exercises in the sea near the Karachi port.
The Chinese navy fired its first-ever batch of shells on Thursday, when the drills entered the phase for live-fire exercises and sea operations.
China sent the two-frigate task force at the invitation of Pakistan, which organized the multinational naval exercises coded as "Aman 07." The drills, designed to be a display of international unity in the fight against terrorism and human, drug and weapons trafficking, have involved 23 warships from nine countries, including Britain, Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, Malaysia, Turkey and the US, which sent two aircraft carriers.
The drills should also facilitate interaction among friendly regional and extra-regional navies. Aman means "peace" in Urdu language.
"For us, the most important part of the exercises is learning how to communicate effectively with foreign ships, because all signals are sent and received in English," said Qiu Yanpeng, commander of the 400-man Chinese fleet.
Only through such multilateral maneuvers can the Chinese navy improve its communication skills, refine its procedures and better cooperate with other countries' navies, he said.
Lianyungang and Sanming left Ningbo Port of east China's Zhejiang Province on February 19 and traveled more than 7,000 kilometers before arriving at Karachi navy dockyard in southern Pakistan.
"Terrorists respect no border or morality," Qiu said, adding that China is certainly part of the global war on terrorism.
"If we work together, we can more easily stop terrorists and traffickers from using the sea, through which most international trade is carried out," Commodore Farrukh Mahpooz of the Pakistani navy told China Daily on Thursday aboard a participating Pakistani destroyer.
In addition to the nine participating countries, 24 nations have sent observers to this event, which will end on Tuesday.
Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir, chief of Pakistan's navy staff, spoke highly of the Chinese navy's participation in the military drills.
"We are so glad to be the host of such event in which warships of our friend China and Western navies can operate together," Tahir told China Daily yesterday.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily March 10, 2007)