Muscat: Omani Navy officers are welcome to train with the Pakistan Navy, according to Commodore Mohammed Shuaib, Commander of the 9th Auxiliary and Mine Warfare Squadron of the Pakistan Navy, who is commanding a three-day goodwill and training visit to the Sultanate.
Commodore Shuaib said that given the historical role of Pakistan in training Omani officers and the good relations between the countries, Omanis are welcome to train in Pakistan.
“We do not have too many Omani trainees in Pakistan, but we expect to have more in the future. Our doors are open to them, so whenever a request is made by the brotherly country of Oman, we will be pleased to entertain it. We have been training many officers and sailors in the Gulf region and we wish to continue that,” he said.
Two Pakistan Navy ships, PNS Rahnaward and PMSS Nusrat, arrived here at Port Sultan Qaboos on Sunday on a visit to boost bilateral cooperation and share their expertise and experiences with Omani officials.
PNS Rahnaward is a Brig class tall ship, serving as a sail training vessel for young sailors and officers of the Pakistan Navy. The ship is being commanded by Commander Omer Khayyam. PNS Nusrat is an offshore patrol vessel of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) and is being commanded by Commander Tanveer Shahid.
“The visit is aimed at improving interoperability, strengthening bilateral ties and learning from each other’s experiences. The crew on the visiting ships will have professional interactions with the personnel of the Royal Oman Police Coastguard and the Royal Navy of Oman,” said Captain Altaf Hussain, Defence Attache at the Embassy of Pakistan.
Commodore Shuaib noted that as this is a training mission, the Pakistan Navy will conduct exercises with the Shabab Oman 2 vessel. “We have also invited the Royal Oman Police Coastguard to carry out drills on our Nusrat ship,” he said.
Shuaib added that Oman and Pakistan cooperate in the fight against illegal activities at sea, in a bid to assist trade in the region.
“Unless you have collaborative arrangements between the countries, Oman, Pakistan or any other country, we won’t be able to keep a check on illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal fishing. We are cooperating in this matter to facilitate trade in the area,” he said.
Commodore Shuaib noted that interaction with the ROP Coastguard is aimed at organising trainings, seminars and exchange visits, as well as increasing cooperation between the Pakistani Maritime Security and ROP Coastguard. “This will enhance the capacity of both countries, foster mutual understanding, and enhance interoperability,” he said.
Speaking about Pakistan’s role in helping Oman fight drug trafficking, he said that “despite our resource constraints, our contribution to fighting drug trafficking, piracy and illegal criminal activities at sea has been phenomenal.”
Shuaib noted that as Pakistan is part of the international combined maritime forces for anti-piracy and terrorism, it is playing an important role. “We are probably the only country outside NATO that has commanded these two forces, seven and eight times. Other than the Americans, we have the highest contribution of ships and aircraft in the Gulf of Aden and close to the Omani coast, in cooperation with Oman,” he said.
He added that more operations are planned in the near future.
“We have two ships operating right now in the Gulf of Aden. That is how we contribute to anti-piracy, anti-drug smuggling and other illegal activities. We are planning to hold another command term of the combined maritime forces in July or in August for counter-terrorism and maritime security operations,” he said.