KARACHI (Agencies): In a significant development, Chinese and Pakistani naval warships are currently engaged in their first joint maritime patrol in the northern Arabian Sea. The joint effort is part of an ongoing joint exercise and is seen as a concrete action to safeguard the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The task group, comprising the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s Type 054A frigate Linyi and the Pakistan Navy’s F-22P frigate Saif, launched a joint patrol in waters around major maritime routes and port channels.

This marks the first time that the PLA Navy and the Pakistan Navy have conducted a joint maritime patrol, reflecting the two countries’ commitment to securing the CPEC. The joint patrol is a crucial component of the Sea Guardian-3 joint exercise, demonstrating shared responsibilities and determination to protect the economic corridor.

Training during the joint patrol includes exercises in joint search and rescue operations, formation maneuvering, and VBSS (visit, board, search, and seizure), enhancing the capabilities of both navies in addressing maritime security threats. The Arabian Sea is vital for both China and Pakistan in terms of goods and energy transport, emphasizing the strategic importance of safeguarding the sea lane, particularly for the CPEC.

The ongoing Sea Guardian-3 exercise, initiated at the Karachi Naval Dockyard, includes a port phase and a sea phase. The sea phase involves multiple training operations such as VBSS, aerial photography, air defense, communications, and joint anti-submarine training. Observers note that the joint naval patrol may become a routine practice between the two countries.

This joint effort signifies the strong military cooperation and interoperability between China and Pakistan, with the latter’s main combat vessels developed by China. The CPEC, a significant economic corridor linking the two nations, underscores the importance of ensuring maritime security in the region.

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