ISLAMABAD, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- A four-day multinational naval exercise "AMAN 2017" kicked off in the Pakistani southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials here said.

A total of 36 countries including Australia, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Britain, United States, Japan and Russia are participating in the exercise, commander of Pakistan Fleet vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini said at the inaugural session.

The drill is aimed at devising procedures and techniques against conventional and non-conventional threats.

Husaini said that the exercise will help in competing human trafficking, smuggling of narcotics and terrorism in the region.

Pakistani officials said that 15 ships along with two P3C Orion aircraft, five helicopters, 11 special operation forces' teams are also important modules of the exercise.

Russian vessels participated in the exercise for the first time amid a thaw in relationship between the two rivals of the Cold War era. Russian troops took part in a two-week military exercise in September last year, marking the first ever joint exercise between Pakistan and Russia.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a message on the opening of the drill said that Pakistan, being a major stakeholder in maritime security of Arabian Sea, is fully committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and lawful maritime order.

"The maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean are both multidimensional and multifaceted. Threats like maritime terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy have acquired international dimensions," he said.

The prime minister said cooperation between international navies is imperative to counter these emerging threats.