Pakistan has begun naval drills on its maritime border in the Arabian Sea, this move by Pakistan could be received as gunboat diplomacy, in an effort to flex its power in response to the Malabar Exercises. India has reacted by launching close surveillance of the Pakistani fleet. Alongside observing the Pakistani fleet vigilantly, India has also sent 4 ships with helicopter carrying capability to the Arabian Sea to exercise and subvert Pakistan’s intentions.

Pakistan’s exercises in the Arabian sea come after the joint naval exercises on the Malabar Coast of India with the countries of Australia, India, Japan and the United States as the participants. The first phase of the Malabar Exercises began on November 3 and lasted till November 6 while the second phase was held from 17 to 20 November.

In the Malabar Exercises, India had sent its Vikramaditya Battle Group that included the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya itself and escort ships while the US sent its Nimitz Battle Group. The USS Nimitz is the world’s largest aircraft carrier. The exercises consisted of firing drills, deck-to-deck flying of airplanes between the aircraft carriers and air defense training. The Royal Australian Navy sent its frigate HMAS Ballarat while the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force had dispatched the destroyer JS Murasame.

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Additionally, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved for the integration of all intelligence agencies of Pakistan, numbering around 25-30. This centralised system was being proposed by Pakistan’s military for some time and had been deftly opposed by Imran’s predecessors out of fear of another coup by the military. All these intelligence agencies will now answer to the ISI chief.

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