GILGIT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday performed the groundbreaking of the Pakistan-China Optical Fibre Cable project which is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Radio Pakistan reported.

The $44 million, 820-kilometre-long cable project stretching from Rawalpindi to Khunjerab will be completed by the Special Communication Organization in two years.

Upon completion, the project, which will provide an alternate telecommunication route between Pakistan and China, will also bring 3G and 4G connectivity to the region, Nawaz said.

Nawaz also inaugurated the Gilgit-Baltistan CPEC patrolling police headquarters in Gilgit, Radio Pakistan reported.

The patrolling force comprising 300 personnel will help regulate traffic along a 439km chunk of the CPEC in the area. China has provided 25 vehicles for the patrolling force.

The premier announced the establishment of a technical training institute in the region. "We will initially set aside Rs100 million for this project," he said.

Nawaz stressed the need for preparedness for a newer knowledge-based economy. "These development projects will help reduce extremism," he said, pointing towards a lack of employment in as a driver of militancy.

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