The Pakistan navy will take over the command of the multi-national Task Force-150 of the Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP) on Monday.
“In recognition of the Pakistan navy’s professional ability and increased mutual confidence, Pakistan has been offered the Command of Multi National Task Force Group 150,” said the Pakistan navy Sunday in a statement.
The CMCP is the maritime component of “Operation Enduring Freedom” being undertaken by a U.S.-led coalition of naval forces in the Golf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf and Horn of Africa since October 2001.
Presently the command is held by the Dutch Navy.
Pakistan will be the first non-NATO country to take over the command. Pakistan’s Rear Admiral Shahid Iqbal will be the Commander of Task Force-150, said the statement.
The legal basis for Operation Enduring Freedom is United Nations Resolution 1373, adopted by the UN Security Council at its 8345th meeting on Sept. 28, 2001, according to the statement.
“This operation aims to prevent, deter and destroy international terrorist organizations by denying them the use of maritime environment thereby contributing towards stability and security in Indian Ocean,” the statement said.
“This will go a long way in projecting Pakistan’s positive image in international community and will significantly highlight the Pakistan navy’s contribution towards global war on terrorism.”
Upon approval from the government of Pakistan, the Pakistan navy joined the CMCP in April 2004.
Other nations presently participating in the CMCP are the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Italy, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
A maritime coalition that patrols 5th Fleet waters is getting new leadership. On April 24, Pakistani naval forces will assume command of Task Force 150, which patrols the waters off the Horn of Africa and within the Gulfs of Aden and Oman and the Arabian Sea, according to Cmdr. Jeff Breslau, public affairs officer for 5th Fleet/Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.
Formed in December 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Task Force 150 rotates command among coalition member nations. The intent is to deny terrorists and other transnational threats use of the sea in that region.
Breslau said the Pakistani command will a first for that country since the task force was formed.
France, Germany, the United States and Pakistan have an ongoing commitment to the force. Naval forces from Canada, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands also participate periodically, and the Dutch are currently in charge of the task force.
The U.S. Navy contributes at least one warship to Task Force 150. The force usually numbers between six and 12 warships.
Ships from the task force have been involved in several contacts with suspected pirates of the coast of Somalia in recent months.
Marine Corps Times