Pak Navy’s pivotal role in CPEC

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IN yet another milestone in defence and strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China, the third Azmat-class fast attack craft built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) was inducted into Pakistan Navy fleet on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zakaullah said that induction of new vessels would enhance operational capability of Pakistan Navy to protect the country’s maritime zones.
Significance of China-Pakistan close collaboration in maritime sector projects has now assumed greater significance with Gwadar port- the opening point of multi billion dollars CPEC project- all set to become fully operational soon for sea trade which in fact would serve as a corridor for trade worth billions of dollars to and from its docks. However, there are always intrinsic challenges to any project of such proportion both onshore and at sea which needs to be guarded against. Cognizant of these challenges, Pakistan Army has raised a special security division while Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) have also established a mechanism for ensuring security of waters around Gwadar. But the unprecedented increase in maritime activity and contemporary threats/ challenges in maritime areas warrant further enhancement in capability of PN and PMSA not only to counter threats against traditional challenges but also asymmetric threats particularly those being sponsored and perpetrated by our traditional enemies. If we really want to accrue maximum benefit of the strategic location of deep-sea port, immediate development of Pakistan Navy for effective seaward defence is a must in order to provide safe corridor to national and international trade plying off our coast. A navy that would be instrumental in translating the strategic location of our country into meaningful effects and promoting the national cause, and we are sure the concerned quarters would take all requisite steps to enhance PN capacity to ensure safe sea lanes.