Iran, Pakistan kick off joint naval wargames near Karachi port

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian and Pakistani naval forces kicked off joint exercises in Pakistan’s territorial waters near the port city of Karachi on Saturday.

In early September, the 43rd fleet of warships, consisting of logistic Lavan warship, Falakhan and Khanjar warships, equipped with missile-launchers, troop-carrier Konarak warship and the home-made SH helicopter, headed to Pakistan’s territorial waters with a message of peace and friendship.

The joint drills are aimed at displaying peace and friendship between the two countries with the participation of a number of Iranian and Pakistani warships and helicopters.

A detachment of Pakistan’s fleet of warships had berthed in Iran’s territorial waters in the Southern port city of Bandar Abbas in April.

During their stay in Iran’s territorial waters, the commanders and officers of Pakistan’s Rahnaward (sail training ship) and PMSS Nusrat (corvette) visited the country’s Naval capabilities and training centers.

Iran’s 43rd flotilla of warships started its voyage after the 42nd fleet of the Iranian Navy returned home.

“The 42nd fleet, consisting of Alvand destroyer and Tonb logistic warship returned to the country after 48 days of sailing in the Northern part of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab,” Rear Admiral Biqam said, addressing the ceremony.

He added that the 42nd flotilla escorted 8 Iranian cargo ships and oil tankers and rescued an Iranian boat with 7 crews who were stranded in the Indian Ocean for 20 days.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

By Fars News Agency