Pakistan Navy strengthens diplomatic ties with the South African Navy

Article and photos by Chief Petty Officer B. Nkosi

Military diplomacy, as opposed to gunboat diplomacy, is the pursuit of foreign policy objectives through peaceful employment of defence resources and capabilities. This is indeed one of the effective non-lethal firepower in the armoury of the South African Navy to shape the international maritime space.

Pakistan, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of the SAN meet and greet

Military diplomacy is capable of preventing disastrous conflicts, thus creating global stability and peace. The South African Navy through Directorate Maritime Diplomacy Strategy has succeeded to exploit this tool for the benefit of the SADC region and the entire African continent.

In the South African Navy, military diplomacy manifests itself in a variety of ways which include dialogue on security challenges, port calls, combined exercises, exchange of high level visits and many other forms of cooperation.

Many world navies understand the gains from diplomacy hence a number of diplomatic related activities happen between the South African Navy and other navies.

Navy Headquarters Guard of Honour paying marks of respects to the visiting Pakistan, Chief of Naval Staff

Admiral Zakaullah engaging with Denel leadership

On 26 May 2016, Admiral Zakaullah, the Chief of Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy visited the Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane as part of the Pakistan Navy plan to reignite and improve strategic cooperation between the two navies.

Adm Zakaullar was given a presentation covering geostrategic overview, SAN structure and the strategic guidance given to the Fleet by Navy Headquarters. He asked few questions during the presentation in an attempt to get clarity on other issues which included the existence of the Directorate of Transformation in the South African Navy.

Positively touched by the presentation, Pakistan Navy Chief requested V Adm Hlongwane to consider the possibility of deploying naval elements in Pakistan to participate in AMAN, the multinational exercise that will take place in February 2017.

It must however be noted that in February 2017, the SA Navy will be participating in Armed Forces Day and the Commemoration of SS Mendi which also require the deployment of different naval assets.

This visit ignited a number of issues including Pakistan delegation requesting more information about South African Vertical Launch Surface to Air Missile, Umkhonto.

To put the discussion in perspective, Director Maritime Diplomacy Strategy, Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) M. Josias reminded the Pakistan delegation about the existence of cooperation agreement between the two Navies. This explanation was a result of a question from Admiral Zaukallah who wanted to have an insight into the content of the agreement.

Pakistan CNS visiting the 9m tall Nelson Mandela statue at Union Buildings