Military logistics delivery under the guise of goodwill visit between Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Published on 5 May 2017 on category Strategic Ties for zone Sri Lanka

While Pakistani Coast Guard's ship PMSS Dasht reached Colombo for a '3 days' naval exercise, Sri Lankan Army Chief reached Pakistani Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi. A deeper dig into the real mission

Sri Lankan Navy warmly receiving PMSS Dasht crew. Sri Lankan Navy warmly receiving PMSS Dasht crew.

While for the media persons, the coincidence of arrival of the Sri Lankan Army Chief AWJC de Silva in Rawalpindi and the advent of PMSS Dasht in Colombo may not draw much attention, but the military and strategic experts will not ignore this. On connecting the dots, this reverberates the ostensible possibility of Arms exchange between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the cost of increased interference of Pakistan in the String of Pearls.

First of all, the synchrony in the Sri Lankan Army Chief and the PMSS hitting their respective shores is alarming. The frantic activities of Lieutenant General AWJC de Silva and the PMSS Dasht for reaching their counterparts on the same date are noteworthy. While the camouflage of participation in a “range of programs organised by the Sri Lankan Navy” grows suspicion, the sudden and hushed visit of the Sri Lankan Army Chief to “laud Pakistan Army’s achievements and contributions towards national and regional security” adds dark humour to the otherwise serious move.

While the first ground of suspicion arises on the date of simultaneous visit, another speculation surfaces the involvement of Pakistan Maritime Security and not Pakistan Defence Services. Any military exercise taking place between two countries is between their respective counterparts of Defence wings, not the para-military, which is more like the maritime police in this case.

Also, the PMSS visit to Colombo Welisara Naval Base for a lightening span of just 3 days gives an air of inevitability about the outcome. A regular joint military drill takes nearly 15 days. A Three-day visit to participate in a “range of programs” including basketball and volleyball sports certainly does not aim at building cultural ties with Sri Lanka. Besides, a grand reception of PNS F-22P Zulfiqar at Welisara Naval Base, Colombo on May 5, 2017, blinks like the radium in the middle of dark gallows.

The Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) Dasht is built in China and equipped with state-of-the-art guns.  PMSS Dasht is Class 615 Tonnes of Maritime Patrol Vessel (MPV) designed by MARIC design house based in Shanghai, China and being constructed at Xinjiang Shipbuilding Company under the contract between Ministry of Defense Production Pakistan and China Trading Company. The keel of the ship was laid down on May 27th, 2016 and subsequently launched on 8th of November, 2016. The vessel was commissioned and delivered to Pakistan Maritime Security Agency on April 7, 2017.

In 2009 Admiral Noman Bashir of Pakistan Navy categorically said that since Indian Navy is 10 times bigger than Pakistan Navy and Indian Coast Guard is 12 times bigger than its Pakistani counterpart, they need to explore new ‘naval alliances’ to ensure the maritime strategic interests of Pakistan.

Could this unusual set of strategic cardiograph be a pivotal point in an ongoing process of the strategic relation building? Time will not tell, it's strategically crystal clear.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has a history of involvement in strategic gherao of India under a strategy named String of Pearls. In 2009 China’s International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), a semi-official think tank disclosed their agenda to stress on a Dravidian State in India through Lankan soil, in order to Balkanize India. China is trying to set up a naval and air base in Sri Lanka in the line of CPEC but Lanka has already established a history of backstabbing India in 1971 when they allowed Pakistan to fuel its fleet sent to Bangladesh as reinforcement.

Sri Lanka has not changed its character whose primary component is strategic ingratitude. Despite India’s secret help in crushing LTTE, Sri Lanka rather than forming a strategic alliance with India, has been mating as the bedfellow of Pakistan. The current military exchange only vindicates the anxieties of the Indian security analysts.

Written By
Sakshi Bhardwaj
Sakshi Bhardwaj is JNU alumna and writes analytical and substantial commentaries and reports on topics ranging from Geopolitics to Social and Political issues. She has also written for various magazines and attended international seminars on National Security and Internal Conflicts.
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Fist Published On: 5 May 2017

Last Updated On:

Reading Timelength: 3 Minutes

Type of Post: Article

Category: Strategic Ties

Zone: Sri Lanka

Primary Topic: #StringOfPearls

Tags: string of pearls, PMSS Dasht, Pakistan Navy, Sri Lanka Pakistan friendship, Pakistani naval exercise

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