Warship to reinforce security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Pakistani president
The Pakistan Navy on Monday inducted the PNS Tughril, the first of four Type 054A/P frigates developed by China, in the Pakistan Navy Fleet, with the president of Pakistan hailing the friendship between the two countries and announcing that the Type 054A/Ps will serve to safeguard the sea routes of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The induction ceremony of the PNS Tughril multi-role frigate was held at the Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Karachi on Monday, according to a press release the Pakistan Navy sent to the Global Times on the day.
President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi said at the ceremony that the Type 054A/P project is yet another manifestation of the deep friendship with China, and the collaboration shows a time-tested brotherly fraternity that is emerging between the two countries and continues to get stronger and stronger every day, which is focused on promoting security, stability and peace.
Alvi said that he is confident that defense cooperation between China and Pakistan will continue to grow ever stronger.
Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, the Pakistani Chief of the Naval Staff, said at the ceremony that the Type 054A/P is a potent platform, fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors.
The ship is designed for combat in a multi-threat environment, and it can generate the requisite firepower in multiple domains with supersonic surface-to-surface cruise missiles, air defense missiles, anti-submarine warfare torpedoes and the latest combat management and electronic warfare systems, which will enable the Pakistan Navy to remain on par with contemporary trends in naval warfare, Niazi said.
Niazi extended his gratitude to Admiral Dong Jun, commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, for his support during trials and commissioning of the PNS Tughril.
China and Pakistan signed the contract for four Type 054A/Ps for the Pakistan Navy in June 2018. The first hull of this class was launched in Shanghai in August 2020, and it was delivered to the Pakistan Navy in November 2021.The frigate is the largest and most advanced surface combat vessel China has ever exported, China State Shipbuilding Corp, the maker of the ship, said in a statement published when the ship was delivered.
Other major naval projects undertaken and ongoing collaborations between the two countries include the F-22P frigates with organic Z-9 helicopters, survey vessel PNS Behr Masah, Azmat-class fast attack craft (missile) and Hangor-class submarines, Niazi said.
Niazi told the Global Times in an exclusive interview in 2021 that the Pakistan Navy has contracted construction of eight Hangor-class submarines, four Type 054A/P ships and medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles from China. Talking about the application of the Type 054A/P frigate, President Alvi said at the induction ceremony that Pakistan’s maritime sector has gained exceptional importance in the context of the CPEC, so the induction of the Type 054A/P frigates in the Pakistan Navy will not only serve to reinforce the security architecture of Pakistan’s maritime zones across the country’s maritime border, but also help safeguard the sea routes of the CPEC.
This will open the CPEC to common vistas of prosperity, development and regional integration, Alvi said, noting that he is confident that the Pakistan Navy has the requisite operational capability and wherewithal to deal with the entire range of maritime security challenges. Niazi said at the event that Pakistan is located in an area of immense geo-economic and geostrategic significance, and the country’s maritime security is embedded with the maritime environment of Indian Ocean, which has witnessed surges in the recent past in both traditional and non-traditional maritime threats. The Pakistan Navy’s role of maintaining order at sea for sustenance and the protection of global maritime trade has been enhanced significantly, Niazi said.
The Pakistan Navy’s responsibilities have also grown manyfold since the inception of the CPEC and the development of its associated maritime infrastructure and Gwadar Port, Niazi said.
In fulfillment of these obligations, the Pakistan Navy has continuously undertaken Maritime Security and Counter Piracy Operations since 2004 and 2009, respectively, besides the Navy’s initiative of Regional Maritime Security Patrols, the naval chief said, noting that the Pakistan Navy Fleet and Coastal Command units maintain round-the-clock readiness to foil any nefarious designs of sinister elements and give a befitting response in case of any misadventure by an adversary.